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dnrg
July 9th 03, 10:35 PM
I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.
My motivations for building small are:

1) Lower materials cost
2) Lower heating and cooling bills
3) The challenge of building small but not cramped
4) Easier on the environment with less materials

Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space. If the damn attic
weren't blocked off as a cheap "drop ceiling", the pitch of the roof
seems like it could have allowed for a small sleeping loft which would
make the place even more livable.

I would love to have a home with two floors, living on the top and
renting out the bottom unit, or a tiny two story duplex with me living
on one side and renting out the other.

Does anyone here have any idea how I'd estimate the materials cost for
a small home like this? Or which two-story building geometries would
be easiest / cheapest to construct?

I'm reading Rob Roy's book "Mortgage-Free!" and am really enjoying it.
Any others like it? Or good books on finding a nice piece of land?
Apparently, cheap land is often priced that way for a reason, e.g.
super-expensive to dig a well there, or an access road needs to be
built, or the land needs to be leveled, or it's off the grid, etc,
etc, etc. I just want to make sure I'm aware of any not-so-obvious
"gotchas" before I fall in love with a (small) piece of property.

All I want is a small plot of land, but unfortunately the lowest
priced small parcels around here are in developments with restrictive
covenants! e.g. no duplex; so there goes my idea of having part of the
mortgage paid for by a renter. Ugh.

Finally, how difficult is it to be your own General Contractor? Many
seem to imply that it's not worth the effort. I'm wondering how much
GC's tack on to the cost of materials. I like sniffing out a good
bargain and would rather do the materials purchasing myself, perhaps
asking the local Habitat for Humanity chapter for advice on what I
should be paying for materials.


Thanks in advance for any help.

- Dana

Dennis
July 9th 03, 11:21 PM
On 9 Jul 2003 13:35:39 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:


>Finally, how difficult is it to be your own General Contractor?

I've done it twice.

The first time, I built a moderate house (1400 sq. ft., single level
ranch) in town, during a building slowdown (1984). Suppliers and
contractors were hungry, I had my pick of multiple bids and I saved a
bunch.

The second time, I built a large custom home (3200 sq. ft., 3 levels)
out in the country, during a building boom (1998). I had trouble
getting bids and was pretty low on the priority list when I could get
contractors. It was a big headache and I don't think I saved enough
to make it worth my time and agravation.

So the answer is: it depends. ;-)

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
"There is a fine line between participation and mockery" - Wally

Dennis
July 9th 03, 11:21 PM
On 9 Jul 2003 13:35:39 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:


>Finally, how difficult is it to be your own General Contractor?

I've done it twice.

The first time, I built a moderate house (1400 sq. ft., single level
ranch) in town, during a building slowdown (1984). Suppliers and
contractors were hungry, I had my pick of multiple bids and I saved a
bunch.

The second time, I built a large custom home (3200 sq. ft., 3 levels)
out in the country, during a building boom (1998). I had trouble
getting bids and was pretty low on the priority list when I could get
contractors. It was a big headache and I don't think I saved enough
to make it worth my time and agravation.

So the answer is: it depends. ;-)

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
"There is a fine line between participation and mockery" - Wally

Barry Breedlove
July 9th 03, 11:33 PM
"dnrg" > wrote

> Does anyone here have any idea how I'd estimate the materials cost for
> a small home like this? Or which two-story building geometries would
> be easiest / cheapest to construct?

You will need a licensed architect stamped approval on any plans you may
have in mind. Save money now by hiring one, to help with your design
thoughts.

> I'm wondering how much
> GC's tack on to the cost of materials. I like sniffing out a good
> bargain and would rather do the materials purchasing myself.

You will have to deal with scheduling deliveries. If your subcontractor
shows up, and you're not ready for them, problems with materials, no
subcontractor in their right mind will be put on hold while you deal
with wrong/damaged material. You will lose the sub in a hurry,
especially since this would be a one time shot for them. Don't expect
to get the best subcontractor at the best price, they go with the bread
and butter contractor that can supply a steady work flow and earn a
living. You probably would end up with problems with subs at the very
least, plus cost you more in the long run.

If your idea is a contractor is making oodles of $ on material, they do
have many hours dealing with this, plus years of experience that you
couldn't even begin to match. They earn their money.

Your bargain is sniffing out the best contractor, that has all
good/reliable subs.

Barry Breedlove
July 9th 03, 11:33 PM
"dnrg" > wrote

> Does anyone here have any idea how I'd estimate the materials cost for
> a small home like this? Or which two-story building geometries would
> be easiest / cheapest to construct?

You will need a licensed architect stamped approval on any plans you may
have in mind. Save money now by hiring one, to help with your design
thoughts.

> I'm wondering how much
> GC's tack on to the cost of materials. I like sniffing out a good
> bargain and would rather do the materials purchasing myself.

You will have to deal with scheduling deliveries. If your subcontractor
shows up, and you're not ready for them, problems with materials, no
subcontractor in their right mind will be put on hold while you deal
with wrong/damaged material. You will lose the sub in a hurry,
especially since this would be a one time shot for them. Don't expect
to get the best subcontractor at the best price, they go with the bread
and butter contractor that can supply a steady work flow and earn a
living. You probably would end up with problems with subs at the very
least, plus cost you more in the long run.

If your idea is a contractor is making oodles of $ on material, they do
have many hours dealing with this, plus years of experience that you
couldn't even begin to match. They earn their money.

Your bargain is sniffing out the best contractor, that has all
good/reliable subs.

Colt
July 10th 03, 12:03 AM
Dennis wrote:
>
> On 9 Jul 2003 13:35:39 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:
>
> >Finally, how difficult is it to be your own General Contractor?
>
> I've done it twice.
>
> The first time, I built a moderate house (1400 sq. ft., single level
> ranch) in town, during a building slowdown (1984). Suppliers and
> contractors were hungry, I had my pick of multiple bids and I saved a
> bunch.
>
> The second time, I built a large custom home (3200 sq. ft., 3 levels)
> out in the country, during a building boom (1998). I had trouble
> getting bids and was pretty low on the priority list when I could get
> contractors. It was a big headache and I don't think I saved enough
> to make it worth my time and agravation.
>
> So the answer is: it depends. ;-)
>
> the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
> --
> "There is a fine line between participation and mockery" - Wally


Dennis, did you have construction experience prior to working as your
own general contractor?

Colt
July 10th 03, 12:03 AM
Dennis wrote:
>
> On 9 Jul 2003 13:35:39 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:
>
> >Finally, how difficult is it to be your own General Contractor?
>
> I've done it twice.
>
> The first time, I built a moderate house (1400 sq. ft., single level
> ranch) in town, during a building slowdown (1984). Suppliers and
> contractors were hungry, I had my pick of multiple bids and I saved a
> bunch.
>
> The second time, I built a large custom home (3200 sq. ft., 3 levels)
> out in the country, during a building boom (1998). I had trouble
> getting bids and was pretty low on the priority list when I could get
> contractors. It was a big headache and I don't think I saved enough
> to make it worth my time and agravation.
>
> So the answer is: it depends. ;-)
>
> the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
> --
> "There is a fine line between participation and mockery" - Wally


Dennis, did you have construction experience prior to working as your
own general contractor?

Dennis
July 10th 03, 12:50 AM
On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 18:03:01 -0400, Colt >
wrote:

>Dennis, did you have construction experience prior to working as your
>own general contractor?

Some. My dad was a die-hard DIYer, and I worked some summer
construction jobs while in school. I also took a non-credit
owner-builder class offered through the local community college. But
I've never worked as a licensed contractor.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

Dennis
July 10th 03, 12:50 AM
On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 18:03:01 -0400, Colt >
wrote:

>Dennis, did you have construction experience prior to working as your
>own general contractor?

Some. My dad was a die-hard DIYer, and I worked some summer
construction jobs while in school. I also took a non-credit
owner-builder class offered through the local community college. But
I've never worked as a licensed contractor.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

Nick Pine
July 10th 03, 01:28 AM
Barry Breedlove > wrote:

>You will need a licensed architect stamped approval on any plans...

Maybe not. You might scribble something on the back of an envelope,
send it off to a SIP manufacturer, get back a CAD drawing, modify it,
and get a truckful of panels in a few weeks along with a crew to
screw it together in a few days.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 10th 03, 01:28 AM
Barry Breedlove > wrote:

>You will need a licensed architect stamped approval on any plans...

Maybe not. You might scribble something on the back of an envelope,
send it off to a SIP manufacturer, get back a CAD drawing, modify it,
and get a truckful of panels in a few weeks along with a crew to
screw it together in a few days.

Nick

George
July 10th 03, 01:44 AM
"dnrg" > wrote in message
om...
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.
> My motivations for building small are:
>
> 1) Lower materials cost
> 2) Lower heating and cooling bills
> 3) The challenge of building small but not cramped
> 4) Easier on the environment with less materials
>
> Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space. If the damn attic
> weren't blocked off as a cheap "drop ceiling", the pitch of the roof
> seems like it could have allowed for a small sleeping loft which would
> make the place even more livable.
>
> I would love to have a home with two floors, living on the top and
> renting out the bottom unit, or a tiny two story duplex with me living
> on one side and renting out the other.
>
> Does anyone here have any idea how I'd estimate the materials cost for
> a small home like this? Or which two-story building geometries would
> be easiest / cheapest to construct?
>
> I'm reading Rob Roy's book "Mortgage-Free!" and am really enjoying it.
> Any others like it? Or good books on finding a nice piece of land?
> Apparently, cheap land is often priced that way for a reason, e.g.
> super-expensive to dig a well there, or an access road needs to be
> built, or the land needs to be leveled, or it's off the grid, etc,
> etc, etc. I just want to make sure I'm aware of any not-so-obvious
> "gotchas" before I fall in love with a (small) piece of property.
>
> All I want is a small plot of land, but unfortunately the lowest
> priced small parcels around here are in developments with restrictive
> covenants! e.g. no duplex; so there goes my idea of having part of the
> mortgage paid for by a renter. Ugh.
>
> Finally, how difficult is it to be your own General Contractor? Many
> seem to imply that it's not worth the effort. I'm wondering how much
> GC's tack on to the cost of materials. I like sniffing out a good
> bargain and would rather do the materials purchasing myself, perhaps
> asking the local Habitat for Humanity chapter for advice on what I
> should be paying for materials.
>
>
> Thanks in advance for any help.
>
> - Dana




If you plan on doing it during a boom (like now) you will have a difficult
time finding subs. When they are working for a regular GC they know what to
expect. You would be a unknown and they would have no idea what to expect.
If/when there is a bust you will be able to pick and choose.

The other consideration is that you need to have the time. You can't expect
to stop by the site on your way to your full time job and expect everything
to happen properly.

George
July 10th 03, 01:44 AM
"dnrg" > wrote in message
om...
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.
> My motivations for building small are:
>
> 1) Lower materials cost
> 2) Lower heating and cooling bills
> 3) The challenge of building small but not cramped
> 4) Easier on the environment with less materials
>
> Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space. If the damn attic
> weren't blocked off as a cheap "drop ceiling", the pitch of the roof
> seems like it could have allowed for a small sleeping loft which would
> make the place even more livable.
>
> I would love to have a home with two floors, living on the top and
> renting out the bottom unit, or a tiny two story duplex with me living
> on one side and renting out the other.
>
> Does anyone here have any idea how I'd estimate the materials cost for
> a small home like this? Or which two-story building geometries would
> be easiest / cheapest to construct?
>
> I'm reading Rob Roy's book "Mortgage-Free!" and am really enjoying it.
> Any others like it? Or good books on finding a nice piece of land?
> Apparently, cheap land is often priced that way for a reason, e.g.
> super-expensive to dig a well there, or an access road needs to be
> built, or the land needs to be leveled, or it's off the grid, etc,
> etc, etc. I just want to make sure I'm aware of any not-so-obvious
> "gotchas" before I fall in love with a (small) piece of property.
>
> All I want is a small plot of land, but unfortunately the lowest
> priced small parcels around here are in developments with restrictive
> covenants! e.g. no duplex; so there goes my idea of having part of the
> mortgage paid for by a renter. Ugh.
>
> Finally, how difficult is it to be your own General Contractor? Many
> seem to imply that it's not worth the effort. I'm wondering how much
> GC's tack on to the cost of materials. I like sniffing out a good
> bargain and would rather do the materials purchasing myself, perhaps
> asking the local Habitat for Humanity chapter for advice on what I
> should be paying for materials.
>
>
> Thanks in advance for any help.
>
> - Dana




If you plan on doing it during a boom (like now) you will have a difficult
time finding subs. When they are working for a regular GC they know what to
expect. You would be a unknown and they would have no idea what to expect.
If/when there is a bust you will be able to pick and choose.

The other consideration is that you need to have the time. You can't expect
to stop by the site on your way to your full time job and expect everything
to happen properly.

Barry Breedlove
July 10th 03, 01:57 AM
"Nick Pine" > wrote in message
...
> Barry Breedlove > wrote:
>
> >You will need a licensed architect stamped approval on any plans...
>
> Maybe not. You might scribble something on the back of an envelope,
> send it off to a SIP manufacturer, get back a CAD drawing, modify it,
> and get a truckful of panels in a few weeks along with a crew to
> screw it together in a few days.
>
> Nick

Indeed, and the plans will be pre-approved by an architect. If not, they
will need approved by a local architect, speaking of my area.

Barry Breedlove
July 10th 03, 01:57 AM
"Nick Pine" > wrote in message
...
> Barry Breedlove > wrote:
>
> >You will need a licensed architect stamped approval on any plans...
>
> Maybe not. You might scribble something on the back of an envelope,
> send it off to a SIP manufacturer, get back a CAD drawing, modify it,
> and get a truckful of panels in a few weeks along with a crew to
> screw it together in a few days.
>
> Nick

Indeed, and the plans will be pre-approved by an architect. If not, they
will need approved by a local architect, speaking of my area.

July 10th 03, 04:07 AM
You might consider building a house with straw bales. They're cheap, have
outrageous insulation factors, are (beleive it or not) more fire-resistant
than a frame-built house, are quiet as a tomb, can be built in a weekend
(with friends), and have other virtues. If you do the drainage around the
foundation right, rot shouldn't be a problem. Might not work, though, in
the rainy northwest . . .
Do a web search on "straw bale" and see what comes up. Just like a
bellybutton, it's something to look into . . .
--Tock

July 10th 03, 04:07 AM
You might consider building a house with straw bales. They're cheap, have
outrageous insulation factors, are (beleive it or not) more fire-resistant
than a frame-built house, are quiet as a tomb, can be built in a weekend
(with friends), and have other virtues. If you do the drainage around the
foundation right, rot shouldn't be a problem. Might not work, though, in
the rainy northwest . . .
Do a web search on "straw bale" and see what comes up. Just like a
bellybutton, it's something to look into . . .
--Tock

Anthony Matonak
July 10th 03, 04:59 AM
dnrg wrote:
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.

Well, small is relative. If you want some examples you could look at
the sizes of apartments.

Anything less than 400 sq feet is typically a studio. That is you have
a kitchen/bathroom and a living/dining/bedroom. If you are lucky, you
might also have a closet. I've never really seen any studio apartments
less than 300 sq feet but I'm sure they must exist somewhere. This is
usually considered the absolute minimum requirements for a person.

From 400 to 600 sq feet is typically a one or two bedroom apartment
with one bathroom. Kitchens are separate from the bathroom and there
is a separate living/dining room.

Over 600 sq feet and you are talking more bedrooms, larger rooms,
more bathrooms, etc. Around 600+ sq feet is usually the smallest
size most people consider for a house. Most two car garages are
around 600 sq feet which may explain why garage conversions are
fairly popular.

> My motivations for building small are:
>
> 1) Lower materials cost

Just building small alone will lower your material costs but it may
save you more money in the long run to look at materials which simply
cost less to start with. For example, strawbales, papercrete, adobe,
cob, rammed earth, prefab steel, etc. Labor is usually a very big
part of the cost in construction so it also helps if the design and
materials lend themselves to faster assembly or can be built with
unskilled labor.

> 2) Lower heating and cooling bills

Again, just being small alone may not be the only thing you want to
look at. Design the house so that it is more energy efficient and it
will have lower heating and cooling bills even compared to a smaller
house which is less efficient. Look at super insulating the structure
and designing it to make maximum use of the site and local weather.

> 3) The challenge of building small but not cramped

This is so relative that I can't even offer ideas. I know people who
live in RV's full time. I would consider their living conditions very
cramped but they consider it cozy. It helps to have less stuff. The
less stuff you have then the less building you need to house it. You
yourself only take up a few square feet of space at any one moment.

> 4) Easier on the environment with less materials

Once again, less is better but you might also consider using materials
which are easier on the environment to start with. Even if you wind up
using a lot more material then it may still be better in the end because
the material itself isn't as hard on the environment.

> Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space.

Sounds like this is the size of house you are looking for.

> I'm reading Rob Roy's book "Mortgage-Free!" and am really enjoying it.
> Any others like it? Or good books on finding a nice piece of land?

You might try some of the following.
http://www.dirtcheapbuilder.com/
http://radio.weblogs.com/0119080/stories/2003/04/09/theMythAndPromiseOfDirtChe.html

Anthony

Anthony Matonak
July 10th 03, 04:59 AM
dnrg wrote:
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.

Well, small is relative. If you want some examples you could look at
the sizes of apartments.

Anything less than 400 sq feet is typically a studio. That is you have
a kitchen/bathroom and a living/dining/bedroom. If you are lucky, you
might also have a closet. I've never really seen any studio apartments
less than 300 sq feet but I'm sure they must exist somewhere. This is
usually considered the absolute minimum requirements for a person.

From 400 to 600 sq feet is typically a one or two bedroom apartment
with one bathroom. Kitchens are separate from the bathroom and there
is a separate living/dining room.

Over 600 sq feet and you are talking more bedrooms, larger rooms,
more bathrooms, etc. Around 600+ sq feet is usually the smallest
size most people consider for a house. Most two car garages are
around 600 sq feet which may explain why garage conversions are
fairly popular.

> My motivations for building small are:
>
> 1) Lower materials cost

Just building small alone will lower your material costs but it may
save you more money in the long run to look at materials which simply
cost less to start with. For example, strawbales, papercrete, adobe,
cob, rammed earth, prefab steel, etc. Labor is usually a very big
part of the cost in construction so it also helps if the design and
materials lend themselves to faster assembly or can be built with
unskilled labor.

> 2) Lower heating and cooling bills

Again, just being small alone may not be the only thing you want to
look at. Design the house so that it is more energy efficient and it
will have lower heating and cooling bills even compared to a smaller
house which is less efficient. Look at super insulating the structure
and designing it to make maximum use of the site and local weather.

> 3) The challenge of building small but not cramped

This is so relative that I can't even offer ideas. I know people who
live in RV's full time. I would consider their living conditions very
cramped but they consider it cozy. It helps to have less stuff. The
less stuff you have then the less building you need to house it. You
yourself only take up a few square feet of space at any one moment.

> 4) Easier on the environment with less materials

Once again, less is better but you might also consider using materials
which are easier on the environment to start with. Even if you wind up
using a lot more material then it may still be better in the end because
the material itself isn't as hard on the environment.

> Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space.

Sounds like this is the size of house you are looking for.

> I'm reading Rob Roy's book "Mortgage-Free!" and am really enjoying it.
> Any others like it? Or good books on finding a nice piece of land?

You might try some of the following.
http://www.dirtcheapbuilder.com/
http://radio.weblogs.com/0119080/stories/2003/04/09/theMythAndPromiseOfDirtChe.html

Anthony

Chris Hill
July 10th 03, 03:26 PM
On 9 Jul 2003 13:35:39 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
>myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.
>My motivations for building small are:
>
>1) Lower materials cost
>2) Lower heating and cooling bills
>3) The challenge of building small but not cramped
>4) Easier on the environment with less materials
>
>Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
>It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space. If the damn attic
>weren't blocked off as a cheap "drop ceiling", the pitch of the roof
>seems like it could have allowed for a small sleeping loft which would
>make the place even more livable.
>
>I would love to have a home with two floors, living on the top and
>renting out the bottom unit, or a tiny two story duplex with me living
>on one side and renting out the other.
>
>Does anyone here have any idea how I'd estimate the materials cost for
>a small home like this? Or which two-story building geometries would
>be easiest / cheapest to construct?
>
>I'm reading Rob Roy's book "Mortgage-Free!" and am really enjoying it.
>Any others like it? Or good books on finding a nice piece of land?
>Apparently, cheap land is often priced that way for a reason, e.g.
>super-expensive to dig a well there, or an access road needs to be
>built, or the land needs to be leveled, or it's off the grid, etc,
>etc, etc. I just want to make sure I'm aware of any not-so-obvious
>"gotchas" before I fall in love with a (small) piece of property.


You don't want a small piece of property in the country. The problem
with it is that if there are no rules, your neighbors don't have to
abide by any rules either. That nice pasture across the road could be
turned into a hog confinement operation. I think a place of less than
about 750 square feet wouldn't be livable for two people.

Chris Hill
July 10th 03, 03:26 PM
On 9 Jul 2003 13:35:39 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
>myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.
>My motivations for building small are:
>
>1) Lower materials cost
>2) Lower heating and cooling bills
>3) The challenge of building small but not cramped
>4) Easier on the environment with less materials
>
>Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
>It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space. If the damn attic
>weren't blocked off as a cheap "drop ceiling", the pitch of the roof
>seems like it could have allowed for a small sleeping loft which would
>make the place even more livable.
>
>I would love to have a home with two floors, living on the top and
>renting out the bottom unit, or a tiny two story duplex with me living
>on one side and renting out the other.
>
>Does anyone here have any idea how I'd estimate the materials cost for
>a small home like this? Or which two-story building geometries would
>be easiest / cheapest to construct?
>
>I'm reading Rob Roy's book "Mortgage-Free!" and am really enjoying it.
>Any others like it? Or good books on finding a nice piece of land?
>Apparently, cheap land is often priced that way for a reason, e.g.
>super-expensive to dig a well there, or an access road needs to be
>built, or the land needs to be leveled, or it's off the grid, etc,
>etc, etc. I just want to make sure I'm aware of any not-so-obvious
>"gotchas" before I fall in love with a (small) piece of property.


You don't want a small piece of property in the country. The problem
with it is that if there are no rules, your neighbors don't have to
abide by any rules either. That nice pasture across the road could be
turned into a hog confinement operation. I think a place of less than
about 750 square feet wouldn't be livable for two people.

July 10th 03, 05:12 PM
>> Maybe not. You might scribble something on the back of an envelope,
>> send it off to a SIP manufacturer, get back a CAD drawing, modify it,
>> and get a truckful of panels in a few weeks along with a crew to
>> screw it together in a few days

Please go into more detail OK?

What are SIP panels?

July 10th 03, 05:12 PM
>> Maybe not. You might scribble something on the back of an envelope,
>> send it off to a SIP manufacturer, get back a CAD drawing, modify it,
>> and get a truckful of panels in a few weeks along with a crew to
>> screw it together in a few days

Please go into more detail OK?

What are SIP panels?

Nick Pine
July 10th 03, 08:49 PM
> wrote:

>What are SIP panels?

Structural Insulated Panels: glued plywood/foamboard/plywood sandwiches.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 10th 03, 08:49 PM
> wrote:

>What are SIP panels?

Structural Insulated Panels: glued plywood/foamboard/plywood sandwiches.

Nick

dnrg
July 10th 03, 09:32 PM
Thanks to all for the helpful responses.

> I think a place of less than about 750 square feet wouldn't be livable
> for two people.

Thousands of college students in my town would disagree with you. My
landlord got many pairs of people who were interested in the two
bedroom place I currently rent, but I guess he didn't want the
trouble of people who are room-mates; maybe he got burned on one
roomie paying the rent but the other being a deadbeat one too many
times. Who knows? He would only rent to one person.

There's definitely the interest for two people wanting to rent a 624
sq. foot home around here. Also, you have the advantage of zero shared
walls.

I guess it really is relative. 750 sq. foot might seem cavernous to a
Japanese couple living in Tokyo.

- Dana

dnrg
July 10th 03, 09:32 PM
Thanks to all for the helpful responses.

> I think a place of less than about 750 square feet wouldn't be livable
> for two people.

Thousands of college students in my town would disagree with you. My
landlord got many pairs of people who were interested in the two
bedroom place I currently rent, but I guess he didn't want the
trouble of people who are room-mates; maybe he got burned on one
roomie paying the rent but the other being a deadbeat one too many
times. Who knows? He would only rent to one person.

There's definitely the interest for two people wanting to rent a 624
sq. foot home around here. Also, you have the advantage of zero shared
walls.

I guess it really is relative. 750 sq. foot might seem cavernous to a
Japanese couple living in Tokyo.

- Dana

Chris Hill
July 10th 03, 11:43 PM
On 10 Jul 2003 12:32:46 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>Thanks to all for the helpful responses.
>
>> I think a place of less than about 750 square feet wouldn't be livable
>> for two people.
>
>Thousands of college students in my town would disagree with you. My
>landlord got many pairs of people who were interested in the two
>bedroom place I currently rent, but I guess he didn't want the
>trouble of people who are room-mates; maybe he got burned on one
>roomie paying the rent but the other being a deadbeat one too many
>times. Who knows?

College students are never home and don't cook or have any posessions
to speak of. Not the way I'd want to live. There is also a
difference between necessary and desirable.

Chris Hill
July 10th 03, 11:43 PM
On 10 Jul 2003 12:32:46 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>Thanks to all for the helpful responses.
>
>> I think a place of less than about 750 square feet wouldn't be livable
>> for two people.
>
>Thousands of college students in my town would disagree with you. My
>landlord got many pairs of people who were interested in the two
>bedroom place I currently rent, but I guess he didn't want the
>trouble of people who are room-mates; maybe he got burned on one
>roomie paying the rent but the other being a deadbeat one too many
>times. Who knows?

College students are never home and don't cook or have any posessions
to speak of. Not the way I'd want to live. There is also a
difference between necessary and desirable.

