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Preliminary ideas for housing 6 Boots

 
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Just throwing this out there.  Hopefully someone else has less ignorant ideas? :.)  I have nearly everything to learn, but these ideas kept pestering me today.  Attached is a very rough sketch.  The idea is interested boots can mostly build it as a team effort from start to finish (same group) with some direction and instruction.

* 3’ overhang supported underneath with roundwood timber

* multi-purpose center room 15’ x 15’ x 15’

* outer rooms are 5.25’ x 10’ x 12.5’

* 12’ tall ceiling w/loft for storage

* 3’ wall base, 1.5’ top of wall

* roof/ceiling of outer rooms sloped upward toward center blending with dome walls/roof, wofati-style for aerial obscurity

* one 2’x 4’ arched or rectangular window in boo rooms

* 2' x 1' upper windows in shower and wheelie bin pooper rooms)

* each room shares an rmh heated bed (loaded from the center room), so 3 rmhs? (redundancy/backup? and rooms may be sometimes be vacant?)

* arched doorways open to center room

* large rms in center room

* center room is a stablized earthen dome?

* stabilized earthen walls for outer rooms?


* 1 divided room with a wheelie bin pooper, with 2nd half entry/exit outside door
* 1 divided room with a barrel shower and bucket laundry/washer, with 2nd half entry/exit outside door
* shower times worked out between boots
* 3' wide entry/exit doorways to center room are inset (like dormers)?


* outside covered rms/kitchen for non-inclement weather

* hugelkulturs around the entire dwelling to act as windbreakers and water diversion

* bear/deer proof fence

* pond for water
Filename: 6-boot-house.pdf
File size: 31 Kbytes
 
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Catherine, I would love to see someone use logs to build a "beehive comb" type of housing unit. Imagine many different eight sided rooms built in a "circular" form which leaves a large open room in the center. Each unit would be similar to a Hogan, sharing walls and with strong dome shaped roofs. The whole building could be bermed around the outside, up onto each dome roof. The center "courtyard" could be covered with a large wooden dome also, surrounded by windows to let in light.
 
Catherine Windrose
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Whoa!  What a crazy awesome idea!   I can imagine it as you drescribed, but have no idea how to sketch something like that.  Maybe someone else will.  That sounds way cool.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Sort of this idea but with logs.  

Mars housing idea

More on pinterest
 
master steward
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I went ahead and saved Catherine's sketch as a jpg file, so it's easier for people to see.
6-boot-house.jpg
Catherine's 6 boot house
Catherine's 6 boot house
 
Catherine Windrose
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Thank you, Nicole.  I hadn't thought to use the pdf image to do that.  

Miles, that is a really cool idea.  Still looking at pinterest images.  These are similar to other ideas I've sketched.  I love hexagons and octagons :.)  Also have a couple shaped like lotus flowers, but those are less suitable and definitely more whimiscal :.)
 
master steward
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This may not fit the situation but would a reciprocal frame roof work for your application?
 
Catherine Windrose
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It isn't up to me.  I only tossed an idea in the pot to see what other people stir in to the mix :)  Considerations were limited to essentials (I think, there may be others I've not thought about) that will allow Jocelyn and Paul to reclaim their home.  So:

* sturdy and safe, stabilized earth/cob and timber framing (I want to try basalt mesh between cob layers)
* 4-season tolerant
* inexpensive - using local raw materials as much as possible
* accommodate 6 individuals
* water
* wheelie bin pooper
* wofati or wofati-like for aerial obscurity
* rmh/rms
* fence
* hugelkulturs
* multi-functional loft/storage/sleeping bunk in boot rooms to accommodate workshop guests?  It occurred that during workshops boots can double in a room while guests use another
* shower
* a way to wash clothes
* Could Boots building a Boot/guest dwelling be combined with workshops or PEP achievements?  There could be several rounds of Boots implementing experimental ideas for 'best builds'.

Personally, I really like the aesthetic of a reciprocal frame roof.  I've seen it in yurt or ger homes.  I appreciate ancient building techniques and the combined strength, durability, and flexibility.  And visually, the work is mesmerizing.  What is not to like?!
 
