For anyone with vision, a few building skills and a great set of tools, several of these portable buildings by Dix Enterprises in Wichita, Kansas can become a personalized tiny house.
The Lofted Porch comes in 11 sizes from 8X16 to 14X40 and starts at $2,625 up to almost $10,000. Each Better Built building will be custom built to your specifications, allowing you to specify such things as overall building size, door and window sizes and locations, and shingle colors that blend with existing structures.
I suppose the thing you can do is, if you have a place to live and the time to do it already, is to take the plywood splice plates out and put in better quality ones before you finish out the houses. I’ve seen this type of construction for gambrel roofs in a lot of shed and cabins, basically they will not pass code in most areas for a dwelling. We have a builder in our area who builds a portable cabin, or even a utility building as though he was building a home, and at prices that compare favorably with his lower quality competition. On the roof rafters, a few well placed Simpson connectors would go a long way to make them more structurally sound. Here in AZ I have heard that WeatherKing.US has similar buildings that may have been approved by local communities (Navajo, Hopi Reservations) for habitation as a home. Onwards with some good organizational practices, time to make that same corner of the basement look more like this: BAM. One good thing about the house is that our unfinished basement leaves us access to the first floor’s floor joists, and we were able to secure six 2x4s vertically directly to the joists to make a really sturdy outer frame.
Note for a second how we planned the spacing between the shelves: using one of our larger plastic storage bins as a template for height, we worked to make sure that every shelf would be able to accomodate something of that same height.
The surface area of each shelf also came into account when we were planning the size of the unit. Our measurements maximized our investment perfectly, and the solid shelves quickly came to be. The shelves were screwed into place in case we ever want to move them and are ready to be maxed out, pronto. We have always wanted a vintage-style wine rack for our dining room – and the frigid winter temperatures that swept through Ohio last week gave us the perfect opportunity to finally create it!
So we braved the cold in the garage to cut all of the pieces – then hustled back inside to assemble. We were able to create the piece for little cost utilizing reclaimed barn and pallet lumber. Next came putting all of the pieces together – always our favorite part of any project! Once the sections were all together – we checked for square and then nailed in the top and middle shelf boards to complete the wine rack. Once we had the top and bottom boards attached to all of the ladders – all we needed was to attach the top and middle shelf. Went out last evening and got a load if skids to make the bench to sit overlooking the river at our house. I’ve done some finish carpentry in the past, but I’m really more of a framer because I like to just throw things together quickly and make them as strong as possible. I recently built some new garage shelves in the home we have been living in for a couple years now. Obviously you don’t have to make all the shelves be the same height, but make sure to have at least one of two rows of shelving tall enough for all of your tallest items. Given the length of the walls I was building my shelves on, I bought my wood in the 8 foot lengths. The wall I built these shelves on was about 14 feet long, so I needed two 8 foot sheets of plywood for each row. Once you know the length of the wall, it’s fairly straightforward as far as counting up how many 2x3s and sheets of plywood you need. As you can see in the picture below, I also used the perpendicular wall for increased support. After screwing and nailing the boards up on to the wall, you can put up the end boards (2x4s). For those with some kind of baseboard in your garage, you will need to take a chisel and notch out a spot for the vertical 2×4 boards that will go on the ends, against the wall.
Repeat this process with the next row up, but before you nail the vertical 2×4 to the second row, make sure to level it vertically with your long level. It’s a little difficult to see in these pictures, but I have also tacked in some support boards between the horizontal beams, coming out perpendicular to the main wall. As you can see in the picture below, your garage shelves should be strong enough to double as a jungle gym for your kids! One of my goals with this design was that it would be simple enough for almost anyone to build (including myself). Great job, having sold steel shelving for the last 25 years, your system makes great use of the available space, you don’t have to try and fit standard steel shelf bays into the gap. I would suggest trying concrete screws since you really only need the horizontal strength from the wall. What was the spacing you used on the support boards between the horizontal beams, coming out perpendicular to the main wall and did you toe nail at the wall side?
I actually only used one perpendicular (from the wall) support piece for the entire length of the shelf because when you nail down the plywood shelving you gain plenty of perpendicular strength and the shelves are not deep enough to warrant perpendicular support beams. The only reason I put one in the middle was to help connect the spot where I had to splice the length of the shelf, and to hold it in place during the framing stage.
I’m planning to do my own shelves and found these to be pretty similar to what I had in mind. With a 4 foot span I’m not sure the 2x3s would be sufficient, especially if you plan on storing a lot of heavy items on them. If you want to keep the paneling to match the rest of the garage you should be fine to leave it up. I love the design however I want to center my shelves on a wall and not have them attached to another perpendicular wall on the end like yours are.
You really made a good job Michael having shelves like this in our garage can make all stuff in one place, my dad tried the steel before but measuring the gap really took a long time.
I had build a wall of shelves 8 years ago and have to disassemble them do to water leakage into my basement.
I keep thinking about the square dimensions of the posts used in decking but believe I may be underestimating how strong wood can be.