Dana Miller
July 11th 03, 08:16 AM
Houses and house design are an exercise in applied personal economics
and the realities of small batch manufacturing. When comparing a 3000+
SqFt house (mine) and a 570SqFt house (Pats) Here are some thoughts to
consider:

The costs of many items/elements/systems within a house are not linear
with respect to the size of the house. For example, once you include
driveway, setbacks, and easements, the minimum lot size needed for a
house is relatively fixed. Pat's yard sounds like it larger than my 1/3
acre. People selling lots (in the same area) will price them according
to acreage, not the size of the house on them.

Utility hookups will cost the same for large and small houses. Both
houses will need power distribution panels, Furnaces, Water Heaters,
kitchens sinks, and at least one set of bathroom fixtures. In my
area(indy) you will frequently see builders and developers omit natural
gas from a subdivision of 3br ranch starter houses because they can save
4000-5000/house to do so (some electric utilities will pay a bonus to
builders who go all-electric).

Both foundations will have to be dug by a backhoe delivered to the site.
These machines are charged by the day even if it does not take a full
day. I increased my storage and kid play space by huge amounts by
having a basement instead of a crawlspace or slab foundation. When you
go from a 1 story, to a one story with basement, you just about double
your squares and cubes for a small fraction of the total cost. I also
moved my furnace, water heater, and water softener (washer and dryer too
in the old house) to the basement and that kept them off my more
expensive first floor square footage.

If you take a one story house to two stories, you almost double the
living space again for a much lower cost than building a large ranch. I
think the reason you see so many two story houses today, vs so many
ranches in the 50s-60s is the desire for lots more squares on the cheap.

It's amazing how cheap the materials for a house are relative to the
final price of it as as finished product. The costs of sticks and
bricks for my house are probably less than double the costs for those
materials for Pat's house for 5x the squares.

The trend to big box houses is driven by consumers trading quality and
character for space. The real reason you see so many McMansions going
ups is that a 4500 sqft house just isn't that much more expensive to
build than a 2500 sqft house. If you're pricing houses by the sqft, the
most expensive house, in terms of $/sqft is the small house. I think
you will see a tendency for buyers to add extra cost features to large
houses, like more brick, better lights, cabinets, carpeting, fixtures,
etc. because there is tendency to add back character items to bring the
$/sqft to a constant amount. I think this is a psychological/cultural
thing. You rarely see a large "shabby" house. There are some builders
around here who do that but they stick out like a sore thumb. You also
rarely see luxurious small houses.

The uneconomy of smaller houses, especially if you maintain a constant
level of interior finish is probably deterring many large house owners
from "downsizing". The neat effect of lots more space for just a little
more money, is a real bite when you move down. Moving down to a house
30% smaller will only reduce the cost by 10% AND you now have to get rid
of LOTS of your junk. My mother-in-law is in the process of downsizing
and its killing her (an me too because a lot of her junk is coming over
to my house) because she is a clutter fiend has her current 6000 sqft
packed with junk.

There are disadvantages to big houses. I have 5x the floors to clean as
Pat. Probably 2-3 times the windows to wash, and walls to
paint/wallpaper. I also have to buy 2-3x the furniture to fill the damn
place. I also probably pay at least twice as much to light and heat the
place.

I do however have 2 kids under 8. They LOVE having lots of space. I
love that their toys are NOT in my space.

--
Dana Miller

Dana Miller
July 11th 03, 08:16 AM
Houses and house design are an exercise in applied personal economics
and the realities of small batch manufacturing. When comparing a 3000+
SqFt house (mine) and a 570SqFt house (Pats) Here are some thoughts to
consider:

The costs of many items/elements/systems within a house are not linear
with respect to the size of the house. For example, once you include
driveway, setbacks, and easements, the minimum lot size needed for a
house is relatively fixed. Pat's yard sounds like it larger than my 1/3
acre. People selling lots (in the same area) will price them according
to acreage, not the size of the house on them.

Utility hookups will cost the same for large and small houses. Both
houses will need power distribution panels, Furnaces, Water Heaters,
kitchens sinks, and at least one set of bathroom fixtures. In my
area(indy) you will frequently see builders and developers omit natural
gas from a subdivision of 3br ranch starter houses because they can save
4000-5000/house to do so (some electric utilities will pay a bonus to
builders who go all-electric).

Both foundations will have to be dug by a backhoe delivered to the site.
These machines are charged by the day even if it does not take a full
day. I increased my storage and kid play space by huge amounts by
having a basement instead of a crawlspace or slab foundation. When you
go from a 1 story, to a one story with basement, you just about double
your squares and cubes for a small fraction of the total cost. I also
moved my furnace, water heater, and water softener (washer and dryer too
in the old house) to the basement and that kept them off my more
expensive first floor square footage.

If you take a one story house to two stories, you almost double the
living space again for a much lower cost than building a large ranch. I
think the reason you see so many two story houses today, vs so many
ranches in the 50s-60s is the desire for lots more squares on the cheap.

It's amazing how cheap the materials for a house are relative to the
final price of it as as finished product. The costs of sticks and
bricks for my house are probably less than double the costs for those
materials for Pat's house for 5x the squares.

The trend to big box houses is driven by consumers trading quality and
character for space. The real reason you see so many McMansions going
ups is that a 4500 sqft house just isn't that much more expensive to
build than a 2500 sqft house. If you're pricing houses by the sqft, the
most expensive house, in terms of $/sqft is the small house. I think
you will see a tendency for buyers to add extra cost features to large
houses, like more brick, better lights, cabinets, carpeting, fixtures,
etc. because there is tendency to add back character items to bring the
$/sqft to a constant amount. I think this is a psychological/cultural
thing. You rarely see a large "shabby" house. There are some builders
around here who do that but they stick out like a sore thumb. You also
rarely see luxurious small houses.

The uneconomy of smaller houses, especially if you maintain a constant
level of interior finish is probably deterring many large house owners
from "downsizing". The neat effect of lots more space for just a little
more money, is a real bite when you move down. Moving down to a house
30% smaller will only reduce the cost by 10% AND you now have to get rid
of LOTS of your junk. My mother-in-law is in the process of downsizing
and its killing her (an me too because a lot of her junk is coming over
to my house) because she is a clutter fiend has her current 6000 sqft
packed with junk.

There are disadvantages to big houses. I have 5x the floors to clean as
Pat. Probably 2-3 times the windows to wash, and walls to
paint/wallpaper. I also have to buy 2-3x the furniture to fill the damn
place. I also probably pay at least twice as much to light and heat the
place.

I do however have 2 kids under 8. They LOVE having lots of space. I
love that their toys are NOT in my space.

--
Dana Miller

dogsnus
July 11th 03, 11:55 AM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:


snip
>
> If we didn't have so many books, this would be enough space
> for two people, IMHO. As it is, it's still enough but we
> cannot acquire any more books.
Even if you go "up"?
I've oft dreamed of a built in bookcase, complete with
ladder, much like the scene in "Roxanne", with Steve Martin
and Darrel Hannah.
I would LOVE to have built-in ceilng to floor book cases.
I've got enough books to warrant it
I just have to convince DH.

Terri

dogsnus
July 11th 03, 11:55 AM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:


snip
>
> If we didn't have so many books, this would be enough space
> for two people, IMHO. As it is, it's still enough but we
> cannot acquire any more books.
Even if you go "up"?
I've oft dreamed of a built in bookcase, complete with
ladder, much like the scene in "Roxanne", with Steve Martin
and Darrel Hannah.
I would LOVE to have built-in ceilng to floor book cases.
I've got enough books to warrant it
I just have to convince DH.

Terri

Dan Birchall
July 11th 03, 12:10 PM
(dnrg) wrote:
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.

Our house is roughly 22x30 if I recall correctly. It's on a slight grade
so at the back there's 3-4' of the basement above ground, and at the front
there's probably 6.5' between the ground and the upstairs floor joists.
(This means the basement isn't "to code" height-wise and doesn't count
as living space, but it was enclosed by a previous owner and we have quite
a bit of usable space in it.)

22x30 is enough room for reasonable sized kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms
and a bathroom. Actually, more than reasonable. 10x10 is plenty of space
for a bedroom, and I'd be tempted to say 8x8 would suffice. (Heck, I used
to have room to park my bicycle in an 8x6 cubicle, and even sleep under my
desk at times! ;)

I have seen other houses in our area that are probably less than 20x25,
quite possibly about 15x20. That makes things a little tight - figure
on bedrooms of about 7x7 with a bathroom that's 7x6 or so in between them
on one side, and then kitchen and living room 8x10 each (or adjust the
x10 part to make one bigger) on the other.

It helps a little that things are single-wall construction here, without
insulation.

--
If you spam this address, you (obviously) agree to pay me $100/spam.

Dan Birchall
July 11th 03, 12:10 PM
(dnrg) wrote:
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself and wondering just how small "small" is to others on the list.

Our house is roughly 22x30 if I recall correctly. It's on a slight grade
so at the back there's 3-4' of the basement above ground, and at the front
there's probably 6.5' between the ground and the upstairs floor joists.
(This means the basement isn't "to code" height-wise and doesn't count
as living space, but it was enclosed by a previous owner and we have quite
a bit of usable space in it.)

22x30 is enough room for reasonable sized kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms
and a bathroom. Actually, more than reasonable. 10x10 is plenty of space
for a bedroom, and I'd be tempted to say 8x8 would suffice. (Heck, I used
to have room to park my bicycle in an 8x6 cubicle, and even sleep under my
desk at times! ;)

I have seen other houses in our area that are probably less than 20x25,
quite possibly about 15x20. That makes things a little tight - figure
on bedrooms of about 7x7 with a bathroom that's 7x6 or so in between them
on one side, and then kitchen and living room 8x10 each (or adjust the
x10 part to make one bigger) on the other.

It helps a little that things are single-wall construction here, without
insulation.

--
If you spam this address, you (obviously) agree to pay me $100/spam.

Dan Birchall
July 11th 03, 12:21 PM
(Nick Pine) wrote:
> > wrote:
>
> >What are SIP panels?
>
> Structural Insulated Panels: glued plywood/foamboard/plywood sandwiches.

There's a place near me (www.multi-facetted.com) that does something
like this, though I don't think they're insulated (or need to be), and
I think it's all real wood... We may talk to them in a few years if
finances permit... :)

--
If you spam this address, you (obviously) agree to pay me $100/spam.

Dan Birchall
July 11th 03, 12:21 PM
(Nick Pine) wrote:
> > wrote:
>
> >What are SIP panels?
>
> Structural Insulated Panels: glued plywood/foamboard/plywood sandwiches.

There's a place near me (www.multi-facetted.com) that does something
like this, though I don't think they're insulated (or need to be), and
I think it's all real wood... We may talk to them in a few years if
finances permit... :)

--
If you spam this address, you (obviously) agree to pay me $100/spam.

dnrg
July 11th 03, 03:37 PM
> wrote in message news:<KT3Pa.623
> You might consider building a house with straw bales. They're cheap, have
> outrageous insulation factors, are (beleive it or not) more fire-resistant
> than a frame-built house, are quiet as a tomb, can be built in a weekend
> (with friends), and have other virtues. If you do the drainage around the
> foundation right, rot shouldn't be a problem. Might not work, though, in
> the rainy northwest . . .

Thanks Tock. I'm looking into it and have a good friend who's all
about straw bales; she's actually doing work in grad school on straw
bale and other alternative forms construction. Thing is, in the
mountains of Western, NC, I just don't see the plaster / stucco
exterior fitting in. I really don't like the aesthetics of straw bale
exteriors, but I love everything else about straw bale including the
things you've mentioned. My University library has a lot of good
sustainable building / appropriate technology videos, and I've been
renting some of the ones on straw bale and earth construction.

Do you, or does anyone else here know, of straw bale homes you'd never
know were straw bale homes? That is homes that don't look "Southwest"
style? I really love tiny old colonial homes, the slender, two-story
one room deep ones. Also, other kinds of vernacular architecture like
North Carolina tobacco barns, mountain cabins, and tiny, slender, one
room deep, two story I-frame tidewater farmhouses. I have a good idea
of what I want, but so far haven't found any good plans for building
something like that as a duplex or triplex. I want to live in one unit
and rent the others.

> Do a web search on "straw bale" and see what comes up. Just like a
> bellybutton, it's something to look into . . .

Heh. :-)

- Dana

dnrg
July 11th 03, 03:37 PM
> wrote in message news:<KT3Pa.623
> You might consider building a house with straw bales. They're cheap, have
> outrageous insulation factors, are (beleive it or not) more fire-resistant
> than a frame-built house, are quiet as a tomb, can be built in a weekend
> (with friends), and have other virtues. If you do the drainage around the
> foundation right, rot shouldn't be a problem. Might not work, though, in
> the rainy northwest . . .

Thanks Tock. I'm looking into it and have a good friend who's all
about straw bales; she's actually doing work in grad school on straw
bale and other alternative forms construction. Thing is, in the
mountains of Western, NC, I just don't see the plaster / stucco
exterior fitting in. I really don't like the aesthetics of straw bale
exteriors, but I love everything else about straw bale including the
things you've mentioned. My University library has a lot of good
sustainable building / appropriate technology videos, and I've been
renting some of the ones on straw bale and earth construction.

Do you, or does anyone else here know, of straw bale homes you'd never
know were straw bale homes? That is homes that don't look "Southwest"
style? I really love tiny old colonial homes, the slender, two-story
one room deep ones. Also, other kinds of vernacular architecture like
North Carolina tobacco barns, mountain cabins, and tiny, slender, one
room deep, two story I-frame tidewater farmhouses. I have a good idea
of what I want, but so far haven't found any good plans for building
something like that as a duplex or triplex. I want to live in one unit
and rent the others.

> Do a web search on "straw bale" and see what comes up. Just like a
> bellybutton, it's something to look into . . .

Heh. :-)

- Dana

dnrg
July 11th 03, 03:44 PM
Chris Hill > wrote in message
> College students are never home and don't cook or have any posessions
> to speak of. Not the way I'd want to live. There is also a
> difference between necessary and desirable.

I *am* a college student - starting a Masters and probably going all
the way for a PhD. What I want to build meets my needs and the needs
of tenants, so it's a "go." I'm so busy with school work, grant work
and enjoying the outdoors that I'm often not home. But then I live in
a gorgeous mountain community, with the Blue Ridge Parkway a 10 minute
drive away, so it's a waste to stay indoors too much anyway no matter
what one's age. :-)

As for possessions, this is misc.consumers.frugal-living, right? I
wouldn't say I'm Thoreau, but thank goodness I personally don't own so
many possessions that they possess me. A larger house = a place to
fill up with more junk. That's my opinion and you're entitled to
yours.

- Dana

dnrg
July 11th 03, 03:44 PM
Chris Hill > wrote in message
> College students are never home and don't cook or have any posessions
> to speak of. Not the way I'd want to live. There is also a
> difference between necessary and desirable.

I *am* a college student - starting a Masters and probably going all
the way for a PhD. What I want to build meets my needs and the needs
of tenants, so it's a "go." I'm so busy with school work, grant work
and enjoying the outdoors that I'm often not home. But then I live in
a gorgeous mountain community, with the Blue Ridge Parkway a 10 minute
drive away, so it's a waste to stay indoors too much anyway no matter
what one's age. :-)

As for possessions, this is misc.consumers.frugal-living, right? I
wouldn't say I'm Thoreau, but thank goodness I personally don't own so
many possessions that they possess me. A larger house = a place to
fill up with more junk. That's my opinion and you're entitled to
yours.

- Dana

dnrg
July 11th 03, 03:47 PM
(Ron Peterson) wrote in message
> A nice double-wide mobile home goes for $55,000. If zoning doesn't
> allow that, consider a pre-fab.

But a double-wide is absolutely a depreciating asset.

> In a conventional home, basement space is cheap, so a raised ranch
> might meet your needs.

I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.

- Dana

dnrg
July 11th 03, 03:47 PM
(Ron Peterson) wrote in message
> A nice double-wide mobile home goes for $55,000. If zoning doesn't
> allow that, consider a pre-fab.

But a double-wide is absolutely a depreciating asset.

> In a conventional home, basement space is cheap, so a raised ranch
> might meet your needs.

I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.

- Dana

Patricia
July 11th 03, 04:00 PM
> From: (dnrg)

> I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
> Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
> home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
> get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
> Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.
>
> - Dana
=====
Hi....

This is what I have read too ! The article cited the basement and roof the
two costliest parts of the home....

You can live nicely wihout a basement we have had about half our homes
without. As long as you have a nice garage for tool/toy storage and generous
closets...what's it good for ? (I guess if you live in tornado country it
might be an asset).

I have a first floor laundry, double garage with pull down stairs and big
closets. We manage just fine and STILL have too much "stuff". LOL

They also mentioned that the two most expensive rooms were the kitchen and
baths.....easy to understand why.

I wish you luck in your new adventure.

Best,
Patricia

Patricia
July 11th 03, 04:00 PM
> From: (dnrg)

> I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
> Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
> home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
> get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
> Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.
>
> - Dana
=====
Hi....

This is what I have read too ! The article cited the basement and roof the
two costliest parts of the home....

You can live nicely wihout a basement we have had about half our homes
without. As long as you have a nice garage for tool/toy storage and generous
closets...what's it good for ? (I guess if you live in tornado country it
might be an asset).

I have a first floor laundry, double garage with pull down stairs and big
closets. We manage just fine and STILL have too much "stuff". LOL

They also mentioned that the two most expensive rooms were the kitchen and
baths.....easy to understand why.

I wish you luck in your new adventure.

Best,
Patricia

Neil
July 11th 03, 05:36 PM
(dnrg) wrote in message >...
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself

I don't really know anything about them, but you might look into
getting a kit house. Everything will be designed to work together. I
assume the makers can tell you where to go to look at houses like this
in person.

The following might also give you some ideas:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/103-5097078-7768610

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0810991055/qid=1057936779/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-5097078-7768610

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index%3Dbooks%26field-keywords%3D%22the%20small%20house%22%26url%3Dindex %3Dbooks%26store-name%3Dbooks/103-5097078-7768610

(snip)

Neil
July 11th 03, 05:36 PM
(dnrg) wrote in message >...
> I'm looking into building a small duplex or single-family home for
> myself

I don't really know anything about them, but you might look into
getting a kit house. Everything will be designed to work together. I
assume the makers can tell you where to go to look at houses like this
in person.

The following might also give you some ideas:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/103-5097078-7768610

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0810991055/qid=1057936779/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-5097078-7768610

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index%3Dbooks%26field-keywords%3D%22the%20small%20house%22%26url%3Dindex %3Dbooks%26store-name%3Dbooks/103-5097078-7768610

(snip)

Karen Wheless
July 11th 03, 06:31 PM
> > I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
> > Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
> > home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
> > get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
> > Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.

> This is what I have read too ! The article cited the basement and roof the
> two costliest parts of the home....
>
> You can live nicely wihout a basement we have had about half our homes
> without. As long as you have a nice garage for tool/toy storage and generous
> closets...what's it good for ? (I guess if you live in tornado country it
> might be an asset).

I think a lot of it depends on the cost of land vs. the cost of building
housing. I live in an area where land is hugely expensive. I live in
an older neighborhood that used to be fairly inexpensive, and almost all
the houses have very small footprints and are very close together. The
land is just too expensive to expand outward - if you want more space,
you have to go up or down - if you have a garage, it's generally very
narrow. That's the advantage of a basement - you get more space without
adding to the footprint of the house. A lot of the houses in my
neighborhood are very small ranches (2 bedrooms, 600-800 square feet)
but their space is doubled by a basement.

In areas where land is cheaper, then you can get more space by making
the house wider or deeper, and adding on garages, so you don't have to
deal with the problems of a basement. But in areas where moderately
priced lots are fairly small, a basement makes a lot of sense.

Karen

Karen Wheless
July 11th 03, 06:31 PM
> > I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
> > Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
> > home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
> > get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
> > Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.

> This is what I have read too ! The article cited the basement and roof the
> two costliest parts of the home....
>
> You can live nicely wihout a basement we have had about half our homes
> without. As long as you have a nice garage for tool/toy storage and generous
> closets...what's it good for ? (I guess if you live in tornado country it
> might be an asset).

I think a lot of it depends on the cost of land vs. the cost of building
housing. I live in an area where land is hugely expensive. I live in
an older neighborhood that used to be fairly inexpensive, and almost all
the houses have very small footprints and are very close together. The
land is just too expensive to expand outward - if you want more space,
you have to go up or down - if you have a garage, it's generally very
narrow. That's the advantage of a basement - you get more space without
adding to the footprint of the house. A lot of the houses in my
neighborhood are very small ranches (2 bedrooms, 600-800 square feet)
but their space is doubled by a basement.

In areas where land is cheaper, then you can get more space by making
the house wider or deeper, and adding on garages, so you don't have to
deal with the problems of a basement. But in areas where moderately
priced lots are fairly small, a basement makes a lot of sense.

Karen

JoelnCaryn
July 11th 03, 06:33 PM
>10x10 is plenty of space
>for a bedroom, and I'd be tempted to say 8x8 would suffice. (Heck, I used
>to have room to park my bicycle in an 8x6 cubicle, and even sleep under my
>desk at times! ;)

I think it's highly dependent on the bed you choose. I've shoehorned 3
sleeping spaces into an 8x10 bedroom using a full/ twin bunkbed before, but
there's no way to reasonably fit a king-sized waterbed into an 8x8 room, given
that the dimensions on one are 6x7...

JoelnCaryn
July 11th 03, 06:33 PM
>10x10 is plenty of space
>for a bedroom, and I'd be tempted to say 8x8 would suffice. (Heck, I used
>to have room to park my bicycle in an 8x6 cubicle, and even sleep under my
>desk at times! ;)

I think it's highly dependent on the bed you choose. I've shoehorned 3
sleeping spaces into an 8x10 bedroom using a full/ twin bunkbed before, but
there's no way to reasonably fit a king-sized waterbed into an 8x8 room, given
that the dimensions on one are 6x7...

July 11th 03, 08:37 PM
"dnrg" > wrote
. . . s n i p . . .
> Do you, or does anyone else here know, of straw bale homes you'd never
> know were straw bale homes? That is homes that don't look "Southwest"
> style? I really love tiny old colonial homes, the slender, two-story
> one room deep ones. Also, other kinds of vernacular architecture like
> North Carolina tobacco barns, mountain cabins, and tiny, slender, one
> room deep, two story I-frame tidewater farmhouses. I have a good idea
> of what I want, but so far haven't found any good plans for building
> something like that as a duplex or triplex. I want to live in one unit
> and rent the others.

As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and put
siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it (got
it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book seemed
to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North Carolina
should be fine . . .
Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking in
tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other side
rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er do
wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before the
Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting. It
was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage kids
who were still in high school . . . seems the mother's boyfriend didn't want
the kids around, so mom put 'em up by themselves in a house a few
neighborhoods away. And they were loud, messy, and there wasn't much I
could do with 'em (or the landlord). So between that and wanting and
needing to move for other reasons, I sold my half to some unsuspecting lady,
and got on with my life . . .
Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real estate,
you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan Himself.
Be prepared if you go that route . . .
Otherwise, good luck!

July 11th 03, 08:37 PM
"dnrg" > wrote
. . . s n i p . . .
> Do you, or does anyone else here know, of straw bale homes you'd never
> know were straw bale homes? That is homes that don't look "Southwest"
> style? I really love tiny old colonial homes, the slender, two-story
> one room deep ones. Also, other kinds of vernacular architecture like
> North Carolina tobacco barns, mountain cabins, and tiny, slender, one
> room deep, two story I-frame tidewater farmhouses. I have a good idea
> of what I want, but so far haven't found any good plans for building
> something like that as a duplex or triplex. I want to live in one unit
> and rent the others.

As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and put
siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it (got
it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book seemed
to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North Carolina
should be fine . . .
Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking in
tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other side
rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er do
wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before the
Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting. It
was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage kids
who were still in high school . . . seems the mother's boyfriend didn't want
the kids around, so mom put 'em up by themselves in a house a few
neighborhoods away. And they were loud, messy, and there wasn't much I
could do with 'em (or the landlord). So between that and wanting and
needing to move for other reasons, I sold my half to some unsuspecting lady,
and got on with my life . . .
Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real estate,
you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan Himself.
Be prepared if you go that route . . .
Otherwise, good luck!

Ron Peterson
July 12th 03, 01:48 AM
(dnrg) wrote in message >...
> (Ron Peterson) wrote in message
> > A nice double-wide mobile home goes for $55,000. If zoning doesn't
> > allow that, consider a pre-fab.

> But a double-wide is absolutely a depreciating asset.

All construction depreciates. The lower outlay can make up for the higher
depreciation rate. I did have in a mobile home (600 sq ft) before I bough
my current 2000 sq ft house. My costs for the mobile home were lower
than living in an equivalent apartment.

> > In a conventional home, basement space is cheap, so a raised ranch
> > might meet your needs.

> I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
> Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
> home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
> get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
> Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.

I don't remember where I read or heard that a basement was low cost space. If the
basement space isn't capable of being converted to living space, then it may not be
worth it.

--
Ron

Ron Peterson
July 12th 03, 01:48 AM
(dnrg) wrote in message >...
> (Ron Peterson) wrote in message
> > A nice double-wide mobile home goes for $55,000. If zoning doesn't
> > allow that, consider a pre-fab.

> But a double-wide is absolutely a depreciating asset.

All construction depreciates. The lower outlay can make up for the higher
depreciation rate. I did have in a mobile home (600 sq ft) before I bough
my current 2000 sq ft house. My costs for the mobile home were lower
than living in an equivalent apartment.

> > In a conventional home, basement space is cheap, so a raised ranch
> > might meet your needs.

> I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
> Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
> home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
> get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
> Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.

I don't remember where I read or heard that a basement was low cost space. If the
basement space isn't capable of being converted to living space, then it may not be
worth it.

--
Ron

JoelnCaryn
July 12th 03, 02:21 AM
>All construction depreciates. The lower outlay can make up for the higher
>depreciation rate.

Geez, where do you live? I suspect people living in places like Malibu, CA and
Paradise Valley, AZ would strongly disagree.

JoelnCaryn
July 12th 03, 02:21 AM
>All construction depreciates. The lower outlay can make up for the higher
>depreciation rate.