Mike Haasl
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Yeah, I've dreamed about a ceiling like that.  Maybe I'll build a tiny home on my property using that technique.  And I've seen them with lofts...  And I think it fits those criteria (earthen roof on top).
 
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Great minds think alike, Catherine, although when I was thinking about how to use my very similar plan, it was to house people with psychiatric illnesses in a way that gave them privacy, some small group interaction, that they could help build themselves, and that if it was in a food-forest setting, would improve their nutrition. Using the same concept for boots housing seems great.

I'm assuming the common area would be a kitchen also?
For safety, I recommend that the window in each bedroom be operable and large enough to be a fire exit?
I'm assuming that sections would be either earth bermed or at least earth sheltered?

If you did the roof that Mike Hassl showed (yes, friends had one on their yurt and it was really cool), it could be just over the common area, and could have some "clerestory" windows under its overhang and before the more shed-like roofs for the bedrooms? I'm just thinking of how to get more light into the common area. So long as it was built with good logs for support, would it be strong enough to be a green roof? I do know there are lots of pictures of cob houses with green roofs and it sure makes them blend in with their environment.

I see a design like this being fairly efficient in resources, while still giving the boots some privacy. Having the interior walls cobbed or at least wattle and daub, would provide a lot of sound-proofing.

 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm wondering, too, if the boots had privacy, rather than sharing a bunk, there might be more retention. Boots might stick around longer if they have personal retreats and a place that feels like it's "theirs."
 
Catherine Windrose
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Jay, I have been thinking about creating a place like that, too.  There have been personal experiences with individuals I feel might have overcome certain challenges if their environment had been more healthy and nurturing with good food.  If not, as is the way with some conditions, their quality of life would certainly have been improved over what is commonly accepted.  And those to whom autonomy was still important, they could find so much to do to keep occupied.

I also sketched a more simple dwelling that children could build as an educational experience.  With perhaps a cluster of kids' building ideas :.)

In the OP, I left out critter and other outbuildings because I thought those would naturally be developed and become ongoing 'spare time' projects.

I think Nicole is correct.  I think in a healthy community that personal space is not an option, inside and outside.  Having slept among dozens of people at my Grandmother's home during holidays and in the military, there is nothing so precious as quiet space when activities are constant and you're not in your own place.

The sketch posted in the OP is from an old idea in which each inside wall extended outward about 6'.  Partly to serve as windbreakers, shaped to buttress, divert rain, and partly to create a small grassy/rocky/shady/sunny/whatever sitting area, each between outside doors.  Then there would be at least one small area close by, where someone could sit outside their door or window with a smidgin of privacy without feeling a need to escape or walk half a mile to find a quiet spot to think or relax.  That might be done even wofati style if the doorways were inset like dormers.  On the other hand, if each room opens to the center common area and there were also two main entry/exit doors, that would be 8 doors all around.  That doesn't feel right somehow.  Maybe two rooms side-by-side could share a foyer-like entry/exit door?  Then only three in and out.  Might improve airflow.  We'll see what others come up with.

And yes, the common area has a rms.  I am thinking about 3 rmh opposite sides of the common area from each other, with burn boxes in the common area, chimney going through a wall through a bed, then out.  Needs more thinking... I figured one rmh for every other wall to heat two beds, each bed being in separate side-by-side rooms.  With three rmh there would be backup.  Between those and the rms, the entire dwelling should stay comfortably warm without concern.  No doubt one rmh done right could do the job.  However I remember when my Grandmother's pot bellied black stove had a problem, she was 40 miles from the nearest place where it could be fixed.  That took over a week and happened during the coldest part of winter in north Florida; about 30s - 40s.  Montana winters on the other hand, are no joke! :.)  I would not tempt fate by having only one source of heat for the entire dwelling.

Larger windows and egress placement.  Noted.  

Good ideas, William.  Noted.

As more ideas gather, maybe someone can put them together in a real drawing.  I can only do these sketches from a top down view in a draw app.  Maybe Google will make Sketchup more Linux friendly soon.