In your case I would probably add some vertical beams to your interior wall in addition to the ones on the outside of the shelves. As far as your concrete block wall is concerned, I would just use a concrete drill bit to pre-drill some holes and use concrete screws to attach the boards.
Thanks for sharing your success story – I’m glad to hear it worked out for you!


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Our basement has 9' ceiling, based on your application, the shelving units could be different than what I have here.
I lay-out everything with tape measure, speed square and pencil before put anything together.
Pallets total 2 percent of all municipal solid waste, and 3 percent of landfill construction and demolition waste. Better Built Portable Storage Buildings by Dix are outdoor storage sheds, barns, garages, cabins and offices that are built onsite in Kansas and then delivered by truck. I took your link and looked at the barn cabin which is the lofted style and it has the same 2×4 roof joists and particle board braces. These are a great step in the right direction, a much more affordable idea and they can be customized. 32 X 12 lofted cabin with give room for bed above door, 12 x 14 living area, 12 x 12 kitchen and small dining area, a 6 by 6 bathroom, and 6 x 6 storage closet. Bald Eagle uses all 2x4s instead of 2x6s in the loft and floor, they use OSB for the floor, and OSB on the outside, instead of T-111.
When I first saw his work I was a little surprised that he could afford to stay in business. Or maybe it was caused by an onslaught of new toolage, wedding shiz, or plain hurriedness and laziness. Why we keep the paint coated grout mixing bowl next to the bleach though, beyond me, and that little black lampshade on the shelf next to the SHOUT has sat there since 2009. There would be no more stacking of plastic bins, each will have their own space on our big basement shelf of fun. We then nailed a straight edge guide board on each side to align the ladder rails and keep them exactly 10″ apart. For a little extra strength – we did apply a drop of glue to each wine strip before nailing.
With garage shelves, in my opinion, they don’t need to look fancy, but they do need to be sturdy – I’ve seen far too many saggy garage shelves that look like they’re going to come tumbling down at any moment. Divide this distance by the height of the tallest item you will be keeping on your shelves. I made our bottom two shelves taller to hold the larger, heavier items (like food storage), and made the upper shelves a little bit shorter to hold the smaller, lighter items. If your bottom shelf will have a 21 inch space under it, measure up 24 ? inches and use your level to draw a horizontal line all the way across the wall. I used a combination of 2x4s (for the vertical support posts), and 2x3s (for the main horizontal framework, including the boards tacked to the wall). For a 14 foot wall, I used 5 2×4 vertical posts, two on the end and three in the middle, each spaced about 3 ? feet apart. This is the fun part and if you’ve already measured and marked everything, the building portion should go fairly quickly (with this design).
Place them over the horizontal lines you drew and put a nail in at each vertical line (where the studs are). Measure and cut these boards (and all the other vertical support 2x4s) to be ? inch taller than the highest board against the wall. Start at the bottom and place something under one end, while you nail the other end to the perpendicular board that is against the wall. After you have leveled the 2×4 and nailed it to the second row, the remaining rows will go quickly. They should fit right into your frame and once nailed down will offer additional strength coming out of the wall, as well as side to side.
With the budget you have, you can actually do a lot of things with it but make sure to canvass for cheap but quality materials. My main goal was to build shelves that wouldn’t sag and would hold up well in the long run.
Is there any way you could make the shelves within your system adjustable to give you even better use of space ?
I would think that you could use this same design, just duplicate the back and front sides with the vertical beams, and then make sure to include some kind of diagonal support beams that go from the top left to bottom right, and top right to bottom left corners to maintain the horizontal strength.
These should work since you don’t need the vertical strength from the wall, just horizontal. It’s hard to resist a good opportunity to build something yourself and save some money!
You will have to pre-drill the holes with a hammer drill and a concrete drill bit, but concrete screws should work, in my opinion. If you decided to use thinner plywood than I did then you might need to add in more support beams. Just be sure you are screwing and or nailing into a stud behind the wall and not just into the panelling.
Since those were secured to each horizontal shelf they really don’t move down on the floor. I just finished building these shelves in the center of a wall in my garage, there is no wall to attach to at either end.
For the spacing of the vertical beams, I would try not to go beyond 4ft, unless you plan on using thicker horizontal beams. You could then cut all of the horizontal beams, that are to attach to the interior wall, to fit in between the vertical beams. For the width (or depth) of the shelves, I just measured the the widest item I knew I would be storing on the shelves and then made them an inch or two wider than that. I had some 2x4 left over to use in place of the (3) 2x4x10', so I ended up spent less than $70. These woods are perfect for high-quality DIY woodcraft projects, and the best part about it all is that pallets are easy to find and most places will give them to you for free. Windows provide natural lighting, and a traditional style metal door provides security and convenience. The end of the cottage features a larger door for adult access making it a very versatile storage shed. I doubt that it would take much of a wind load to turn it into an expensive pile of kindling.