Geez, where do you live? I suspect people living in places like Malibu, CA and
Paradise Valley, AZ would strongly disagree.

lpogoda
July 12th 03, 03:56 AM
Patricia wrote in message ...
>
>> From: (dnrg)
>
>> I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
>> Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
>> home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
>> get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
>> Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.
>>
>> - Dana
>=====
>Hi....
>
>This is what I have read too ! The article cited the basement and roof the
>two costliest parts of the home....
>
>You can live nicely wihout a basement we have had about half our homes
>without. As long as you have a nice garage for tool/toy storage and
generous
>closets...what's it good for ? (I guess if you live in tornado country it
>might be an asset).

It sounds like you're replacing one of the "costliest parts of the home"
(the basement) with another of the "costliest parts of the home" namely the
roof over the garage. Plus you're foregoing the convenience of garaging
your car, especially if you live in an area with nasty (cold, rainy, snowy)
weather.

I think the incremental cost of a basement varies by region. The foundation
for a house should (has to?) go below the frost line. In colder climates,
you might have to dig down four or five feet whether you have a basement or
not, and the addtional cost of digging the rest of the way for a basement is
relatively small. I understand that in places like Arizona, you only need
to go down a foot and a half or so, so the additional cost for a basement
would be relatively larger.

lpogoda
July 12th 03, 03:56 AM
Patricia wrote in message ...
>
>> From: (dnrg)
>
>> I just read in Rob Roy's book, "Mortgage-Free! Radical Strategies for
>> Home Ownership" that a basement is one of the costliest parts of a
>> home. He recommends against them. With all due respect, where did you
>> get your information from? Anyone else have any ideas about basements?
>> Maybe Rob Roy, the cordwood-masonry-construction-guy, is dead wrong.
>>
>> - Dana
>=====
>Hi....
>
>This is what I have read too ! The article cited the basement and roof the
>two costliest parts of the home....
>
>You can live nicely wihout a basement we have had about half our homes
>without. As long as you have a nice garage for tool/toy storage and
generous
>closets...what's it good for ? (I guess if you live in tornado country it
>might be an asset).

It sounds like you're replacing one of the "costliest parts of the home"
(the basement) with another of the "costliest parts of the home" namely the
roof over the garage. Plus you're foregoing the convenience of garaging
your car, especially if you live in an area with nasty (cold, rainy, snowy)
weather.

I think the incremental cost of a basement varies by region. The foundation
for a house should (has to?) go below the frost line. In colder climates,
you might have to dig down four or five feet whether you have a basement or
not, and the addtional cost of digging the rest of the way for a basement is
relatively small. I understand that in places like Arizona, you only need
to go down a foot and a half or so, so the additional cost for a basement
would be relatively larger.

Patricia
July 12th 03, 04:31 AM
> From: "lpogoda" >
> It sounds like you're replacing one of the "costliest parts of the home"
> (the basement) with another of the "costliest parts of the home" namely the
> roof over the garage. Plus you're foregoing the convenience of garaging
> your car, especially if you live in an area with nasty (cold, rainy, snowy)
> weather.

Hi....

Under normal conditions... even a double garage is smaller than a house.
There should be room for cars and storage and the cost of a roof has to be
less than having a sizeable basement dug, poured and finished. In the
article I mentioned the cost of the basement unit was highest, the cost of
the roof unit came next.....

As for rooms....kitchen number one in cost, bathrooms second....

> I think the incremental cost of a basement varies by region. The foundation
> for a house should (has to?) go below the frost line. In colder climates,
> you might have to dig down four or five feet whether you have a basement or
> not, and the addtional cost of digging the rest of the way for a basement is
> relatively small.

We have owned and lived in two homes in the north built on concrete
foundations..one in New Jersey and the other in Connecticut. Both areas have
"winter" and they are very often cold and snowy....neither foundations was 5
feet thick. I know, because I saw them built.

>I understand that in places like Arizona, you only need
> to go down a foot and a half or so, so the additional cost for a basement
> would be relatively larger.

No....the DEEPER you excavate the more expensive it is. (G)

I wish our prospective homeowner much luck. Building a house is exciting..
creating a "home" even better.

Best,
Patricia
>
>
>
>

Patricia
July 12th 03, 04:31 AM
> From: "lpogoda" >
> It sounds like you're replacing one of the "costliest parts of the home"
> (the basement) with another of the "costliest parts of the home" namely the
> roof over the garage. Plus you're foregoing the convenience of garaging
> your car, especially if you live in an area with nasty (cold, rainy, snowy)
> weather.

Hi....

Under normal conditions... even a double garage is smaller than a house.
There should be room for cars and storage and the cost of a roof has to be
less than having a sizeable basement dug, poured and finished. In the
article I mentioned the cost of the basement unit was highest, the cost of
the roof unit came next.....

As for rooms....kitchen number one in cost, bathrooms second....

> I think the incremental cost of a basement varies by region. The foundation
> for a house should (has to?) go below the frost line. In colder climates,
> you might have to dig down four or five feet whether you have a basement or
> not, and the addtional cost of digging the rest of the way for a basement is
> relatively small.

We have owned and lived in two homes in the north built on concrete
foundations..one in New Jersey and the other in Connecticut. Both areas have
"winter" and they are very often cold and snowy....neither foundations was 5
feet thick. I know, because I saw them built.

>I understand that in places like Arizona, you only need
> to go down a foot and a half or so, so the additional cost for a basement
> would be relatively larger.

No....the DEEPER you excavate the more expensive it is. (G)

I wish our prospective homeowner much luck. Building a house is exciting..
creating a "home" even better.

Best,
Patricia
>
>
>
>

JoelnCaryn
July 12th 03, 04:35 AM
>I think the incremental cost of a basement varies by region. The foundation
>for a house should (has to?) go below the frost line. In colder climates,
>you might have to dig down four or five feet whether you have a basement or
>not, and the addtional cost of digging the rest of the way for a basement is
>relatively small. I understand that in places like Arizona, you only need
>to go down a foot and a half or so, so the additional cost for a basement
>would be relatively larger.

The foot and a half is just for the footing depth given no frost (essentially
no frost; we have years with no frost and don't often bother glazing our newer
solar water heaters).

However, digging down a foot and a half hits a nice thick layer of caliche
which is prohibitively expensive to dig through.

JoelnCaryn
July 12th 03, 04:35 AM
>I think the incremental cost of a basement varies by region. The foundation
>for a house should (has to?) go below the frost line. In colder climates,
>you might have to dig down four or five feet whether you have a basement or
>not, and the addtional cost of digging the rest of the way for a basement is
>relatively small. I understand that in places like Arizona, you only need
>to go down a foot and a half or so, so the additional cost for a basement
>would be relatively larger.

The foot and a half is just for the footing depth given no frost (essentially
no frost; we have years with no frost and don't often bother glazing our newer
solar water heaters).

However, digging down a foot and a half hits a nice thick layer of caliche
which is prohibitively expensive to dig through.

IleneB
July 12th 03, 05:32 AM
In article >, Dana
Miller > wrote:

> You rarely see a large "shabby" house.


Give it a few years. The guys who worked on my house said that a lot
of the big boxes are badly built- out of square, cheap fixes, wet
composite board instead of plywood, etc. etc. Anything new looks good,
especially if the buyer is coming from a beat-up city apartment or
something. I do wonder what these big boxes will look like in 50 years.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 12th 03, 05:32 AM
In article >, Dana
Miller > wrote:

> You rarely see a large "shabby" house.


Give it a few years. The guys who worked on my house said that a lot
of the big boxes are badly built- out of square, cheap fixes, wet
composite board instead of plywood, etc. etc. Anything new looks good,
especially if the buyer is coming from a beat-up city apartment or
something. I do wonder what these big boxes will look like in 50 years.

Ilene B

Patricia
July 12th 03, 04:12 PM
> From: Pat Meadows >
> I'd have thought all garages require foundations, but maybe
> not.
>
> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.
> Pat
====

Hi, Pat

Never saw a garage with a basement...

We have owned 14 houses over the years and every garage we had....had a
poured concrete pad.

I expressed my lack of interest in a basement since it's something WE would
never use at this point in our lives.

For those who have young children...it can be a great place to play on rainy
days, or room for a work shop, etc. If it serves a useful purpose it may be
worthwhile.

Patricia

Patricia
July 12th 03, 04:12 PM
> From: Pat Meadows >
> I'd have thought all garages require foundations, but maybe
> not.
>
> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.
> Pat
====

Hi, Pat

Never saw a garage with a basement...

We have owned 14 houses over the years and every garage we had....had a
poured concrete pad.

I expressed my lack of interest in a basement since it's something WE would
never use at this point in our lives.

For those who have young children...it can be a great place to play on rainy
days, or room for a work shop, etc. If it serves a useful purpose it may be
worthwhile.

Patricia

JoelnCaryn
July 12th 03, 05:05 PM
>> I'd have thought all garages require foundations, but maybe
>> not.
>>
>> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.
>
>Never saw a garage with a basement...

Usually (here) footings all around the walls, bigger footings under the piers
at the doorway, sloped concrete slab with +4" curb at the back of the garage
for 3-4' of width to walk on/ store things on.

That said, I've detailed a house before with one garage stacked on top of
another garage. It was to be built into the side of a small hill, with access
to the bottom garage from one side of the hill, and the top garage from the
other.

JoelnCaryn
July 12th 03, 05:05 PM
>> I'd have thought all garages require foundations, but maybe
>> not.
>>
>> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.
>
>Never saw a garage with a basement...

Usually (here) footings all around the walls, bigger footings under the piers
at the doorway, sloped concrete slab with +4" curb at the back of the garage
for 3-4' of width to walk on/ store things on.

That said, I've detailed a house before with one garage stacked on top of
another garage. It was to be built into the side of a small hill, with access
to the bottom garage from one side of the hill, and the top garage from the
other.

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 05:19 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:


snip
>
> I'd have thought all garages require foundations, but maybe
> not.
Depends upon where one is.
I noticed in Louisianna, lots of places don't have garages
at all and in some cases, only carports, if even that.
Most houses are built on pilings or on concrete slabs.
I've been visiting Realestate.com quite a bit for about a year
or so. It's interesting.
Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.


>
> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.

In Idaho, our garage does, too.


Terri

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 05:19 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:


snip
>
> I'd have thought all garages require foundations, but maybe
> not.
Depends upon where one is.
I noticed in Louisianna, lots of places don't have garages
at all and in some cases, only carports, if even that.
Most houses are built on pilings or on concrete slabs.
I've been visiting Realestate.com quite a bit for about a year
or so. It's interesting.
Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.


>
> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.

In Idaho, our garage does, too.


Terri

Anthony Matonak
July 12th 03, 05:32 PM
dogsnus wrote:
....
> Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.

The reason basements are more common up north and less common south
has to do with simple economics. A foundation needs to be placed down
deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
feet and make it a basement. In the South the frost depth may only
be a couple of inches, if that, so there is no reason for any massive
digging at all.

Anthony

Anthony Matonak
July 12th 03, 05:32 PM
dogsnus wrote:
....
> Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.

The reason basements are more common up north and less common south
has to do with simple economics. A foundation needs to be placed down
deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
feet and make it a basement. In the South the frost depth may only
be a couple of inches, if that, so there is no reason for any massive
digging at all.

Anthony

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 06:37 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:

> On 11 Jul 2003 09:55:41 GMT, dogsnus >
> wrote:
>
>>Pat Meadows > wrote in
:

snip
>
> We have gone 'up'. :)
>
> Six foot bookcases, with baskets on top of them. Eight foot
> ceilings. The baskets hold out-of-season clothing and other
> useful items and are decorative. It doesn't look messy.

You really need to get a digital camera to share this
with us, along with your garden shots.
Sounds delightful!


>
> In DH's office, he has 3-ring notebooks (documentation) on
> top of his bookcases.
>
> There are some books that I'd not mind terribly eliminating
> - if I get any new ones (new to me, that is), I'll do so.
I used to think so, but man, during the packing here, I started
to chuck some books only to realize that a lot of them were
antiques, over 50 years old or so.
(What does that make ME?)
I keep thinking "replacement costs".


Terri

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 06:37 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:

> On 11 Jul 2003 09:55:41 GMT, dogsnus >
> wrote:
>
>>Pat Meadows > wrote in
:

snip
>
> We have gone 'up'. :)
>
> Six foot bookcases, with baskets on top of them. Eight foot
> ceilings. The baskets hold out-of-season clothing and other
> useful items and are decorative. It doesn't look messy.

You really need to get a digital camera to share this
with us, along with your garden shots.
Sounds delightful!


>
> In DH's office, he has 3-ring notebooks (documentation) on
> top of his bookcases.
>
> There are some books that I'd not mind terribly eliminating
> - if I get any new ones (new to me, that is), I'll do so.
I used to think so, but man, during the packing here, I started
to chuck some books only to realize that a lot of them were
antiques, over 50 years old or so.
(What does that make ME?)
I keep thinking "replacement costs".


Terri

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 06:49 PM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in
:

> dogsnus wrote:
> ...
>> Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.
>
> The reason basements are more common up north and less common south
> has to do with simple economics.

Uh, depends upon what you think of South and the fact that...
the water table is very high and floods are common.
It's not uncommon in some Deep South areas to find human
bones, that used to reside in the ground, that have washed up from floods.
Which is why the average graveyard tombs are built above ground,
and not below ground.
Are you not familiar with the famous New Orleans' above ground tombs?
We saw this habit even inland last year, about 100 miles north
of the gulf coast.

A foundation needs to be placed down
> deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
> feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
> then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
> feet and make it a basement.
Uh, no. With temps here in the "north" down to -20F or so in the winters,
it's still not necessary to go down that far.
(5-6 feet?!)
Heck, even in Wyoming, it's not necessary to dig a foundation
down THAT low and Wyoming can get temps of down to -60F or so.

Our foundation is only about a 6" inches or so underground.
No heaving, either, as the soil is rather sandy.
We are in Western zone 3a-3c.

In the South the frost depth may only
> be a couple of inches, if that, so there is no reason for any massive
> digging at all.

Nope. In some parts of the South, there is NO frost season. In fact,
a real frost causes panic, since a lot of places in New Orleans for
have exposed pipes under the house.
They have banana trees in the deep south, yanno.

Terri

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 06:49 PM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in
:

> dogsnus wrote:
> ...
>> Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.
>
> The reason basements are more common up north and less common south
> has to do with simple economics.

Uh, depends upon what you think of South and the fact that...
the water table is very high and floods are common.
It's not uncommon in some Deep South areas to find human
bones, that used to reside in the ground, that have washed up from floods.
Which is why the average graveyard tombs are built above ground,
and not below ground.
Are you not familiar with the famous New Orleans' above ground tombs?
We saw this habit even inland last year, about 100 miles north
of the gulf coast.

A foundation needs to be placed down
> deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
> feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
> then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
> feet and make it a basement.
Uh, no. With temps here in the "north" down to -20F or so in the winters,
it's still not necessary to go down that far.
(5-6 feet?!)
Heck, even in Wyoming, it's not necessary to dig a foundation
down THAT low and Wyoming can get temps of down to -60F or so.

Our foundation is only about a 6" inches or so underground.
No heaving, either, as the soil is rather sandy.
We are in Western zone 3a-3c.

In the South the frost depth may only
> be a couple of inches, if that, so there is no reason for any massive
> digging at all.

Nope. In some parts of the South, there is NO frost season. In fact,
a real frost causes panic, since a lot of places in New Orleans for
have exposed pipes under the house.
They have banana trees in the deep south, yanno.

Terri

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 06:58 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:

> On 12 Jul 2003 15:19:33 GMT, dogsnus >
> wrote:
>
>
>>
>>>
>>> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.
>>
>>In Idaho, our garage does, too.
>>
>>
>
> Foundation. Not basement.
>
> I don't know why people (not you, Terri) are reading that
> as 'basement'.
:)
I don't know why that fact is escaping others, either.
But daylight basements are the norm here.
As are cement garage floors.


Our garage does not have a basement, not
> even our house has a basement. But our garage does have a
> foundation. I thought all buildings did.

Not in some parts of the USA.
As I said, I noticed a lot_ of homes built on pilings in the
deep south.
It appears, according to my inlaws who live in New Orleans,
that a lot of homes need to be adjusted when the previously
drained swamp land was drained, and I did see a lot of old homes
with carriage houses slanted, that needed to be leveled.
New Orleans is sinking at a slow rate and you can sure see
the homes that are very old and have_ sunk.
Somewhere around here I have a photo of my DH's old homestead
in Mississippi that is built high on pilings and is still
standing today. It's about 150 years old. When we visited
last year, my DH told me how he and his cousins and uncles
used to play underneath the house as kids.
The house is built with single cypress logs for interior
beams and is jacked up whenever needed to compensate for
ground heaves and sinking.
It's actually an historic landmark in Miss., so the family
can't tear it down and no one has the money to fix it up.
But, it's one heck of a testiment to old fashioned construction
and local engineering to adjust for the climate and mother nature's
whims.

Terri

dogsnus
July 12th 03, 06:58 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:

> On 12 Jul 2003 15:19:33 GMT, dogsnus >
> wrote:
>
>
>>
>>>
>>> Our garage has a foundation, and a cement floor.
>>
>>In Idaho, our garage does, too.
>>
>>
>
> Foundation. Not basement.
>
> I don't know why people (not you, Terri) are reading that
> as 'basement'.
:)
I don't know why that fact is escaping others, either.
But daylight basements are the norm here.
As are cement garage floors.


Our garage does not have a basement, not
> even our house has a basement. But our garage does have a
> foundation. I thought all buildings did.

Not in some parts of the USA.
As I said, I noticed a lot_ of homes built on pilings in the
deep south.
It appears, according to my inlaws who live in New Orleans,
that a lot of homes need to be adjusted when the previously
drained swamp land was drained, and I did see a lot of old homes
with carriage houses slanted, that needed to be leveled.
New Orleans is sinking at a slow rate and you can sure see
the homes that are very old and have_ sunk.
Somewhere around here I have a photo of my DH's old homestead
in Mississippi that is built high on pilings and is still
standing today. It's about 150 years old. When we visited
last year, my DH told me how he and his cousins and uncles
used to play underneath the house as kids.
The house is built with single cypress logs for interior
beams and is jacked up whenever needed to compensate for
ground heaves and sinking.
It's actually an historic landmark in Miss., so the family
can't tear it down and no one has the money to fix it up.
But, it's one heck of a testiment to old fashioned construction
and local engineering to adjust for the climate and mother nature's
whims.

Terri

silvasurfa
July 12th 03, 07:00 PM
"Pat Meadows" > wrote in message
...
> On 11 Jul 2003 09:55:41 GMT, dogsnus >
> wrote:
>
> >Pat Meadows > wrote in
> :
> >
> >
> >snip
> >>
> >> If we didn't have so many books, this would be enough space
> >> for two people, IMHO. As it is, it's still enough but we
> >> cannot acquire any more books.
> >Even if you go "up"?
> >I've oft dreamed of a built in bookcase, complete with
> >ladder, much like the scene in "Roxanne", with Steve Martin
> >and Darrel Hannah.
> >I would LOVE to have built-in ceilng to floor book cases.
> >I've got enough books to warrant it
> >I just have to convince DH.
>
> We have gone 'up'. :)
>
> Six foot bookcases, with baskets on top of them. Eight foot
> ceilings. The baskets hold out-of-season clothing and other
> useful items and are decorative. It doesn't look messy.
>
> In DH's office, he has 3-ring notebooks (documentation) on
> top of his bookcases.
>
> There are some books that I'd not mind terribly eliminating
> - if I get any new ones (new to me, that is), I'll do so.
>
> Pat

I have occsionally seen examples in decorating magazines of people with
large amounts of land building barn-like freestanding combined
library/offices... and very nice they are too although they must be
expensive to heat and cool. If ever your finances improve you might consider
this.

silvasurfa
July 12th 03, 07:00 PM
"Pat Meadows" > wrote in message
...
> On 11 Jul 2003 09:55:41 GMT, dogsnus >
> wrote:
>
> >Pat Meadows > wrote in
> :
> >
> >
> >snip
> >>
> >> If we didn't have so many books, this would be enough space
> >> for two people, IMHO. As it is, it's still enough but we
> >> cannot acquire any more books.
> >Even if you go "up"?
> >I've oft dreamed of a built in bookcase, complete with
> >ladder, much like the scene in "Roxanne", with Steve Martin
> >and Darrel Hannah.
> >I would LOVE to have built-in ceilng to floor book cases.
> >I've got enough books to warrant it
> >I just have to convince DH.
>
> We have gone 'up'. :)
>
> Six foot bookcases, with baskets on top of them. Eight foot
> ceilings. The baskets hold out-of-season clothing and other
> useful items and are decorative. It doesn't look messy.
>
> In DH's office, he has 3-ring notebooks (documentation) on
> top of his bookcases.
>
> There are some books that I'd not mind terribly eliminating
> - if I get any new ones (new to me, that is), I'll do so.
>
> Pat

I have occsionally seen examples in decorating magazines of people with
large amounts of land building barn-like freestanding combined
library/offices... and very nice they are too although they must be
expensive to heat and cool. If ever your finances improve you might consider
this.

Anthony Matonak
July 13th 03, 12:30 AM
lpogoda wrote:
> dogsnus wrote in message ...
>
>>>A foundation needs to be placed down
>>>deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
>>>feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
>>>then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
>>>feet and make it a basement.
>>
>>Uh, no. With temps here in the "north" down to -20F or so in the winters,
>>it's still not necessary to go down that far.
>>(5-6 feet?!)
>>Heck, even in Wyoming, it's not necessary to dig a foundation
>>down THAT low and Wyoming can get temps of down to -60F or so.
>
> I had a chimney for a wood burning stove added to my first house after I was
> in there for about five years. The required foundation was something like 6
> or 10 feet below grade - it was almost 20 years ago, and I don't remember
> the exact requirements. This was in NJ.

Frost depth in Fargo ND is over 48 inches.

Anthony

Anthony Matonak
July 13th 03, 12:30 AM
lpogoda wrote:
> dogsnus wrote in message ...
>
>>>A foundation needs to be placed down
>>>deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
>>>feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
>>>then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
>>>feet and make it a basement.
>>
>>Uh, no. With temps here in the "north" down to -20F or so in the winters,
>>it's still not necessary to go down that far.
>>(5-6 feet?!)
>>Heck, even in Wyoming, it's not necessary to dig a foundation
>>down THAT low and Wyoming can get temps of down to -60F or so.
>
> I had a chimney for a wood burning stove added to my first house after I was
> in there for about five years. The required foundation was something like 6
> or 10 feet below grade - it was almost 20 years ago, and I don't remember
> the exact requirements. This was in NJ.

Frost depth in Fargo ND is over 48 inches.

Anthony

dogsnus
July 13th 03, 02:35 AM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in
:


snip
>
> Frost depth in Fargo ND is over 48 inches.

Fargo is a great deal colder than SW Idaho
and the frost depth is nowhere as deep.
Growing season has a lot to do with what building
code is, as well as growing season.


Terri

dogsnus
July 13th 03, 02:35 AM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in
:


snip
>
> Frost depth in Fargo ND is over 48 inches.

Fargo is a great deal colder than SW Idaho
and the frost depth is nowhere as deep.
Growing season has a lot to do with what building
code is, as well as growing season.


Terri

dogsnus
July 13th 03, 02:36 AM
"lpogoda" > wrote in
:


snip
>
> I had a chimney for a wood burning stove added to my first house after I
> was in there for about five years. The required foundation was something
> like 6 or 10 feet below grade - it was almost 20 years ago, and I don't
> remember the exact requirements. This was in NJ.

But, that was for the chimney, not the garage nor foundation, yes?
When we lived in the mountains of Idaho, we had a different zone,
(1), and different requirements for a wood burning stove.
The foundation up there was a tad bit deeper, but nowhere near what
was quoted to me earlier.


Terri

dogsnus
July 13th 03, 02:36 AM
"lpogoda" > wrote in
:


snip
>
> I had a chimney for a wood burning stove added to my first house after I
> was in there for about five years. The required foundation was something
> like 6 or 10 feet below grade - it was almost 20 years ago, and I don't
> remember the exact requirements. This was in NJ.

But, that was for the chimney, not the garage nor foundation, yes?
When we lived in the mountains of Idaho, we had a different zone,
(1), and different requirements for a wood burning stove.
The foundation up there was a tad bit deeper, but nowhere near what
was quoted to me earlier.


Terri

dogsnus
July 13th 03, 02:44 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:


snip
> I did order a food dehydrator - haven't got it yet, but I
> think I'll have a lot of fun with it and get a lot of use
> out of it.
>
> We have masses and masses of herbs at the moment, plus I can
> use it for fruits and veggies.

snip
I love my dehydrator. I've also learned to freeze my herbs
after drying to preseve the flavor.
I know what you mean about having different tastes from
your spouse.
He likes things that I would never eat.
Takes longer, but "preserves" harmony.
Heh!

Terri

dogsnus
July 13th 03, 02:44 PM
Pat Meadows > wrote in
:


snip
> I did order a food dehydrator - haven't got it yet, but I
> think I'll have a lot of fun with it and get a lot of use
> out of it.
>
> We have masses and masses of herbs at the moment, plus I can
> use it for fruits and veggies.

snip
I love my dehydrator. I've also learned to freeze my herbs
after drying to preseve the flavor.
I know what you mean about having different tastes from
your spouse.
He likes things that I would never eat.
Takes longer, but "preserves" harmony.
Heh!

Terri

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:17 AM
> wrote in message news:<CtDPa.369
> As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and put
> siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
> panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it (got
> it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book seemed

Thanks Tock. Great idea. If you remember the name of that book, please
let me know.

> to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
> was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
> constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North Carolina
> should be fine . . .

Yeah, in my mind it's an open question right now, the appropriateness
of strawbale. I've been told there are already a few bale homes in my
area; I'm going to see if I can talk to the owners about moisture,
etc.

> Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking in
> tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other side
> rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er do
> wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before the
> Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
> wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
> fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
> piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting. It
> was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage kids

Yowza!!! Did you do credit and reference checks on these people before
you rented to them? I know there are rental horror stories, but I
figure I know enough people in the community and at my University that
I should be able to find responsible tenants. I will absolutely
follow-up on references, including a credit check whatever it costs to
do one. Who knows, maybe a criminal record check might help as well
but that seems like overkill.

I guess I better get me a good book on landlording to see what I'm up
against. I reckon the Nolo Press title on landlording might make a
good choice since they produce great legal guides in general.