Other thoughts, but I'm trying to keep posts less rambling ^.^  
 
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I'm always sceptical of  buildings that don't have rectangular interiors.
Every strait line and every 90 degree angle matches up.
Each curve is different.
This can lead to a lot of wasted space and/or time spent on customizing furnishings.

A center space with individual rooms on the perimeter makes sense.
The center space can serve as hallway,  dinning room, living room and work room as needed.
I would personally prefer a bed sized room with a door to a larger shared bedroom.
I would want  windows in each bedroom for light,  air and safety.
A single wet wall between the kitchen and bath would save on materials and labor.
 
Catherine Windrose
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I've always lived in square-ish or rectangular homes.  However, when I researched dwellings that are most disaster resistant, round stuff kept popping up and I got used to round dwelling ideas.  Oddly enough, I have less difficulty keeping round stuff round than straight edges straight *lol*  Weird, yeah? :.)

I especially like the wet wall idea, William.
 
Jay Angler
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William Bronson wrote:

A single wet wall between the kitchen and bath would save on materials and labor.

I'll take that a step further and request that the pipes all be on *interior* walls and that the system be easy to drain. We've got one bathroom sink in a pop-out on the north exterior wall and I'm always worried it will freeze if the weather gets bad here. The kitchen sink is the next greatest risk. Yes it's nice looking outside as I do the dishes, but I'd live without that if it meant I didn't have to worry about frozen pipes!

Catherine Windrose wrote:

I've always lived in square-ish or rectangular homes.  However, when I researched dwellings that are most disaster resistant, round stuff kept popping up and I got used to round dwelling ideas.

I've also read that having a variety of ceiling heights and more organic shapes than "cubes" is much better for our mental status and sense of "home". If you're working with cob or post and beam with cob in-fill, having some curves is easier than the same using dimensional lumber. That said, having a few straight walls in key spots for hanging cabinets and building counters can both be easier and more material efficient, so in a perfect world, the final design would have some of both.

Although as I mentioned earlier, bedrooms need to have some sort of a fire exit, I wasn't thinking of them having outside doors. Doors take up a lot of real-estate in a small space - in fact in small spaces sliding doors are sometimes a better option if it's not too hard to give them a place to slide to. There should be easy enough ways to give people some outdoor sitting spaces without associating them with each bedroom, as depending on what the person wants, a chair on the north side of the building could be too cold (morning) or just right (heat of the day). I'd use curved hugels as well as buttresses off the building to give a variety of plant eco-systems, but try to make room for a chair/bench/stump in enough places to make it work for people too.
 
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Hi Catherine,

I've thought about a building for multiple people for usage similar to what the boots might need.  There is one thing I added to mine that may or may not be useful to what Paul wants for the boots:

Inside the 15'x15'x15' room are 6 work benches up against the inner circle wall. These work benches have over head hatches so that when the user leaves his/her bench, the hatch can be closed over the entire workbench and be locked.

This closing work space gives each person their own work bench where they can work on a workbench size project without their work being lost, damaged, or contaminated or their tools being borrowed without permission. They can leave their work unfinished and ready to return to for the next open window of time without interfering with anyone else's work or work space.

This is great for, say a small engine repair, a pre-pottery materials preparation, seed preparations, or any project which requires the items to be layed out with some organization and returned to at a later time.

Con:  you loose space in the inner 15'x15'x15' room.
 
Miles Flansburg
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I was thinking a reciprocal roof would be nice for the common area, not sure how much weight they can hold if soil is to be used to cover it though. I was also thinking that each octagon room could be set up like the TeePee at the lab. Each with a rocket mass heater , feeding heat into a cob bed base. A door and window would face into the center courtyard. Common area would have a nice rocket cooking system.Cob oven ect. One of the octagon outer rooms could be used as an entry way, mudroom, and could even be built as a solarium/greenhouse.
Stacking the logs horizontally gives strength to the building as well as being simple to build. The outer walls might be shorter than the walls facing the courtyard so storage lofts could be incorporated into each room. This is done by outer logs being shorter than inner logs as you build up past the 7 foot wall height.  I have always liked the look of the ceilings in a hogan style room.  

