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What do you wish your home had, and what do you love in your home?

 
Posts: 22
Location: Coastal BC
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I haven't read most replies, but this is a fun question :)

I love the passive solar heating and cooling we get with our large overhangs and clerestory windows. I love our green roof, for beauty and cooling in the summer. I love our mass heating woodstove (it keeps our house a constant temperature at all times! We have no other heat source, and it keeps all the rooms warm), I love our window bench in the kitchen (the only place I spend more time is in bed sleeping).

I wish we had a pantry room, a second bathroom (5 person family) and bigger/more covered outdoor space like a veranda.
 
pollinator
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:

Travis Johnson wrote:I wish our house had a master bedroom!



Would a small motorhome be possible that you could retire to at night? Or a wee log cabin built on the side?




I thought about that myself. This house did have a trailer at one time for my Great-Grandmother, so I could sit one there and have water, power and sewer, but Katie does not want to leave the kids in the house alone.

Eventually we want to build an addition onto the house, but we got to get our new business up and running first. So maybe next year...
 
gardener
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Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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Travis Johnson wrote:

Katie does not want to leave the kids in the house alone.

Smart woman - I'll back her on that. I had considered a similar idea, but got stuck on not wanting to suggests parents sleeping in a different building - shit didn't happen at night in our house, but barf definitely did.

Past the bad humour, I did think of an outbuilding  adults-only "office" where you and Katie could have an after-dinner 1/2 hour "just us" time while the kids learn how to clean up the kitchen? It wouldn't be the same as a master bedroom, but it might be a short-term stop-gap mental health support.
 
pollinator
Posts: 385
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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The dream home should be proof against any disaster, should heat and cool itself along with powering the a dehydrator, refrigerator, freezers, water heater and do passively with no moving parts and no electricity.  It should allow for aging people etc.  Ideally it should also allow for growing parts of ones food.  I am going to say the dream is a 2 bed, 2 bath house with the kitchen flowing into the dining area flowing into the living room as a single large room.  And it should have a food storage room.  Ideally on the main floor allowing for aging.  It should generate enough electricity to power itself.  One other room labled office but easily converted to a temporary bedroom would be nice

Is it reachable within reasonable cost?, the answer is NO.  But I think it is possible to come really close with very little added cost.

First let me say I am totally pro passive solar in most areas with decent sun needing heating.  It is not perfect but it really works.  I live in a passive solar home built in 1984.  With the bit of active solar(using 30 watts worth of fans) added a year ago I am to Dec 8 in a zone 4 borderline zone 3 climate having had a colder than average fall and I still haven't started heating yet.  Surely that has value long term.  And I would guess there are fewer than a dozen homes that are lived in, in this area out of probably 4000 homes that can say that.  Even without the bit of active solar this house closed up would run all winter and never freeze a pipe with no human intervention.

Second I will say I am 100% pro basement in most locations.  Exception are really high water table that can't be drained away and rock too hard to put a basement in.  I have lived with many horrible basements thru the years.  I agree totally a bad basement is a nightmare.  But a good basement is doable without great expense.  A good basement should never be finished in the classic sense.  No wall to wall carpeting.  Bare painted concrete with throw rugs where needed.   No sewer connect anything in the basement be it floor drains, washer, bathroom etc.  Those are a bad idea.  It should have ideally a french drain with a back flow preventer so the french drain can't flood the basement if the outside floods.  If not a french drain then a sump that is seriously the lowest place in the basement.   The argument for basement is the footing needs to go 4 1/2 feet deep to get below the frost line so you have already half the basement built.  So doing it is a fairly cheap way to double your square footage.  And using a combination of modern materials and good design I think they are totally functional.  The basement in this house has a few problems but they would be easily solved>

I do find it interesting how short everyone's lists our on this topic as I could right a small novel on all the things I would like to see.  I will sample a few.

Food storage room.  Don't want a cellar as I want to do far better than that.  For old age use best is on the main floor while best for the room is in a deep dark corner of the basement.  It should also be really close to the kitchen for minimum effort.  So for right now lets leave the location floating as that might be site specific.  The room itself I actually want 2 rooms inside each other.  The outer room makes a "YOU" around the next room in with shelves say 18 inches deep or drawers 18 inches deep around the both sides.  This is for canned good storage and for longer term storage of root crops and apples etc.  This room while cool should never freeze but should be kept cool.  Then a heavily insulated wall.  Probably with 2 layers of foam insulation with cracks offset making the walls homemade SIPS and insulated on all sides.   One wall needs to be steel to keep rodents out. Inside this room is storage for stuff that can freeze but that isn't hurt by thawing either.   This is grains, flour, sugar, salt, pet food etc.   This is to extend the life of such products and control insect problems.  The shelves should be built to make life difficult for any rodent that makes it in.   Also in this room is a chest type freezer Boxed with added insulation and a second lid with magnetic seals.  Now there should ideally be 4 additions to the freezers design.  1.  A vacuum line connection so a simply steel vacuum chamber can be placed in the freezer to do freezer drying.  2.  A high pressure airline in to cool simple gas expansion.(maybe even hope for crygenic temps)  3.  lines to a cold water chiller positioned so it will at least marginally work on convection even if it really needs pumped for best cooling.  4.  Move the condenser and compressor outside the room.(yes a bunch of add refrigerant piping)  The chiller system is borrowing from industrial technologies.  The passive cooling of the cold tank for part of the year would be 2 seperate systems.  The batch box ice maker solar thermal and a combination of heat pipes and BYU solar collector cone that can be used for cooling.  For an active system on the same system a DC powered compressor moving heat from the cold water tank to hot water storage when ever the photovoltaic produces to much power or on need.

