Win a copy of The School Garden Curriculum this week in the Kids forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • James Freyr
  • Mike Barkley
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Greg Martin
  • Pearl Sutton

Starting a house small and expanding...  RSS feed

 
Posts: 13
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was wondering if anyone could point me towards any good books/resources for planning and building a house in sections.
I.e. I will buiuld this 20X30 section, than add on this section to the left later, than addon to the right... etc?
I've looked and am having no luck. Particularly in the areas of foundation, roofs and windows...

Thanks!
 
gardener
Posts: 496
Location: SoCal USA
81
bike cat composting toilet dog solar trees wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The Hand Sculpted House is a great book on building with cob: https://permies.com/t/8313/Hand-Sculpted-House-Ianto-Evans

The great thing with cob, is that you can always make changes over time. Due to the amount of labor involved, it's smart to pace yourself and get something smaller finished first, then add on as time permits. The book goes into this as well as how to plan for what you need.
 
gardener
Posts: 2348
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't have any resources for you.  I think that your idea has merit, and it is probably how I will be building my own house as well.   My plan is to build the kitchen with a solarium to start with, with a second floor that will be my bedroom and a deck.  The next stage will be my living room with a solarium that will have the second floor eventually be my office/library, but will be my parents bedroom/living room during stage two.  Stage 3 will be the 'ensuite' for the parents (two bedrooms and a small living room), as well as the walk in pantry, and subsequent walk in root cellars, off the kitchen.  I haven't drawn the plans yet and or figured out where the bathroom and toilet room will be.  

Another thought: A friend of mine is planning to build his house based on equal sized hexagons, starting with one, and then joining the next through an equal length adjoining wall.

Whatever you decide, please post about your go ahead plans here on Permies!

 
pollinator
Posts: 204
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
49
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:Another thought: A friend of mine is planning to build his house based on equal sized hexagons, starting with one, and then joining the next through an equal length adjoining wall.



I've pondered similar thoughts during my house design planning. Starting with 1 building and then making 2 or 3 more which would then make an inner "court yard". Mine wouldn't be as fancy as the picture though lol. Considering flexibility, one could make three 400 square foot structures which could be moved easily(bnb) or put close together to form a single home.

---

I don't think there is much information on the subject because of how DIY-oriented it is. This makes guidelines hard to give.

The 1st structure I build will be like a small octagon or dodecagon type home, with windows mostly on the south facing side and maybe 1 on the north side. Then I'll add an enclosed glass addition to the south which will double as a cooking space. Since the sheer winds come from the North West, I could build a 2nd structure south-east with a short connecting wall to the 1st structure in a way that deflects that wind a bit. Spacing them apart will also maximize sun/shade exposure while also reducing the amount of area that needs to be refitted in order to accommodate the new addition. (no roof removal, less wall area has to being taken apart)

Not sure about foundation, I'll have to look into that a bit more.

Best of luck :)
 
pollinator
Posts: 2915
550
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My suggestion is to NOT plan for expansion.

I say that because my house started out in 1995 a 2 car garage, but is a really big house now. I never expanded in the direction I first intended, so all the provisions I made were for nothing when I realized a better solution existed. I have moved almost every window, every door, drastically changed the interior, and plan to do more. A house and family change over time, and no one can really predict any of it.

A case in point is me starting a class on raising sheep for fun and profit. I needed a laptop for that, which suddenly eliminated a desktop and office in my utility room. Last week I swapped utilities, a washer and dryer around, and made shelves so we are better organized...all because of a simple class I was asked to start. I never envisioned that when I designed the utility room layout 12 years ago. My kitchen is another example; it took us 5 years to finish it, but as we lived in the house, we kept changing locations of things until it was to my wife's ideal setting. It took 5 years, but we would not change anything now. That took Permiculture Principal 101: Wait and Observe.

All the provisions I made for my expansion to the north side of my house were all for not, and an expense I never needed to incur; this including extra framing, wiring, plumbing, etc. What a waste.

No one can predict the future: just roll with it as the time comes and build on as is required.
 
