The curse of being an architect is that you spend all day designing beautiful buildings, but probably can't afford to live in one yourself. (Contrary to what The Brady Bunch and Hollywood movies would have us believe, most architects make very modest salaries.) When I was an architect I figured that, absent a rich benefactor, designing and building my own home was an impossible dream, but one Austin architect has made his dream home a reality for the quite attainable sum of $175,000. Here's how he did it.
A simple shape.
The home is essentially a box with a peaked roof — like a child's drawing of a house. This simple shape, with very few ins and outs, helped save money on construction.
Concerned about the chemicals involved in creating laminate flooring, architect Shane and his wife, Holly, chose to leave the concrete slab exposed, which almost completely eliminated flooring costs. The kitchens and bathrooms feature inexpensive black and white tiles from the local hardware store, and the outside of the home is clad in untreated cedar panels. “We tried to use materials that are beautiful in their natural state without excessive treatment or finishing,” says Shane.
Know when to splurge.
The windows, framed in Texas pine, were made by a local craftsman. Although it isn't mentioned in the article, we're guessing that the windows took up a significant portion of the budget — an expense that was more than worth it, considering that they're such a focal point in the structure.
The couple saved a lot of money on kitchen appliances by purchasing ones that were barely used. The cabinetry, to no one's surprise, is IKEA.
Only build as much house as you need.
The home's footprint of 1,600 square feet is quite modest (for Texas). By only building as much house as they need, Shane and Holly were able to save enough money to enjoy the other things in life, too — like entertaining in their beautiful new home.
Love this project? You can read more and see more photos of the home at Dwell.
Re-edited from a post originally published 4.6.15-NT