Please critique my house plan

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Dreams30, Sep 4, 2004.

  1. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    I am designing this house to be a 40 x 40 Straw Bale on a pier and beam foundation under a 50 x 60 post and beam (pole barn) roof.

    [​IMG]

    Please let me know what you think of the layout as far as daily living and having a floor plan which encourages keeping the place clean. Any other thoughts or ideas that you have on it are welcome.
     
  2. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    From what I can see. Looks ok.

    A link to a bigger pic would be helpful. Old Eyes YA know :)
     

  3. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Dreams,

    Things I see include a "convenience" kitchen with a small work triangle. That tells me you will have trouble with insufficient counter space when processing a lot of garden produce or fruit or meat. I like to see a larger kitchen with abundant counter space, lots of storage for the usual kitchen stuff. If you don't do much canning or other food processing, then what you show is likely just fine.

    The other thing that caught my attention is the location of your wood stove. You will garner much better heating efficiency by locating the stove in the interior of the house rather than on an outside wall. I solved this for myself by combining rather than segregating. My cook stove is a Pioneer Maid wood burner and with the oven door open it effectively heats the whole house. For the hot summers I use a gas range located adjacent to the cook stove.

    You have not mentioned finish flooring! I have found that avoiding carpeting is best for several reasons. In the typical house 90+% of the dirt can be found in the carpet. Linoleum or tile floors are much cleaner and easier to maintain.

    Lastly, be sure your TV is high enough to be seen when semi sleeping on the couch...those coffee tables seem to accumulate a lot of stuff that can obstruct vision!

    And most importantly, enjoy your project and let us know how it goes.

    bearkiller
     
  4. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    Bearkiller thanks for the input.

    I will have wood floors. I can't stand carpet or concrete. Also, I was thinking that when I need a larger processing area for the kitchen, I could pull the table over beside the counter. What do you think?
     
  5. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    We've had excellent results with a table that literally "explodes" out of the wall. It folds flat and tucks into a custom built niche, when we need it, slide it out, pop the legs up and clip it into the hook things that keep it against the wall and presto... instant counter space.
     
  6. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Dreams,

    Yup, that could work. But be sure you have a tough table...trestle legs or something that will take some abuse. Sure couldn't get away with pulling your mothers million dollar rosewood table closer to the work.

    Regarding floors, I have installed hardwood flooring in kitchens, but think it is less than optimal. They take too much abuse and the hot water and hot other stuff often takes a severe toll on hardwoods. Even the toughest of finishes is not all that great. For my money I would suggest something like Armstrong sheet vinyl flooring. Easy to clean, impervious to spills and moisture...even goat feet! And long lasting and durable. For me carpeting is anathema.

    My own kitchen takes up about 1/3 of the floor space on that level of my house. I have a large island cabinet that contains most of the pots, pans, and stuff for cooking. Italian tile counter easy to keep clean, but tough on knives, so keep several WOOD cutting boards handy. In fact, if you plan to use your dining table get set up with a cutting board that will cover it entirely. Then no problem with using the meat saw to split those bones.

    Also make sure at least one place in your kitchen has a good counter top edge to clamp down those gotta haves...you know, like a Victorio strainer or a meat grinder.

    bearkiller
     
  7. nappy

    nappy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here are a few things that I don't have in my old house that I believe you might appreciate in yours. This is a female perspective. You haven''t included a linen closet, entry clothes closet, guest half bath, or mud room. For some reason I prefer bathrooms to be located on outside walls so they can have a window which can be opened when necessary. Also, in the kitchen a W/D with no near access to a door if you want to hang clothes outside. Isn't house planning fun?!!! Don't be afraid to move the plans around before you build as sometimes it really becomes a hassle to change after it is built.

    Nappy
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    A second lavatory mounted beside the existing one would be nice. The French doors would have to go as they are not energy efficient. Darn near impossible to seal them. I would suggest swinging patio doors with a fixed side light. Looks like the French doors but without the hassle. Will you not need doors on the bathroom to provide privacy between bedroom 1 and bedroom 2?
     