Interior pictures

Most of the pictures show vertical walls up to horizontal roof. I would just do the whole thing horizontally.

Also it is easy to practice the building technique using sticks or small branches so that the builders have a completed model of the larger build. It is fun to play with different lengths of "logs" when building a model, all sorts of roof designs come out of this "play"

It also just occurred to me that a central octagon could be built in the center of the courtyard and slowly arch outward , like a vortex shape, to meet with the walls coming up from the inner room walls. This central core might add strength to the larger roof above?  The vortex room could be used for a pantry, add a tank and collect water from the roof, a spiral stairway to the roof or other crazy ideas !
 
William Bronson
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Lovely ideas!
The octagon is a great way to approximate a circle with a strait line.
The multiple rockets,  one for each bedroom, creates the expectation that each person will learn to start and tend to a rocket mass heater, and that is a very cool thing.
The module nature of the design could allow building in stages.
Making a center "vortex" room could reduce the lengths that need to be spanned for the roof,and by extension make a stronger roof easier to build.
That vortex room could be a courtyard, or a utility room.
The big water heating/ cooking rocket stove could be on one side,  plumbing in the middle, bathing on the other side.
If we allow ourselves to use manufactured materials, the vortex room could have a glazed roof and/or clerestory windows  and act as a light well for a window located over the sink,or in a shower stall.

Combining cob with log cabin construction could allow the logs to be structural freeing the cob  to address air infiltration, finishes, and  thermal mass needs.
I'm not sure if there is any problems combining the two modalities.
I'm thinking cob is often used as infill in timber frame structures and log cabins use cob like chinking, so there is some precedent.
Both kinds of structures benefit from a good hat and boots.
 
Catherine Windrose
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Had to look up "clerestory window".  Turns out these are the type of windows I've been trying to picture in other ideas.  Sometimes inset to keep cold wind and gusts more on walls and less on glass, and sometimes for aerial obscurity.  

It's good to be able to look out of a window when there's a nice view.  And window egress is important.  However, more light from higher up seems to illuminate a room more evenly.  Light from lower windows seems to create more shadows.  Maybe one view/egress window and a couple clerestory windows in each outer room?  Or more depending on the size of the outer rooms.  And the center room/common area could be higher to accommodate clerestory windows to allow light in from just below the roof area, though I think that was mentioned above.  And then with all that support, and the roof being small enough, there could be a green roof.  Semi-wofati with berms around the sides?

I've also seen a lot of images with timber frames surrounded by cob or strawbale/cob.  With appropriate framing and cob allowed to set a little between layers - a week or two depending on weather is what I read by one builder for timber/cob in the UK - if there is enough timber to build such a structure, that would be a fantastic experiment.

I also think stone arches over outside doors might be purposeful.  Though maybe that's too much of too many things in building?

Awesome ideas.  You guys are rockin'.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I wanted to have fun drawing, so I sketched out a little round house. Pretty sure it's not to scale at all. But, fun anyway! I made the roofs steep because snow+shallow roofs = bad. I'm also thinking that if the bedrooms are small, there might not be a need for so many rocket mass heaters. Maybe just one in the center, as well as a cook stove and rocket oven? That's already quite a few stove pipes sticking out of a house with what will likely be a shingled roof. I'm thinking of rooms that are tiny like the Love Shack--just enough room for a bed, row of hangers, a chest, and table with shelves over it? We heat our 1000sqft house with just one woodstove. It has a kitchen and three small bedrooms. The size of bedroom I'm thinking of for the boots is half the size of my kids rooms. Like a twin sized mattress in the longest area, and 6 feet in the other direction.

I gave the house some nice stone "boots" and large overhangs and--what I think--are kind of clerestory windows. These might be really spiffy for summer, too, so it doesn't get too hot. People could regulate their own room temperature by opening or not opening their door/window? I also tried to draw in little window ledges for potted plants.