Sorry you had such a terrible experience with tenants! :-(

> Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
> renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real estate,
> you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan Himself.
> Be prepared if you go that route . . .
> Otherwise, good luck!

Thanks! A friend of mine thinks I should build the place I want for
myself, then build a garage with an apartment over it and do it that
way. Wouldn't change anything as far as someone skipping out on rent
or destroying the place, but I'm hoping I can pre-screen my tenants
well before there's ever a problem. But I realize it's all a, um, crap
shoot - and I guess in your case that was *literally* so! Dog doo?
Man, perhaps I won't rent to people with pets after all unless I
personally know the tenant or get stellar references from landlords
they've previously rented with.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:17 AM
> wrote in message news:<CtDPa.369
> As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and put
> siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
> panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it (got
> it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book seemed

Thanks Tock. Great idea. If you remember the name of that book, please
let me know.

> to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
> was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
> constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North Carolina
> should be fine . . .

Yeah, in my mind it's an open question right now, the appropriateness
of strawbale. I've been told there are already a few bale homes in my
area; I'm going to see if I can talk to the owners about moisture,
etc.

> Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking in
> tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other side
> rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er do
> wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before the
> Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
> wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
> fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
> piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting. It
> was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage kids

Yowza!!! Did you do credit and reference checks on these people before
you rented to them? I know there are rental horror stories, but I
figure I know enough people in the community and at my University that
I should be able to find responsible tenants. I will absolutely
follow-up on references, including a credit check whatever it costs to
do one. Who knows, maybe a criminal record check might help as well
but that seems like overkill.

I guess I better get me a good book on landlording to see what I'm up
against. I reckon the Nolo Press title on landlording might make a
good choice since they produce great legal guides in general.

Sorry you had such a terrible experience with tenants! :-(

> Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
> renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real estate,
> you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan Himself.
> Be prepared if you go that route . . .
> Otherwise, good luck!

Thanks! A friend of mine thinks I should build the place I want for
myself, then build a garage with an apartment over it and do it that
way. Wouldn't change anything as far as someone skipping out on rent
or destroying the place, but I'm hoping I can pre-screen my tenants
well before there's ever a problem. But I realize it's all a, um, crap
shoot - and I guess in your case that was *literally* so! Dog doo?
Man, perhaps I won't rent to people with pets after all unless I
personally know the tenant or get stellar references from landlords
they've previously rented with.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:17 AM
> wrote in message news:<CtDPa.369
> As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and put
> siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
> panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it (got
> it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book seemed

Thanks Tock. Great idea. If you remember the name of that book, please
let me know.

> to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
> was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
> constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North Carolina
> should be fine . . .

Yeah, in my mind it's an open question right now, the appropriateness
of strawbale. I've been told there are already a few bale homes in my
area; I'm going to see if I can talk to the owners about moisture,
etc.

> Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking in
> tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other side
> rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er do
> wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before the
> Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
> wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
> fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
> piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting. It
> was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage kids

Yowza!!! Did you do credit and reference checks on these people before
you rented to them? I know there are rental horror stories, but I
figure I know enough people in the community and at my University that
I should be able to find responsible tenants. I will absolutely
follow-up on references, including a credit check whatever it costs to
do one. Who knows, maybe a criminal record check might help as well
but that seems like overkill.

I guess I better get me a good book on landlording to see what I'm up
against. I reckon the Nolo Press title on landlording might make a
good choice since they produce great legal guides in general.

Sorry you had such a terrible experience with tenants! :-(

> Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
> renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real estate,
> you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan Himself.
> Be prepared if you go that route . . .
> Otherwise, good luck!

Thanks! A friend of mine thinks I should build the place I want for
myself, then build a garage with an apartment over it and do it that
way. Wouldn't change anything as far as someone skipping out on rent
or destroying the place, but I'm hoping I can pre-screen my tenants
well before there's ever a problem. But I realize it's all a, um, crap
shoot - and I guess in your case that was *literally* so! Dog doo?
Man, perhaps I won't rent to people with pets after all unless I
personally know the tenant or get stellar references from landlords
they've previously rented with.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:17 AM
> wrote in message news:<CtDPa.369
> As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and put
> siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
> panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it (got
> it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book seemed

Thanks Tock. Great idea. If you remember the name of that book, please
let me know.

> to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
> was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
> constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North Carolina
> should be fine . . .

Yeah, in my mind it's an open question right now, the appropriateness
of strawbale. I've been told there are already a few bale homes in my
area; I'm going to see if I can talk to the owners about moisture,
etc.

> Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking in
> tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other side
> rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er do
> wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before the
> Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
> wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
> fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
> piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting. It
> was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage kids

Yowza!!! Did you do credit and reference checks on these people before
you rented to them? I know there are rental horror stories, but I
figure I know enough people in the community and at my University that
I should be able to find responsible tenants. I will absolutely
follow-up on references, including a credit check whatever it costs to
do one. Who knows, maybe a criminal record check might help as well
but that seems like overkill.

I guess I better get me a good book on landlording to see what I'm up
against. I reckon the Nolo Press title on landlording might make a
good choice since they produce great legal guides in general.

Sorry you had such a terrible experience with tenants! :-(

> Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
> renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real estate,
> you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan Himself.
> Be prepared if you go that route . . .
> Otherwise, good luck!

Thanks! A friend of mine thinks I should build the place I want for
myself, then build a garage with an apartment over it and do it that
way. Wouldn't change anything as far as someone skipping out on rent
or destroying the place, but I'm hoping I can pre-screen my tenants
well before there's ever a problem. But I realize it's all a, um, crap
shoot - and I guess in your case that was *literally* so! Dog doo?
Man, perhaps I won't rent to people with pets after all unless I
personally know the tenant or get stellar references from landlords
they've previously rented with.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:19 AM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in message

Thanks Anthony.

> Just building small alone will lower your material costs but it may
> save you more money in the long run to look at materials which simply
> cost less to start with. For example, strawbales, papercrete, adobe,
> cob, rammed earth, prefab steel, etc. Labor is usually a very big
> part of the cost in construction so it also helps if the design and
> materials lend themselves to faster assembly or can be built with
> unskilled labor.

Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do -- lower the labor costs. I don't
have a lot of experience building, so I reckon I may need to hire a
GC. It seems a good GC is worth the money, but since I don't have much
money I'm fully investigating all my options.

There may be people in the community who do have lots of construction
experience who may want to help me. Apparently, many straw bale homes
are built as workshops -- or at the very least the foundation pouring
and wall raising are done as workshops. I don't have any experience
with this, but a friend told me people pay to attend strawbale
workshops. I reckon that money goes to the person organizing the
workshop rather than the homeowner, and that would be perfectly fine
with me.

> This is so relative that I can't even offer ideas. I know people who
> live in RV's full time. I would consider their living conditions very

Yeah, I think I agree with you there. It is rather relative. Arguments
about how much space is enough seem to go nowhere. People can say how
much space is enough for themselves, personally, and make various
points about it, but pontificating or dictating to others about how
much space one should have seems pointless. It's still fun to see what
people think and why they think it.

> Once again, less is better but you might also consider using materials
> which are easier on the environment to start with. Even if you wind up
> using a lot more material then it may still be better in the end because
> the material itself isn't as hard on the environment.

If I go with hewn logs cleared from my property--very likely since I
live in an area where many lots not in developments may be forested--I
think that might be a nice option; someone told me I could take the
logs to a local sawmill for milling. But I worry about freshly cut
logs (bugs and other nasties); I've read that, for a log home, one
should really have kiln-dried logs. I don't know if there are any
local operations with their own kilns. Apparently kilns are damn
expensive.

> > Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> > It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space.
>
> Sounds like this is the size of house you are looking for.

Yep. It works for me. The size of home I live in now with a half-story
/ sleeping or home office loft added to it would be perfect.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:19 AM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in message

Thanks Anthony.

> Just building small alone will lower your material costs but it may
> save you more money in the long run to look at materials which simply
> cost less to start with. For example, strawbales, papercrete, adobe,
> cob, rammed earth, prefab steel, etc. Labor is usually a very big
> part of the cost in construction so it also helps if the design and
> materials lend themselves to faster assembly or can be built with
> unskilled labor.

Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do -- lower the labor costs. I don't
have a lot of experience building, so I reckon I may need to hire a
GC. It seems a good GC is worth the money, but since I don't have much
money I'm fully investigating all my options.

There may be people in the community who do have lots of construction
experience who may want to help me. Apparently, many straw bale homes
are built as workshops -- or at the very least the foundation pouring
and wall raising are done as workshops. I don't have any experience
with this, but a friend told me people pay to attend strawbale
workshops. I reckon that money goes to the person organizing the
workshop rather than the homeowner, and that would be perfectly fine
with me.

> This is so relative that I can't even offer ideas. I know people who
> live in RV's full time. I would consider their living conditions very

Yeah, I think I agree with you there. It is rather relative. Arguments
about how much space is enough seem to go nowhere. People can say how
much space is enough for themselves, personally, and make various
points about it, but pontificating or dictating to others about how
much space one should have seems pointless. It's still fun to see what
people think and why they think it.

> Once again, less is better but you might also consider using materials
> which are easier on the environment to start with. Even if you wind up
> using a lot more material then it may still be better in the end because
> the material itself isn't as hard on the environment.

If I go with hewn logs cleared from my property--very likely since I
live in an area where many lots not in developments may be forested--I
think that might be a nice option; someone told me I could take the
logs to a local sawmill for milling. But I worry about freshly cut
logs (bugs and other nasties); I've read that, for a log home, one
should really have kiln-dried logs. I don't know if there are any
local operations with their own kilns. Apparently kilns are damn
expensive.

> > Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> > It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space.
>
> Sounds like this is the size of house you are looking for.

Yep. It works for me. The size of home I live in now with a half-story
/ sleeping or home office loft added to it would be perfect.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:19 AM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in message

Thanks Anthony.

> Just building small alone will lower your material costs but it may
> save you more money in the long run to look at materials which simply
> cost less to start with. For example, strawbales, papercrete, adobe,
> cob, rammed earth, prefab steel, etc. Labor is usually a very big
> part of the cost in construction so it also helps if the design and
> materials lend themselves to faster assembly or can be built with
> unskilled labor.

Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do -- lower the labor costs. I don't
have a lot of experience building, so I reckon I may need to hire a
GC. It seems a good GC is worth the money, but since I don't have much
money I'm fully investigating all my options.

There may be people in the community who do have lots of construction
experience who may want to help me. Apparently, many straw bale homes
are built as workshops -- or at the very least the foundation pouring
and wall raising are done as workshops. I don't have any experience
with this, but a friend told me people pay to attend strawbale
workshops. I reckon that money goes to the person organizing the
workshop rather than the homeowner, and that would be perfectly fine
with me.

> This is so relative that I can't even offer ideas. I know people who
> live in RV's full time. I would consider their living conditions very

Yeah, I think I agree with you there. It is rather relative. Arguments
about how much space is enough seem to go nowhere. People can say how
much space is enough for themselves, personally, and make various
points about it, but pontificating or dictating to others about how
much space one should have seems pointless. It's still fun to see what
people think and why they think it.

> Once again, less is better but you might also consider using materials
> which are easier on the environment to start with. Even if you wind up
> using a lot more material then it may still be better in the end because
> the material itself isn't as hard on the environment.

If I go with hewn logs cleared from my property--very likely since I
live in an area where many lots not in developments may be forested--I
think that might be a nice option; someone told me I could take the
logs to a local sawmill for milling. But I worry about freshly cut
logs (bugs and other nasties); I've read that, for a log home, one
should really have kiln-dried logs. I don't know if there are any
local operations with their own kilns. Apparently kilns are damn
expensive.

> > Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> > It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space.
>
> Sounds like this is the size of house you are looking for.

Yep. It works for me. The size of home I live in now with a half-story
/ sleeping or home office loft added to it would be perfect.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:19 AM
Anthony Matonak > wrote in message

Thanks Anthony.

> Just building small alone will lower your material costs but it may
> save you more money in the long run to look at materials which simply
> cost less to start with. For example, strawbales, papercrete, adobe,
> cob, rammed earth, prefab steel, etc. Labor is usually a very big
> part of the cost in construction so it also helps if the design and
> materials lend themselves to faster assembly or can be built with
> unskilled labor.

Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do -- lower the labor costs. I don't
have a lot of experience building, so I reckon I may need to hire a
GC. It seems a good GC is worth the money, but since I don't have much
money I'm fully investigating all my options.

There may be people in the community who do have lots of construction
experience who may want to help me. Apparently, many straw bale homes
are built as workshops -- or at the very least the foundation pouring
and wall raising are done as workshops. I don't have any experience
with this, but a friend told me people pay to attend strawbale
workshops. I reckon that money goes to the person organizing the
workshop rather than the homeowner, and that would be perfectly fine
with me.

> This is so relative that I can't even offer ideas. I know people who
> live in RV's full time. I would consider their living conditions very

Yeah, I think I agree with you there. It is rather relative. Arguments
about how much space is enough seem to go nowhere. People can say how
much space is enough for themselves, personally, and make various
points about it, but pontificating or dictating to others about how
much space one should have seems pointless. It's still fun to see what
people think and why they think it.

> Once again, less is better but you might also consider using materials
> which are easier on the environment to start with. Even if you wind up
> using a lot more material then it may still be better in the end because
> the material itself isn't as hard on the environment.

If I go with hewn logs cleared from my property--very likely since I
live in an area where many lots not in developments may be forested--I
think that might be a nice option; someone told me I could take the
logs to a local sawmill for milling. But I worry about freshly cut
logs (bugs and other nasties); I've read that, for a log home, one
should really have kiln-dried logs. I don't know if there are any
local operations with their own kilns. Apparently kilns are damn
expensive.

> > Currently, I rent a small two bedroom cottage that suits me just fine.
> > It's 24 X 26 so it has around 624 sq. foot of space.
>
> Sounds like this is the size of house you are looking for.

Yep. It works for me. The size of home I live in now with a half-story
/ sleeping or home office loft added to it would be perfect.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:20 AM
dogsnus > wrote in message news:<[email protected]
> I would LOVE to have built-in ceilng to floor book cases.
> I've got enough books to warrant it
> I just have to convince DH.

Recessed book cases are the coolest. I think they're really clever and
had one in another apartment I used to rent. But does anyone know if
there are downsides to large areas of recessed shelving? Maybe the
R-Value of the wall being reduced or some other possible "gotcha"?

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:20 AM
dogsnus > wrote in message news:<[email protected]
> I would LOVE to have built-in ceilng to floor book cases.
> I've got enough books to warrant it
> I just have to convince DH.

Recessed book cases are the coolest. I think they're really clever and
had one in another apartment I used to rent. But does anyone know if
there are downsides to large areas of recessed shelving? Maybe the
R-Value of the wall being reduced or some other possible "gotcha"?

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:21 AM
> I used to think so, but man, during the packing here, I started
> to chuck some books only to realize that a lot of them were
> antiques, over 50 years old or so.
> (What does that make ME?) I keep thinking "replacement costs".

I downsized my library considerably after doing what a book-fiend
friend of mine did. An entire room in his house was devoted to books;
the books had taken over.

He said he kept every book he couldn't easily find in a local library
or bookstore (e.g. small press stuff) as well as his favorites. He
also kept books that would be really expensive to replace, say, coffee
table books he still looked through now and then or good reference
books.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:21 AM
> I used to think so, but man, during the packing here, I started
> to chuck some books only to realize that a lot of them were
> antiques, over 50 years old or so.
> (What does that make ME?) I keep thinking "replacement costs".

I downsized my library considerably after doing what a book-fiend
friend of mine did. An entire room in his house was devoted to books;
the books had taken over.

He said he kept every book he couldn't easily find in a local library
or bookstore (e.g. small press stuff) as well as his favorites. He
also kept books that would be really expensive to replace, say, coffee
table books he still looked through now and then or good reference
books.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:30 AM
Dana Miller > wrote in message >...

Hello. Nice to meet another Dana here. Thanks for writing.

> The costs of many items/elements/systems within a house are not linear
> with respect to the size of the house. For example, once you include
> driveway, setbacks, and easements, the minimum lot size needed for a
> house is relatively fixed. Pat's yard sounds like it larger than my 1/3
> acre. People selling lots (in the same area) will price them according
> to acreage, not the size of the house on them.

What about economies of scale for putting two small homes on the same
lot. Do you see any cost-savings with that approach? Would utility
hook-ups cost twice the money if the homes were sitting right next to
each other or would there be a cost savings?

> houses will need power distribution panels, Furnaces, Water Heaters,
> kitchens sinks, and at least one set of bathroom fixtures.

True, but the kitchen sinks and appliances would probably be a lot
smaller in a tiny home, thus the costs should be lower. I'm looking to
see if a lot of small cost savings combined will lead to a worthwhile
lower cost of entry.

What about economies of scale in a tiny duplex?

> The trend to big box houses is driven by consumers trading quality and
> character for space. The real reason you see so many McMansions going
> ups is that a 4500 sqft house just isn't that much more expensive to
> build than a 2500 sqft house. If you're pricing houses by the sqft, the
> most expensive house, in terms of $/sqft is the small house. I think

Yeah, but 2500 sq. foot is considerably larger than a 600 sq. foot
house and/or 600 sq. foot house with a sleeping loft and/or second
floor. You say materials are cheap, and I have no reason to disbelieve
you, but what about the labor costs of a small home versus a
McMansion? I keep reading labor costs account for 50% of the cost of a
new home, so I reckon a smaller home will be comparatively a lot
cheaper in that regard.

I'm still trying to get my mind around the idea of a small home not
being such a great deal; seems counterintuitive, but I'm trying to get
a handle on it.

> The uneconomy of smaller houses, especially if you maintain a constant
> level of interior finish is probably deterring many large house owners
> from "downsizing". The neat effect of lots more space for just a little
> more money, is a real bite when you move down. Moving down to a house
> 30% smaller will only reduce the cost by 10% AND you now have to get rid
> of LOTS of your junk. My mother-in-law is in the process of downsizing

And as Andrew Tobias sez, "a luxury once tasted becomes a necessity;
pace yourself." It's easier for me to build a small home because I
already live in one and find it fits my needs. And if the new home no
longer fits my needs, I'll always be able to find good tenants to rent
it from me. That's just my personal situation and realize it's not for
everyone.

> There are disadvantages to big houses. I have 5x the floors to clean as
> Pat. Probably 2-3 times the windows to wash, and walls to
> paint/wallpaper. I also have to buy 2-3x the furniture to fill the damn
> place. I also probably pay at least twice as much to light and heat the
> place.

I'm looking for a low-maintenance house / low-maintenance existence
overall. I also hate lawns. I realize some people get a lot of joy out
of spending lots of time on the weekends maintaining their lawns (I
can see the appeal of veggie and flower gardens, but not huge
lawns--but to each her own), but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm
trying to see what I can learn from sustainable building /
permaculture folks about having a more natural, low-maintenance lawn.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:30 AM
Dana Miller > wrote in message >...

Hello. Nice to meet another Dana here. Thanks for writing.

> The costs of many items/elements/systems within a house are not linear
> with respect to the size of the house. For example, once you include
> driveway, setbacks, and easements, the minimum lot size needed for a
> house is relatively fixed. Pat's yard sounds like it larger than my 1/3
> acre. People selling lots (in the same area) will price them according
> to acreage, not the size of the house on them.

What about economies of scale for putting two small homes on the same
lot. Do you see any cost-savings with that approach? Would utility
hook-ups cost twice the money if the homes were sitting right next to
each other or would there be a cost savings?

> houses will need power distribution panels, Furnaces, Water Heaters,
> kitchens sinks, and at least one set of bathroom fixtures.

True, but the kitchen sinks and appliances would probably be a lot
smaller in a tiny home, thus the costs should be lower. I'm looking to
see if a lot of small cost savings combined will lead to a worthwhile
lower cost of entry.

What about economies of scale in a tiny duplex?

> The trend to big box houses is driven by consumers trading quality and
> character for space. The real reason you see so many McMansions going
> ups is that a 4500 sqft house just isn't that much more expensive to
> build than a 2500 sqft house. If you're pricing houses by the sqft, the
> most expensive house, in terms of $/sqft is the small house. I think

Yeah, but 2500 sq. foot is considerably larger than a 600 sq. foot
house and/or 600 sq. foot house with a sleeping loft and/or second
floor. You say materials are cheap, and I have no reason to disbelieve
you, but what about the labor costs of a small home versus a
McMansion? I keep reading labor costs account for 50% of the cost of a
new home, so I reckon a smaller home will be comparatively a lot
cheaper in that regard.

I'm still trying to get my mind around the idea of a small home not
being such a great deal; seems counterintuitive, but I'm trying to get
a handle on it.

> The uneconomy of smaller houses, especially if you maintain a constant
> level of interior finish is probably deterring many large house owners
> from "downsizing". The neat effect of lots more space for just a little
> more money, is a real bite when you move down. Moving down to a house
> 30% smaller will only reduce the cost by 10% AND you now have to get rid
> of LOTS of your junk. My mother-in-law is in the process of downsizing

And as Andrew Tobias sez, "a luxury once tasted becomes a necessity;
pace yourself." It's easier for me to build a small home because I
already live in one and find it fits my needs. And if the new home no
longer fits my needs, I'll always be able to find good tenants to rent
it from me. That's just my personal situation and realize it's not for
everyone.

> There are disadvantages to big houses. I have 5x the floors to clean as
> Pat. Probably 2-3 times the windows to wash, and walls to
> paint/wallpaper. I also have to buy 2-3x the furniture to fill the damn
> place. I also probably pay at least twice as much to light and heat the
> place.

I'm looking for a low-maintenance house / low-maintenance existence
overall. I also hate lawns. I realize some people get a lot of joy out
of spending lots of time on the weekends maintaining their lawns (I
can see the appeal of veggie and flower gardens, but not huge
lawns--but to each her own), but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm
trying to see what I can learn from sustainable building /
permaculture folks about having a more natural, low-maintenance lawn.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:32 AM
(JoelnCaryn) wrote in message >...
> >10x10 is plenty of space
> >for a bedroom, and I'd be tempted to say 8x8 would suffice. (Heck, I used
> >to have room to park my bicycle in an 8x6 cubicle, and even sleep under my
> >desk at times! ;)
> I think it's highly dependent on the bed you choose. I've shoehorned 3
> sleeping spaces into an 8x10 bedroom using a full/ twin bunkbed before, but
> there's no way to reasonably fit a king-sized waterbed into an 8x8 room, given
> that the dimensions on one are 6x7...

I think I'd like to design the second bedroom (I'm thinking of
building two bedrooms in each unit) to be just large enough to fit a
queen-sized bed, a night table, and a small dresser in it. Then the
room can either be used as a, albeit cramped, bedroom by a student
renter, or the renter can have a twin bed instead, or use the room as
a den / study / office space.

What size should a room like that be? I'm also wondering if you could
put a bunch of recessed cube / cell-like shelves into one of the walls
for clothing. Saw something like this in a "tiny home" design book,
though I can't remember if the cubes were recessed or if it was
built-in external shelving. It's something like what you'd see at a
KMart or Walmart; those wall racks that store blue jeans in cube
segments. Sounds crude, but this was a space-saving technique used,
probably, in some affluent person's manhattan loft apartment!

I've noticed a lot of the design books for making efficient use of
small interior spaces are pitched to the affluent. Still, I'm getting
some good ideas from the books.

- Dana

dnrg
July 14th 03, 12:32 AM
(JoelnCaryn) wrote in message >...
> >10x10 is plenty of space
> >for a bedroom, and I'd be tempted to say 8x8 would suffice. (Heck, I used
> >to have room to park my bicycle in an 8x6 cubicle, and even sleep under my
> >desk at times! ;)
> I think it's highly dependent on the bed you choose. I've shoehorned 3
> sleeping spaces into an 8x10 bedroom using a full/ twin bunkbed before, but
> there's no way to reasonably fit a king-sized waterbed into an 8x8 room, given
> that the dimensions on one are 6x7...

I think I'd like to design the second bedroom (I'm thinking of
building two bedrooms in each unit) to be just large enough to fit a
queen-sized bed, a night table, and a small dresser in it. Then the
room can either be used as a, albeit cramped, bedroom by a student
renter, or the renter can have a twin bed instead, or use the room as
a den / study / office space.

What size should a room like that be? I'm also wondering if you could
put a bunch of recessed cube / cell-like shelves into one of the walls
for clothing. Saw something like this in a "tiny home" design book,
though I can't remember if the cubes were recessed or if it was
built-in external shelving. It's something like what you'd see at a
KMart or Walmart; those wall racks that store blue jeans in cube
segments. Sounds crude, but this was a space-saving technique used,
probably, in some affluent person's manhattan loft apartment!

I've noticed a lot of the design books for making efficient use of
small interior spaces are pitched to the affluent. Still, I'm getting
some good ideas from the books.

- Dana

July 14th 03, 03:22 AM
"dnrg" > wrote in message
m...
> > wrote in message news:<CtDPa.369
> > As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and
put
> > siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
> > panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it
(got
> > it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book
seemed
>
> Thanks Tock. Great idea. If you remember the name of that book, please
> let me know.

I think it was
Strawbale Homebuilding
There are a few used copies available at Amazon.com for 5-6 bucks.


>
> > to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
> > was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
> > constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North
Carolina
> > should be fine . . .
>
> Yeah, in my mind it's an open question right now, the appropriateness
> of strawbale. I've been told there are already a few bale homes in my
> area; I'm going to see if I can talk to the owners about moisture,
> etc.
>
> > Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking
in
> > tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other
side
> > rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er
do
> > wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before
the
> > Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
> > wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
> > fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
> > piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting.
It
> > was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage
kids
>
> Yowza!!! Did you do credit and reference checks on these people before
> you rented to them? I know there are rental horror stories, but I
> figure I know enough people in the community and at my University that
> I should be able to find responsible tenants. I will absolutely
> follow-up on references, including a credit check whatever it costs to
> do one. Who knows, maybe a criminal record check might help as well
> but that seems like overkill.
>
> I guess I better get me a good book on landlording to see what I'm up
> against. I reckon the Nolo Press title on landlording might make a
> good choice since they produce great legal guides in general.
>
> Sorry you had such a terrible experience with tenants! :-(
>
> > Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
> > renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real
estate,
> > you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan
Himself.
> > Be prepared if you go that route . . .
> > Otherwise, good luck!
>
> Thanks! A friend of mine thinks I should build the place I want for
> myself, then build a garage with an apartment over it and do it that
> way. Wouldn't change anything as far as someone skipping out on rent
> or destroying the place, but I'm hoping I can pre-screen my tenants
> well before there's ever a problem. But I realize it's all a, um, crap
> shoot - and I guess in your case that was *literally* so! Dog doo?
> Man, perhaps I won't rent to people with pets after all unless I
> personally know the tenant or get stellar references from landlords
> they've previously rented with.


