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Big Front Porch advocate
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many people have here and in other parts of HT talked about those rent to own storage buildings for living in (and I know someone that did it for a year in a basic one - not highly recommended).

But, I've been thinking of when I get some land somewhere - I would like to get two big ones with a large covered porch between. Basically making a dog-trot house. One side would be sleeping, eating, sitting, bathroom. The otherside would be a tiny corner of drink/frig place and a 1/2 bath. And that 2nd one would be my sewing room with a guest bed.

The between part would be as big as either side, and I'd want some type of screening with possibility to 'glass' in for the winter. Also I think a center fireplace or something would be neat. Good for cooling in the summer, and if done right, might get some passive solar heating in the winter.

could put a big porch ont he front and back, so the porches would make an H.

here is a photo of some of those new versions of the rent-to-own storage buildings. From the looks of them others are thinking of using them for weekend or other, homes.

The photo will link you to my webshots if you want to see the rest of the houses I saw that day in Sept in Fayetteville TN.







I really like the porch to storage ratio on this cabana

 

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Angie that sounds like a great idea. We stayed in a cabin several years back that sounds almost exactly like the configuration you are talking about but without the screening or windows.

I love those little houses.
 

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I've looked at those things before and they are really shoddily made, poorly insulated, and built from semi-toxic, off-gassing synthetics. You could construct better yourself out of scrap lumber, tin, and cedar branches in about a day and a half. And NOT be worried about it bursting into flame as soon as you lit your stove or giving you instant cancer from the chemical fumes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've looked at those things before and they are really shoddily made, poorly insulated, and built from semi-toxic, off-gassing synthetics. You could construct better yourself out of scrap lumber, tin, and cedar branches in about a day and a half. And NOT be worried about it bursting into flame as soon as you lit your stove or giving you instant cancer from the chemical fumes.
that's good information to know. Now what do you think of my configuration of my dream idea.?
 

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Angie I don't know if it's your cup of tea but a couple of the small log cabin kits might work and they are usually reasonably priced. If we all lived close enough, we could just come have a barn raising and have you a couple of those little houses built in a jiffy.
 

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I think the configuration is more or less liveable. Can you get by in small places? I'm able to ... when I feel cramped I just go outside. What you're essentially describing is an old-style lodge house. I'd probably skip that and just make me something open air as large as I'd want. That way you could heat it all easily from a central firepit.

I'm considering for my old age, after the boys have gone, my wife and I pack up and buy some remote place with a lot of acreage to hold in perpetuity for them. I'll build either a small wood cabin or possibly set up a yurt there and she can work on her weaving and I can put around in my garden.
 

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I think it is a great idea. Might even screen in the "dog Trot" area so no bugs get in. I second the build it yourself. Those look alot like the plans for Tiny houses I saw somewhere .I think it was after Katrina. Build one move in and then build the other.It is something I would do if I had raw land and the building police would let you.You can't even build a small out building here without getting it approved and a permit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm dreaming and figuring. And with my income to outgo - it may sure be awhile.

I'm in about 1100 square ft now, and have eyed small warehouses as a living space. But about 1/2 or more of my space is sewing related. And I really have a passion for porches, and I don't have one. The dogtrot just seemed to have possibilities for solar/passive heating and cooling if done correctly.

Also, thought it might inspire others to think that way when planning for less expensive times.

Angie
 

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You and I are in the same boat, Angie. My wife's sewing takes up an enormous amount of room. It's ironic that I need a 4000 square foot outbuilding to house my beehives and farm equipment, but I'm content in 300 square foot to live in. :)

What I'd love to design is a small 2 story affair, with a small 1 stall stable underneath and then stairs leading to an upper story which is simply a bed, small kitchen, and a couple of chairs clustered around a fireplace.
 

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Angie,

I applaud the fact that you are planning and dreaming, it's always good to have something to look forward to and when you take the time to plan things out it helps with the long term decision making. I am in a similar situation, I do own my home (well, I'm a home buyer...paying mortgage) but I'm near the city and so ready for fresh air and land to grow and build what I want.

