Durable, Custom, and Affordable Homes: This Builder Shows It Can Be Done

Simplify some steps, delete a few details, and you can get an affordable, multi-century house for under $80 a square foot.

Who says you can't build like the old days? Clay Chapman, artist/dreamer/craftsman, is building a multi-century legacy home for the price of a vinyl-clad, production-built box. Scott Doyon tells how:

"At the building envelope, the 'one step' based structural masonry process can replace nine steps required for conventional building: framing, sheathing, wrapping, siding, exterior paint, insulation, dry-wall, interior paint and the majority of trim. That's a promising start. And from there, his ambition to keep the house under $80 a foot - on par with that of everyday, conventional tract housing - drives other design choices."

"For example, masonry corners are labor intensive, which adds disproportionately to cost, so the Adams House is a classic, 4-sided box. That may sound like a concession, but it isn't. Think in terms of homes historically. More often than not, they also started out as a box, then grew over time via smaller boxes added on. We may have become indoctrinated by the idea that over-articulation is necessary but it's simply not the case. Scale, balance, and the manner in which a building's variations catch light all contribute greatly to its dignity and presence."

Thanks to Hazel Borys

Full Story: Building a Custom, Multi-Century House for Under $80 a Square Foot


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