Lee and I just sat down and enjoyed our first meal of Nik-shot Mon­tana veni­son; grilled back­strap and sal­ad.  ****, it was deli­cious.  I’d like to thank you for help­ing me cre­ate this meal, for mak­ing the hunt­ing expe­ri­ence awe­some in the truest sense of that word.  I’d like to get more flow­ery but I don’t think it appro­pri­ate or real­ly nec­es­sary to spice up a heart­felt thanks.  Thank you.

I’ve looked around for the plans I drew up when I got back from the last trip but haven’t found them.  I’m begin­ning to think I con­fused those with my cur­rent house remod­el plans…but I did make some notes on the way home about the kind of house I’d like to build.

Straw bale for insu­la­tion and rammed earth for ther­mal mass.  Both are local mate­ri­als, both appro­pri­ate to the cli­mate, and both help give the house the wall-thick­ness and solid­i­ty I like in my archi­tec­ture.  I like open beams in the ceiling/roof, and I’d see how much scavenging/salvaging I could do to get good, high qual­i­ty used mate­ri­als (beams, win­dows, doors, floors, fix­tures etc.)  Loved your pull up bar between beams, even if I could­n’t reach it.

As far as design, it always seems so site depen­dent.  I’d look for a site with good souther­ly views of moun­tains and some bot­tom land, with a line of wil­lows show­ing where the water flows and the deer live.  Near a road but out of site and blocked by geo­graph­i­cal features.

After only a few days of win­ter liv­ing I was remind­ed of how impor­tant the inter­face between indoors and out­doors is in a cold and wet cli­mate.  I’d have a long entry way (10–25′) with plen­ty of south­ern expo­sure, maybe take the green house idea from earth ships and place it so the entry way is the heater for the house dur­ing winter.

In the entry­way I’d put in a spe­cif­ic num­ber of box­es (one for each per­ma­nent res­i­dent plus two more) for shoes/boots etc as well as plen­ty of hooks and more box­es or shelves for jack­ets, hats, and hand cov­er­ings.  I’ve devel­oped the idea for a solar boot dryer/heater, so I’d put one of those in each “box”.

Because I’ve got dogs and I’m into them, I’d plan for an air­lock dou­ble dog door with mats and body brush­es for the dogs on the way in.  I like to give my dogs free reign, so it’s only appro­pri­ate that I make sure they’re not a pest about it.

An open floor plan has always been a favorite of mine, but along with solar hot water, solar pan­els, rain­wa­ter catchment/storage and gen­er­al energy/water effi­cien­cy I just take all that as a giv­en; no need to go over the basics more than a few times.

Some key points:
‑run plumb­ing so there are no joints in the walls, so there’s the short­est run pos­si­ble between heater and faucet, and insu­late all lines.  Make it so access is very easy (main­te­nance room on the north side seems the best way to do this.  Easy access and free insulation.)
‑I like the indus­tri­al look of exposed util­i­ties, it also makes work­ing on them easier.
‑radi­ant heat floors (for con­stant heat so fix­tures don’t freeze dur­ing away time.)
‑I like a soft floor, but every time I’ve lived with car­pet it just gets fuck­ing dis­gust­ing after a while.  I’d go with throw rugs, pil­lows, etc. for easy clean­ing and com­fort­able living.
‑wood stove for fast and pleas­ant heat, ide­al­ly a soap­stone heater.
‑bath­rooms should be well ven­ti­lat­ed, warm, and have plen­ty of day­light, as well as being pri­vate parts of the house.
‑I don’t like guests to stay more than a week, so I’d keep a pret­ty open arrange­ment as far as their living/sleeping quar­ters.  Maybe a sho­ji screen at the max, although I’d prob­a­bly invest in a good nat­ur­al mat­tress (latex or foam rub­ber, what­ev­er) so they get a great nights sleep.  That is not at all a reflec­tion on your guest sleep­ing arrange­ment, I slept like a baby at your place.  I just real­ly like the idea of giv­ing guests the high­est qual­i­ty quar­ters that are obvi­ous­ly (in a way that says “move on” after a few days) not per­ma­nent.  Along with that idea there needs to be a pri­vate place where one can get away from every­one else.  Usu­al­ly the bed­room works for this, although I’ve read about spe­cial­ly designed read­ing nooks pro­tect­ed by a heavy cur­tain that sound interesting.
-the liv­ing space itself does not need to be large; the kitchen and living/dining/whatever room don’t need to be more than 400 sq ft.
‑All that “liv­ing” space should be real­ly func­tion­al; stove, coun­ter­top, table, a “desk­ing” space or two (depend­ing on how many folks will live there, and enough elec­tri­cal out­lets to plug in all the bits and bobs of mod­ern day life.
liv­ing areas well lit with as much day­light as pos­si­ble while stay­ing with­in the con­fines of pas­sive heating/cooling
‑plen­ty of stor­age space (cub­bies or cab­i­nets under stairs, as many places to put things in as you’d find in a small boat.  Out of sight but well orga­nized, plen­ty of book shelves.
‑get the fridge and freez­er up against the north wall, run­ning the coils out­side to take advan­tage of out­door “coolth.”  Good design on the site.
-Total bed/living/bath area should­n’t need to be more than 900 sq ft.  It’s the gear and the work­shop that real­ly need the space. 
-give gear it’s des­ig­nat­ed place, with room enough to plan out­ings, lay out clothes and equip­ment, drip dry areas, and spe­cif­ic cub­by holes for “fam­i­lies” of gear (i.e. hunt­ing, ski­ing, rid­ing, what­ev­er.)  The gear room should be ful­ly a part of the home cli­mate con­trol, warm enough to change clothes in, with an easy drain floor sys­tem for wet boots/rain jack­ets etc.  I’d put the laun­dry in here if I could, mak­ing sure to fol­low my plumb­ing rules (above) and if nec­es­sary install an addi­tion­al tan­k­less water heater for it.
‑a work­shop is essen­tial.  This should be large enough to work on “win­ter” projects, with pas­sive and renew­able pow­ered heating/cooling an inte­gral part of design.  I think 800 sq ft is plen­ty (includes indoor and cov­ered out­door)   Rough­ly equal indoor and cov­ered out­door space.  Wood­shop, met­al work, mechan­ic stuff…all impor­tant parts of a good shop.  The shop roof should be ded­i­cat­ed to the usu­al rain­wa­ter catch­ment and solar ener­gy pro­duc­tion, and should ide­al­ly be pow­ered by a com­bi­na­tion of wind/solar and hydro ener­gy, backed up by a gen­er­a­tor and bat­tery bank.
‑if I could get away with it I’d put up at least a cov­ered area for vehi­cles, if I had space and I could hide it well I’d put in a small garage to allow me to keep up my vehi­cles for much longer.

That’s all for now, until I find a site I don’t know how much more detail I could get into and not be a total day­dream waste of time.

Great to see you, look­ing for­ward to our next meeting.

Take care,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top