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My husband just inherited a considerable acreage with an small house on it and we have decided to move to it. Before we do that we will remodel the house and add some floor space to it. Naturally we have some ideas of what we want and need, but I'm curious as to what preparedness and survival elements you would incorporate during the design stage.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Belle
 

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The first thing I thought was to build up instead of out. Put a second floor on the house and put your bedrooms up there with one bathroom. Then you can remodel the downstairs for actual living space: living, dining, kitchen, pantry and utility rooms. After that, you could build out if you wanted and add rooms to the downstairs. Like a summer kitchen with a brick floor, sink with a working hand pump and a woodburning cookstove.

Living in the country, I like the idea of the second floor because you can see further out from your house. What a neat opportunity to start basically at scratch and put together your dream homestead.
 

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A lot of it will depend on what preparedness and survival mean to you. I would start with figuring what I needed to add to make SIGNIFICANT storage space, and a basement storm shelter/root cellar/ fallout shelter. I would also consider fully functional security shutters and exterior doors. A mud/laundry/bathroom connected complex with a large utility coming in your most used side or rear entry would be also be very in my hindsight.
 

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You are in OK. Tornado land. An interior room (tornado strong shelter room), use it for your valuable papers, pantry, and store some filtered water and a type of emergency potty. Lighting, some way to sit and maybe recline to sleep for smaller ones.

In wall storage for some canned goods, guns, and ammo. in regular home walls, and/or in the storage shelter room.
 

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I have always wanted a large hearth in my kitchen with pot racks, hooks, and such... Real old style with a cauldron for laundry. I'd have one side look like that and the other side completely modernized. I would add one modern feature though... A pot filler so I could fill that big cauldron without moving it!
I'd put some comfy rockers in front of it and stay there all winter!
 

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I'd definitely add a storm shelter and a root cellar. If you do add a second story make sure you can close off the stairway so if/when it's not in use you can control the main level heating/cooling easier. It's amazing how much heat you will lose through an open staircase.

I'd also make sure to add a proper pantry both for food and dishes/cookware/gadgets storage. Built in shelves with doors or rails to prevent things from getting accidentally knocked off the shelves would be good.

A summer kitchen complete with a big sink would be on my list of desires.
 

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3 ft doorways and handicap toilet and such in baths, at least one bedroom and bath downstairs if you go two story route. Never know when you will get knocked down. I broke both legs a few years back and sure glad I had the house set up beforehand.
 

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not sure how much of a remodel , if your taking the hole house to the studs or an addition and a freshening up


Insulation , insulation . insulation , in the walls , in the ceilings you can do so much with heating and cooling if you have good insulation , if your in OK insulate like you were expecting -30 and +110

second attic ventilation , you want it more than 2/3 of all homes are not vented even to meet the standards , and you should go better , you want to be able to put a thermometer inside and outside you attic and have them be with in 5-10 degrees of each other summer and winter , obviously when they sun is beating down this won't happen but if you look at your midnight reading the inside vs outside should be almost the same all year around

roofing , have you thought about steel?

if your redoing or have the chanced to run electric lines , run a circuit that covers basic lighting for as much of the house as possible like one light bulb per room on a switch and a second in the kitchen over the sink , with one circuit run you can run that one circuit off a battery with a 400 watt inverter , this means you can do a very small solar setup on the south side of the house , and have it charging your battery(s) to run basic lighting a single truck battery will run 10 high compact florescent 60watt equivalent bulbs for days of only as need use if you have a solar panel charging the battery during the day , unless you need specialty lighting you could run without doing anything for a long time

ceiling fans in every room on a second circuit that you can put on the generator panel , yes a generator panel and generator

zone air conditioning , with split units and get one of them say for the master bed or on the second floor if all the beds are up there, on the generator panel along with the
well pump , septic pump if you have one and furnace, also another circuit(s) for freezers and refrigerators

secondary heat source , wood or something , I like a free standing high efficency air tight with reburn wood stove central in the house on a nice big pad with room for a wood box near by , but i have no idea what OK looks like for available fire wood.

water , in addition to having the well on the generator panel you need some way to store more , this can be camp jugs but find a place to store them

you are in Tornado land , something below the house would be ideal if your adding on add a basement , I would probably add on a kitchen as it is the most specialized room in a house with plenty of counter or work table space food exhaust to the outside , livving a more self sufficient life will have you using your kitchen more than a normal person , and not Martha steweret baking stuff
stove , should be Gas ,LP and the tank you should own your own tank , you need to pay attention to how full it is , you might want 2 tanks , your goal is to et a summer fill that will last you till the next summer , yo uget the best price of the year on summer fills , and LP companies don't want to drop the hose if your not buying a near tank full , they just can't it costs them a lot more than you would think to put a driver there with a specialized truck and his/her time , insurance , medical , ect...
if you will use very little LP for some reason like you plan to heat primarily with wood or for whatever reason you can't do a LP furnace get your own 40# or 100# tanks to run the stove on and take them in for fills have extras.

