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Alternative Home Design

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Clyde, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    After building a 3,500 sq. ft. walkout home in Michigan (which I sold for a great loss over a year ago), I have been looking back and analyzing what it is that makes a house a house, vowing never to build what is not needed. The next home will be simply designed.

    The following is a design thought weighing on my mind:

    Construct a Cozy Built-in-Bed

    I came across this article and now that I have 4 children, we seem to be in the era where it is not a home unless everyone has their own sleeping room. We recently read the Little House series about the same time I was pondering this design idea and I determined this is a real way to give a child privacy, with out excess floor space needed. With a concept like this, a "room" could be around 43 sq. ft. of floor space with some built ins.

  2. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I love it!!! I think just about any youngster would feel the same. The only thing I might add is a built in fan and I might build the shelves on the inside instead of the outside.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    There's no doubt it is a neat concept. However, after living in a space that required making up the bunk from one side rather than having access to three sides, I'll categorically state that your chamber maid will NOT be enthusiastic on laundry day.
  4. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    it costs less to make the beds than to build the rooms. I can convince the Director of Home Solutions (DHS) that this is a better use of funds than what we lost on the last home. With some earth sheltering, open layout and kitchen design, there will be need for a small loft are and a master bedroom. There will be a bathroom with divided shower, double sinks, and a toilet that has it's own door as well as a walkin closet for all the kids to use.

    I am working on meeting with an architect over the next week to get an idea on what is needed cost wise to build a home like this.......
  5. KHAN

    KHAN Monkey+++

    Definitely keep us updated Clyde, I'd like to know how it goes.
  6. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I have built a similiar one as this sans bookcase. However, after looking at it, you could double the end with the bookcase, and put two back to back with a center partiation, which would leave you open to making a second one for two girls, or two boys. It is like a sleeping berth on a train long ago. Cozy and each has their "own' room so to speak. Then the remaining part of the room could be small , but a community area so to speak for a desk etc and of course closets. I like it. Retired Framer
  7. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Just another thought. If you build a platform rather then using a box springs, then it would allow you to "turn" the mattress from time to time. Turning a box springs in that area would be impossible without tearing down a wall. And as Ghrit said, ditto on making the bed. It is a real challange to do.
  8. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Reinforce /build in an overhead storage area over the bed instead of a small shelf system for additional storage of preps .. a platform as mentioned before would allow a large drawer that is say a can in heighth would allow additional storage in the lost space above the captains drwaers under the bed..
  9. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    Additional Thought

    This is also a concept that I found in a home in Maine; however, it is used often in scandanavian areas as it keeps the "sleepers" in the room with the heat. My mother in law hated the idea because the kids wouldn't have true place of solitude. My comment that there is an entire world of solitude right out the front door, the conversation ended. I joked that we would even put one of those in the living or if she really desired solitude, I had a tent and a cot so she could enjoy the outdoors.......she hasn't brought up the issue since.
    Gardner's livingspace3[1]-thumb-300x225.
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I want to throw out a design idea that we use up here in alaska, where temps can get seriously cool, during winters, and many use collected rain as a water primary source. When we build the structure, we put our domestic Water Storage inside the insulated portion of the attic. This gives us gravity feed water pressure if the batteries are low, AND we do not have to worry about the water tank freezing, as it will be the same temp as the inside of the building. we build a gutter system, that is mounted so that it just picks up the water coming off the Steel Roofing, but allows the snow to slide off without tearing the gutters off. They then feed by gravity to a collection tank under the building, that then can be pumped up to the inside tank, as needed. If there is a stream that is a secondary source, we pump water into a mobile tank and then pump that into both, the inside tank if it hasn't rained for a while, and then also fill the storage tank. This type system, is completely a Low Energy design, and can be basically a No Energy system if that energy is in short supply.
  11. horology

    horology Monkey+

    Very Cool!

  12. fireplaceguy

    fireplaceguy Monkey+

    Clyde, this is a fantastic idea for bunking a number of people at a retreat in minimal space, yet with adequate privacy. I've been thinking about the idea ever since you started the thread. WitchDoctor's idea for storage above the bed is great as well. Add in a full length closet across a narrow (door width) hallway from the bed and you have a nice little lockable room in half the square footage of a conventional bedroom.
  13. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member


    I agree with your assessment as "privacy" is one of the items I would want to have for my kids. What I find interesting is that people lived like this on the prairie. Think little house and the dugout on plumb creek. 4 people in a 12 x 12 dirt room and they still managed to add 2 more kids to the family along the way. We saw the spot in Walnut Grove, MN, on a drive west this Summer and it just made one wonder how they did it, because modern day people would die in a week.

    A big part of my thinking is how can I create the smallest and efficient home without sacrificing some sense of comfort. I don't really want to live with a family of 6 in a 12 x 12 room unless it is a SHTF moment.
  14. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

  15. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Cheap oil has made it much easier to heat large homes. Which has made Americans very spoiled.

    DW and I are likely going to build something like this. Hurstwic: Turf Houses in the Norse era

    Then we plan to put a russian fireplace in it.

  16. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    The scheme is sound enough. For me, the lack of windows would be less desirable. Too reminiscent of long patrols in submarines. By no means am I claustrophobic, but daylight is nice to have. Maybe there is a way to incorporate windows/skylights in a soddy, dunno.
  17. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    We have seen latter homes where they did put windows in and ours would have windows in it. The windows are set up like small dormers on the roof.


  18. Turtle

    Turtle Monkey+

    I do not own a home of my own yet and what i see for sale does not interest me very much.If i can find the right land i may design and build a little castle of my own.I have some cabin and home plans downloaded from the LSU and NDSU extensions services as well as CPS and MWPS.They have a good number of various structure plans there...well worth looking
  19. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Clyde: Plan Big, but also know that you do not have to build it all at the same time. It is just like prepping... You do not do it all at once. Up here when folks first show up, to build, there are two schools of thought. First: "The more Money than Brains" School. Second: "The Planned, and well thought out " School. The first group just throws MONEY at the problem, and that gets expensive, very fast. The second group, show up with, a chainsaw, a Genset, a 4wheeler, a trailer, a set of hand tools, a set of mechanical tools, a set of carpenters tools, a small wood stove, a tent, and a 12' X12' tool shed that isn't built yet. All this fits in a 20' Shipping Container, which comes on the summertime Barge Service, from down in the FlatLands. They start by clearing a Tent-site, and setup the temp Living space. This is Day 1. Then clear the Toolshed site, and move the rest of the materials from the container to the site. This is day 2-4. Build the toolshed, with the idea of moving into it from the tent, as soon as it is dried-in, insulated, and the wood stove installed. This is Month 1. The tent then becomes the toolshed, and storage. Now they are ready to start clearing the building site for the "Big House". They have a Warm, Dry, and semi-comfortable living space to work out of, which then down the road, after the Big House is dried-in, will become the Toolshed/Powerhouse. If the proper planning is done, all the preceding can be accomplished easily in one summer Building Season. It can also be accomplished with a bare-bones Building Fund.
  20. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member


    Your assessment is correct. I will be one who makes a plan and hires it out, for the moment. My current schedule has me out of town 10-14 days a month on the other side of the country (NYC). I may have to "sub-contract" as you go, but transitioning a family from suburbia to a tent is more than my marriage can take. I am renting a home for the first time in 18 years and relocated from the Midwest "suburbia" to the NW us. My process will be much less "rural" than Alaska, but I hear exactly what you are saying. Better to start than delay for perfection.

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