Posts: 123
Location: Denton, TX United States Zone 8a
22
dog fish forest garden goat hugelkultur tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Randy I've considered the same issues. Many threads here on Permies talk about starting small and expanding a house from a financial standpoint, but I haven't seen any books specifically on how that process works. Roofing and windows, the only solutions I see are to plan on modular roofing, with each part of the roof complementing the rest but standing on its own, and planning on where you would/could extend when placing windows. Foundation, however, seems to be the sticky wicket.

Foundation

For my area it seems like a rubble trench foundation would be the best option, so in designing a structure (we don't have land of our own yet, but plan on purchasing and building our own home), one idea I've had is extending the rubble trenches out two feet beyond each wall. Using either roof overhang, something to shield it from rain or counting on trench drainage, I plan to dig out 10 feet, partially fill that trench so that the rubble slopes towards the structure, and backfill until it's needed. That way, if in the future I want to build out additional walls, I can simply unearth that part of the trench and extend it without disturbing the structure. Or so I hope. Will probably have a concrete footing as well, which would help.

Here's a few poorly done sketches of what I'm thinking:

rubble-trench-for-extension.JPG
[Thumbnail for rubble-trench-for-extension.JPG]
trench-detail.JPG
[Thumbnail for trench-detail.JPG]
 
Randy Lee
Posts: 13
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had similar thoughts as far as the rubble trench was concerned, though I'm not sure if I can get such a foundation approved here in WA state.

I'm trying to plan the main building to have enough space that expansion wouldn't necessarily be required, while keeping the original footprint low to make it an actually feasible build... it's quite the thought process.
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2348
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My own plan is based on finances and not wanting to go into debt again after getting the land paid for.  If I tried to build it all in one shot, I'd have to go into a fair bit of debt.  If I build it in increments, then it is possible that I wont have to go into debt again.  That is the primary reason for wanting to do it this way.  I've seen houses with multiple add ons (additions), that make for a much more complicated build than one which might have been planned in advance and are often difficult to heat efficiently.

The main reason that I am not considering going with a multiple hexagonal style is because of the over complicated roof lines.  I'm trying to make my roofing as simple as possible.  Simple single slope shed roofs work much better for shedding snow and water, and are much simpler to seal up, to repair, and to add on to.  Double roofs with a peak cap are the next simplest.  When you get multiple roof angles and ridge caps and you have water draining in many directions then you have all sorts of design issues to deal with in regards to managing that flow.

       
 
pollinator
Posts: 54
Location: Zone 4, SD
10
cat chicken dog goat homestead wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jarret Hynd wrote:

Roberto pokachinni wrote:Another thought: A friend of mine is planning to build his house based on equal sized hexagons, starting with one, and then joining the next through an equal length adjoining wall.



I've pondered similar thoughts during my house design planning. Starting with 1 building and then making 2 or 3 more which would then make an inner "court yard". Mine wouldn't be as fancy as the picture though lol. Considering flexibility, one could make three 400 square foot structures which could be moved easily(bnb) or put close together to form a single home.

...



Have you seen the videos from this family?   Each of the kids gets to build their own "bedroom" as kind of a separate house.  I know several have rocket mass heaters in them.

in case the attempted link above doesn't work:  https://www.youtube.com/user/mylittlehomestead/featured
 
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
121
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about  396 sq. ft. (14′ x 39′) 1 bedroom, 1 bath,

then add double that



As for the roof build the 1st half higher and the 2nd half lower and het some natural light in maybe even a loft in that higher bedroom.


uhmm



As for the walls, one word "Buttress"



Then later start adding

 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
121
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
With the floor plan above you would only have 1 door, so many not up to code.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is how I would build it: there is a very efficient floor plan which was build mainly in the 30th or so. In the first floor you have kitchen living room and a toilet. And in the roof (which you can build in later) there are two or three bedrooms and a bathroom. I could draw it on a piece of paper... the staircase is in the middle and u-shaped and the bathroom is opposite the staircase. The bedrooms in the roof are on either side. It could be 8 meters deep and about 6 meters wide give or take.
 