  9. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Are you in Texas? What part? Can you show which side of the house is south?

    I was wondering why you have so many doors? Is there any reason you need a dutch door in the kitchen when you have french doors?

    Any reason you particularly want the washer dryer in the kitchen? Most of your laundry will be generated in the bedroom and bathroom, so you will be carrying dirty clothes to the kitchen and clean ones back to the bed/bath area.

    You said you were doing wood floors. Have you considered having adobe floors?


    Love strawbale homes!! I have drawn up about a million plans over the years!
     
  10. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    Answering questions.... ;)

    Currently I have the W/D in my kitchen and it is so nice to use the counter tops to sort and fold clothes. Not many steps to the door to hang them out.

    The many doors are for the air flow. I currently live in South Central Texas with no A/C and the many doors and windows in my home keeps us plently cool most of the time with just fans. I will be moving north of here but, still will not have A/C.

    The wood floors will be tongue & groove pine. Not laminate. Sealed only. Nothing fancy, just something to walk on. (think: like a deck floor) Pier & beam is also for air flow.

    I will have a closet-type sliding door for each "powder room" and also for the tub/shower bathroom. Didn't put them in the floorplan.

    No need for guest bath, linen closet, front clothes closet, etc. I simply don't live that way. But, thanks, I could see how that would matter to some folks.

    We will add on a carport off of the kitchen later and put a mudroom attached to it. It will probably serve as extra storage also.

    I can't picture the patio-type doors your are referring to. Can you post a link to a picture?

    Hmmmm, it's so much easier to think this through on paper than when we start building. Ya'll keep it coming!
     
  11. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I like all of the desk space and the open design of the kitchen/living area. I also like the way you did the bathrooms - getting two uses out of one space. Personally, I would forget the bathtub and put in a really nice larger shower and a linen closet. I did this in my house and love it, but I am not a bathtub person - have a hot tub outside if I want to soak in hot water.

    Your kitchen looks like it has as much storage space as mine, which I don't think is enough. When I start canning/freezing and even now when I am processing chickens, etc. there is not enough counter space and not enough storage space. I would think about switching the location of the fridge/washer/drier if you like having it in the kitchen. Have you had stackable washer/dryers? I don't know if they are better or worse than side by side - I usually fold my clothes on top of the dryer and my washer dryer is in the bathroom in my place.

    I also like that you have no halls! They are such a waste of space....

    Best wishes on your new home- it's looking great!
     
  12. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    When you do measurements for a house, you use the outside measurements. I noticed that the 40 x 40 is interior. You need to measure what it would be from outside corner to outside corner.

    Keeping everything in increments of 4 ft saves money.

    For me, I would use the desk area in the kitchen for a pantry.

    I would not like the w/d in the kitchen. In an open plan, things that make noise are best in places that can be closed off.

    I didn't see where you plan on having the hot water heater or the electrical panel.

    Unless you see this house as a temporary home before you are old, I recommend that you make all the doorways 36 inches wide and design at least one of the toilet areas to be wheelchair accessible. I would also trade having a separate tub and shower in order to have a larger sink area and a large shower that could accomodate a wheelchair if needed.

    When you are young, you never think of these things, but renovations for a wheelchair can be expensive, but thinking ahead while building is not much money at all. You never know. Even an auto accident could leave a person in a wheelchair for a short few weeks.

    I'm assuming that the larger roof area would allow for a porch. I looked at lots of porches before doing ours. It is 10 ft deep and just right. Anything less is not nearly as functional.
     
  13. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    Suggestions noted!

    The Washer/Dryer is an all-in-one unit that fits under the counter top.

    I am making it one level because I do plan to live in this house till they cart me out of it. So, yep, I better widen the doorways.

    The outside measurements for the house walls will depend on the size of the straw bales available when I start building. The whole thing will be roofed and floored to the size of the pole barn which is 50 x 60 and then bale walls built up from there.

    The hot water heater is tankless and it's under the kitchen sink. The electrical panel is in bedroom #1's closet.
     