I have been thinking about the type of home I want when i finally sell and move and I like your idea. I do think it would be better to build yourself as already expressed here by others, but your overall plan is nice and most importantly you are designing it to fit your needs and lifestyle and comfort which is very important. What works for one may not work for another, I don't need a dog run but a "kitty korner" is a must have :)

I love porches too, my new place has to have a BIG one! GOT to have a big ol pantry in my next home too :)
 

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Here is the way I look at it.... Maybe a little different, Maybe not so different.

You can easily find an older home in need of many repairs. Heck, you want the one with a wet basement, cracked foundation, holes in the walls, Stinks so bad the realtor tells you to ignore the house and look at the land. These issues are cheap to fix, but totally remove curb appeal.

But it will have access to electric, water, sewer/septic, a drive way.

You could then build your small house within the larger house. By this I mean fix the rooms you need and leave the other areas as storage, ect. Then you can heavily insulate a 500 SQ foot part of a large 1000 square foot home. This gives you space for all sorts of hobbies and interests that don't involve being heated or cooled.


This is how we purchased our little mountain top farm. :)

The realtor said on the way to see the property
expect to Bulldoze the house.
The land is very over grown but you can walk it if you want.
The furnace doesn't work and the basement is flooded.
The walls are wet due to a leaky roof.

We paid about 75% of the value of the land alone. This is due the fact that the house actually lowered the value. We spent about 3 months working evening and weekends and about 15 thousand cash to get it livable. Now we still have to do some more fixing to make it nice. But with an additional 15 or so the house will be like new.

So for about 30 thousand we will have taken a house ready for the wrecking ball and made it super insulated, water tight, and it will have all new finishes. Not to shabby.


Edited to add... This house is 1400 SQFT. So your milage may vary on the costs.
 

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I've always been interested in the dogtrot houses. Sam Houston built one for his family and it now sits on the grounds of the Sam Houston State University in Huntsville as part of a museum. I saw it years ago and it seems like he had made the covered loft area a room for his daughters and the stairs going up to it were on the back side of the house.

One side was a parlor and the other side was his and his wife's bedroom. The kitchen was separate from the house.

On this link, it is called the Woodland House.
http://www.samhouston.memorial.museum/Tour/

I think this idea has a lot of possibilities for regions with very mild winters.
http://www.greatbuildings.com/cgi-bin/gbi.cgi/Dogtrot_House.html/cid_20060103_kmm_img_0116_1.html

I've also looked at some of the prefab sheds you're talking about. I saw one that had an upstairs area for a bedroom and a small porch on the front. Great potential but, again, I was wondering about insulation for winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Whomever had one would need to put in insulation and something for drywall, etc.

My son-in-law has taken one and finished it inside for his home office. It's away from the children, and makes work be work, and not part of the house.

Angie
 

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I have always liked the dogtrot house, but they definitely are for warm climates. In a cold climate I like Ernie's idea better -- put the barn under the house!

I've also looked at those sheds for living in, but don't buy one -- buy the materials and build your own. You'll pay a third of the price of the shed.

Kathleen
 

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Hi Angie:

You might be interested in this thread from the Country Home Plans site. Mark Chenail, whom I consider a gifted designer, put up a design for a dogtrot for comments, and things spiralled from there. Further down in the thread is one he designed just for me. :D

And I even found it:





I'd build it in a heartbeat, but DH didn't like it. *sigh* And we even designed in a small private space for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mark is a buddy of Mine.
foliomark is his name here.

Somewhere I have a house with a courtyard that he designed for me a few years ago.

Angie
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's a new design that I've not see before.

I really like it.

He's practical and elegant.

Angie
 

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He's practical and elegant.

Angie
And he designs his houses to be wheelchair-accessible. I like that.

I didn't know he was on here too. I shall have to keep my eye out for him.
 

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Angie we will be getting one of the basic 12X20 one. It's called a garden shed only it will have a window on each end and a house type door in the side. I will do the insulating and paneling myself. I'll be setting it 8' away from my trailer and building an 8' deck between them. I'm going to be using it for my canning/dehydrating kitchen and sewing room.

I think your idea will work. When a person wants something bad enough they can do wonders.
 
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