Randy Lee
Posts: 13
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm very happy to read your responses and thoughts guys. They definitely help with the planning and such. I do wish there were more resources for it though.

In the realm of slab on grade foundations, how could you tie multiple slabs together? It sounds complicated, and thus expensive...
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2348
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
301
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When you do your rebar work for your initial slab you can have it extend beyond in the direction you plan to expand, so that you can lap the next slab's rebar against it and tie it together with wire; that way your next slab is tied to the grid of the initial slab. This will be a bit finicky as you will need to drill some holes in your form board to slide the rebar through, and you will have to get the board off the rebar after the concrete is good and set, and that will take some finangling-but that's how I conceive of doing it.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 2915
550
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My house is slab-on-grade and to tie in new additions I just took a Hilti-Drill and bore holes in the old slab (as long as it does not have radiant heating tubes). Go in about 6 inches every 4 feet or so and then install short lengths of rebar into the holes; 12 inch lengths are plenty long enough.

You can use epoxy to secure the rebar to the concrete, but it is not required. When you pour your new slab, the rebar keeps both at the same height due to any settling or frost heaving. The latter will be eliminated if you use styrofoam, which honestly should be used anyway to prevent heat loss.

You can buy a brand new Hilti-Drill from Harbor Freight for $79, or you can rent one, and the rebar is about 50 cents per piece.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 2915
550
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Like Roberto points out, I have seen some complicated house additions and it looks just like they added on a dozen times. Myself, I have 6 additions on this house and it is not really noticeable. I think the key is to really pay attention to the roof line and making them match. That is part planning, and part carpentry skills. A carpenters best friend in this instance is a ball of string. Stretching it out gets the numbers and the angles they need to know, plan, and envision.

Like anything, my 6 addition home's roof looks complicated when you stand on the roof and look about, but it really is not. How does a person eat an elephant, the same way they eat a piece of pie: one bite at a time. The concept is the same on my house. I never planned out 6 additions, I took them one at a time so ensuring good looking roof lines was not that bad.

By the way: 2 additions I built have since been ripped off the house: a greenhouse and a woodworking shop.
 
Randy Lee
Posts: 13
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Was gifted the hand sculpted house as a Xmas gift and do have been thinking more on this... I feel if the code would approve a rubble trench foundation with a poured bond beam this becomes a bit easier to tie everything together.  I mainly plan to use LAX, tho I really want to do a large open window setup out of cob connected on the south side for my office and the wife's crafting business.
 
Posts: 669
Location: Bendigo , Australia
23
dog homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Randy, I have build many homes along the lines you speak of.
I suggest something even smaller at the start, that way each stage will be finished.
PPPPP results.
Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor results.
I think TRavis missed out on the first tow P's.
step one 10 x 10 Shower, bucket or port toilet, rough cooking space
step 2 - 10 x 10 sleeping area which transforms to say a lounge later
step 3 - add 10 x 10 which maybe a bedroom area 2 becomes a better kitchen moveable benches etc
step 4 - add 10 x 10 fancy bathroom and delete the shower / toilet from step 1
step 5 - area 1 maybe fit out as laundry wet room
etc etc
It is a very practical method of building and you may think about using timber stud wall panels which can be reused each time a wall is removed.
But when the final external walls are built, use the local code requirements.
 
Posts: 43
Location: Southeast Brazil
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:When you do your rebar work for your initial slab you can have it extend beyond in the direction you plan to expand, so that you can lap the next slab's rebar against it and tie it together with wire; that way your next slab is tied to the grid of the initial slab. This will be a bit finicky as you will need to drill some holes in your form board to slide the rebar through, and you will have to get the board off the rebar after the concrete is good and set, and that will take some finangling-but that's how I conceive of doing it.



That's the way we brasilians do It. I lived in a house extended that way and know several others. Very commom around hier. I should say we have no frosts and no earthquakes.
 
Pay attention! Tiny ad!
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!