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 sunfrost.com 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.