Probably could get good advice on dealing with tenants from some of the
veteran landlords here at m.c.f-l . . . just like a bellybutton, it's
something to look into . . . but me myself and I, we can't be bothered with
that kind of bad karma (renters, not bellybuttons).

July 14th 03, 03:22 AM
"dnrg" > wrote in message
m...
> > wrote in message news:<CtDPa.369
> > As far as the exterior goes, I'd think you could stucco the outside and
put
> > siding over it. Inside, you might could put up regular wallboard or
> > panelling. I had a book on this a while ago, dunno what I did with it
(got
> > it from Amazon.com) but it had lots of info on nifty options. Book
seemed
>
> Thanks Tock. Great idea. If you remember the name of that book, please
> let me know.

I think it was
Strawbale Homebuilding
There are a few used copies available at Amazon.com for 5-6 bucks.


>
> > to think strawbale construction was good for just about anywhere. If it
> > was me, though, I'd confine it to normal to dry areas; I'd think that
> > constant high humidity could eventually become a problem. North
Carolina
> > should be fine . . .
>
> Yeah, in my mind it's an open question right now, the appropriateness
> of strawbale. I've been told there are already a few bale homes in my
> area; I'm going to see if I can talk to the owners about moisture,
> etc.
>
> > Only aspect of your plans that makes me wince is the notion of taking
in
> > tenants. I owned one half of a duplex, and the owners of the other
side
> > rented it out. I saw some real winners come and go -- one set of ne'er
do
> > wells stopped paying rent, and it took something like 8 months before
the
> > Sherriff evicted 'em. And on their way out, they took everything that
> > wasn't nailed down (and some that were) -- the range, the commode, light
> > fixtures, refrigerator, the compressor out of the heat pump. They left
> > piles of filth, doggie poo, dirty laundry, etc all over the carpeting.
It
> > was awful. They were awful. Then they rented to a couple of teenage
kids
>
> Yowza!!! Did you do credit and reference checks on these people before
> you rented to them? I know there are rental horror stories, but I
> figure I know enough people in the community and at my University that
> I should be able to find responsible tenants. I will absolutely
> follow-up on references, including a credit check whatever it costs to
> do one. Who knows, maybe a criminal record check might help as well
> but that seems like overkill.
>
> I guess I better get me a good book on landlording to see what I'm up
> against. I reckon the Nolo Press title on landlording might make a
> good choice since they produce great legal guides in general.
>
> Sorry you had such a terrible experience with tenants! :-(
>
> > Anyway, all this is just to caution you that while owning one side and
> > renting out the other is about the cheapest way you could buy real
estate,
> > you stand a chance of having to deal with representatives of Satan
Himself.
> > Be prepared if you go that route . . .
> > Otherwise, good luck!
>
> Thanks! A friend of mine thinks I should build the place I want for
> myself, then build a garage with an apartment over it and do it that
> way. Wouldn't change anything as far as someone skipping out on rent
> or destroying the place, but I'm hoping I can pre-screen my tenants
> well before there's ever a problem. But I realize it's all a, um, crap
> shoot - and I guess in your case that was *literally* so! Dog doo?
> Man, perhaps I won't rent to people with pets after all unless I
> personally know the tenant or get stellar references from landlords
> they've previously rented with.


Probably could get good advice on dealing with tenants from some of the
veteran landlords here at m.c.f-l . . . just like a bellybutton, it's
something to look into . . . but me myself and I, we can't be bothered with
that kind of bad karma (renters, not bellybuttons).

July 14th 03, 03:33 AM
"dnrg" > wrote in
. . . s n i p . . .
> Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do -- lower the labor costs. I don't
> have a lot of experience building, so I reckon I may need to hire a
> GC. It seems a good GC is worth the money, but since I don't have much
> money I'm fully investigating all my options.


That reminds me of concrete dome homes. Check out
http://www.monolithicdome.com/
They've been doing their thing for a while now, have lots of dome structures
in a little town just south of Dallas. The general gist of those things
is . . . you build a circular concrete foundation, inflate a big plastic
form above it, weld (or somehow fasten together) common ordinary household
rebar in a grid on top of the plastic form, then pour a 4" thick layer of
concrete on top. I vaguely recall you can apply some sort of plastic goo
on top of the concrete for added waterproofing and insulation.
They do workshops on these things, and I think rent out machines to pour (or
spray) the concrete. Supposedly they're pretty uncomplicated to put
together. An added plus is they're (supposedly) much much much more
resistant to tornados, almost tornado-proof.
Might also look into building a concrete castle, using vertical plywood
forms. Dunno much about 'em, only that there's info about 'em on the net.
Hope this helps . . .
--Tock

July 14th 03, 03:33 AM
"dnrg" > wrote in
. . . s n i p . . .
> Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do -- lower the labor costs. I don't
> have a lot of experience building, so I reckon I may need to hire a
> GC. It seems a good GC is worth the money, but since I don't have much
> money I'm fully investigating all my options.


That reminds me of concrete dome homes. Check out
http://www.monolithicdome.com/
They've been doing their thing for a while now, have lots of dome structures
in a little town just south of Dallas. The general gist of those things
is . . . you build a circular concrete foundation, inflate a big plastic
form above it, weld (or somehow fasten together) common ordinary household
rebar in a grid on top of the plastic form, then pour a 4" thick layer of
concrete on top. I vaguely recall you can apply some sort of plastic goo
on top of the concrete for added waterproofing and insulation.
They do workshops on these things, and I think rent out machines to pour (or
spray) the concrete. Supposedly they're pretty uncomplicated to put
together. An added plus is they're (supposedly) much much much more
resistant to tornados, almost tornado-proof.
Might also look into building a concrete castle, using vertical plywood
forms. Dunno much about 'em, only that there's info about 'em on the net.
Hope this helps . . .
--Tock

Karen Wheless
July 14th 03, 04:01 AM
> Same goes for the other appliances. I've seen kitchen stoves that are about
> half as wide as a normal range. Fine if you want to fry an egg or maybe
> bake a cake, but I wouldn't be able to fit my Thanksgiving turkey in it.

These are the most awful things - I have one in my aparment. The oven
is not that bad (although I discovered some of my large pans wouldn't
fit in it) but the narrowness of the range is really a problem. You
can't put two regular-sized pots side by side without hitting the wall
(did that when I first moved in and left a lovely scorch mark) or
hitting the edge of the counter on the other side. I'm always having to
juggle pans because it's difficult to cook pasta and sauce at the same
time, for example, because the pans keep hitting each other.

I don't see why the builder didn't move the counter down another 4 or 6
inches (there's room) and put in a regular-size range and oven.
Whatever small savings there was in buying the small-size units wasn't
worthwhile in the long term - and if these ever stop working, it will be
difficult to find replacements.

And don't get me started on the undersized refrigerator...

Karen

Karen Wheless
July 14th 03, 04:01 AM
> Same goes for the other appliances. I've seen kitchen stoves that are about
> half as wide as a normal range. Fine if you want to fry an egg or maybe
> bake a cake, but I wouldn't be able to fit my Thanksgiving turkey in it.

These are the most awful things - I have one in my aparment. The oven
is not that bad (although I discovered some of my large pans wouldn't
fit in it) but the narrowness of the range is really a problem. You
can't put two regular-sized pots side by side without hitting the wall
(did that when I first moved in and left a lovely scorch mark) or
hitting the edge of the counter on the other side. I'm always having to
juggle pans because it's difficult to cook pasta and sauce at the same
time, for example, because the pans keep hitting each other.

I don't see why the builder didn't move the counter down another 4 or 6
inches (there's room) and put in a regular-size range and oven.
Whatever small savings there was in buying the small-size units wasn't
worthwhile in the long term - and if these ever stop working, it will be
difficult to find replacements.

And don't get me started on the undersized refrigerator...

Karen

Chris Hill
July 14th 03, 04:38 AM
On 11 Jul 2003 06:44:49 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>Chris Hill > wrote in message
>> College students are never home and don't cook or have any posessions
>> to speak of. Not the way I'd want to live. There is also a
>> difference between necessary and desirable.
>
>I *am* a college student - starting a Masters and probably going all
>the way for a PhD. What I want to build meets my needs and the needs
>of tenants, so it's a "go." I'm so busy with school work, grant work
>and enjoying the outdoors that I'm often not home. But then I live in
>a gorgeous mountain community, with the Blue Ridge Parkway a 10 minute
>drive away, so it's a waste to stay indoors too much anyway no matter
>what one's age. :-)

Keep this in mind when you wish to sell, you might be able to convince
a buyer. Imo, if you're going to school, rent some place cheap and
spend your time and assets doing, hopefully, what you'll end up doing
best.


>
>As for possessions, this is misc.consumers.frugal-living, right? I
>wouldn't say I'm Thoreau, but thank goodness I personally don't own so
>many possessions that they possess me. A larger house = a place to
>fill up with more junk. That's my opinion and you're entitled to
>yours.
One man's junk is anothers necessities for doing things cheaply.
You'd probably be amazed at all the tools in my garage, they keep me
away from expensive mechanics that often get it wrong, and allow me to
build things designed the way I want, not the way the shelves at
walmart say they have to be designed.


Unless you plan on staying where you are forever you have to consider
what you will do with the property when you're done with it. Build
too small or too weird and you will be very lucky to find a buyer.

Chris Hill
July 14th 03, 04:38 AM
On 11 Jul 2003 06:44:49 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>Chris Hill > wrote in message
>> College students are never home and don't cook or have any posessions
>> to speak of. Not the way I'd want to live. There is also a
>> difference between necessary and desirable.
>
>I *am* a college student - starting a Masters and probably going all
>the way for a PhD. What I want to build meets my needs and the needs
>of tenants, so it's a "go." I'm so busy with school work, grant work
>and enjoying the outdoors that I'm often not home. But then I live in
>a gorgeous mountain community, with the Blue Ridge Parkway a 10 minute
>drive away, so it's a waste to stay indoors too much anyway no matter
>what one's age. :-)

Keep this in mind when you wish to sell, you might be able to convince
a buyer. Imo, if you're going to school, rent some place cheap and
spend your time and assets doing, hopefully, what you'll end up doing
best.


>
>As for possessions, this is misc.consumers.frugal-living, right? I
>wouldn't say I'm Thoreau, but thank goodness I personally don't own so
>many possessions that they possess me. A larger house = a place to
>fill up with more junk. That's my opinion and you're entitled to
>yours.
One man's junk is anothers necessities for doing things cheaply.
You'd probably be amazed at all the tools in my garage, they keep me
away from expensive mechanics that often get it wrong, and allow me to
build things designed the way I want, not the way the shelves at
walmart say they have to be designed.


Unless you plan on staying where you are forever you have to consider
what you will do with the property when you're done with it. Build
too small or too weird and you will be very lucky to find a buyer.

Nick Pine
July 14th 03, 12:10 PM
dnrg > wrote:

>Recessed book cases are the coolest. I think they're really clever and
>had one in another apartment I used to rent. But does anyone know if
>there are downsides to large areas of recessed shelving? Maybe the
>R-Value of the wall being reduced or some other possible "gotcha"?

Yes. They work better on inside walls. Drywalling both sides of
an interior wall seems like a waste of space. You might unwall
one side. Don't tell your landlord.

I read somewhere that Frank Gehry lives in an old house from which
he's removed all the interior drywall (plaster?) He likes the look.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 14th 03, 12:10 PM
dnrg > wrote:

>Recessed book cases are the coolest. I think they're really clever and
>had one in another apartment I used to rent. But does anyone know if
>there are downsides to large areas of recessed shelving? Maybe the
>R-Value of the wall being reduced or some other possible "gotcha"?

Yes. They work better on inside walls. Drywalling both sides of
an interior wall seems like a waste of space. You might unwall
one side. Don't tell your landlord.

I read somewhere that Frank Gehry lives in an old house from which
he's removed all the interior drywall (plaster?) He likes the look.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 14th 03, 12:27 PM
> wrote:

>That reminds me of concrete dome homes. Check out
>http://www.monolithicdome.com/

>They've been doing their thing for a while now, have lots of dome structures
>in a little town just south of Dallas.

Italy. About a half-hour's drive.

>. . . you build a circular concrete foundation, inflate a big plastic form
>above it, weld (or somehow fasten together) common ordinary household rebar
>in a grid on top of the plastic form,

They inflate the "airform," then spray 3" of urethane foam underneath from
the inside, then put 3"x3" steel plates ("stickers") with attached pieces
of wire onto the tacky foam, then wire up the rebar under the foam.

>then pour

Spray.

>a 4" thick layer of concrete on top.

A 2" layer onto the rebar, from the inside.

Then they wait a few days, take a deep breath, and turn off the blower.

>An added plus is they're (supposedly) much much much more
>resistant to tornados, almost tornado-proof.

And fairly earthquake-proof.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 14th 03, 12:27 PM
> wrote:

>That reminds me of concrete dome homes. Check out
>http://www.monolithicdome.com/

>They've been doing their thing for a while now, have lots of dome structures
>in a little town just south of Dallas.

Italy. About a half-hour's drive.

>. . . you build a circular concrete foundation, inflate a big plastic form
>above it, weld (or somehow fasten together) common ordinary household rebar
>in a grid on top of the plastic form,

They inflate the "airform," then spray 3" of urethane foam underneath from
the inside, then put 3"x3" steel plates ("stickers") with attached pieces
of wire onto the tacky foam, then wire up the rebar under the foam.

>then pour

Spray.

>a 4" thick layer of concrete on top.

A 2" layer onto the rebar, from the inside.

Then they wait a few days, take a deep breath, and turn off the blower.

>An added plus is they're (supposedly) much much much more
>resistant to tornados, almost tornado-proof.

And fairly earthquake-proof.

Nick

George
July 14th 03, 03:07 PM
"dnrg" > wrote in message
om...
> Dana Miller > wrote in message
>...
>
> Hello. Nice to meet another Dana here. Thanks for writing.
>
> > The costs of many items/elements/systems within a house are not linear
> > with respect to the size of the house. For example, once you include
> > driveway, setbacks, and easements, the minimum lot size needed for a
> > house is relatively fixed. Pat's yard sounds like it larger than my 1/3
> > acre. People selling lots (in the same area) will price them according
> > to acreage, not the size of the house on them.
>
> What about economies of scale for putting two small homes on the same
> lot. Do you see any cost-savings with that approach? Would utility
> hook-ups cost twice the money if the homes were sitting right next to
> each other or would there be a cost savings?
>
> > houses will need power distribution panels, Furnaces, Water Heaters,
> > kitchens sinks, and at least one set of bathroom fixtures.
>
> True, but the kitchen sinks and appliances would probably be a lot
> smaller in a tiny home, thus the costs should be lower. I'm looking to
> see if a lot of small cost savings combined will lead to a worthwhile
> lower cost of entry.
>
> What about economies of scale in a tiny duplex?
>
> > The trend to big box houses is driven by consumers trading quality and
> > character for space. The real reason you see so many McMansions going
> > ups is that a 4500 sqft house just isn't that much more expensive to
> > build than a 2500 sqft house. If you're pricing houses by the sqft, the
> > most expensive house, in terms of $/sqft is the small house. I think
>
> Yeah, but 2500 sq. foot is considerably larger than a 600 sq. foot
> house and/or 600 sq. foot house with a sleeping loft and/or second
> floor. You say materials are cheap, and I have no reason to disbelieve
> you, but what about the labor costs of a small home versus a
> McMansion? I keep reading labor costs account for 50% of the cost of a
> new home, so I reckon a smaller home will be comparatively a lot
> cheaper in that regard.

Opting for a McMansion will also be more expensive because of recurring
cost. More volume requires more energy for heating and cooling. Also
property taxes are typically based on size.

>
> I'm still trying to get my mind around the idea of a small home not
> being such a great deal; seems counterintuitive, but I'm trying to get
> a handle on it.
>
> > The uneconomy of smaller houses, especially if you maintain a constant
> > level of interior finish is probably deterring many large house owners
> > from "downsizing". The neat effect of lots more space for just a little
> > more money, is a real bite when you move down. Moving down to a house
> > 30% smaller will only reduce the cost by 10% AND you now have to get rid
> > of LOTS of your junk. My mother-in-law is in the process of downsizing
>
> And as Andrew Tobias sez, "a luxury once tasted becomes a necessity;
> pace yourself." It's easier for me to build a small home because I
> already live in one and find it fits my needs. And if the new home no
> longer fits my needs, I'll always be able to find good tenants to rent
> it from me. That's just my personal situation and realize it's not for
> everyone.
>
> > There are disadvantages to big houses. I have 5x the floors to clean as
> > Pat. Probably 2-3 times the windows to wash, and walls to
> > paint/wallpaper. I also have to buy 2-3x the furniture to fill the damn
> > place. I also probably pay at least twice as much to light and heat the
> > place.
>
> I'm looking for a low-maintenance house / low-maintenance existence
> overall. I also hate lawns. I realize some people get a lot of joy out
> of spending lots of time on the weekends maintaining their lawns (I
> can see the appeal of veggie and flower gardens, but not huge
> lawns--but to each her own), but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm
> trying to see what I can learn from sustainable building /
> permaculture folks about having a more natural, low-maintenance lawn.
>
> - Dana

George
July 14th 03, 03:07 PM
"dnrg" > wrote in message
om...
> Dana Miller > wrote in message
>...
>
> Hello. Nice to meet another Dana here. Thanks for writing.
>
> > The costs of many items/elements/systems within a house are not linear
> > with respect to the size of the house. For example, once you include
> > driveway, setbacks, and easements, the minimum lot size needed for a
> > house is relatively fixed. Pat's yard sounds like it larger than my 1/3
> > acre. People selling lots (in the same area) will price them according
> > to acreage, not the size of the house on them.
>
> What about economies of scale for putting two small homes on the same
> lot. Do you see any cost-savings with that approach? Would utility
> hook-ups cost twice the money if the homes were sitting right next to
> each other or would there be a cost savings?
>
> > houses will need power distribution panels, Furnaces, Water Heaters,
> > kitchens sinks, and at least one set of bathroom fixtures.
>
> True, but the kitchen sinks and appliances would probably be a lot
> smaller in a tiny home, thus the costs should be lower. I'm looking to
> see if a lot of small cost savings combined will lead to a worthwhile
> lower cost of entry.
>
> What about economies of scale in a tiny duplex?
>
> > The trend to big box houses is driven by consumers trading quality and
> > character for space. The real reason you see so many McMansions going
> > ups is that a 4500 sqft house just isn't that much more expensive to
> > build than a 2500 sqft house. If you're pricing houses by the sqft, the
> > most expensive house, in terms of $/sqft is the small house. I think
>
> Yeah, but 2500 sq. foot is considerably larger than a 600 sq. foot
> house and/or 600 sq. foot house with a sleeping loft and/or second
> floor. You say materials are cheap, and I have no reason to disbelieve
> you, but what about the labor costs of a small home versus a
> McMansion? I keep reading labor costs account for 50% of the cost of a
> new home, so I reckon a smaller home will be comparatively a lot
> cheaper in that regard.

Opting for a McMansion will also be more expensive because of recurring
cost. More volume requires more energy for heating and cooling. Also
property taxes are typically based on size.

>
> I'm still trying to get my mind around the idea of a small home not
> being such a great deal; seems counterintuitive, but I'm trying to get
> a handle on it.
>
> > The uneconomy of smaller houses, especially if you maintain a constant
> > level of interior finish is probably deterring many large house owners
> > from "downsizing". The neat effect of lots more space for just a little
> > more money, is a real bite when you move down. Moving down to a house
> > 30% smaller will only reduce the cost by 10% AND you now have to get rid
> > of LOTS of your junk. My mother-in-law is in the process of downsizing
>
> And as Andrew Tobias sez, "a luxury once tasted becomes a necessity;
> pace yourself." It's easier for me to build a small home because I
> already live in one and find it fits my needs. And if the new home no
> longer fits my needs, I'll always be able to find good tenants to rent
> it from me. That's just my personal situation and realize it's not for
> everyone.
>
> > There are disadvantages to big houses. I have 5x the floors to clean as
> > Pat. Probably 2-3 times the windows to wash, and walls to
> > paint/wallpaper. I also have to buy 2-3x the furniture to fill the damn
> > place. I also probably pay at least twice as much to light and heat the
> > place.
>
> I'm looking for a low-maintenance house / low-maintenance existence
> overall. I also hate lawns. I realize some people get a lot of joy out
> of spending lots of time on the weekends maintaining their lawns (I
> can see the appeal of veggie and flower gardens, but not huge
> lawns--but to each her own), but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm
> trying to see what I can learn from sustainable building /
> permaculture folks about having a more natural, low-maintenance lawn.
>
> - Dana

Dennis
July 14th 03, 06:37 PM
On Mon, 14 Jul 2003 09:59:11 -0400, Pat Meadows >
wrote:

>On 13 Jul 2003 15:26:08 -0700, (dnrg)
>wrote:
>>I think you're right -- roofing is probably pretty expensive for the
>>reasons you mentioned, mostly labor; a book I'm reading about
>>cabin-building suggests using a metal roof. They're pretty light,
>>strong, wind hail and rain resistant, low maintenance and, apparently,
>>are designed to last the lifetime of the building. I probably wouldn't
>>use a metal roof on a typical home, but it can look fine on a cabin.
>>I'm assuming the cost of a metal roof would be less than a traditional
>>roof when all the labor costs are factored in for the latter but I
>>don't know that to be the case. It's on my "to do" list to find out.
>>
>
>I've seen metal roofs on houses, and they look pretty good
>to me. Just fine, in fact.
>
>I think they're noisy when it rains, but I'm sure insulation
>in the attic would help with this.

We built our house with a painted standing-seam metal roof. It is not
noisy inside at all. The metal panels are attached directly to
plywood sheathing, and of course there is plenty of insulation in the
attic. Our roof came with a 50 year warranty, and there is no regular
maintenance required (good, because it is very high and 12/12 pitch).
It cost more than a composition shingle roof, but less than a cedar
shake or tile roof. So far, I like it a lot.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

Dennis
July 14th 03, 06:37 PM
On Mon, 14 Jul 2003 09:59:11 -0400, Pat Meadows >
wrote:

>On 13 Jul 2003 15:26:08 -0700, (dnrg)
>wrote:
>>I think you're right -- roofing is probably pretty expensive for the
>>reasons you mentioned, mostly labor; a book I'm reading about
>>cabin-building suggests using a metal roof. They're pretty light,
>>strong, wind hail and rain resistant, low maintenance and, apparently,
>>are designed to last the lifetime of the building. I probably wouldn't
>>use a metal roof on a typical home, but it can look fine on a cabin.
>>I'm assuming the cost of a metal roof would be less than a traditional
>>roof when all the labor costs are factored in for the latter but I
>>don't know that to be the case. It's on my "to do" list to find out.
>>
>
>I've seen metal roofs on houses, and they look pretty good
>to me. Just fine, in fact.
>
>I think they're noisy when it rains, but I'm sure insulation
>in the attic would help with this.

We built our house with a painted standing-seam metal roof. It is not
noisy inside at all. The metal panels are attached directly to
plywood sheathing, and of course there is plenty of insulation in the
attic. Our roof came with a 50 year warranty, and there is no regular
maintenance required (good, because it is very high and 12/12 pitch).
It cost more than a composition shingle roof, but less than a cedar
shake or tile roof. So far, I like it a lot.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

Ned Flanders
July 14th 03, 08:59 PM
dogsnus > wrote in message >...
> Anthony Matonak > wrote in
> :
>
> > dogsnus wrote:
> > ...
> >> Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.
> >
> > The reason basements are more common up north and less common south
> > has to do with simple economics.
>
> Uh, depends upon what you think of South and the fact that...
> the water table is very high and floods are common.
> It's not uncommon in some Deep South areas to find human
> bones, that used to reside in the ground, that have washed up from floods.
> Which is why the average graveyard tombs are built above ground,
> and not below ground.
> Are you not familiar with the famous New Orleans' above ground tombs?
> We saw this habit even inland last year, about 100 miles north
> of the gulf coast.
>
> A foundation needs to be placed down
> > deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
> > feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
> > then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
> > feet and make it a basement.
> Uh, no. With temps here in the "north" down to -20F or so in the winters,
> it's still not necessary to go down that far.
> (5-6 feet?!)
> Heck, even in Wyoming, it's not necessary to dig a foundation
> down THAT low and Wyoming can get temps of down to -60F or so.
>
> Our foundation is only about a 6" inches or so underground.
> No heaving, either, as the soil is rather sandy.
> We are in Western zone 3a-3c.
>
> In the South the frost depth may only
> > be a couple of inches, if that, so there is no reason for any massive
> > digging at all.
>
> Nope. In some parts of the South, there is NO frost season. In fact,
> a real frost causes panic, since a lot of places in New Orleans for
> have exposed pipes under the house.
> They have banana trees in the deep south, yanno.
>
> Terri

And we have Banana trees and some palms growing in Pennsylvania year
round. Yanno, yanno.

