I'm settling on the design of my new Montana shop. I've decided to make it 50x90 and I have room for that. It's divided into three sections, 36, 25, and 29 feet wide. I designed an upper level that will be part living area and part storage. There's about 1800 square feet there to work with. We wanted a small living area about like a tiny home, (399sf) but it's turned into more like 800 SF. Here's the layout I have now.

Screenshot (118).png

Yeah, it's a monster place but I need a lot of storage room because I don't want stuff out in the weather.

I have a guy lined up to do the foundation and sent him plans. I want to do a monolithic slab using the MonoSlab EZForm system. It's a shallow frost-protected foundation and the forms stay in the ground. One pour, no need to strip forms. It's a way cool idea invented and patented by a guy in Idaho. A traditional foundation would take three pours......form footings, pour, and strip forms, then form walls, pour, strip forms, then pour slab. All the forms cost more than the EZForms. Labor is very much reduced but the concrete is about the same. I'm planning on a 5" thick floor. Here's the current plans....

Screenshot (122).png

Screenshot (121).png


I have the SIP guys chomping at the bit wanting me to get a contract and deposit to them. They require 10% up front for the design phase, 40% when the design is complete and production starts, and 50% on delivery. Not a bad way to do business. The entire frame, less trusses and interior walls, is about $50K. The SIPs can be erected in 2-3 days and the walls are already insulated and sheathed inside and out. Insulation value is great with these.

I was holding off on the project until I got a bid on trusses, because several of them are 50' long and 14' tall. I wanted to make sure someone could build them AND get them up to the property. That looks like it's not a problem and the price was less than half of what I budgeted for them. Part of the roof will have to be framed but it's not much work.

I plan to put a green metal roof on it, and metal "log" siding (TruLog) made in Colorado. There is a rock ledge on the front where we'll put about 3 feet of stone on to complement the house. The living area will have a living room, kitchen, bath, pantry, closets, and 1-2 bedrooms. The mechanical room will be below in the shop area along with another bathroom. There will be a deck on the north and west sides of the living area. I'll have around 1000 square feet of storage area next to the living area.

I originally had a small, narrow roof over the living area but after some analysis I found out that the snow loading required a huge steel beam in the floor. So I made the trusses wider to span the entire 36 foot area, carrying the snow load to the exterior and interior walls in the shop, and taking the load off of the beams. I don't want any posts in the shop to support it. The SIP company structural engineer is going to help me size the steel beams for the upper floor.

I hope to get started in late May and get it closed in by winter. We're planning to move there full-time next year.