I do wonder if part of the reason a secondary house hasn't been built is because of regulations? They might need a bigger septic system or stuff if they built a house that looks like a house.
Boot-house-round.jpg
round boot house with wooden bench
It got a little cropped at the bottom....
 
Nicole Alderman
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And, because it's fun to look at something even if it's not to scale, and because it's fun to color, here's a quick sketch of an octagon version
boot-house-octogon.jpg
boot house octagon cob stone timber
Perspective? Consistent angles? Who needs them! I'm having fun here :D
 
Mike Haasl
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I love the reciprocal frame roofs and I can imagine the serenity of staring up at them.  They don't need a circular window in the center but that would let lots of light in (when not covered in snow).  They can span quite a distance (at least 30' diameter) and if supported from the inner walls of the rooms, the central area wouldn't be limited in size by it.  

I'm thinking Nicole is right that multiple chimneys poking up could be excessive.  I wonder about two RMHs with the distance between the exhaust pipe and the surface of the mass decreasing as it passes room to room.  That way it might give each room roughly the same amount of heat.  Or allow each room to be different and house the boots based on preferred room temperature.

Lovely drawings by the way :)
 
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Not sure ~15' round/square for the common area would be comfortably large enough for various activities along with 6 people. Very doubtful, in fact. 15' round provides ~50' linear wall length which might sound ok, but subract doors; any furniture, even cob benches form fitted would push the "walk space" boundary back into the room at _least_ 24" all around. So the 15' diameter becomes effectively 11' diameter, and that's assuming curved furniture fitted against the outer wall. A normal sort of adequate bedroom size is 12x12 and the center is supposed to be common to 6 people recreationally and also house functions like cooking and heating.

Tables? RMH? Wet area? Chairs? Other stuff?

I'd say double the common diameter. Then enlarge the private rooms slightly and add on others. Perhaps if there's an experienced architect around they can ball park the normal rules of thumb for spaces people need, especially public spaces. This will increase cost and labor required, but the 15' commons seems to me suited only to 3 people, 4 at the outside.

Great topic.


Cheers,
Rufus
 
Jay Angler
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I admit I was also thinking that the 15' common area might be on the small size, so I'm glad that Rufus Laggren brought that up.

Thanks so much for the artwork, Nicole. That is the sort of thing I was thinking of, and the idea of the clerestory windows was to give some natural light to the common area. Otherwise, if the bedroom doors were shut, it would be pretty dark. OUR Ecovillage, on the Island put reflective material including bits of recycled mirror between the clerestory windows in one of their building to help bounce the light around.  

I admit I'm not a fan of ocular windows in the roof. Particularly in Boot Camp climate, to me, skylights are a huge energy drain.

So far as the RMH plans, I liked the suggestion that a single RMH starting in the common area would have pipe/s dipping through the walls into several bedrooms. How that would work and still avoid the bedroom doors I'd have to think about. I could easily see it working for just two rooms, but if the plan is for 6 + a shower area, I'd need an RMH expert to send ideas!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I had fun with graph paper. If each octagon exterior wall was 10 feet on the interior, then there's just enough room for a twin bed and a small table in each room. Tiny, but privacy and I'd assume a lot nicer than the bunk room in Fisher Price where they're sharing with...four?..other boots?

I would use one octagon room to be split in half--one having a bath/shower+toilet+sink, and the other having a toilet+washer+deep laundry sink.

Two octagon rooms would be turned into kitchen/dining.

For scale, I kept it easy. Each square on the graph paper = 1 foot, or 0.33 meters
CCI_000013.jpg
Five boot house with rocket stove and Rocket mass heater
Five boot house with rocket stove and Rocket mass heater
 
Mike Haasl
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I think I vote for bigger.  For that awesome graphical representation of the floor plan, it has a 2.5' diameter table.  It's hard to fit more than three people at a table that size.  The couch (as shown) is only a foot deep and the countertops are a bit over a foot.  So I'm just saying that if full sized stuff is the beginning point, and the space is designed around them, it will likely lead to a bigger building.  

My imagination says that a central octagon that is around 18' across is a good place to start...
 