Cheers,

Ned

Ned Flanders
July 14th 03, 08:59 PM
dogsnus > wrote in message >...
> Anthony Matonak > wrote in
> :
>
> > dogsnus wrote:
> > ...
> >> Basements in the South, of course, are almost non-existant.
> >
> > The reason basements are more common up north and less common south
> > has to do with simple economics.
>
> Uh, depends upon what you think of South and the fact that...
> the water table is very high and floods are common.
> It's not uncommon in some Deep South areas to find human
> bones, that used to reside in the ground, that have washed up from floods.
> Which is why the average graveyard tombs are built above ground,
> and not below ground.
> Are you not familiar with the famous New Orleans' above ground tombs?
> We saw this habit even inland last year, about 100 miles north
> of the gulf coast.
>
> A foundation needs to be placed down
> > deep enough to be below frost depth. Up north this can be several
> > feet down. Once you've dug down 5 or 6 feet to build your foundation
> > then it's not going to cost much more to dig down a couple of more
> > feet and make it a basement.
> Uh, no. With temps here in the "north" down to -20F or so in the winters,
> it's still not necessary to go down that far.
> (5-6 feet?!)
> Heck, even in Wyoming, it's not necessary to dig a foundation
> down THAT low and Wyoming can get temps of down to -60F or so.
>
> Our foundation is only about a 6" inches or so underground.
> No heaving, either, as the soil is rather sandy.
> We are in Western zone 3a-3c.
>
> In the South the frost depth may only
> > be a couple of inches, if that, so there is no reason for any massive
> > digging at all.
>
> Nope. In some parts of the South, there is NO frost season. In fact,
> a real frost causes panic, since a lot of places in New Orleans for
> have exposed pipes under the house.
> They have banana trees in the deep south, yanno.
>
> Terri

And we have Banana trees and some palms growing in Pennsylvania year
round. Yanno, yanno.

Cheers,

Ned

IleneB
July 14th 03, 09:06 PM
> So much for (at least some) small houses not selling well.
>
> Pat


I think the argument for smaller houses not being "a good deal" is the
disproportionate cost per sq.ft. involved in building. The fixed costs
are, within limits, fixed, regardless of house size. For me, fixed
costs included bringing in natural gas, new water line, new septic
(which did limit the number of bedrooms the town allowed me). The
furnace wouldn't have been bigger unless the house was dramatically
bigger. Within reason, I could have built more living space on the same
foundation. And so on.

Without question, there are few affordable/smaller houses around in
most places I know of. I'm not surprised they sell quickly. But I think
there are relatively few of these because the upfront costs of building
small aren't worth it, especially to developers or spec house builders.

Where I live, what were "starter homes" have largely all been improved,
enlarged, and updated so they are no longer basic houses. And the
average household size in the U.S. is now something like 1.8 people.
Every time a small house goes up for sale in my neighborhood, a
middle-aged divorced woman who lives alone or with one kid grabs it.

Ilene B

Ilene B

IleneB
July 14th 03, 09:06 PM
> So much for (at least some) small houses not selling well.
>
> Pat


I think the argument for smaller houses not being "a good deal" is the
disproportionate cost per sq.ft. involved in building. The fixed costs
are, within limits, fixed, regardless of house size. For me, fixed
costs included bringing in natural gas, new water line, new septic
(which did limit the number of bedrooms the town allowed me). The
furnace wouldn't have been bigger unless the house was dramatically
bigger. Within reason, I could have built more living space on the same
foundation. And so on.

Without question, there are few affordable/smaller houses around in
most places I know of. I'm not surprised they sell quickly. But I think
there are relatively few of these because the upfront costs of building
small aren't worth it, especially to developers or spec house builders.

Where I live, what were "starter homes" have largely all been improved,
enlarged, and updated so they are no longer basic houses. And the
average household size in the U.S. is now something like 1.8 people.
Every time a small house goes up for sale in my neighborhood, a
middle-aged divorced woman who lives alone or with one kid grabs it.

Ilene B

Ilene B

July 15th 03, 04:08 AM
"Nick Pine" > wrote in message
...
> > wrote:
>
> >That reminds me of concrete dome homes. Check out
> >http://www.monolithicdome.com/
>
> >They've been doing their thing for a while now, have lots of dome
structures
> >in a little town just south of Dallas.
>
> Italy. About a half-hour's drive.
>
> >. . . you build a circular concrete foundation, inflate a big plastic
form
> >above it, weld (or somehow fasten together) common ordinary household
rebar
> >in a grid on top of the plastic form,
>
> They inflate the "airform," then spray 3" of urethane foam underneath from
> the inside, then put 3"x3" steel plates ("stickers") with attached pieces
> of wire onto the tacky foam, then wire up the rebar under the foam.
>
> >then pour
>
> Spray.
>
> >a 4" thick layer of concrete on top.
>
> A 2" layer onto the rebar, from the inside.
>
> Then they wait a few days, take a deep breath, and turn off the blower.
>
> >An added plus is they're (supposedly) much much much more
> >resistant to tornados, almost tornado-proof.
>
> And fairly earthquake-proof.
>
> Nick
>
>

Yeah, that's right . . .
Been a while since I checked out the website . . .
Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or 100
of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against the
next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
submarine in . . . well, maybe a submarine with wheels . . . pretty neat
stuff.
And again, like a bellybutton, something to look into . . .
--Tock

July 15th 03, 04:08 AM
"Nick Pine" > wrote in message
...
> > wrote:
>
> >That reminds me of concrete dome homes. Check out
> >http://www.monolithicdome.com/
>
> >They've been doing their thing for a while now, have lots of dome
structures
> >in a little town just south of Dallas.
>
> Italy. About a half-hour's drive.
>
> >. . . you build a circular concrete foundation, inflate a big plastic
form
> >above it, weld (or somehow fasten together) common ordinary household
rebar
> >in a grid on top of the plastic form,
>
> They inflate the "airform," then spray 3" of urethane foam underneath from
> the inside, then put 3"x3" steel plates ("stickers") with attached pieces
> of wire onto the tacky foam, then wire up the rebar under the foam.
>
> >then pour
>
> Spray.
>
> >a 4" thick layer of concrete on top.
>
> A 2" layer onto the rebar, from the inside.
>
> Then they wait a few days, take a deep breath, and turn off the blower.
>
> >An added plus is they're (supposedly) much much much more
> >resistant to tornados, almost tornado-proof.
>
> And fairly earthquake-proof.
>
> Nick
>
>

Yeah, that's right . . .
Been a while since I checked out the website . . .
Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or 100
of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against the
next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
submarine in . . . well, maybe a submarine with wheels . . . pretty neat
stuff.
And again, like a bellybutton, something to look into . . .
--Tock

Karen Wheless
July 15th 03, 07:47 AM
> I think the argument for smaller houses not being "a good deal" is the
> disproportionate cost per sq.ft. involved in building. The fixed costs
> are, within limits, fixed, regardless of house size. For me, fixed
> costs included bringing in natural gas, new water line, new septic
> (which did limit the number of bedrooms the town allowed me). The
> furnace wouldn't have been bigger unless the house was dramatically
> bigger. Within reason, I could have built more living space on the same
> foundation. And so on.

In my area, the local government also gets into it. They can't do
anything about existing houses, but if there's a choice, they would much
rather have fewer large houses than many small ones. Fewer kids in the
schools, less demand on utilities, and usually more in taxes since the
rates go up dramatically as you get to larger houses.

So whenever permission is needed to build new houses, the larger houses
get permission while smaller ones do not. And programs to pull down
small houses and replace them with fewer big ones seem to be encouraged
as well. (And never mind that the teachers and nurses and firefighters
can't afford to live in the area.)

Karen

Karen Wheless
July 15th 03, 07:47 AM
> I think the argument for smaller houses not being "a good deal" is the
> disproportionate cost per sq.ft. involved in building. The fixed costs
> are, within limits, fixed, regardless of house size. For me, fixed
> costs included bringing in natural gas, new water line, new septic
> (which did limit the number of bedrooms the town allowed me). The
> furnace wouldn't have been bigger unless the house was dramatically
> bigger. Within reason, I could have built more living space on the same
> foundation. And so on.

In my area, the local government also gets into it. They can't do
anything about existing houses, but if there's a choice, they would much
rather have fewer large houses than many small ones. Fewer kids in the
schools, less demand on utilities, and usually more in taxes since the
rates go up dramatically as you get to larger houses.

So whenever permission is needed to build new houses, the larger houses
get permission while smaller ones do not. And programs to pull down
small houses and replace them with fewer big ones seem to be encouraged
as well. (And never mind that the teachers and nurses and firefighters
can't afford to live in the area.)

Karen

Nick Pine
July 15th 03, 11:34 AM
> wrote:

>Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or 100
>of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
>structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against the
>next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
>submarine in . . .

If you stop in, go into the center of one of those domes and
clap or sing or hum...

Nick

Nick Pine
July 15th 03, 11:34 AM
> wrote:

>Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or 100
>of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
>structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against the
>next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
>submarine in . . .

If you stop in, go into the center of one of those domes and
clap or sing or hum...

Nick

July 15th 03, 03:40 PM
>Yeah, that's right . . .
>Been a while since I checked out the website . . .
>Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or 100
>of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
>structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against the
>next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
>submarine in . . . well, maybe a submarine with wheels . . . pretty neat
>stuff.
>And again, like a bellybutton, something to look into . . .
>--Tock

Im curious....

Why has Italy Texas been the place that so many of
these domes are built?

Is that where this company is head quartered or
something?

July 15th 03, 03:40 PM
>Yeah, that's right . . .
>Been a while since I checked out the website . . .
>Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or 100
>of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
>structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against the
>next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
>submarine in . . . well, maybe a submarine with wheels . . . pretty neat
>stuff.
>And again, like a bellybutton, something to look into . . .
>--Tock

Im curious....

Why has Italy Texas been the place that so many of
these domes are built?

Is that where this company is head quartered or
something?

IleneB
July 15th 03, 05:31 PM
In article >, Karen
Wheless > wrote:

> So whenever permission is needed to build new houses, the larger houses
> get permission while smaller ones do not.

Where I live, septic systems/percs/wetlands dictate what can and can't
be built. Most of the tear-down houses are like mine was- a former
cottage/shack that is too beat up to repair (my bathroom was actually
falling off).

In more expensive towns, perfectly fine not-so-small houses are torn
down for these hideous McMansions that look like office buildings.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 15th 03, 05:31 PM
In article >, Karen
Wheless > wrote:

> So whenever permission is needed to build new houses, the larger houses
> get permission while smaller ones do not.

Where I live, septic systems/percs/wetlands dictate what can and can't
be built. Most of the tear-down houses are like mine was- a former
cottage/shack that is too beat up to repair (my bathroom was actually
falling off).

In more expensive towns, perfectly fine not-so-small houses are torn
down for these hideous McMansions that look like office buildings.

Ilene B

Nick Pine
July 15th 03, 06:44 PM
> wrote:

>Why has Italy Texas been the place that so many of these domes are built?

It's the company HQ, and David South likes the idea that a building permit
only costs $35, whether for a house or a skyscraper.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 15th 03, 06:44 PM
> wrote:

>Why has Italy Texas been the place that so many of these domes are built?

It's the company HQ, and David South likes the idea that a building permit
only costs $35, whether for a house or a skyscraper.

Nick

Karen Wheless
July 15th 03, 06:56 PM
> >In more expensive towns, perfectly fine not-so-small houses are torn
> >down for these hideous McMansions that look like office buildings.
>
> let me see if I get this right, you prefer ramshackle, decrepit
> housing more than well kept larger homes? hmmm I'm glad you're not my
> neighbor

"Ramshackle and decrepit" are probably bad, but I think there's a social
problem when you continuously tear down lots of small houses to build a
few big ones. You start pushing more and more people out of the housing
market. In my area, there just aren't very many small houses, and the
jump to get into a house is very difficult because there aren't many
small, so called "starter" homes left. The old ones are being torn down
and new ones aren't approved by the county. So you get a mass exodus of
younger people leaving the area because there is no housing.

This is a much bigger issue in more congested areas where there isn't a
lot of space for building, more demand for housing than supply, etc.
But it's an issue in other places as well - when affordable housing
close to town is torn down to build McMansions, which results in more
people having to move into distant suburbs and congest the highways.

Karen

Karen Wheless
July 15th 03, 06:56 PM
> >In more expensive towns, perfectly fine not-so-small houses are torn
> >down for these hideous McMansions that look like office buildings.
>
> let me see if I get this right, you prefer ramshackle, decrepit
> housing more than well kept larger homes? hmmm I'm glad you're not my
> neighbor

"Ramshackle and decrepit" are probably bad, but I think there's a social
problem when you continuously tear down lots of small houses to build a
few big ones. You start pushing more and more people out of the housing
market. In my area, there just aren't very many small houses, and the
jump to get into a house is very difficult because there aren't many
small, so called "starter" homes left. The old ones are being torn down
and new ones aren't approved by the county. So you get a mass exodus of
younger people leaving the area because there is no housing.

This is a much bigger issue in more congested areas where there isn't a
lot of space for building, more demand for housing than supply, etc.
But it's an issue in other places as well - when affordable housing
close to town is torn down to build McMansions, which results in more
people having to move into distant suburbs and congest the highways.

Karen

Karen Wheless
July 15th 03, 06:56 PM
> In my town, the property tax rate is about 2.9% of assessed valuation.
> That tax RATE is the same for all properties, regardless of the size
> of the parcel of land or the size of the structure sitting on it.
>
> Where do you live that the RATE varies with house size?

New York has a pretty generous homestead exemption program, so if you
own a small house, you will owe a relatively small amount in property
tax. (And if you're a senior citizen, it's even more dramatic.) (I'm
probably using the wrong term here - you get to take off a certain
amount of property tax for your primary residence.) So if you have 20
small houses, each one might lose 50% of its valuation to this
exemption. If you have 5 large houses, each one gets the same amount of
exemption by dollar value, but it might only be 15 or 20% of its
valuation. Some of this exemption is also income related - someone in a
small house is more likely to be low income, so they get more of a break
in property tax.

I'm not a home owner so I may not be describing this using the correct
terms - but it is an issue when deciding whether to have small houses or
big ones. The exemption takes a higher percentage of small houses than
large ones.

Karen

Karen Wheless
July 15th 03, 06:56 PM
> In my town, the property tax rate is about 2.9% of assessed valuation.
> That tax RATE is the same for all properties, regardless of the size
> of the parcel of land or the size of the structure sitting on it.
>
> Where do you live that the RATE varies with house size?

New York has a pretty generous homestead exemption program, so if you
own a small house, you will owe a relatively small amount in property
tax. (And if you're a senior citizen, it's even more dramatic.) (I'm
probably using the wrong term here - you get to take off a certain
amount of property tax for your primary residence.) So if you have 20
small houses, each one might lose 50% of its valuation to this
exemption. If you have 5 large houses, each one gets the same amount of
exemption by dollar value, but it might only be 15 or 20% of its
valuation. Some of this exemption is also income related - someone in a
small house is more likely to be low income, so they get more of a break
in property tax.

I'm not a home owner so I may not be describing this using the correct
terms - but it is an issue when deciding whether to have small houses or
big ones. The exemption takes a higher percentage of small houses than
large ones.

Karen

July 15th 03, 08:10 PM
"Nick Pine" > wrote in message
...
> > wrote:
>
> >Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or
100
> >of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
> >structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against
the
> >next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
> >submarine in . . .
>
> If you stop in, go into the center of one of those domes and
> clap or sing or hum...
>
> Nick


Really? Is there some curious acoustic property to the domes? Hah . . .
might be a good place to keep a piano or harpsichord or seat for playing
accordian or something . . .
I'll have to be like an eastern european and Czech it out . . .
--Tock

July 15th 03, 08:10 PM
"Nick Pine" > wrote in message
...
> > wrote:
>
> >Driving by their physical site in Italy, Texas, you can see maybe 50 or
100
> >of the domes they've built (I guess from workshops). A few of the
> >structures are built like giant caterpillars, one dome right up against
the
> >next, making a loooooooong building you could store something like a
> >submarine in . . .
>
> If you stop in, go into the center of one of those domes and
> clap or sing or hum...
>
> Nick


Really? Is there some curious acoustic property to the domes? Hah . . .
might be a good place to keep a piano or harpsichord or seat for playing
accordian or something . . .
I'll have to be like an eastern european and Czech it out . . .
--Tock

Nick Pine
July 15th 03, 08:47 PM
> wrote:

>> If you stop in, go into the center of one of those domes and
>> clap or sing or hum...
>
>Really? Is there some curious acoustic property to the domes?

Lots of interesting reverberations as the dome reflects back to the center.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 15th 03, 08:47 PM
> wrote:

>> If you stop in, go into the center of one of those domes and
>> clap or sing or hum...
>
>Really? Is there some curious acoustic property to the domes?

Lots of interesting reverberations as the dome reflects back to the center.

Nick

Ron Peterson
July 15th 03, 10:18 PM
(JoelnCaryn) wrote in message >...
> >All construction depreciates. The lower outlay can make up for the higher
> >depreciation rate.

> Geez, where do you live? I suspect people living in places like Malibu, CA
> and Paradise Valley, AZ would strongly disagree.

Bare lots in those locations appreciate faster than those with
construction on them.

"This Old House" had a segment on Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water
house in which showed the expensive reinforcement that was needed
after many years of use.

--
Ron

Ron Peterson
July 15th 03, 10:18 PM
(JoelnCaryn) wrote in message >...
> >All construction depreciates. The lower outlay can make up for the higher
> >depreciation rate.

> Geez, where do you live? I suspect people living in places like Malibu, CA
> and Paradise Valley, AZ would strongly disagree.

Bare lots in those locations appreciate faster than those with
construction on them.

"This Old House" had a segment on Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water
house in which showed the expensive reinforcement that was needed
after many years of use.

--
Ron

Chloe
July 16th 03, 12:03 AM
"Pat Meadows" > wrote in message
...
> On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 12:56:57 -0400,
<snip>
> I cannot imagine why any two people would want to live in a
> 10,000 sf house, but it appears to happen. I'll bet a whole
> lot of the McMansions are pretty cold in winter, and fairly
> unfurnished as well.
>
> DH and I would like a house of about 1200 sf. Not more. We
> have friends here whose house both DH and I think is
> 'perfect for two people' - would be just right for us. It's
> about 1200 sf.
>
> I think Chloe and her husband settled on about that size as
> well.

Actually we settled on a house about twice that size, and we use all of it
regularly with the exception of the dining room. We did learn from our brief
time in the 4,000 sf monster that a large, badly designed space is way worse
to live in than a smaller, better designed one. I am a fan of Sarah
Susanka's Not So Big House concept. If I lived alone I'd probably be fine in
the kind of space you're talking about, although I don't have much affection
for real tiny rooms.

Chloe
July 16th 03, 12:03 AM
"Pat Meadows" > wrote in message
...
> On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 12:56:57 -0400,
<snip>
> I cannot imagine why any two people would want to live in a
> 10,000 sf house, but it appears to happen. I'll bet a whole
> lot of the McMansions are pretty cold in winter, and fairly
> unfurnished as well.
>
> DH and I would like a house of about 1200 sf. Not more. We
> have friends here whose house both DH and I think is
> 'perfect for two people' - would be just right for us. It's
> about 1200 sf.
>
> I think Chloe and her husband settled on about that size as
> well.

Actually we settled on a house about twice that size, and we use all of it
regularly with the exception of the dining room. We did learn from our brief
time in the 4,000 sf monster that a large, badly designed space is way worse
to live in than a smaller, better designed one. I am a fan of Sarah
Susanka's Not So Big House concept. If I lived alone I'd probably be fine in
the kind of space you're talking about, although I don't have much affection
for real tiny rooms.

IleneB
July 16th 03, 02:53 AM
In article >, JohnDoe
> wrote:

> let me see if I get this right, you prefer ramshackle, decrepit
> housing more than well kept larger homes?

Thanks so much for asking for clarification. You got it wrong. I don't
like to see good quality houses torn down to put up oversized ugly
McMansions. I think it's A-OK to tear down rotting cottages that are
falling down and becoming unlivable.

Hope I got that right.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 16th 03, 02:53 AM
In article >, JohnDoe
> wrote:

> let me see if I get this right, you prefer ramshackle, decrepit
> housing more than well kept larger homes?

Thanks so much for asking for clarification. You got it wrong. I don't
like to see good quality houses torn down to put up oversized ugly
McMansions. I think it's A-OK to tear down rotting cottages that are
falling down and becoming unlivable.

Hope I got that right.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 16th 03, 03:00 AM
In article >, Karen
Wheless > wrote:

> when affordable housing
> close to town is torn down to build McMansions,


My area is a lakeside community, formerly summer shacks. The shacks
were on lots of 20x100 ft. They were often one-room with a well (maybe)
and outhouses. Most people bought more than one lot, and there weren't
too many side-by-side shacks. Because of septic laws (Title 5), any
improvements require a title 5 inspection, which usually means a new
septic is required.

My former cottage was originally one (well-built) room with a well and
outhouse. On six lots, there were two shacks (one long gone). Mine was
apparently added onto, with a kitchen and a loft over that, with a
bathroom hanging off. Nothing was built well ("weekend with a hammer
and sixpack") and different owners tried to make it a year-round house
with rigged pipes, heating etc. Water had gotten into all the walls,
athe pipes were such that they froze in the winter and the furnace was
in backwards. Parts of the roof caved in under water weight. Etc. I
thought I could fix it up over time for cash and learned that it just
couldn't be reasonably done. I had it torn down. It was about 725
sq.ft. My new house, on the same spot (slightly larger footprint) is
about 1250 sq.ft.

Most of the houses being torn down around me are the same type- tiny
and poorly built/added onto.

But in the more expensive towns (like Wellesley, Lexington and such)
houses that are in reasonable shape that are like 1500-2000 sq.ft. are
being torn down to put up these big boxes that are right up to the
property lines on all sides. They look like hell and aren't necessarily
quality construction. And they *are* affordable housing being torn
down.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 16th 03, 03:00 AM
In article >, Karen
Wheless > wrote:

> when affordable housing
> close to town is torn down to build McMansions,


My area is a lakeside community, formerly summer shacks. The shacks
were on lots of 20x100 ft. They were often one-room with a well (maybe)
and outhouses. Most people bought more than one lot, and there weren't
too many side-by-side shacks. Because of septic laws (Title 5), any
improvements require a title 5 inspection, which usually means a new
septic is required.

My former cottage was originally one (well-built) room with a well and
outhouse. On six lots, there were two shacks (one long gone). Mine was
apparently added onto, with a kitchen and a loft over that, with a
bathroom hanging off. Nothing was built well ("weekend with a hammer
and sixpack") and different owners tried to make it a year-round house
with rigged pipes, heating etc. Water had gotten into all the walls,
athe pipes were such that they froze in the winter and the furnace was
in backwards. Parts of the roof caved in under water weight. Etc. I
thought I could fix it up over time for cash and learned that it just
couldn't be reasonably done. I had it torn down. It was about 725
sq.ft. My new house, on the same spot (slightly larger footprint) is
about 1250 sq.ft.

Most of the houses being torn down around me are the same type- tiny
and poorly built/added onto.

But in the more expensive towns (like Wellesley, Lexington and such)
houses that are in reasonable shape that are like 1500-2000 sq.ft. are
being torn down to put up these big boxes that are right up to the
property lines on all sides. They look like hell and aren't necessarily
quality construction. And they *are* affordable housing being torn
down.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 16th 03, 03:04 AM
In article >, Pat Meadows
> wrote:

> I think perhaps the driving factor is more that the builders
> want the maximum profit, which I assume to be from larger
> houses.

Right. Certainly near major urban areas, the driving expense is the
land cost. The big houses are cheaper per sq.ft. because of the high
fixed costs.

My house is on a half acre (eleven of the old lake division lots). My
land alone is valued at $110K by the town for tax purposes. Because I
am too close to a wetlands by current law, I could only build a house
on the same footprint as the previous house, and that is only allowed
because the previous house was continuously occupied. If I'd moved out
of my cottage (when the pipes failed and I had no heat and the bathroom
was falling off), the land would have been unbuildable. As it was, I
had to get a new septic for $25K and have a 2-bedroom deed restriction.

Ilene b (30 miles NW of Boston)

IleneB
July 16th 03, 03:04 AM
In article >, Pat Meadows
> wrote:

> I think perhaps the driving factor is more that the builders
> want the maximum profit, which I assume to be from larger
> houses.

Right. Certainly near major urban areas, the driving expense is the
land cost. The big houses are cheaper per sq.ft. because of the high
fixed costs.

My house is on a half acre (eleven of the old lake division lots). My
land alone is valued at $110K by the town for tax purposes. Because I
am too close to a wetlands by current law, I could only build a house
on the same footprint as the previous house, and that is only allowed
because the previous house was continuously occupied. If I'd moved out
of my cottage (when the pipes failed and I had no heat and the bathroom
was falling off), the land would have been unbuildable. As it was, I
had to get a new septic for $25K and have a 2-bedroom deed restriction.

Ilene b (30 miles NW of Boston)

IleneB
July 16th 03, 03:05 AM
In article >, Chloe
> wrote:

> I am a fan of Sarah
> Susanka's Not So Big House concept.


Yet even she defines a "not so big house" as under 2,000 sq. ft., which
is pretty big to me.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 16th 03, 03:05 AM
In article >, Chloe
> wrote:

> I am a fan of Sarah
> Susanka's Not So Big House concept.


Yet even she defines a "not so big house" as under 2,000 sq. ft., which
is pretty big to me.

Ilene B

MerryStahel
July 16th 03, 03:59 AM
Ron said:

>"This Old House" had a segment on Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water
>house in which showed the expensive reinforcement that was needed
>after many years of use.
>

Falling Water has needed expensive reinforcement from day one. When the roof
began to leak in a certain spot, shortly after it was built, the owner
contacted Wright and asked what to do...Wright's supposed answer was..."Put a
bucket under it."

There were structural flaws that are still issues today, according to the folk
who run the place now.

Still and all - although I was never enamored of the house, a visit there
showed what he was trying to accomplish with the style - easy, flow-through
living, taking in environment as a factor. Pretty innovative, in his time.

In fact, my whole family now feels the prairie style home is the way to go.
Great utilization of space within the home. Although they take up room, built
in cabinets were one of his better ideas - believe it or not, maybe without
realizing it - FLW's ideas encompassed being maintenance free.

It is a lesson I learned with my first house, which made me look for features
in this second house and refusing to buy until I found them.

FYI, features that were important to me: All one level (having had two
elderlies living with me, and fast approaching middle age - this only made
sense), tiled kitchen and bathrooms (no need for replacement flooring, EVER),
doorways and hallway large enough to accomodate a wheelchair (no one is in one
now, but who knows the future?), a GREAT room which somehow encompassed the
kitchen (family gatherings always dictate that cook was standing alone, while
everyone else drifted off to talk and chat - a great room with kitchen means I
( the cook!) get to be a part of the group <G>).

