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Green Building News

This Tiny House Is Cheap

An architect in the Czech Republic develops a prefabricated model house for the budget-minded

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The France, a tri-colored tiny house measuring only 74 square feet, was developed by a Czech architect specializing in tiny house plans. It's not yet for sale in the U.S.
Image Credit: Pin-Up Houses
The France, a tri-colored tiny house measuring only 74 square feet, was developed by a Czech architect specializing in tiny house plans. It's not yet for sale in the U.S.
Image Credit: Pin-Up Houses
The interior of the house is divided into zones for sleeping, socializing, and cooking. But there is no bathroom and no wiring.

A Czech Republic firm that sells plans for a line of tiny houses has developed a prefabricated model that can be assembled in three hours and will cost no more than $3,000 when it hits the U.S.

The house, called “France,” consists of 21 insulated panels that a team of three can put together with lengths of threaded rod in an afternoon. The red, white and blue house, all 74 square feet of it, is divided into three rooms — a sleeping area, a multipurpose living area in the center, and a cooking zone — but it doesn’t come with any plumbing or wiring.

The France can be taken apart as easily as it’s assembled, and thus moved if owners want it in a different location.

There are some rough edges in the detailing, as evidenced in photos of the project as well as in a video at the website of developer Pin-Up Houses. But at $16 a square foot, the France is dramatically cheaper than many of the more stylish tiny houses on the market.

“The prefab tiny house France is the prototype, which is part of our ongoing research into the feasibility of mass-produced prefabricated tiny houses,” architect Joshua Woodsman said in a news release. “This concept is based on our long-term experience with tiny house construction, creating easy-to-follow plans and books for DIY constructors.”

Woodman said in an email that he hoped the France would be available worldwide in two years at a cost of between $1,500 and $3,000 (U.S.), not including shipping.

Panels are insulated with mineral wool between load-bearing studs, Woodsman said.

As Construction Dive points out, the France will face the same local zoning hurdles as other small dwellings should it enter the U.S. market. Yet a number of communities are making it easier for tiny houses to get established in hopes they will ease a housing shortage or provide new options for the homeless.

The company also offers plans for eight small dwellings developed by Woodsman, a recent Master of Architecture graduate who says he’d like to spread the tiny house movement around the world. The pin-up girl theme is evident in photos of his houses, all of which are named for women: the Ginger, the Alexis, the Bessie, the Magdalene.

“The verb ‘pin up’ related with ‘pin up some construction plans on the board in your hobbyman corner’ with pins,” Woodsman explained of the company’s name. “Second meaning related with ‘pin-up girls’ phenomenon in the U.S. advertising. I just joined [these] two meanings of the world. Pin-up houses is based on this thought process.”

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