Cross Co provides plans for small, traditional, quality homes.  All of our plans share a few basic design principles:

  • ‘No faux’.  Better to be poor and have a servant than to pretend to be rich and have nothing.
  • Build to last.  30% of the homes standing in Britain were built in the Victorian era and they are still the most sought after homes today.  Modern homes, by contrast, will only last as long as the chemical bond in the glue that holds a panel of OSB together.  Building materials made with petroleum byproducts are particularly prone to thermal and solar degradation.  For this reason we spec #30 felt instead of Tyvek (see here) and 2×12 joists instead of TJI engineered joists (that use osb webbing and finger jointed pine in their construction).
  • Keep it simple.  Start with a square foundation and a simple roof.  Purchase a less efficient boiler that has 1/10 the moving parts (or circuits) and is easy to fix.  Use windows with simple opening and closing mechanisms.  The money saved can be put into the building envelope which is impossible to upgrade later.
  • Be conservative.  Traditional architectural details will never go out of style whereas many modern houses will be abandoned long before their useful life is over because they lack aesthetic value.
  • Small is beautiful.  Put your money into quality first.
  • Make it healthy.  Use natural materials wherever possible.  What are the health effects of MDF off-gassing?  It is probably impossible to quantify but why experiment?
  • Build by hand.  Wherever possible use materials that exhibit a human touch.  For example, use site-finished flooring instead of pre-finished flooring.