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Q Cabins Offers Quality Affordable Sustainable Small House Solutions


Greetings from TheQCabin.com

Q Cabins are the new concept in sustainable micro housing. Every material or system choice used to build the Q Cabin Kits is based in a green technology. We use steel stud and EPS foam wall panels, natural fibers, high tech insulation methods, low-E insulated glass, passive and active solar systems, automatic ventilation systems and sustainable sized footprints. The end result is an architecturally pleasing, resource efficient, and environmentally friendly cabin. Our cabin kits have been allowed to submit for a building permits under San Diego County’s strict “Green Permit” status. The Q Cabins are made from 100% fire resistive materials and passed the highest California Wild Fire Zone construction standards. The Mountaineer model has successfully achieved a 354 lb/sqft. snow load rating! Quality is everything in a Q Cabin. Learn more at TheQCabin.com

Q Cabin Slideshow

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Complete Builder Bio and History

Design Horizons relocated from a successful general contracting practice in San Francisco to far Northern California in 2005 to pursue development and custom home designs for vacation oriented clientele in the picturesque area surrounding one of California’s most beautiful recreation areas, Mt. Shasta, CA. As a designer I had been fascinated with Quonset huts for years. In my days as a student at the University of Kansas, School of Architecture, we were encouraged to explore the use of pre fabricated metal buildings as a way to provide lower cost shells that would ultimately allow more freedom for architectural expression.

The end of the housing boom was the beginning of the Q Cabin concept. As a design/build contractor, Design Horizons suffered in the housing crash of 2008 and found itself without future work and stuck with bloated ideas and inventory. Part of that inventory was a Quonset hut proposed to be used for the great room in a 2700 sq. ft oversized house design. The house was never built and the Quonset remained in storage. After that debacle, Design Horizons was forced to sit on the bench for a while. The construction industry continued to flounder for years. A new concept was developed for the direction of Design Horizons. The future included small efficient designs that provide maximum efficiency, that are financially obtainable, that are built to last a lifetime, and are kind to the environment.

An architectural program was developed to define the goals and desires for the project and 5 models were designed that all include the use of the Quonset hut as their main structure. The Quonset hut offers soaring ceilings and uninterrupted spans. Over a 2 year period the designs were perfected and all the systems were specified. Design Horizons worked with the greenest of materials and systems to develop a sustainable product. The Q Cabin Kits were recently allowed to submit under San Diego County’s “Green Building” status.

Pre fabrication was a key component in the design and manufacturing of the Q Cabin Kits. Components made under controlled conditions are more efficient in terms of quality and cost. Another important design factor was the number of components required to assemble a Q Cabin Kit. Systems were chosen that would minimize the number of components with the idea being that fewer parts would mean faster construction durations. Time is money. The Q Cabin Kits utilized the Quonset to perform as structure and as roofing. The Elfi Wall System performed as both framing and insulation. This dual purpose approach created a shell that can be erected and completed in days, not weeks, utilizing a minimal tool set.

Design Horizons chose Steel Master USA to supply the Quonset component. They are the pioneers in the Quonset industry. There portfolio included many creative endeavors. A perfect fit for the Q Cabin Kits. Together, we have successfully designed a Mountaineer model that can withstand a 354 lb/sq. ft. snow load! Steel Master USA offers a 30 year manufacturers warranty on the primary structure of the Q Cabin Kits.

Elfi Wall Systems provided the structural insulated wall panels that make Q Cabins ultra energy efficient, super fast to construct and longer lasting than wood construction. Elfi’s structural wall panels perform like R-40 stick built walls. The system combines 16 gauge metal stud framing with an innovative EPS panelizing system to create super light, super strong, super insulated structural panels. The Elfi Wall System is resistant to mold, mildew, pests, dry rot, and fire. Never any warping or shrinking like wood. No special requirements for electrical and plumbing needs like other insulated structural panels. Smart, fast and sustainable.

The Q Cabin shell is completed with quality sidings of many choices. We are proud to partner with Nextstone products. Their simulated stone panels add an additional R6 to the exterior of the Q Cabins and have none of the drawbacks of real masonry. Thermally separated aluminum window with insulated Low E glass provide maintenance free windows for life. Loft models like the Nautilus XP and the Mountaineer come with light gauge framing from Metwood Span Technologies and include spiral staircases and loft railing systems. The curved ceiling of the Quonset is insulated with a closed cell insulating foam and covered with a natural fiber canvas ceiling supported from below to provide a beautifully crafted ceiling.

Installations can be performed by anyone with general construction skills and a minimal tool set. Smaller units are ideal for do it yourself homeowners. The materials are light and fast. The Q Cabin Kits are “erector set” cool.

Design Horizons offers nationwide installations along with design and permitting services.



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By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com