Nicole Alderman
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Good spotting, Mike! I wasn't quite finished with it, but people were looking for interior images. I agree that it's a bit small! The foot print is only 22 feet across! Doing a very rough calculation using circle area, it's less than 380sqft Using an online calculator for finding the area of an octagon, this looks to be about 483sqft. This might be handy if bigger buildings need more permits or such.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I sketched up one with an 18 foot center room...and then my kids got it dirty. So I tried to clean it up in photoshop. I gave it 1 foot thick exterior wall and 6 inch thick interior walls. I didn't get a chance to measure chairs, tables to make sure I was drawing them right. The bed are a little wider and longer than a twin mattress. Bedrooms have room for a small desk, clothes hanger, and a chest/suitcase/ nightstand-sized dresser. I like having two bathrooms. With 5 people in a house, it's nice to have more than one bathroom. Sure, one is also the washer room, but at least someone can stop washing for a second if you really need to go! Though, there's poopers nearby outside, so maybe this isn't necessary. I tried to have all the plumbing--if there is plumbing--be in one section of the house--the kitchen is near baths/washer.

I went and calculated the interior area (including interior walls, but not exterior walls) and this lands at 946 sqft. That's how big my house is. It's small, but not too small, for 5 adults.  The previous version I drew, was only 482 sqft. So, by changing each edge of the octagon from 10 to 14 feet, we doubled our square-footage.
18-foot-center-room-boot-house.jpg
18 foot center boot house with duel bath
 
Mike Haasl
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Now we're talking!  That's feeling a bit more livable, at least for my tastes.  
 
Miles Flansburg
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I was thinking more of each room being an octagon, many octagons placed in a "circle", which forms a large center common area. Wish I knew how to draw that idea. It is sort of like the mars houses I linked above, but with 8 sides instead of 6.

 
Jay Angler
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

So, by changing each edge of the octagon from 10 to 14 feet, we doubled our square-footage.

I want to emphasize this observation. Since square footage goes up as a "mathematical square" while perimeter just goes up as an addition, a little bigger and more useful interior can result from relatively little extra "envelope". This is the one problem I have with the "small house movement" - you spend a lot of money and materials on the exterior for the amount of interior - particularly if the law insists it be road legal and therefore only about 8 ft wide. (Don't take that to mean I don't think people shouldn't build Tiny Homes - just that the alternative of designing a larger dwelling for multiple people can be a very efficient use of material.) The shape being suggested in this thread, be it round or octagonal, has the specific benefit of using relatively little "outside" to protect about as large an amount of "inside" as possible.

If such a building actually moves from the "theoretical" idea stage to an actual "what would make this happen" stage, there will be all sorts of little things that the people involved might want to change (I for one would want the area behind the entry door to have shelves for footwear and a rack to hang wet or snowy coats, for example), but as an example of a way to help 5 boots (maybe 6 - but there are only 5 rooms in Nicole's current drawing) feel like they have a good space that encourages them to feel as if they belong, I think we've got some good ideas in this thread.
 
Catherine Windrose
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Thoughts about:

- super thick walls using natural materials

  • stability and durability to accommodate potentially more catastrophic weather events in the future
  • do it well once to last for generations
  • small spaces can be quiet personal space, especially important for transient volunteers living outside their norm and comfort zones


  • - clerestory windows

  • hurricane glass framed without metal
  • a couple/few clerestory pivot windows to maximize airflow,  2' x 3' dependent on wall length?
  • attached is a pdf with with notes and images showing stages of a no-metal pivot window created for a project a few years ago, so maybe not entirely suitable for this experiment (same as images also uploaded separately - really love that big round window in the first image <3 <3 <3 )
  • inset at least 1' so gusts bear more on exterior walls and less on glass to reduce condensation and potential for breakage by debris
  • adequate roof overhang to prevent rain blowing in, shaped so critters would not be able to enter (is this possible?)
  • ideally windows could be left open in warm weather during a rain, as with many ancient/old-ish buildings and monasteries that had permanently open windows


  • - common window, lower on the wall

  • hurricane glass
  • inset at least 1' as a bench seat window, and so gusts bear more on exterior walls and less on glass to reduce condensation and potential for breakage by debris
  • 1.5' - 2' awning type 'thing' about 1' above top lintels to prevent rain blowing in


  • If timber and clay come from TL for the bulk of framing and cobbing, and if I donate $ for hurricane glass, what other costs require consideration?