Another simple details is all compartments inside drawers and cabinets should be closed off from each other.  So if the mouse or insect make it in one drawer or door doesn't have access to the rest of the cabinets in the system.  Also all drawers should have a roof over them that taper up slightly going out so it is absolutely impossible for something to get stuck between the drawer front and the back of the drawer.  The taper is so you also can't get something like a spatula wedged between the drawer back and that same roof.

Another little details is that passive solar homes have a winter time problem of no hot spots.  The is no good furnace vent or woodstove to dry winter clothes or warm gloves and boots.  So lets build a closet off the entry way mud room that is heated off the hot water system.  Make it so it converts from a closet most of the year to a dehydrator from mid summer to early fall to a smoker for hunting/butcher season then back to a closet each in its season.

As for make up heat as well as domestic hot water go with the large tank stratification storage system and hydronic heat.  Also hydronic heating under the basement floor.  Since I don't know what level is needed there do maybe 3 layers.  1 directly under the concrete, 1 say 2 feet down and 1 4 feet down.  Use these as part of the cooling system summer and winter and there by stretch the passives heating time by increasing greatly the number of tons of mass heated.

Stopping here for the minute because like I said this could be a small novel.  Notice while concrete basement is implied it isn't necessary with the right build.  Almost any build will work here be it wofati, under ground concrete domes, stick built, straw bale or many others.  It is good design principles that matter.
 
Posts: 128
Location: New England
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I would love a basementor a garage or carport! Our house sits on bedrock 4’ down, no basement! Of course we also have only a tiny, uninsulated room as an attic. The rooms are designed badly, I’d change the traffic flow. I’d move the staircase, get rid of the doglegs and weird corners.

What do I Ike? The site is beautiful and the neighbors are good. We’ve been here a long time and we’re in the midst of changing ithe house to age in place, so I’m focused on what needs to change....
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1062
Location: southern Illinois.
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I love our fireplace.  Yes, I know it is not fuel  efficient, but it is fantastic to sit in front of it in the winter after caring for the livestock.  I do wish we had a chimney  in our kitchen for a wood cook stove.
 
pollinator
Posts: 618
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
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My house was built in 1940. I really like the breezeway, the roomy 2 level garage, the oak floors, the fireplace, the built in shelves in the living room where I can store my important books, the wood paneling, the pocket doors, and the fact that it has a barn style foundation. The barn style foundation is concrete blocks (not cinderblocks, actual concrete) with very large oak beams keyed into the blocks, and then the house proper was built on top. There are thick posts in the walls too, with stick-framing in between them. It's a hybrid between traditional and modern. While it isn't my ideal house, it is the first one I can say is MY house.

As the epic poem the Havamal says:  

One's own house is best, though small it may be;
each man is master at home;
though he have but two goats and a bark-thatched hut
'tis better than craving a boon.

One's own house is best, though small it may be,
each man is master at home;
with a bleeding heart will he beg, who must,
his meat at every meal.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 142
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Zone 5a
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There are lots of great thoughts in this thread!

You asked what I love in my home...
It's not too big (which is more to clean, expensive to run, etc.) and not too small (because: family, visitors, hobbies that take up space, tools, piano, etc.)
It has huge living room/dining room windows across from each other for lots of light and lots of lovely view.
It has extremely durable hardwood floors from the 60s, so I don't really have to worry about them.
It has enough bathrooms (3 toilets, one bath, one shower) so teens don't kill each other.
It has a nice big deck in the back that we put a roof on, so it's like having an outdoor room for half the year, and we use it a lot.
The basement is 95% finished (was probably 70% when we moved in, but we did a lot of work on it), so there's an extra level for people to escape to when necessary. This also means we can have our TV in the basement, instead of in the living room.
I really love almost everything about our house, but mostly because it's ours and we've made it a cozy, peaceful place of happiness, and we see it as our forever place to do what we want, instead of thinking of painting things beige in case we sell. (ick)

You asked what I wish was different...
I reallllly wanted a window above the kitchen sink, to be able to see the trees and birds while I do dishes.
I don't have a linen closet. We use furniture (basically cabinets) instead. I would love a built-in linen closet!
I wish there was a broom closet, too.
I wish the front entrance was a foot or two wider (it's pretty skinny).
I wish the back entrance was more than just a tiny landing pad.
I wish we were already set up with rain collection and greywater system.
I wish a root cellar already existed.
I wish there was a fence around the property!
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
Posts: 1062
Location: southern Illinois.
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I just wish I had my current projects completed.  But, I have come to accept that is one of the biggest positives of having a homestead.  There is no retirement. I am always needed.
 
pollinator
Posts: 195
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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Heidi Schmidt wrote:There are lots of great thoughts in this thread!

I really love almost everything about our house, but mostly because it's ours and we've made it a cozy, peaceful place of happiness, and we see it as our forever place to do what we want, instead of thinking of painting things beige in case we sell. (ick)



This is such a good point, that one big element is making the house your own, to fit your needs and family, not the norms of how homes are usually used, decorated or built.

Another thing I learned from this thread is that even when you're starting from scratch, you probably have to compromise. We broke ground last week on our house. It has many things that we love, and is missing some things (the root cellar, the extra-awesome windows, the accessory dwelling unit) but we're hoping to leave it feet first and our son will have to worry about repainting the teal walls.
 
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