One thing I was unable to get in ANY house we looked at...I wanted ONLY
clerestory windows - I LOVE the light, but I hate the neighbors ability to see
that I am home (hermit tendencies) - however, I DID find a house with
palladium...is that the term for the arched windows? Each room has one window
below the arched window, but the previous owner has blinds in every one of
them. The diffused lighting worked for me.

A bathtub in BOTH bathrooms. There were various reasons for this, including
needing manuevering room to bathe elderly or pets.

One thing we DID get, which was unexpected and which we weren't looking for,
but will look for in all future homes, should we not stay here...vaulted
ceilings. The only non vaulted ceiling is the dining room and bathrooms. WOW,
what a difference. Even the small bedroom feels bigger.

All this in about 2100 square feet. The house is one of the smallest in the
neighborhood. But we love it. No wasted space, straigh-forward floor plan, no
crazy twists and turns, and can be easily accomodating to elderly or
wheelchair, should one pop up in the family, again.

Merry
Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once
http://www.stardancerpress.com/MerryStahel/
http://community.webshots.com/user/merrystahel

MerryStahel
July 16th 03, 03:59 AM
Ron said:

>"This Old House" had a segment on Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water
>house in which showed the expensive reinforcement that was needed
>after many years of use.
>

Falling Water has needed expensive reinforcement from day one. When the roof
began to leak in a certain spot, shortly after it was built, the owner
contacted Wright and asked what to do...Wright's supposed answer was..."Put a
bucket under it."

There were structural flaws that are still issues today, according to the folk
who run the place now.

Still and all - although I was never enamored of the house, a visit there
showed what he was trying to accomplish with the style - easy, flow-through
living, taking in environment as a factor. Pretty innovative, in his time.

In fact, my whole family now feels the prairie style home is the way to go.
Great utilization of space within the home. Although they take up room, built
in cabinets were one of his better ideas - believe it or not, maybe without
realizing it - FLW's ideas encompassed being maintenance free.

It is a lesson I learned with my first house, which made me look for features
in this second house and refusing to buy until I found them.

FYI, features that were important to me: All one level (having had two
elderlies living with me, and fast approaching middle age - this only made
sense), tiled kitchen and bathrooms (no need for replacement flooring, EVER),
doorways and hallway large enough to accomodate a wheelchair (no one is in one
now, but who knows the future?), a GREAT room which somehow encompassed the
kitchen (family gatherings always dictate that cook was standing alone, while
everyone else drifted off to talk and chat - a great room with kitchen means I
( the cook!) get to be a part of the group <G>).

One thing I was unable to get in ANY house we looked at...I wanted ONLY
clerestory windows - I LOVE the light, but I hate the neighbors ability to see
that I am home (hermit tendencies) - however, I DID find a house with
palladium...is that the term for the arched windows? Each room has one window
below the arched window, but the previous owner has blinds in every one of
them. The diffused lighting worked for me.

A bathtub in BOTH bathrooms. There were various reasons for this, including
needing manuevering room to bathe elderly or pets.

One thing we DID get, which was unexpected and which we weren't looking for,
but will look for in all future homes, should we not stay here...vaulted
ceilings. The only non vaulted ceiling is the dining room and bathrooms. WOW,
what a difference. Even the small bedroom feels bigger.

All this in about 2100 square feet. The house is one of the smallest in the
neighborhood. But we love it. No wasted space, straigh-forward floor plan, no
crazy twists and turns, and can be easily accomodating to elderly or
wheelchair, should one pop up in the family, again.

Merry
Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once
http://www.stardancerpress.com/MerryStahel/
http://community.webshots.com/user/merrystahel

SoCalMike
July 16th 03, 04:07 AM
>
> But in the more expensive towns (like Wellesley, Lexington and such)
> houses that are in reasonable shape that are like 1500-2000 sq.ft. are
> being torn down to put up these big boxes that are right up to the
> property lines on all sides.

havent they heard of a "setback"? apparently your building codes arent too
strict.

SoCalMike
July 16th 03, 04:07 AM
>
> But in the more expensive towns (like Wellesley, Lexington and such)
> houses that are in reasonable shape that are like 1500-2000 sq.ft. are
> being torn down to put up these big boxes that are right up to the
> property lines on all sides.

havent they heard of a "setback"? apparently your building codes arent too
strict.

IleneB
July 16th 03, 04:43 AM
In article >, MerryStahel
> wrote:

> I DID find a house with
> palladium...is that the term for the arched windows?

It's the real estate agent BS term. I believe true Palladian windows
have a certain proportion of an old-time Italian architect (Palladio?)
and the only similarity with what I call "the arch of the '80s" is the
curved top. I think the real windows are much taller and narrower than
the rounded boxes that are alternately called "palladium" or
"palladian."

Ilene B

IleneB
July 16th 03, 04:43 AM
In article >, MerryStahel
> wrote:

> I DID find a house with
> palladium...is that the term for the arched windows?

It's the real estate agent BS term. I believe true Palladian windows
have a certain proportion of an old-time Italian architect (Palladio?)
and the only similarity with what I call "the arch of the '80s" is the
curved top. I think the real windows are much taller and narrower than
the rounded boxes that are alternately called "palladium" or
"palladian."

Ilene B

dnrg
July 16th 03, 01:50 PM
IleneB > wrote in message news:<150720032105381600%
> > I am a fan of Sarah
> > Susanka's Not So Big House concept.
> Yet even she defines a "not so big house" as under 2,000 sq. ft., which
> is pretty big to me.

I looked briefly throug Susanka's book and saw her on a repeat of a
Charlie Rose show. She says she designs small homes for the "middle
class"; I think she must have meant Upper Middle Class because most of
the pictures I recall seeing in the book were of tony places that
didn't look frugal at all. Probably looked more like the Manhattan
loft apartments of the super-affluent than anything I could afford.
Someone should write a book similar to what she wrote but for people
of modest means; not for people with small / narrow, expensive lots.

Still, Susanka's book might be good for ideas.

I guess I should use the word "cabin" or "cottage" for what I want to
build. One book I'm reading defines a cabin as no *more* than 1,000
sq. ft. I define a small house that way as well; or perhaps 1,200 sq.
ft at the most.

- Dana

dnrg
July 16th 03, 01:50 PM
IleneB > wrote in message news:<150720032105381600%
> > I am a fan of Sarah
> > Susanka's Not So Big House concept.
> Yet even she defines a "not so big house" as under 2,000 sq. ft., which
> is pretty big to me.

I looked briefly throug Susanka's book and saw her on a repeat of a
Charlie Rose show. She says she designs small homes for the "middle
class"; I think she must have meant Upper Middle Class because most of
the pictures I recall seeing in the book were of tony places that
didn't look frugal at all. Probably looked more like the Manhattan
loft apartments of the super-affluent than anything I could afford.
Someone should write a book similar to what she wrote but for people
of modest means; not for people with small / narrow, expensive lots.

Still, Susanka's book might be good for ideas.

I guess I should use the word "cabin" or "cottage" for what I want to
build. One book I'm reading defines a cabin as no *more* than 1,000
sq. ft. I define a small house that way as well; or perhaps 1,200 sq.
ft at the most.

- Dana

Marc VanHeyningen
July 16th 03, 05:57 PM
Thus said Pat Meadows >:
>Other desirable features for wheelchair access:
>
>* A ramp instead of steps leading down from any porch
>* If you have a deck (not a second-story one), have it
>slanting down to the ground level at one point
>* A garage wide enough to get a van in, and then get a
>wheelchair in and out of the van
>
>We're not in wheelchairs either and hope never to be.
>
>Our house, however, was previously owned by a woman confined
>to a wheelchair, and she added the above three features to
>it. The interior doors are wide enough for wheelchairs too.
>And it's a one-story house. These are, presumably, good
>selling points.

A one-story house can be a good selling point, although it depends on
the location. In an urban area where land is expensive, a one-story
doesn't make as effective use of the lot as a two-story or split-level
might do.

Having wheelchair ramps and the like is probably not going to be seen as
a selling feature by most buyers. Most people assume themselves to be
invincible and buy accordingly. Sad but true.

I'd say that just as important as having an accessible household is
getting a configuration and location that allows you to actually
function as a partially disabled person. My brother-in-law just built a
house he plans to die in, and so all the main living space is on the
main floor, the doorways are wide, the shower is handicap-accessible,
and so on. Not a bad idea to plan for the future.

Unfortunately, the house is at the end of a long driveway that must be
cleared of snow, and is in a rural area that isn't close to anything.
Someone in a wheelchair could easily get from the kitchen to the
bathroom, but it would be challenging to get down to the store to buy
some milk. For that matter, a lot of people are never confined to a
wheelchair but do suffer medical conditions which render them unable to
drive a car safely, and yet they buy houses in locations which make it
very difficult to function without doing so.

Marc VanHeyningen
July 16th 03, 05:57 PM
Thus said Pat Meadows >:
>Other desirable features for wheelchair access:
>
>* A ramp instead of steps leading down from any porch
>* If you have a deck (not a second-story one), have it
>slanting down to the ground level at one point
>* A garage wide enough to get a van in, and then get a
>wheelchair in and out of the van
>
>We're not in wheelchairs either and hope never to be.
>
>Our house, however, was previously owned by a woman confined
>to a wheelchair, and she added the above three features to
>it. The interior doors are wide enough for wheelchairs too.
>And it's a one-story house. These are, presumably, good
>selling points.

A one-story house can be a good selling point, although it depends on
the location. In an urban area where land is expensive, a one-story
doesn't make as effective use of the lot as a two-story or split-level
might do.

Having wheelchair ramps and the like is probably not going to be seen as
a selling feature by most buyers. Most people assume themselves to be
invincible and buy accordingly. Sad but true.

I'd say that just as important as having an accessible household is
getting a configuration and location that allows you to actually
function as a partially disabled person. My brother-in-law just built a
house he plans to die in, and so all the main living space is on the
main floor, the doorways are wide, the shower is handicap-accessible,
and so on. Not a bad idea to plan for the future.

Unfortunately, the house is at the end of a long driveway that must be
cleared of snow, and is in a rural area that isn't close to anything.
Someone in a wheelchair could easily get from the kitchen to the
bathroom, but it would be challenging to get down to the store to buy
some milk. For that matter, a lot of people are never confined to a
wheelchair but do suffer medical conditions which render them unable to
drive a car safely, and yet they buy houses in locations which make it
very difficult to function without doing so.

IleneB
July 16th 03, 10:09 PM
In article >, dnrg
> wrote:

> I define a small house that way as well; or perhaps 1,200 sq.
> ft at the most.

The only house plans I found under, say, 1300 sq.ft. were "vacation
homes" or cabin/cottage plans, often kits. If you Google for "small
house plans" you find some individual designers' plan books. The only
small footprint/two-story plans I ever found were usually chalet-type
houses, footprint, maybe 22x26.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 16th 03, 10:09 PM
In article >, dnrg
> wrote:

> I define a small house that way as well; or perhaps 1,200 sq.
> ft at the most.

The only house plans I found under, say, 1300 sq.ft. were "vacation
homes" or cabin/cottage plans, often kits. If you Google for "small
house plans" you find some individual designers' plan books. The only
small footprint/two-story plans I ever found were usually chalet-type
houses, footprint, maybe 22x26.

Ilene B

drifter
July 17th 03, 07:38 AM
JohnDoe wrote:
>
> On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 11:31:36 -0400, IleneB > wrote:
>
> >In more expensive towns, perfectly fine not-so-small houses are torn
> >down for these hideous McMansions that look like office buildings.
>
> let me see if I get this right, you prefer ramshackle, decrepit
> housing more than well kept larger homes? hmmm I'm glad you're not my
> neighbor

I can't speak for that fellow, but my place 450 sqft house was built in
about 1946 to 1949. Property taxes are about 4.00 a day. Those well
kept larger homes (McMansions) probably run closer to 16.00 a day. And
that's before you turn the lights on. With energy prices rising, newer
houses paper thin, old and a it decrepit isn't all that bad.

drifter
July 17th 03, 07:38 AM
JohnDoe wrote:
>
> On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 11:31:36 -0400, IleneB > wrote:
>
> >In more expensive towns, perfectly fine not-so-small houses are torn
> >down for these hideous McMansions that look like office buildings.
>
> let me see if I get this right, you prefer ramshackle, decrepit
> housing more than well kept larger homes? hmmm I'm glad you're not my
> neighbor

I can't speak for that fellow, but my place 450 sqft house was built in
about 1946 to 1949. Property taxes are about 4.00 a day. Those well
kept larger homes (McMansions) probably run closer to 16.00 a day. And
that's before you turn the lights on. With energy prices rising, newer
houses paper thin, old and a it decrepit isn't all that bad.

Dana Miller
July 17th 03, 07:50 AM
In article <[email protected]>,
"SoCalMike" > wrote:

>>
>> But in the more expensive towns (like Wellesley, Lexington and such)
>> houses that are in reasonable shape that are like 1500-2000 sq.ft. are
>> being torn down to put up these big boxes that are right up to the
>> property lines on all sides.
>
>havent they heard of a "setback"? apparently your building codes arent too
>strict.
>
>

Lots of old areas have zero setback requirements. An interesting place
wherethe "teardown" wave is going on is Lincoln Park in Chicago. The
$1,000,000 houses going up completely fill the lots (but they ARE nice:-)

--
Dana Miller

Dana Miller
July 17th 03, 07:50 AM
In article <[email protected]>,
"SoCalMike" > wrote:

>>
>> But in the more expensive towns (like Wellesley, Lexington and such)
>> houses that are in reasonable shape that are like 1500-2000 sq.ft. are
>> being torn down to put up these big boxes that are right up to the
>> property lines on all sides.
>
>havent they heard of a "setback"? apparently your building codes arent too
>strict.
>
>

Lots of old areas have zero setback requirements. An interesting place
wherethe "teardown" wave is going on is Lincoln Park in Chicago. The
$1,000,000 houses going up completely fill the lots (but they ARE nice:-)

--
Dana Miller

Anthony Matonak
July 17th 03, 04:55 PM
wrote:
>>In my model of house, the basement was $20k, a crawlspace sould have
>>been $5k and the slab was the base model. Building a house on a slab
>>this far north is not a bright move.
>
> Im curious....
>
> Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?

Well, if the builder didn't insulate under the slab properly then it's
likely that the floor gets very cold in the winter. A crawlspace would
typically be insulated and if it wasn't then it wouldn't take much work
to add the insulation after the fact. It's very difficult to add any
kind of insulation under a slab after it has had a house built on it.

Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
your junk as any basement or attic.

Anthony

Anthony Matonak
July 17th 03, 04:55 PM
wrote:
>>In my model of house, the basement was $20k, a crawlspace sould have
>>been $5k and the slab was the base model. Building a house on a slab
>>this far north is not a bright move.
>
> Im curious....
>
> Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?

Well, if the builder didn't insulate under the slab properly then it's
likely that the floor gets very cold in the winter. A crawlspace would
typically be insulated and if it wasn't then it wouldn't take much work
to add the insulation after the fact. It's very difficult to add any
kind of insulation under a slab after it has had a house built on it.

Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
your junk as any basement or attic.

Anthony

July 17th 03, 05:43 PM
>Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
>they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
>If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
>you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
>like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
>your junk as any basement or attic.

Well I agree with you and that's why I asked my
question I guess.

It just sounded like that a home should NOT be built
without a basement if living in a northern climate.

I would rather NOT have a basement myself. Id use
sheds or something if more storage is needed..... or
just NOT own that much stuff to even need storage for.

So..... my questions is this...

Is it perfectly OK to build a home on a slab in a
northern state such as Iowa, etc?

July 17th 03, 05:43 PM
>Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
>they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
>If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
>you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
>like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
>your junk as any basement or attic.

Well I agree with you and that's why I asked my
question I guess.

It just sounded like that a home should NOT be built
without a basement if living in a northern climate.

I would rather NOT have a basement myself. Id use
sheds or something if more storage is needed..... or
just NOT own that much stuff to even need storage for.

So..... my questions is this...

Is it perfectly OK to build a home on a slab in a
northern state such as Iowa, etc?

Dennis
July 17th 03, 06:17 PM
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 14:55:50 GMT, Anthony Matonak
> wrote:

wrote:
>> Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>
>Well, if the builder didn't insulate under the slab properly then it's
>likely that the floor gets very cold in the winter.

Depends on the climate. I live in NW Oregon, 60 miles north of the
45th parallel. My home has a daylight (walkout) basement that has a
concrete slab floor, with a thermal break around the perimeter, but no
insulation under the slab. The house was built to meet the
requirements of the Super Good Sense energy-efficiency program that
was offered by my local electric utility and that's what they
specified. The basement is heated living space and the floor doesn't
seem exceptionally cold.

This is my first home with a basement. I like it a lot and IMO, it
was well worth the incremental cost over a crawlspace.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

Dennis
July 17th 03, 06:17 PM
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 14:55:50 GMT, Anthony Matonak
> wrote:

wrote:
>> Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>
>Well, if the builder didn't insulate under the slab properly then it's
>likely that the floor gets very cold in the winter.

Depends on the climate. I live in NW Oregon, 60 miles north of the
45th parallel. My home has a daylight (walkout) basement that has a
concrete slab floor, with a thermal break around the perimeter, but no
insulation under the slab. The house was built to meet the
requirements of the Super Good Sense energy-efficiency program that
was offered by my local electric utility and that's what they
specified. The basement is heated living space and the floor doesn't
seem exceptionally cold.

This is my first home with a basement. I like it a lot and IMO, it
was well worth the incremental cost over a crawlspace.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

Ed Clarke
July 17th 03, 06:30 PM
In article >, Anthony Matonak wrote:

> Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
> they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?

Correct. FINISHED basements are dumb, but it's very very nice to be able
to run new water, electric or phone lines to any place on the first floor
without difficulty. It's also nice to move the heating and hot water
systems out of the living space. Maintenance on plumbing is easy when
the cleanouts are in the open.

My own basement is full of tools; drill press, planer table saw, shaper,
bandsaw etc. with compressed air pipes on the overhead. I can go from
tree to furniture although it takes several years to do so (waiting
for the wood to dry out). Everything except the compressor and chainsaws
are in my basement. I do have a walkout door there to the garage.

Ed Clarke
July 17th 03, 06:30 PM
In article >, Anthony Matonak wrote:

> Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
> they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?

Correct. FINISHED basements are dumb, but it's very very nice to be able
to run new water, electric or phone lines to any place on the first floor
without difficulty. It's also nice to move the heating and hot water
systems out of the living space. Maintenance on plumbing is easy when
the cleanouts are in the open.

My own basement is full of tools; drill press, planer table saw, shaper,
bandsaw etc. with compressed air pipes on the overhead. I can go from
tree to furniture although it takes several years to do so (waiting
for the wood to dry out). Everything except the compressor and chainsaws
are in my basement. I do have a walkout door there to the garage.

Ed Clarke
July 17th 03, 08:04 PM
In article >,
wrote:

> Is it perfectly OK to build a home on a slab in a
> northern state such as Iowa, etc?

Yes - but the slab should be insulated. Some guy built a complete
woodworking shop in one of the Montana using SIP panels and an
insulated slab (ask in rec.woodworking). Found it: Jon Weisenbach
in Montana. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Insulated up
the wazoo.

http://www.wood-workers.com/~jonweis/current%20shop.html

That's what it looks like now. If you search on SIP and Montana
in rec.woodworking (google groups), you will get the ongoing saga
of construction. It took 2 men 72 hours to put up the building
after the panels arrived. The slap was already down.

Ed Clarke
July 17th 03, 08:04 PM
In article >,
wrote:

> Is it perfectly OK to build a home on a slab in a
> northern state such as Iowa, etc?

Yes - but the slab should be insulated. Some guy built a complete
woodworking shop in one of the Montana using SIP panels and an
insulated slab (ask in rec.woodworking). Found it: Jon Weisenbach
in Montana. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Insulated up
the wazoo.

http://www.wood-workers.com/~jonweis/current%20shop.html

That's what it looks like now. If you search on SIP and Montana
in rec.woodworking (google groups), you will get the ongoing saga
of construction. It took 2 men 72 hours to put up the building
after the panels arrived. The slap was already down.

Elizabeth Jones
July 17th 03, 08:08 PM
In article >,
Dennis > wrote:
>On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 14:55:50 GMT, Anthony Matonak
> wrote:
>
wrote:
>>> Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>>
>>Well, if the builder didn't insulate under the slab properly then it's
>>likely that the floor gets very cold in the winter.
>
>Depends on the climate. I live in NW Oregon, 60 miles north of the
>45th parallel. My home has a daylight (walkout) basement that has a
>concrete slab floor, with a thermal break around the perimeter, but no
>insulation under the slab. The house was built to meet the
>requirements of the Super Good Sense energy-efficiency program that
>was offered by my local electric utility and that's what they
>specified. The basement is heated living space and the floor doesn't
>seem exceptionally cold.
>

In my experience, houses on slabs tend to be warmer than
houses with basements. All that thermal mass of the ground
under it I guess. The house I grew up in, in upstate NY was
built on a slab and it is never cold in the winter. Also,
a couple of years ago we had an ice storm and several days
of no power in Kansas and my basement here ended up being the
only warmish part of the house, I figured because again all
that dirt around it helps regulate the temperature down there
and provides insulation.


--
Ebeth Jones
"a ranch style imbues our next listing" -- realtor-speak

Elizabeth Jones
July 17th 03, 08:08 PM
In article >,
Dennis > wrote:
>On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 14:55:50 GMT, Anthony Matonak
> wrote:
>
wrote:
>>> Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>>
>>Well, if the builder didn't insulate under the slab properly then it's
>>likely that the floor gets very cold in the winter.
>
>Depends on the climate. I live in NW Oregon, 60 miles north of the
>45th parallel. My home has a daylight (walkout) basement that has a
>concrete slab floor, with a thermal break around the perimeter, but no
>insulation under the slab. The house was built to meet the
>requirements of the Super Good Sense energy-efficiency program that
>was offered by my local electric utility and that's what they
>specified. The basement is heated living space and the floor doesn't
>seem exceptionally cold.
>

In my experience, houses on slabs tend to be warmer than
houses with basements. All that thermal mass of the ground
under it I guess. The house I grew up in, in upstate NY was
built on a slab and it is never cold in the winter. Also,
a couple of years ago we had an ice storm and several days
of no power in Kansas and my basement here ended up being the
only warmish part of the house, I figured because again all
that dirt around it helps regulate the temperature down there
and provides insulation.


--
Ebeth Jones
"a ranch style imbues our next listing" -- realtor-speak

dnrg
July 17th 03, 10:14 PM
Hi Anthony,

> Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
> they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?

I wouldn't call it ridiculous, but I would call it "absolutely not for
me." Having all that extra space encourages the accumulation of junk.
Basements may have great value to some, but I see them as wasteful.

It's strange to me, actually, that many homes in North Carolina don't
even have basements; in Massachusetts and Southern NH it was the
opposite -- everybody seemed to have basements because, well, you just
have them. Most basements I've seen are filled with junk and I hear
there are even for-pay services that do nothing else but clear junk
out of peoples' basements.

I dislike garages as well (covered interior space, in my opinion, is
best reserved for people -- not for vehicles; a tarp provides decent
protection from the elements), but I've heard garages add quite a lot
to the resale value of a home.

I might consider a garage for that reason (or it may be a good place
to put a rental unit, above the garage); otherwise, it wouldn't
interest me. I'm wondering if basements have any significant impact on
resale value.

- Dana

dnrg
July 17th 03, 10:14 PM
Hi Anthony,

> Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
> they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?

I wouldn't call it ridiculous, but I would call it "absolutely not for
me." Having all that extra space encourages the accumulation of junk.
Basements may have great value to some, but I see them as wasteful.

It's strange to me, actually, that many homes in North Carolina don't
even have basements; in Massachusetts and Southern NH it was the
opposite -- everybody seemed to have basements because, well, you just
have them. Most basements I've seen are filled with junk and I hear
there are even for-pay services that do nothing else but clear junk
out of peoples' basements.

I dislike garages as well (covered interior space, in my opinion, is
best reserved for people -- not for vehicles; a tarp provides decent
protection from the elements), but I've heard garages add quite a lot
to the resale value of a home.

I might consider a garage for that reason (or it may be a good place
to put a rental unit, above the garage); otherwise, it wouldn't
interest me. I'm wondering if basements have any significant impact on
resale value.

- Dana

Dennis
July 17th 03, 10:25 PM
On 17 Jul 2003 13:14:41 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>It's strange to me, actually, that many homes in North Carolina don't
>even have basements; in Massachusetts and Southern NH it was the
>opposite -- everybody seemed to have basements because, well, you just
>have them.

Often a result of local climate and conditions. For example, for most
building codes, it is necessary to sink the foundation down to the
frost line. If you gotta go down that deep anyway in a cold climate,
you might as well have a basement. Likewise, the local soil depth
(before you hit bedrock) and watertable influence the
feasibility/prevalence of basements. Where I live, there is mild
climate (frostline is about 24 inches), generally high water table,
and bedrock a few feet down in many areas -- and not many houses have
full basements here.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

Dennis
July 17th 03, 10:25 PM
On 17 Jul 2003 13:14:41 -0700, (dnrg) wrote:

>It's strange to me, actually, that many homes in North Carolina don't
>even have basements; in Massachusetts and Southern NH it was the
>opposite -- everybody seemed to have basements because, well, you just
>have them.

Often a result of local climate and conditions. For example, for most
building codes, it is necessary to sink the foundation down to the
frost line. If you gotta go down that deep anyway in a cold climate,
you might as well have a basement. Likewise, the local soil depth
(before you hit bedrock) and watertable influence the
feasibility/prevalence of basements. Where I live, there is mild
climate (frostline is about 24 inches), generally high water table,
and bedrock a few feet down in many areas -- and not many houses have
full basements here.

the Dennis formerly known as (evil)
--
The honest man is the one who realizes that he cannot
consume more, in his lifetime, than he produces.

jean and bill
July 17th 03, 11:09 PM
In article >,
says...
> Basements may have great value to some, but I see them as wasteful.
>
>
>
Our basement is unfinished, and will probably stay that way. We've got
4 clotheslines, and three large drying racks (which are slowly losing
their vinyl coating, and I cannot find replacements their size). I can
hang up 5 or 6 loads of laundry at a time, regardless of weather.
Besides the washer, oil burner, and out-of-season stuff, we also have
our home gym items and all our free weights, etc., in the basement,
which saves us paying for a recurring gym membership. I would seriously
miss having a basement. However, where we live, it's almost considered
odd not to finish your basement for extra living space.

