We have attempted to make our website as simple as possible but we realize that sometimes a multi-page site like ours can be a bit confusing for anybody. So here is a brief primer on how we recommend you determine which plan to choose. In the simplest of terms:
- Pick a PURPOSE for your plan
- Pick a SIZE based on your needs and the PRICE you can afford
- Pick an ARCHITECTURAL STYLE
The primary reason you want a Backyard Cottage probably revolves around some family need. Maybe you need an extra bedroom, home office or just a place to relax. We have arranged the website so your first choice in choosing a plan would be based upon the need you’re trying to fulfill. So here’s a list of our plan types based on use:
Backyard Cottages (Units with Sleeping Areas, No Kitchens)
If you need a sleeping area for guests, another bedroom for a large family, a place for your aging parents or any use that requires a sleeping area, you probably want to click on the Backyard Cottages link. Please note that these plans are proportioned to be placed as “Accessory Structures” on a lot that already has a main house. They do not contain kitchens. If you’re looking for a Cottage that contains kitchens, dining rooms, as well as, bedrooms and living spaces, you probably want to click on the “Tiny Homes” section of this Website.
Tiny Homes - 2nd Units
This category is made up of designs that are meant for independent living. They operate off their own utilities. They can be placed in your backyard or on their own lot. They have Kitchens, Dining Rooms, as well as, Living Room, Bedroom(s) and Bath(s). The units can be used as rental apartments, full functioning retirement homes or as separate single family homes. When used on lots with another home, they are often referred to as “2nd Units” or “2nd Dwelling Units”. “Tiny Homes” may require special approval from zoning and building departments. They may also require engineering drawings to allow the extension of municipal utilities. Because of the many complexities involved in zoning and site engineering, the work is difficult to estimate without site specifics. Please inquire if you need our help in gaining the necessary approvals.
Studios - Offices
If you’re looking for a backyard office, art studio or hobby room, you’ll probably be interested in our “Studio-Office” plans. Again these plans are small enough for the backyard and utilize the main house for utilities, however they are intended for lots, on which, sleeping rooms are not allowed or where you just don’t need or want a bedroom. The units come with a variety of HVAC systems, Powder Rooms and wet bar options.
Wine Cellars – Man Caves
This use category is intended for some specific purposes.
- Our “Cellars” are classical detailed, above ground wine cellars and tasting rooms with wine racking, wine coolers, super insulated walls and roofs.
- Our “Man Caves” are designed and detailed to provide self-contained Entertainment Rooms that are optimized for seating around a monitor or large screen TV. The units include built-in theater style sound, Wi-Fi, cable and refrigerated beverage systems. Our Man Caves come standard with HVAC systems and optional Powder Rooms.
2. Size and Price
Your second step in choosing a Cottage Plan is to pick a floor plan. After picking your “use” you will probably want to go to a specific "Collection". You can scroll through the plans shown there to determine whether there is one that fits your purposes. The page also provides the cost to buy the building plan sets and the cost of all the Materials for each unit. Here are some things you might want to consider when choosing your plan:
Size and Layout
First, you will probably need to decide whether the plans fit your lot. To accomplish this task, the floor plans shown on the Collection pages indicate the dimensions and layout of each Cottage that we currently have available to purchase. If you don’t have a survey or any other map of your site, you might want to download our “Site Assessment Questionnaire”. The questionnaire will tell you how to get a “Parcel Map” and the “Recorded Building Information” describing your property for just a few dollars. You will probably need to study the floor plans a bit before you decide on what plan fits where on your site.
Price of Plans and Materials
Alongside each plan on the Product page you will see listed the approximate price of a set of plans and the Material Price . The Material Price is the cost (not including Sales Tax) if you were to build the Cottage without any paid outside labor. The price includes the current cost to buy virtually every piece of material required to build your cottage. This number should give you a good relative cost of each of our cottages, whether you intend to build for yourself or contract out the home.
3. Architectural Style
Most of our Cottages are based on the architectural styles of the American Victorian Period which roughly ran from 1820 to 1910. Some are ornate, others not so much. If it's your first building project we would recommend the Colonial Cottages shown on our site. They are quite charming but a bit easier and less expensive to build. The various styles represented on our site include:
- Victorian Queen Anne
- Victorian Carpenter Gothic
- Victorian Italianate
- California Mission Style
- Craftsman Style
- Caribbean Style
- Colonial (Our most simple and inexpensive style)