    I think Miles' idea with all octagon walls would be extremely sturdy.  The roof could still be arched above walls for added strength.  

    Basalt fabric mesh is not terribly expensive to use for stabilized earth and I might be able to donate that as well.  Or maybe someone else wants to?  I want to help, not take over ^.^
    Filename: window-ideas.pdf
    File size: 739 Kbytes
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    vertical-pivot-window-frame-24-x-24-panes-plus-frame.png
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    vertical-pivot-window-frame-with-wrapped-cotton-or-wool-batting-to-insulate-in-hot-or-cold-weather.png
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    Rufus Laggren
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    There seems to me one other _very_ important space-taker: The 2nd egress from the common room, more or less across the building from the main door. Think FIRE at night around the front door and everybody has left their door locked as they bail from their window. Motivated people in the common area might often be able to break down a bedroom door and get out that way... But "often" may not be goods odds in this case. Most times some doors would be unlocked, but again, "most times" may not be a good bet. There may be 12 people enjoying poetry session when the fire starts - can they all make it out?

    I spend much of my life onboard. The small spaces in a boat make one very conscious of how quickly a fire can completely block an exit and "get you". To my mind a 2nd full size exit some distance from the main door is a safety factor that _must_ be included any design/build plans. Fire happens. I had a small stove fire onboard and that REALLY opened my eyes: It engulfed the whole galley instantly and went looking for fuel both fore and aft and came across OVERHEAD. I threw a big pile of laundry over the stove and followed that with a large cushion and pressed down and prayed. A serious lesson for the cost of a new wardrobe and 5 years scared right off my life. The fire was fast and it was eager. While I could have gotten by this blaze to the main hatch that may not have been true in another two or three minutes - or even one minute.

    My parents home burned out one 2nd floor bedroom and rendered the whole house unlivable for almost a year. According to the fire department the 2nd floor become deadly because of smoke within about 2-3 minutes from the time the smoke alarm sounded. My father was sleeping in a chair in another bedroom and fortunately went directly downstairs and out in his bedroom slippers; if he had been asleep in bed it would have been a very close thing.

    My sister smokes (ehk!) and lit her bed on fire on the 3rd floor of the same house after she went to sleep. She woke up in time and hit it with a fire extinguisher. The whole 3rd floor, kitchen, bath, 2 bedrooms, living room was smoked and she was coughing for a week. All the finish surfaces had to be renewed.

    The point is that fire happens even to nice people and it can get bad FAST, especially the deadly smoke. That means people need a clear obvious and easy way out - even if the main door is not accessible and many are disoriented and can't see clearly because of smoke.

    You can look at building with fire safety in mind as cheap insurance or you can look at it as a code mandated BS, a PITA and waste of money. To my mind, either way is fine as long as the building does get the necessary safety exits.


    Regards,
    Rufus.
     
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    These are some excellent ideas & plans!!! I think that if speed of construction & future expansion flexibility is a concern then a dogtrot cabin design is worth considering.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Rufus Laggren wrote:There seems to me one other _very_ important space-taker: The 2nd egress from the common room, more or less across the building from the main door. Think FIRE at night around the front door and everybody has left their door locked as they bail from their window.



    I'm thinking maybe a good place for this would be the second bathroom (the one with the washer/wringer). Since there are bathrooms outside, having two bathrooms inside might not be as necessary. This room could be the "mud room" for coming in with muddy feet, and have places to hang wet clothes, wash clothes, etc....and also act as a separate exit in case of a fire.

    If we moved the mud/wash room to where the bathroom is, I'm thinking this would give an exit that's far enough away from the entrance for safety? I'd prefer it all the way on the opposite side of the octagon, but keeping the water works near each other seems important, I'm thinking?
     