My experience with this kind of building allows customers to ask for special features, like windows that match their home, to have the interior left unfinished on the inside so elctrical outlets and switches, etc, can be placed where needed, and I’m sure other features could be requested. As far as customizing is concerned,it is often hard to correct the basic structural flaws this building would pose to be used as a dwelling. They need reenforcing to walls and roof structure to handle the high winds of Northern AZ, and the snow load has to be improved.


See, there’s plenty of space in the basement to store everything we desire, but we really needed a way to build upwards and stack lesser-used items (like, boxes of ornaments, extra kitchen appliances, rarely-used tools) and a big, rough shelf felt like a good, affordable solution. I don’t know much about it, but I know that I really miss the convenience of a basement toilet at our new home.
The jig held it all perfectly in line, and in about 30 seconds and with the quick pop of a couple of nails at each glue point – we had a completed ladder section. In fact, I’ve actually had a pet killed by some pre-built garage shelves that collapsed. I wanted to share my experience to give other DIY-ers an idea of a simple shelving design that is built to last. I would also recommend storing all of your DIY chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, or cleaners on the top shelf, so your children cannot reach them (easily…).
Take your stud finder across the wall horizontally (twice), once up higher, and once down lower and mark each stud. The next horizontal line should be 24 ? inches above that line (assuming all of your shelves will be the same height).
I also used ? inch thick plywood for the shelving surface, with the smoother side of the plywood facing up.
You can do whatever you want here, but make sure you don’t go too far between the posts so you have enough strength.
This is so that when you lay the plywood down on the top shelf it will fit into the frame for additional support. Replace whatever you were using to support the other end with the first vertical support 2×4. I would still check each row with the level as some boards can be warped and will need to be bent into place. I guess I should have mentioned that $60 of that $200 was buying a new box of screws and a nails for my nail gun, which I obviously didn’t use all of them.
I also wanted to use wood because it’s cheaper and I already had all the tools to do it easily. Instead of buying a shelving system, I thought it might be more price-efficient to try and reuse the planks we have. You might want to go with an entirely new design for your situation, however, since this design gains most of its strength from being attached to the wall. Some concrete screws come with a concrete drill bit that is the right diameter for the screws you are buying.
As far as vertical strength is concerned, I personally think the 2x4s are good enough for your situation. Do you think I should remove the paneling from the wall that I’m building shelves on? I will say that you should make sure they are all the way down on the floor before tacking them into place up above, to ensure that they are supporting the vertical weight of the shelf. At the same time, it might work just fine since each of the vertical beams would be attached to more than two horizontal shelves, hindering that side-to-side movement.
If you buy everything from home center, it could be close to $100 with the price of the lumber right now. He only had basic measurements to go by since it was conceived and constructed from four hours away, but it fit well enough. Dix claims all of their portable barns, sheds, cabins and garages are built to hold up under heavy use and provide a lifetime of service.
I think there is a place for several different levels when it comes to value, but it is rare to run across something that good. Ive also hear that the windows need to be sealed better, may leak around openings – damaging interior finishes.
Some of those metal contraptions can seem expensive and be a little rickety when you’re demanding a lot from them, but there are a lot of other ways to get organized.
The thing to take away here is that the unit is in no way attached to the wall of the house, it floats merely inches off away from it, resting on the ground and attached only to the joists. This would equal roughly 4.4, which means that you have enough room for 4 rows of shelving with 21 inches of usable height. Then take a 4 ft (or longer) level and trace a straight vertical line between the upper and lower marks. Nail it into place with only one nail so you can still pivot the board side to side and level it.
I personally go for wood than any other material for shelves because 1) it is easy to work with 2) it is exudes a classic warm appeal.
I wanted the spacing to be large enough so I could get large tubs in and out, but still have enough support. Having it attached to the wall should also help to prevent it from collapsing to the side, but again, I’m really not sure.
I do wish I had a few more inches when storing some of my larger coolers, but I am still able to get them in.
Once I knew that depth I wanted, I pre-cut all my plywood to that width so those pieces would just lay right into the frame. Customizing it for its current location to go around a large beam in the ceiling was fun (*sarcasm*).
Most of the buildings are for storage, livestock and gardening, but three of their designs may make a great tiny house: the Lofted Porch, the Portable Casita and the Mini Cottage.
Not everyone has the time or skills to build something like this but they can tackle simple jobs like extra strapping on the trusses, etc, if they felt they were necessary. My shelves were about 21 inches deep so I was able to get two, 8 foot long pieces out of each sheet.
If you plan on spacing your vertical beams at 4ft, or longer, I would at least upgrade your horizontal beams to 2x4s instead of 2x3s. The storage section of a finished basement is normally not all completed with drywall, part of it will be concrete so it’s a bit difficult to attach something onto. This vertical line will be your guide to help you see where to screw the boards to the wall. I found this depth to be good for most tubs and other large items you would store, and plenty of room for storing several smaller items. The inside of the building is still open with exterior stud walls that can be left unfinished, or you can finish the interior any way you want.



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