  14. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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  15. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    I dont see any closets for coats, brooms etc, Very little storage area for food. If you are going to have large windows, Id try to put large eaves or what would be even nicer is a wrap around porch on the south and west walls to prevent direct solar gain. I am assuming it is hot there.
     
  16. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I think it is a lovely plan. I don't care for a lot of hall ways myself. Everytime I look at a pre drawn house plan I find ways to redo it and save space. The only thing I would change if it were mine would be to put a hand wash basin in the little toilet rooms and put the washer dryer in the bath area. But those are my own personal preferances and it sounds like you have them where you want them. And I would prefer an adobe floor. I sure hope things go well for you and that you are in your new home quickly!
     
  17. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dreams30 - I have built 5 strawbale homes and live in the Texas Hill Country. Currently am finishing the last of the 5 - mine. We need to talk about a number of things like why pier and beam vs concrete and why a second roof. You also need to learn about Modified Post and Beam Construction - you won't regret it. PM me if you like.
     
  18. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    YuccaFlats, I am listening. Keep talking!!!

    OK, no concrete...the reasons
    1) the air can't circulate
    2) if you have probs later it is almost impossible to fix
    3) the cost
    4) I don't ever want a house with a concrete foundation.
    5) We are building this house ourselves
    6) The house needs to be somewhat off the ground
    7) Can't redo (rearrange rooms, etc) in a concrete floor house without a huge expense.
    8) It's bad for your feet and cold in the winter (yes, I know about radiant heat floors and that is a "no go")


    It's not a second roof. The pole barn roof is the roof of the house.


    I've seen many modifications to straw bale building and all claim to be "the way". Tell me what version you are referring to by the term "Modified Post and Beam". It may be what I am doing and it may be something totally new, can't tell...
     
  19. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    Oh, and for those thinking in technical terms....the plan is a non-load-bearing straw bale house.... :)
     
  20. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just wanted to know why pier and beam vs concrete. My wifes quilting studio will be built on pier and beam because of the topography of the land would require much too much fill or concrete.

    Modified post and beam construction is best seen in the Steen book called The Strawbale House. 'Basically' the concept is a post and beam shell with straw bale infill - however the concept changes a good bit. Each of your door and window sides are engineered box posts that extend from the floor to the beams. Mine are approx 20 inces wide, 10 feet high, and four inches thick - made with 3 2x4's each and a single sheathing on one side of OSB with a footer plate and a top plate added. The beam rides the outside of the box post which has the 2x4's doubled. A window opening is formed by making a box post section and mounting it horizontal at the bottom and top. Niether is weight bearing as the side box posts take all the weight. A door is just a box post section across the top.

    What other things do the box posts do for you?? They provide nailing surfaces on both the inside and outside walls for things like outlet boxes, switch boxes and for mounting sheetrock if you so desire.

    We used standard John Deere bales available locally. Nominal dimensions are 14 by 18 by 40 inches. the difference of the 14 and 18 inches proved to be most valuable. Magically the difference is 4 inches. What is 4 inches - well it is exactly the amount of a 2x4 stud wall with 1/2 inch plywood, OSB or sheetrock added. Why is this important. Its important in kitchens and baths when you want to hang shelves, cabinets, mirrors etc on the walls - straw bales with stucco just don't hold up much weight. This gives you a wall to attach things to, to run more complex electrical circuits in and most importantly to run water lines in. YOU NEVER RUN WATER LINES INSIDE STRAW BALES.

    PM me and I'll give you my address and phone number and if you desire will be happy to have you come and visit and see what the house looks like. I assume from your handle that you are in Texas. Its not fully done yet, but we have been living in it for a couple of years. If you have a copy of the Steen book it will be much easier to communicate what I am saying to you.

    BTW my great room is 32 by 38 clear span, and you will need some closets. We have a big 8 x 14 walk-in closet, several smaller ones in the guest bedroom and a big linen closet and it is not too many. The one in the guest bedroom and the linen closet were add-ons added when DW said she had to have them. Its easier to plan for them than to add them in later.