    Mike Haasl
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    Couldn't all the windows in the bedrooms be egress windows?
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    This was Rufase's reason for needing a second egress:

    hink FIRE at night around the front door and everybody has left their door locked as they bail from their window. Motivated people in the common area might often be able to break down a bedroom door and get out that way... But "often" may not be goods odds in this case. Most times some doors would be unlocked, but again, "most times" may not be a good bet. There may be 12 people enjoying poetry session when the fire starts - can they all make it out?

    .

    Also, it's a lot faster to get out a door than a window.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Because I have fun drawing these (I've had a fascination with house designs since I was a kid, drawing blueprints of my favorite stories, and then of course I had to go on to sketch design after design of my own dream homes...none were to be--I live in a manufactured home. BUT, it's fun to dream!), I went and drew the octagon one to scale. With the 3 foot overhang and a 6/12 roof (for snow) it means the roof is 10 feet high on the outside walls (9 foot if there's a 1 foot ceiling--how deep are ceiling areas, anyway?). By the time you get to the clerestory windows, it's 22 feet high. Very pretty and open, but that looks like a lot of roof to shingle! Each quarter inch = 1 foot.

    I have the lowest part of the roof overhang at 7 feet high (not counting the rocky "boots"--how tall should the "boot"/foundation be, anyway? And, how much of that is just on the facade and not the foundation of the whole house?). I made it 7 foot high so tall people like Paul don't have to worry about bonking their head. It give a good "hat" to the cob, and a nice shaded sitting area. But, man, that's a lot of roof!

    I'm not quite sure how to draw in the rocket cooker's stove pipe. How would the stove pipe come out, anyway?


    Miles wrote:I was thinking more of each room being an octagon, many octagons placed in a "circle", which forms a large center common area. Wish I knew how to draw that idea. It is sort of like the mars houses I linked above, but with 8 sides instead of 6.



    I could probably try to sketch this out...but I'm thinking it might take a lot more resources to build than one with trapazoids for rooms, rather than octagons? I'd sure make the rooms more spacious, though!
    Boothouse-sketch-copy.jpg
    Please ignore the funky stovepipe and top bit of roof. My paper wasn't big enough, so I photoshoped it in...except I stink at drawing in photoshop!
    Please ignore the funky stovepipe and top bit of roof. My paper wasn't big enough, so I photoshoped it in...except I stink at drawing in photoshop!
     
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    As an addict of tiny homes/off grid building shows, a few ideas come to mind.

    IF the beds were placed along the inside (spoke?) wall, one could replace the egress window with a standard sliding glass door - yes less energy efficient - but if berms extended out from the interior (spoke?) walls this would create tiny, private patio's, egress, and lots of light while eliminating some of the wasted space in the rooms.

    Transoms over the bedroom doors could allow for light transfer to interior space, as well as ventilation/heat transfer.

    There are tons of designs of desk/murphy beds - they use a pivot that keeps the desk/shelving surfaces level as they swing under the bed (becoming the 'legs' for bed) negating the need to clear the desk/shelves.

    This type of bed/desk/storage all on a single would only need a total of 4 feet, allow for a 3 foot wide walkway from interior door to patio door, and you are at just 7 feet, on the inside center facing wall - of course it would be wider where the patio door is...

    Two toilets, I agree are a must, perhaps those nifty ones where the 'sink' is above the tank and hand washing water fills the toilet reservoir? Saves space and plumbing.

    If snow/water collection is an issue a tin roof allows for easy snow shedding and water collection.

    My favorite building method is stackwood - don't see why that couldn't combine with cob instead of concrete/cement...the walls are generally 12-18 inches thick, eliminating most heating/cooling requirements, plus it is fairly simple, cheap, albeit labour intensive construction.

    Oooh, and don't forget to collect pretty colored glass bottles for mosaic insertion into cob walls, I just love that take on 'stained glass'!!!
     
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    I like these ideas. And now I want to make drawings too. Like Nicole I draw designs for architecture for as long as I remember, but never made a real building.
    I need to draw things for explanation, I don't know the (English) words.
    It will take some time to make my drawings. When they're finished I'll post them here.
     
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