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High performance comfortable compact house plans

420 square foot tiny home exterior

Our goal at Dumb Home is to make sustainability affordable. Energy efficiency should not be limited to “smart homes” that incorporate the latest cutting edge technologies. Our homes don’t need to talk to you via the internet (which is why they are “dumb”), and they do not demand a small army of specialists to keep all that technology running. We design compact, high performance homes that are comfortable and inspiring. If you're intrigued by the tiny house movement but don't want to downsize to a trailer, you'll find our plans are designed around full size furniture with generously sized spaces that won't cramp your lifestyle. Compactness breeds simplicity, which gives you more time to spend on family, travel, or whatever you care about most.

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Compact Living

It's not about saving money (although that's nice too).  It's about reducing the stress, distraction, and seemingly endless maintenance of our "stuff". Spend too much time cleaning? Reduce your square footage. Heading for the comfy chair but forgot your reading glasses? It’s only 5 steps across the room to grab them from your desk. Trying to reduce your carbon footprint? Smaller buildings take fewer resources, use less energy, and reduce your consumption since you won’t have space to buy things you don’t really need. This single move to downsize your house provides many interrelated benefits to improve your quality of life.

Enhanced Efficiency

We embrace the 80/20 rule: achieve 80% of the energy savings by spending 20% of the money. We don’t design to passivhaus standards, but our houses shouldn’t cost as much as one either. We focus on adding affordable types of insulation and designing thermal mass to even out temperature swings. By plucking this low-hanging fruit, you’ll end up with a home that is more comfortable, in tune with seasonal cycles, and more affordable to heat and cool. We’re not snobbish about performance--if you want to build a conventional house from our plans, that’s OK too.

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Compact Structures

We focus on houses in the 500-1200 square foot range. And these can be surprisingly adaptable!  For example, a compact starter home may later become a guest house after funds allow construction of the “main house” a few years down the road. Or the accessory building that starts out as a home office may be transformed into a crash-pad for a boomerang child. Later it may house your parents after they have downsized and are still active and independent.  We even have designs specifically designed to be handicap accessible for those who expect to age in place. Other plans include future additions to allow the house to grow with your needs. It’s all about flexibility, because life is never a straight line for very long!

Steve Layden, Founder

I’ve lived in tents, sailboats, and houses medium and small. My current home (top photo) may qualify as a tiny home, but that’s not my focus. I found that I did not like having “convert” one room into another, or to fold away one thing to make room for something else, so you won’t find anything like that here. My philosophy is to reduce duplication of space and inefficiencies while producing rooms that are functional and that work with everyday furniture. And all my houses are designed with the sun in mind; why not capture free energy through passive solar or PV panels? Please browse our plans, videos, and other information, and have fun dreaming!

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Copyright 2023

For the moment, I'm the only person behind the curtain at Dumb Home LLC, so I wear many hats. Please be understanding that as a one man shop, I may not be able to respond instantaneously to your needs.  I think you'll find that I take my responsibility to my clients very seriously.

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