$6,000 Mark – Tiny Cottage

Bumblebees gather last nectar from Sunflowers

Several people have asked what our cost is for building the tiny cottage. We just broke the $6,000 mark. It is almost all of our costs before we move in as I have most of the remaining materials in hand. I figure we’ll spend about another $1,500 before we move in this fall. Not bad for building a house.

How does that compare with larger houses? That $6,000 material cost is $23 per sq-ft so far. Using the $7,500 figure it will be $29 per sq-ft for the final anticipated cost. This is based on the tiny cottage’s 252 sq-ft interior downstairs floor area. If you include the loft, attic storage and utility space, which are all half height at the peak, then the floor area increases 384 sq-ft reducing the anticipated final cost of construction to about $19 per sq-ft.

That figure is materials since we did all the labor. Materials costs were further kept down since we used mostly recycled windows and other found materials like the waste granite from the local quarries and stone from our land. Adding labor would probably double or a bit more the final cost of the house. But labor really doesn’t count – I wouldn’t want to hire someone else and let them have all the fun!

I figure that materials plus labor comes out about the same as the town assessors valuation of the tiny cottage at $17,020 in its anticipated final form. Interesting…

The savings are even better than that. The tiny cottage is valued at about 1/5th the value of our old farm house so the taxes are correspondingly lower. More importantly the tiny cottage will require virtually no energy to heat besides the sun, appliances, our bodies and cooking. The electrical usage will also be much smaller so that will save still more. Lastly, the maintenance cost for the stone and concrete house will be trivial compared with traditional wooden houses that constantly need re-roofing, repainting, etc, etc. I estimate that within three years we’ll have saved the entire cost of construction – after that it’s gravy.

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Outdoors: 62°F/38°F Partially Sunny
Farm House: 68°F/62°F
Tiny Cottage: 73°F/66°F Kitchen/Bathroom wall work, prep for bathroom door arch

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to $6,000 Mark – Tiny Cottage

  1. Beverly Dame says:

    Walter: Great to find your site. I’m looking for a source of a heritage pear, the Vermont Beauty. My google-search turned up you.

    I’ve also been interested in finding an alternative pork source. You know, something other than those awful CAFOs. I can get grass-fed beef and free-range chickens and turkeys but where do I go to get the equivalent of pork. By the way, I live near St. Johnsbury.

  2. Hi Beverly,

    We got our pears from St. Lawrence Nursery in NY which has a very similar climate to us. We’re just west of you near the junction of Rt-302 and Rt-25 after Groton. See this post which has a link to their web site. I’m quite pleased with their apples and pears which is what we’ve gotten from them.

    On the pastured pork, check out our prices. We make regular deliveries of pigs to a butcher in St. Johnsbury. We offer half pig shares, whole pigs, roaster size pigs for pig roasts, piglets to raise yourself and retail cuts of our pork are available in many of the local general stores and coop food stores.

  3. pablo says:

    This post reminds of that bit in Walden when Thoreau calculates how much he spent building his own little cabin. I’ll bet in relative terms there isn’t much difference.

  4. Speaking of Walden, my son just finished reading Walden II. A book for lots of discussion.

  5. William Goldston says:

    Your site is fascinating. I have a 22 acre pasture and am getting 2 large black gilts and a boar. I have been reading and surfing and have decided that I need to divide my 22 acres into at least 4 or 5 different lots to move the pigs around. After reading your blogs, I think I might add a couple of sheep, a dog , some chickens, and maybe a cow or two. It seems that you have your pigs in one large herd, including several boars and all the rest. Is that indeed the case?? I thought boars need to be separated because they would fight. Is that not the case?? Your web site is unique and I like it. Thanks for your eff0rt.

    • Boars that are raised together won’t tend to fight – they have an established ranking. They may do minor scuffling but almost never any injuries. If you introduce boars who’ve not seen each other or worked out who is top boar then they are very likely to fight. Same goes for sows, gilts and barrows. Introductions must be made slowly and carefully.

      We have run our pigs as one herd, as two breeding herd and with some break down by size (e.g., weaners, growers, roasters, finishers, etc). For a small number of pigs running one herd works very well. For a large number of pigs it is better to break the groups down to smaller masses.

      Read up about managed rotational grazing. You’ll find more on Wiki and other web sites. You are likely going to want to divide into many more than four or five paddocks to get good rotations which will then increase soil quality as well as providing most of your livestock’s diet.

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