windows , people often don't understand how much the design of a window can help with cooling , you want a window that will let the hot air out at the top so that cool can come in low or if you live where there is almost allwasy a breeze , casment windows can be set up to use the windo like a sail to catch the breeze then windows on the opposite side of the house are opened so that they windows create a bit of a vacuum to pull the air out if you have a left and a right opening window on each side of the house you can create this wind catching and pulling air circulation with almost any wind

as you structure you gardens , animal pens and such do your best to make them close to the house but still accessible with truck and trailer


like others have said smart storage
 

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When you say a small house, I envision a two bedroom with one bath house that is around 900 square feet. Is that something like the existing house?
 

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Large kitchen for processing food. I'd have it all open to the living room, I spend so much time in the kitchen watching the tv which is in the LR. Kitchen center of the house. It would also be nice to have a door right near the woodstove for bringing wood in. No Carpet. Tile is slippery and cold. I 'd rather have wood floors that can get bruised and have it be part of their life,so no fussing. I'd rather have my freezers inside, so they are safer( mine are in the pole barn). Yup, I'd have a HUGE pantry. I have 2 pantrys now, and that is not enough, I'm storeing empty jars outside in the pole barn now.The pantry has to hold alot of food processing equitment. If I didn't have so many "hobbies" I could live in a small house-so you have to think about that. Tho my hobbies are also ways of takeing care of "needs", some things need to be kept in a controled climate-consider it.
I am basicaly thinking the same issues as you because we will be moving to a small log cabin. It does not have running water-yet so I need to add a bathroom and Pantry and am thinking it thru.
 

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when we remodeled the kitchen I got lower cabinet drawers... no getting on my knees to get to the pot at the back. Extra deep counters so I can process turkeys without worrying about something sliding off to the floor, and an extra large sink for all those veggies I wash and process. Then I got RA and am grateful for the bottom floor bedroom and bath LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for all your input. I am pleased that you have reaffirmed many of our ideas and added some excellent items to discuss. Here is a little more information on the house: It is a 3 bdrm/1 ba, right at 1200 sq ft. We plan to add square footage to that master bedroom and add a master bath and closet, add footage to the kitchen and add a den and garage. We may be close to doubling the square footage of the house. We just have 1 child left at home, but grand kids should be coming soon so we don't want a small house. We are all about family and we want them to be able to stay over. We don't want a 2 story house because of the inaccessibility as we age.

It has a beautiful fireplace in the living room, but it is an old fashioned open style and I much prefer a wood stove.

There is no well. It is already on rural water and we will continue to use that but I plan to install a cistern as soon as possible. I love the idea of wood floors, but considering tile in the kitchen and bath. Big kitchen and pantry is a must...for reasons mentioned above. ANd I really liked the functional shutter idea. Gonna look into that some more.

Thanks again and I hope to see more great ideas.

Belle

P.S. Things we have to prepare for here: tornado, wildfires, ice storms that have been known to take the power out for days or even weeks. Additionally, we just prep in general because we really don't know what tomorrow holds. Personally, I think severe economic downturn is likely and possibly a long term power outage.
 

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Building for a Lifetime, Taunton Press. We used this book when designing our home. For instance, you can have two stories, but prebuilt for being unable to climb stairs. Make sure the stair way is wide enough for a lift. If you have a 2nd story linen closet directly above a first story closet built as a shaft, you can later convert them into an elevator (if large enough) or a dumbwaiter.

The book outlines what is required versus what they found in their own studies as to how much room a person needs when sitting at a table, best height for counters, etc.

Go to the thread on hiding valuables.
 
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if you add a garage that is attached or a mud room a deep laundry type sink is very usefully, i have even thought of finding a 3 sink unit from a restaurant that goes out of business to be able to wash things coming in from the garden as well as the big pots , and Nesco roaster pans


if you already have a fire place get the chiminey checked , often you can put a insert into it and have a more efficient burn and get the heat back out better , if the chimney has bad tiles often they are big enough that a stainless steel chimney will go right up the inside of it
 

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Prairie, they make Beautiful Viynal (sp) flooring now, some looks just like wood even comes in strips like wood.
 

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We are fixing up a house right now. It was well built but not cared for. First thing we did was fix the roof and put on a standing seam metal roof. We will never have to go up there When a metal roof is hit by lightning, the energy is dispersed over the roof rather than in one spot. We also put in a tube light to the bathroom, which has no window. We put in new water pipes. PVX is very easy to use and we put turn offs everywhere. We can turn on or off any water from the basement as well as at the faucets/toilet.

Make sure your closets are deep enough to be useful. A closet you will have hangers in needs to be 3 feet deep.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Maura, How do you like the tube light so far?

We have a well placed sky light in our current house and I love like the natural light it lets in, but unfortunately, it significantly heats up that room on hot days.
 
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