We are eager for you to get started building your own compact Dumb Home, but first thing’s first--we recommend you purchase study plans before buying a set of construction plans. This will really give you a head start working out the options and details you want to incorporate into your build, and you’ll be able to meet with your local permit office to find out if they will require any special seals or plan revisions to meet local code. FYI, the pricing for full-blown construction plans reflects a reduction for the Study Plan cost already built in.
Dumb Home provides four types of Construction Plans
Conventional (buy through web store)
Enhanced Efficiency (buy through web store)
Custom Plans (Contact us for a quote)
Natural Homes (Contact us for a quote)
You can buy these construction plans directly from our web store. They can be constructed by any reputable home-builder using standard 2x6 studs on 24” centers and other easily obtainable building materials. These plans are DIY-friendly and still meet or exceed code minimums. We highly recommend using t-studs for a stronger, more energy-efficient structure for virtually no additional cost. Find out more at tstud.com
Why Dumb Home Plans Are Unique
As we’ve discussed on our Home page, our designs incorporate simple details to increase insulation and thermal mass, resulting in a high performance, comfortable home that won’t break the bank (Enhanced Efficiency options). Our plans are customizable to suit your climate zone, desires, and budget. That’s where we shine compared to other national plan sellers: our plans have everything you and your builder need to upgrade the house, reducing the likelihood that you’ll have to pay extra for customizations. (The classic example is that many sellers require an extra fee to switch from 2x4 to 2x6 walls.) We want you to be inspired and excited by your new home, and a design that simply meets code-required minimums isn’t going to do that! Other plan features include:
Options such as alternative kitchen, roof dormer, and wall layouts
Extra details so you can customize the build for various framing types and insulation materials
Foundation details for slab, crawl space, and basement versions
Passive solar design with “tuned” low-e window specs
Structural plans with instructions for how to coordinate with an engineer to seal the plans for your build location
See an example set of construction plans here:
Enhanced Efficiency Plans
The construction plans you buy from our web store contain conventional details plus several optional wall sections and details that increase the efficiency of the building envelope and add thermal mass. These simple improvements will take your house to the next level in terms of comfort and performance without breaking the bank. There is a minimal learning curve involved with these details, so an experienced contractor can still do all the work to build your home and buy all the materials from their usual suppliers. You can also do some of the work yourself, as explained in the DIY section of the “Design” tab. Building an Enhanced Efficiency house might add 10% or 20% to the initial construction cost, but savings in energy cost will last for the life of the building. More important, your house will be super comfortable, even in the extreme weather! Enhanced Efficiency walls are 7¼” thick (2x8 plates), and this is what’s shown on all our plans. If you end up building a conventional plan with 5½” studs, your rooms will be just a hair larger.
Mooney Wall Framing Elevation
Of course, we can customize any plan to suit your own personal wishlist. Contact us to initiate discussions about any of the following:
Minor edits to our standard plan to make adjustments to window/door locations, glazing, overhangs, structural details, etc.
Create a variation on a theme: scale up or scale down one of our standard plans, or make minor revisions to room layout, porches, roofline, etc.
Start from scratch, taking your ideas and developing construction plans based on your specific needs and wishlist.
Regarding Dumb Home Construction Plans
The plans available for purchase on our web store can be used to construct either a Conventional or an Enhanced Efficiency house.
All Construction Plans come on 11x17 paper so you can easily print them on everyday copiers rather than going to a print shop.
Our plans include four hours of phone support so you and/or your contractor can discuss questions with us. We are happy to provide additional support as needed.
Glazing and overhangs are optimized for climate zones 3-5, but minor modifications might be helpful to minimize your energy bills in other latitudes. More significant modifications may be required to meet local structural or seismic requirements. We recommend meeting with your local permit office to discuss our Study Plans to get an idea of what revisions are necessary before purchasing construction plans.
The builder will need to mark up our plans by selecting the options and details that you want to implement and crossing out items that are not applicable. We refer to the resulting document as the set of “Permit Drawings”. Learn more here:
Mirrored and SI Unit Construction Plans
Note that we are happy to create mirrored versions of our construction plans upon request. Same for SI (metric) unit plans. Please contact us to see how long it is likely to take to get the plans prepared. We charge the same price for these alternative versions, but it may take a little extra time to prepare them depending on our workload.
Natural Home Plans
Natural Building refers to construction techniques that focus on the use of natural materials such as wood, metal, lime, clay, sand, straw, hemp, etc. People who suffer from allergies or chemical sensitivities often benefit tremendously from efforts to eliminate or minimize formaldehyde-based glues, high-VOC paints, vinyl, and other toxic chemicals. Contact us to share your wishlist and we’ll see if it makes sense to collaborate on a natural home design. If you are new to Natural Building, you can begin to educate yourself here: