Another style home that should be considered in the small home quest is the “trailer.” A trailer is a manufactured home, but not all manufactured homes are trailers. When you say “trailer” all sorts of negative images pops into your head and for good reason. Unfortunately, in the area of North Carolina where I live those negative stereotypes actually do exist… and all too much!
Many of the trailers you see around here are dilapidated, single wide and the grounds are a mess with trash, old cars, etc. However this should not exclude them from consideration. There are some models that are actually very nice with vaulted ceilings, large kitchens and baths. They are a cost-effective alternative to traditional construction. The models I find most attractive and that coincide with the small house movement is the Park Models.
Park Model Homes is a trailer home, but primarily designed as a holiday or vacation home. They average about 400 square feet, but are usually quite lovely inside with higher end appliances, flooring and fixtures. They are one bedroom, but most have a loft space, which is great for children and storage. The problem with the loft space in a Park Model is you can’t stand up. They tend to be about 4 1/2 feet in height so really the use of the space is limited.
I found one park model company called Diamond Park Homes. They have some models that do away with the loft and so provide wide open and vaulted ceilings. Here are some examples.
Some of the benefits of manufactured construction is that the homes are not built on site they are built-in a factory which produces less waste in building materials, which lowers the over all cost of construction as well it lends itself to being more green.
I have noticed that more often than not the Park Model homes are sold as a full package. This means you get blinds, curtains and furniture. If I were to go this route I would have to get rid of the furnishings that came with the home. I am not a big fan of oversize furnishings. I need to keep some of my antiques after all!
As you can see a loft space in a Park Model home has a very low ceiling. I do imagine you could have some chairs up in the loft and have it set up a wonderful little reading area. As long as you are seated it should be fine, but you will need to walk hunched over or crawl to get to the stairs. I imagine at some point due to age, it may not be the best thing.
The final example I have is from a company in Oregon and unfortunately they don’t ship east. However, they build cabins that are in the Park Model style and they actually have a model with a second floor you can stand in! The company is called Rich’s Portable Cabins.
I am not a big fan of all that wood, but I did read on their site they will install drywall for an added fee. However, I like the fact that in this model the loft is an actual usable, livable space. There are so many options in living small, it’s kind of exciting!