Build Your Own Home and Save!

You can build your own home, even if you’re not an expert carpenter, with the do it yourself home kits from FirstDay Cottage.

| August/September 2010

If you would love to build your own home but have little construction experience, the post-and-beam house plan kits from FirstDay Cottage may be your solution. These simple house plans come in five designs, ranging in size from 960 to 1,840 square feet, each for about $32 per square foot. According to FirstDay, almost anyone with determination, a good work ethic, and the ability to operate a circular saw can build one!

David Howard, an MIT-trained architect with a passion for owner-built homes, started FirstDay Cottage in 1995. The company estimates that two workers can build a small FirstDay Cottage in about 15 weekends.

The FirstDay DIY home kit arrives on trucks carrying the structure, sheathing and decking, foam insulation, roofing and siding, windows and doors, building wrap, interior partitions, and kitchen cabinets. Also included are the plans and instructions for the house. What you won’t find on the trucks are the concrete for a foundation, plumbing and fixtures, electrical wiring and fixtures, heating or cooling systems, appliances, countertops, or paint. The homeowners, with optional advice from FirstDay, must purchase their own appliances and hire their own foundation contractors, plumbers, and electricians.

For a three-bedroom, two-bath cottage, FirstDay estimates the cost is about $130,000. Howard says that a conventional building such as this, when finished, will be valued at about $250,000 — instant equity! Plus, the plans have been designed to produce an energy-efficient home, minimizing your utility bills.

To eliminate concerns about building codes, FirstDay cottages have been designed to be built anywhere. According to the company, the kits have been used to build houses in 37 states, and all have met code requirements. Should you need assistance, FirstDay employees are available throughout the building process for advice and support.

For more information, visit FirstDay Cottage online.
5/14/2018 10:18:55 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own home – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)

2/17/2015 11:08:22 AM

I would like to add your article in my project. I am creating a list something like top 10 useful articles about home building and I think this article would be a good addition. Here you can find my project article

B Dellinger
4/13/2012 6:29:24 PM

My husband built our FirstDay Cottage from 2006-2008. We lived right next door, so access and taking our time was not a problem. My husband is a full-time teacher, so he only had weekends and summer to do the work. He did have occassional help from his father and a couple of friends helped set the roof trusses, but otherwise he did all the carpentry himself. And what an excellent job he did! We hired out the grading, foundation, plumbling, electrical and mini-spilt heating/air system, well, septic, etc. It isn't easy to be your own GC, but the end result for us was so lovely. One of the best things about FirstDay is the ability to customize and tweak your plans as you go along. We changed window and door placement to enhance our pastoral/mountain view, turned a bedroom into an open "cathedral ceiling" study, and added a sunroom onto the back. Every inch of the house is exactly the way we wanted it to be. Can you get that with an expensive house plan? The interior wood sheathing that is used on the walls is just beautiful. I customized our "Original" which is a 16x30 two story on a walkout/daylight basement with as many windows as we could practically use, and the result is an airy, light filled, warm and "living" home. Our electricity and heat/cooling bill for 2011 was less than $1500 for the YEAR. The design is tight and efficent. We have recommended FirstDay many times, and we will continue to do so. We found David Howard and his staff to be helpful and very willing to work with us when we ran into snags...and we are nowhere near his office in NH. He even stopped in to check on us in NC when he was traveling through. I'm sorry to hear that the fellow below had a less than satisfactory experience, but I'm guessing it has more to do with his expectations going in than the product itself. We love, love our FirstDay home and the value is fantastic. We built our for $85K and that includes luxuries we added ourselves (in other words not in the kit price) like granite countertops, a huge greenhouse kitchen window, and a solid mahogany/stained glass front door. The apprasial value, even in this depressed market, is about $220,000 and the total sq ft is 1626 (including the dining room that was an addition, i.e. not part of the kit). We are conisdering adding on this year or next, and FirstDay will help us figure out how to integrate the design. For DIYers, I don't know what more you could ask for.

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