Jeannie


--
To reply to me, remove *spamenot* from address.

jean and bill
July 17th 03, 11:09 PM
In article >,
says...
> Basements may have great value to some, but I see them as wasteful.
>
>
>
Our basement is unfinished, and will probably stay that way. We've got
4 clotheslines, and three large drying racks (which are slowly losing
their vinyl coating, and I cannot find replacements their size). I can
hang up 5 or 6 loads of laundry at a time, regardless of weather.
Besides the washer, oil burner, and out-of-season stuff, we also have
our home gym items and all our free weights, etc., in the basement,
which saves us paying for a recurring gym membership. I would seriously
miss having a basement. However, where we live, it's almost considered
odd not to finish your basement for extra living space.

Jeannie


--
To reply to me, remove *spamenot* from address.

Barbara Bomberger
July 17th 03, 11:14 PM
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 10:43:29 -0500, wrote:

>>Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
>>they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
>>If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
>>you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
>>like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
>>your junk as any basement or attic.

Well, I do store stuff in my basement. Not sure it is junk. Christmas
stuff, holiday stuff, out of season stuff.

More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work

It also is the laundry center. I do not have room for a laundry
center upstaris, and would probably not have my laundry area in my
kitchen even if I could.

As far as garages, barnes and sheds, well, I dont have that much land,
I like my yard and garden, and to have big enough shed to cover those
needs (or even half of them) I would lose my yard/garden/patio/hottub
space.

It also works as a place to store canned goods and so on.

Of course, my basement is also finished with a bathroom and a bedroom.

Barb

Barbara Bomberger
July 17th 03, 11:14 PM
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 10:43:29 -0500, wrote:

>>Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
>>they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
>>If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
>>you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
>>like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
>>your junk as any basement or attic.

Well, I do store stuff in my basement. Not sure it is junk. Christmas
stuff, holiday stuff, out of season stuff.

More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work

It also is the laundry center. I do not have room for a laundry
center upstaris, and would probably not have my laundry area in my
kitchen even if I could.

As far as garages, barnes and sheds, well, I dont have that much land,
I like my yard and garden, and to have big enough shed to cover those
needs (or even half of them) I would lose my yard/garden/patio/hottub
space.

It also works as a place to store canned goods and so on.

Of course, my basement is also finished with a bathroom and a bedroom.

Barb

SoCalMike
July 18th 03, 12:37 AM
> I dislike garages as well (covered interior space, in my opinion, is
> best reserved for people -- not for vehicles; a tarp provides decent
> protection from the elements), but I've heard garages add quite a lot
> to the resale value of a home.

security for cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, etc. out of sight, out of (other
peoples) minds

SoCalMike
July 18th 03, 12:37 AM
> I dislike garages as well (covered interior space, in my opinion, is
> best reserved for people -- not for vehicles; a tarp provides decent
> protection from the elements), but I've heard garages add quite a lot
> to the resale value of a home.

security for cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, etc. out of sight, out of (other
peoples) minds

Marc VanHeyningen
July 18th 03, 01:58 AM
Thus said :
>Well, I do store stuff in my basement. Not sure it is junk. Christmas
>stuff, holiday stuff, out of season stuff.

Most people with basements do, although unfortunately the stuff tends to
expand to fill the available space.

>More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
>heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
>I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work

In houses without basements, all these things are often housed in the
(attached) garage, which is sometimes made slightly larger to allow for
the extra burden.

>It also is the laundry center. I do not have room for a laundry
>center upstaris, and would probably not have my laundry area in my
>kitchen even if I could.

Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

Marc VanHeyningen
July 18th 03, 01:58 AM
Thus said :
>Well, I do store stuff in my basement. Not sure it is junk. Christmas
>stuff, holiday stuff, out of season stuff.

Most people with basements do, although unfortunately the stuff tends to
expand to fill the available space.

>More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
>heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
>I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work

In houses without basements, all these things are often housed in the
(attached) garage, which is sometimes made slightly larger to allow for
the extra burden.

>It also is the laundry center. I do not have room for a laundry
>center upstaris, and would probably not have my laundry area in my
>kitchen even if I could.

Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

lpogoda
July 18th 03, 03:33 AM
wrote in message
>...
>>Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
>>they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
>>If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
>>you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
>>like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
>>your junk as any basement or attic.
>
>Well I agree with you and that's why I asked my
>question I guess.
>
>It just sounded like that a home should NOT be built
>without a basement if living in a northern climate.
>
>I would rather NOT have a basement myself. Id use
>sheds or something if more storage is needed..... or
>just NOT own that much stuff to even need storage for.
>
>So..... my questions is this...
>
>Is it perfectly OK to build a home on a slab in a
>northern state such as Iowa, etc?

In New England, where I grew up, a cellar under the house is the norm. In
that part of the country, most people heat with oil, and the tank is usually
put in the cellar. Partly that's for esthetic reasons - the tank looks ugly
sitting out in the open. And partly, that's to keep the tank warm - when it
get really cold, the paraffin in the heating oil thickens (freezes?), the
oil no longer flows, and you can find yourself with a full tank of oil and
no heat on a cold winter night.

Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water heater
in the living space.

lpogoda
July 18th 03, 03:33 AM
wrote in message
>...
>>Personally, I feel the whole argument that basements are good because
>>they are a good place to store junk is ridiculous. First, why have junk?
>>If you don't plan on using something for a number of years then why do
>>you own it in the first place? Besides, garages, barns, sheds and the
>>like can all be built cheaply and make just as good a place to store
>>your junk as any basement or attic.
>
>Well I agree with you and that's why I asked my
>question I guess.
>
>It just sounded like that a home should NOT be built
>without a basement if living in a northern climate.
>
>I would rather NOT have a basement myself. Id use
>sheds or something if more storage is needed..... or
>just NOT own that much stuff to even need storage for.
>
>So..... my questions is this...
>
>Is it perfectly OK to build a home on a slab in a
>northern state such as Iowa, etc?

In New England, where I grew up, a cellar under the house is the norm. In
that part of the country, most people heat with oil, and the tank is usually
put in the cellar. Partly that's for esthetic reasons - the tank looks ugly
sitting out in the open. And partly, that's to keep the tank warm - when it
get really cold, the paraffin in the heating oil thickens (freezes?), the
oil no longer flows, and you can find yourself with a full tank of oil and
no heat on a cold winter night.

Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water heater
in the living space.

IleneB
July 18th 03, 04:51 AM
In article >, tony Ruiz
> wrote:

> A few good places to start looking are:

Thanks for the suggestions. But I already built my house, surrounded
by every over-regulated law/zone you can imagine, between the bank, the
town, and the state of Massachusetts.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 18th 03, 04:51 AM
In article >, tony Ruiz
> wrote:

> A few good places to start looking are:

Thanks for the suggestions. But I already built my house, surrounded
by every over-regulated law/zone you can imagine, between the bank, the
town, and the state of Massachusetts.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 18th 03, 04:54 AM
You also
rarely see luxurious small houses. In article
>, Dana Miller
> wrote:

> You also
> rarely see luxurious small houses.


Come and see mine! And you're right- the appraisers are in quite a
quandry as to what mine is and what it's worth.

Ilene B

IleneB
July 18th 03, 04:54 AM
You also
rarely see luxurious small houses. In article
>, Dana Miller
> wrote:

> You also
> rarely see luxurious small houses.


Come and see mine! And you're right- the appraisers are in quite a
quandry as to what mine is and what it's worth.

Ilene B

Dana Miller
July 18th 03, 06:44 AM
In article >,
wrote:

>>In my model of house, the basement was $20k, a crawlspace sould have
>>been $5k and the slab was the base model. Building a house on a slab
>>this far north is not a bright move.
>
>Im curious....
>
>Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>
>And...... what is too far "north"? Where is the line
>at?

You were supposed to look up my IP and use one of those IP->Lat Long
conversion sites:-). Indy.

A properly built slab can avoid being a heat sink. I've never seen
built "right" around here. I've never seen the builders dig the wall
footers down to the frost line. If the floors and wall foundations are
one continuous piece of concrete, the floor will carry heat out of the
house.

--
Dana Miller

Dana Miller
July 18th 03, 06:44 AM
In article >,
wrote:

>>In my model of house, the basement was $20k, a crawlspace sould have
>>been $5k and the slab was the base model. Building a house on a slab
>>this far north is not a bright move.
>
>Im curious....
>
>Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>
>And...... what is too far "north"? Where is the line
>at?

You were supposed to look up my IP and use one of those IP->Lat Long
conversion sites:-). Indy.

A properly built slab can avoid being a heat sink. I've never seen
built "right" around here. I've never seen the builders dig the wall
footers down to the frost line. If the floors and wall foundations are
one continuous piece of concrete, the floor will carry heat out of the
house.

--
Dana Miller

Karen Wheless
July 18th 03, 07:25 AM
> Having lived in houses without a garage and houses with a garage, I find I
> must disagree. A tarp is nothing like an attached garage when it comes to
> convenience in bad weather - carrying groceries in from the car on a rainy
> day, (not) brushing a foot or two of snow off the car before leaving for
> work in the morning, stuff like that.

A carport does most of that without the extra cost of building a garage.
I'd still rather have a garage since it gives you more options but a
carport is a less expensive way to get most of these benefits. It
doesn't keep your car from freezing but it keeps off the rain and snow
and sunshine.

Karen

Karen Wheless
July 18th 03, 07:25 AM
> Having lived in houses without a garage and houses with a garage, I find I
> must disagree. A tarp is nothing like an attached garage when it comes to
> convenience in bad weather - carrying groceries in from the car on a rainy
> day, (not) brushing a foot or two of snow off the car before leaving for
> work in the morning, stuff like that.

A carport does most of that without the extra cost of building a garage.
I'd still rather have a garage since it gives you more options but a
carport is a less expensive way to get most of these benefits. It
doesn't keep your car from freezing but it keeps off the rain and snow
and sunshine.

Karen

Gar
July 18th 03, 08:31 AM
On Fri, 18 Jul 2003 04:44:05 GMT, Dana Miller
> wrote:

>In article >,
> wrote:
>
>>>In my model of house, the basement was $20k, a crawlspace sould have
>>>been $5k and the slab was the base model. Building a house on a slab
>>>this far north is not a bright move.
>>
>>Im curious....
>>
>>Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>>
>>And...... what is too far "north"? Where is the line
>>at?
>
>You were supposed to look up my IP and use one of those IP->Lat Long
>conversion sites:-). Indy.
>
>A properly built slab can avoid being a heat sink. I've never seen
>built "right" around here. I've never seen the builders dig the wall
>footers down to the frost line. If the floors and wall foundations are
>one continuous piece of concrete, the floor will carry heat out of the
>house.

Traditionally, foundations are protected from frost-heaving damage by
placing the footing below the frost line. Only recently have
insulating systems been instituted. I have no idea how effective they
are or how acceptable they are to building inspectors. You can learn
more on google.

Gar

Gar
July 18th 03, 08:31 AM
On Fri, 18 Jul 2003 04:44:05 GMT, Dana Miller
> wrote:

>In article >,
> wrote:
>
>>>In my model of house, the basement was $20k, a crawlspace sould have
>>>been $5k and the slab was the base model. Building a house on a slab
>>>this far north is not a bright move.
>>
>>Im curious....
>>
>>Why is a slab not a good idea on a home in the north?
>>
>>And...... what is too far "north"? Where is the line
>>at?
>
>You were supposed to look up my IP and use one of those IP->Lat Long
>conversion sites:-). Indy.
>
>A properly built slab can avoid being a heat sink. I've never seen
>built "right" around here. I've never seen the builders dig the wall
>footers down to the frost line. If the floors and wall foundations are
>one continuous piece of concrete, the floor will carry heat out of the
>house.

Traditionally, foundations are protected from frost-heaving damage by
placing the footing below the frost line. Only recently have
insulating systems been instituted. I have no idea how effective they
are or how acceptable they are to building inspectors. You can learn
more on google.

Gar

JoelnCaryn
July 18th 03, 09:23 AM
>Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
>see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water heater
>in the living space.

Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them located
either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
including double gypboard for sound dampening.

Heat pump air handlers can sometimes go in attics rather than mechanical rooms,
if the house in question has enough attic space (i.e. not mostly vaulted
ceilings). In that case the compressor is usually outside on the ground, or
sometimes on the roof.

JoelnCaryn
July 18th 03, 09:23 AM
>Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
>see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water heater
>in the living space.

Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them located
either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
including double gypboard for sound dampening.

Heat pump air handlers can sometimes go in attics rather than mechanical rooms,
if the house in question has enough attic space (i.e. not mostly vaulted
ceilings). In that case the compressor is usually outside on the ground, or
sometimes on the roof.

Nick Pine
July 18th 03, 01:19 PM
Dennis > wrote:

>...for most building codes, it is necessary to sink the foundation down
>to the frost line...

As I recall, "frost protected warm foundations"
needn't be deeper than 16" anywhere in the US.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 18th 03, 01:19 PM
Dennis > wrote:

>...for most building codes, it is necessary to sink the foundation down
>to the frost line...

As I recall, "frost protected warm foundations"
needn't be deeper than 16" anywhere in the US.

Nick

Chloe
July 18th 03, 02:00 PM
"JoelnCaryn" > wrote in message
...
> >Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I
don't
> >see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water
heater
> >in the living space.
>
> Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them
located
> either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
> climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
> including double gypboard for sound dampening.
<snip>

I've seen plenty of them in closets in houses that were built on slabs, just
like they are in your average cheapo apartment. And they weren't always all
that well insulated for sound.

I'm firmly in the pro garage and basement camp here, because I lived for 22
years in a house with no garage and a crawl space. Scraping ice and snow off
the car in the dark on winter mornings, toting groceries in a downpour, and
using valuable closet space to store Christmas decorations do not strike me
as contributing to the liveability of a home.

Chloe
July 18th 03, 02:00 PM
"JoelnCaryn" > wrote in message
...
> >Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I
don't
> >see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water
heater
> >in the living space.
>
> Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them
located
> either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
> climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
> including double gypboard for sound dampening.
<snip>

I've seen plenty of them in closets in houses that were built on slabs, just
like they are in your average cheapo apartment. And they weren't always all
that well insulated for sound.

I'm firmly in the pro garage and basement camp here, because I lived for 22
years in a house with no garage and a crawl space. Scraping ice and snow off
the car in the dark on winter mornings, toting groceries in a downpour, and
using valuable closet space to store Christmas decorations do not strike me
as contributing to the liveability of a home.

July 18th 03, 03:19 PM
>Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
>up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
>underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
>to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
>where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

I agree with you 100% on this!

July 18th 03, 03:19 PM
>Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
>up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
>underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
>to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
>where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

I agree with you 100% on this!

July 18th 03, 03:20 PM
>>>More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
>>>heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
>>>I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work
>>
>>In houses without basements, all these things are often housed in the
>>(attached) garage, which is sometimes made slightly larger to allow for
>>the extra burden.
>
>Or they are housed in a separate mechanical room.


You know when I went to Hawaii for vacation.....I
noticed a LOT of people had their washer and dryer
OUTSIDE in a shed or even just a carport type building
(roof only).

I guess since the weather is always mild and living
space is at such a premium.... is why its done

July 18th 03, 03:20 PM
>>>More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
>>>heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
>>>I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work
>>
>>In houses without basements, all these things are often housed in the
>>(attached) garage, which is sometimes made slightly larger to allow for
>>the extra burden.
>
>Or they are housed in a separate mechanical room.


You know when I went to Hawaii for vacation.....I
noticed a LOT of people had their washer and dryer
OUTSIDE in a shed or even just a carport type building
(roof only).

I guess since the weather is always mild and living
space is at such a premium.... is why its done

dnrg
July 18th 03, 03:45 PM
Dana Miller > wrote in message news:<dana.spamnot-
> You've obviously never seen a Kansas hailstorm dropping
> golfball-grapefruit sized hailstones. I heard of a hailstone that
> knocked the ENGINE out of a car! There are lots of local weather

Yowza! No, I sure haven't seen that. I hadn't considered that
possibility so thanks.

> differences which make the garage range from necessity to annoyance.
> the warm parts of fall, spring and in the summer, a carport is much
> cooler than a garage. Smells better too. In the winter, the garage is
> a nice sheltered place to start the snow blower:-)

A car port does make good sense as a projectile deflector. :-)

> They do here. Every dime you put into a basement can be recovered in
> our RE market. Outbuildings, when they are allowed, don't. Other
> places, I'm not so sure.

Sorry if I made any universal claims. I'm trying to focus on what's
appropriate for my area and the reality of real estate in my area. I
haven't heard yet that basements matter here, but that doesn't mean
they don't. I'll inquire and see what applies locally.

- Dana

dnrg
July 18th 03, 03:45 PM
Dana Miller > wrote in message news:<dana.spamnot-
> You've obviously never seen a Kansas hailstorm dropping
> golfball-grapefruit sized hailstones. I heard of a hailstone that
> knocked the ENGINE out of a car! There are lots of local weather

Yowza! No, I sure haven't seen that. I hadn't considered that
possibility so thanks.

> differences which make the garage range from necessity to annoyance.
> the warm parts of fall, spring and in the summer, a carport is much
> cooler than a garage. Smells better too. In the winter, the garage is
> a nice sheltered place to start the snow blower:-)

A car port does make good sense as a projectile deflector. :-)

> They do here. Every dime you put into a basement can be recovered in
> our RE market. Outbuildings, when they are allowed, don't. Other
> places, I'm not so sure.

Sorry if I made any universal claims. I'm trying to focus on what's
appropriate for my area and the reality of real estate in my area. I
haven't heard yet that basements matter here, but that doesn't mean
they don't. I'll inquire and see what applies locally.

- Dana

Ed Clarke
July 18th 03, 05:34 PM
In article >, JoelnCaryn wrote:
>>Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
>>see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water heater
>>in the living space.
>
> Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them located
> either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
> climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
> including double gypboard for sound dampening.

My water heater (propane) was in the laundry - which was part of the living
space. I see through-the-wall propane heaters for sale that are designed for
living space installation. In my present house both the water heater and
oil furnace are in the basement.

Ed Clarke
July 18th 03, 05:34 PM
In article >, JoelnCaryn wrote:
>>Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
>>see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water heater
>>in the living space.
>
> Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them located
> either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
> climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
> including double gypboard for sound dampening.

My water heater (propane) was in the laundry - which was part of the living
space. I see through-the-wall propane heaters for sale that are designed for
living space installation. In my present house both the water heater and
oil furnace are in the basement.

JoelnCaryn
July 18th 03, 05:49 PM
>>Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them located
>>either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
>>climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
>>including double gypboard for sound dampening.
>
>Our hot water heater is in the laundry room. This could be
>- I suppose - considered to be a 'separate mechanical room'
>but it's not insulated from the rest of the house in any way
>- there's an open doorway from the kitchen to the laundry
>room.
>
>I've also lived in places where the hot water heater was in
>the kitchen.
>
>Hot water heaters don't make a lot of noise in my
>experience. Hardly any, in fact.

But air handlers do. :-)

Usually I see a 3' deep by 6' wide room with double 2'-6" metal doors with 100"
square of louvers for combustion air tucked somewhere around the outer
periphery of the house. The doors are set into the outside wall, the
insulation between the room and the rest of the house is R-30 plus double
gypboard, and the air handler, water heater, and water softener (if the
homeowner has one) are situated inside, with the heat pump compressor somewhere
nearby outside on the ground. The advantages: repairpersons don't trek through
your living space, noisy air handler is damped, louvers mean no chase up
through the roof...

>Our furnace (here in our house in northern PA) is not in the
>living space, but it's right under it, in the crawl space.
>There's a big open grate in the living room and the heat
>rises from the furnace through the grate.
>
>This is called 'a floor furnace, hahahahaha, you know they
>don't make them anymore'. At least, that's what realtors
>all seem to call it.
>
>The bad part is that there's a big open grate (about 4' x
>4') in the living room floor,

That probably violates current fire codes, which is probably why they don't
make them anymore. I'm just guessing, though -- I'm not sure.

JoelnCaryn
July 18th 03, 05:49 PM
>>Have you ever seen them kept in the living space? I always see them located
>>either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
>>climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
>>including double gypboard for sound dampening.
>
>Our hot water heater is in the laundry room. This could be
>- I suppose - considered to be a 'separate mechanical room'
>but it's not insulated from the rest of the house in any way
>- there's an open doorway from the kitchen to the laundry
>room.
>
>I've also lived in places where the hot water heater was in
>the kitchen.
>
>Hot water heaters don't make a lot of noise in my
>experience. Hardly any, in fact.

But air handlers do. :-)

Usually I see a 3' deep by 6' wide room with double 2'-6" metal doors with 100"
square of louvers for combustion air tucked somewhere around the outer
periphery of the house. The doors are set into the outside wall, the
insulation between the room and the rest of the house is R-30 plus double
gypboard, and the air handler, water heater, and water softener (if the
homeowner has one) are situated inside, with the heat pump compressor somewhere
nearby outside on the ground. The advantages: repairpersons don't trek through
your living space, noisy air handler is damped, louvers mean no chase up
through the roof...

>Our furnace (here in our house in northern PA) is not in the
>living space, but it's right under it, in the crawl space.
>There's a big open grate in the living room and the heat
>rises from the furnace through the grate.
>
>This is called 'a floor furnace, hahahahaha, you know they
>don't make them anymore'. At least, that's what realtors
>all seem to call it.
>
>The bad part is that there's a big open grate (about 4' x
>4') in the living room floor,

That probably violates current fire codes, which is probably why they don't
make them anymore. I'm just guessing, though -- I'm not sure.

SoCalMike
July 18th 03, 08:11 PM
> wrote in message
...
> >Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
> >up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
> >underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
> >to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
> >where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

agreed, tho a laundry chute would also help, at least as far as getting the
clothes down there.
>
> I agree with you 100% on this!

SoCalMike
July 18th 03, 08:11 PM
> wrote in message
...
> >Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
> >up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
> >underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
> >to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
> >where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

agreed, tho a laundry chute would also help, at least as far as getting the
clothes down there.
>
> I agree with you 100% on this!

jean and bill
July 18th 03, 09:53 PM
In article >,
says...
> Try: http://www.lehmans.com and specifically:
> http://tinyurl.com/h9pm
>
> Also, http://www.cumberlandgeneral.com
> and specifically: http://tinyurl.com/h9pv
>
> Also, http://tinyurl.com/h9qe (cheaper than the above two)
>
> I have two very large wooden clothes drying racks and I use
> them constantly.
>
>
Thank you for the links, Pat. Because I use them in the basement, I
have noticed that even one foot higher off the floor makes a big
difference in how quickly stuff dries, so I never went for the wooden
accordion-type racks, as most of their drying space runs vertically.
The racks I have look like the Eagle model here:
http://www.kitchen-storage.net/drying-racks.asp
except that mine are much larger. The store I bought them from has gone
out of business.

Jeannie
--
To reply to me, remove *spamenot* from address.

jean and bill
July 18th 03, 09:53 PM
In article >,
says...
> Try: http://www.lehmans.com and specifically:
> http://tinyurl.com/h9pm
>
> Also, http://www.cumberlandgeneral.com
> and specifically: http://tinyurl.com/h9pv
>
> Also, http://tinyurl.com/h9qe (cheaper than the above two)
>
> I have two very large wooden clothes drying racks and I use
> them constantly.
>
>
Thank you for the links, Pat. Because I use them in the basement, I
have noticed that even one foot higher off the floor makes a big
difference in how quickly stuff dries, so I never went for the wooden
accordion-type racks, as most of their drying space runs vertically.
The racks I have look like the Eagle model here:
http://www.kitchen-storage.net/drying-racks.asp
except that mine are much larger. The store I bought them from has gone
out of business.

Jeannie
--
To reply to me, remove *spamenot* from address.

Barbara Bomberger
July 19th 03, 01:18 AM
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 23:58:41 +0000 (UTC),
(Marc VanHeyningen) wrote:

>Thus said :
>>Well, I do store stuff in my basement. Not sure it is junk. Christmas
>>stuff, holiday stuff, out of season stuff.
>
>Most people with basements do, although unfortunately the stuff tends to
>expand to fill the available space.

Depends on the people and the apce. In our case we would have what we
have either way.
>
>>More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
>>heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
>>I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work
>
>In houses without basements, all these things are often housed in the
>(attached) garage, which is sometimes made slightly larger to allow for
>the extra burden.
I dont have an attached garage to begin with as I live in an urban
villiage. AGain, it would take away from my useful land.
>
>>It also is the laundry center. I do not have room for a laundry
>>center upstaris, and would probably not have my laundry area in my
>>kitchen even if I could.
>
>Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
>up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
>underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
>to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
>where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

I hear peoplle say this, but having had a laundry room for along time,
and having had an emergency wiht my washer, my laundry room will
remain in the basement. (which isnt dank and dark)

Barb

T

Barbara Bomberger
July 19th 03, 01:18 AM
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 23:58:41 +0000 (UTC),
(Marc VanHeyningen) wrote:

>Thus said :
>>Well, I do store stuff in my basement. Not sure it is junk. Christmas
>>stuff, holiday stuff, out of season stuff.
>
>Most people with basements do, although unfortunately the stuff tends to
>expand to fill the available space.

Depends on the people and the apce. In our case we would have what we
have either way.
>
>>More importatnly, in our case, our basement houses our hot water
>>heater, furnace and air conditioner, It also houses the work bench.
>>I suppose if you have ane extra room upstaris it would work
>
>In houses without basements, all these things are often housed in the
>(attached) garage, which is sometimes made slightly larger to allow for
>the extra burden.
I dont have an attached garage to begin with as I live in an urban
villiage. AGain, it would take away from my useful land.
>
>>It also is the laundry center. I do not have room for a laundry
>>center upstaris, and would probably not have my laundry area in my
>>kitchen even if I could.
>
>Having had laundry in the basement for years, I think it sucks. You end
>up constantly carrying laundry up and down stairs and being in a dank
>underground room while doing it. The laundry room should be as close
>to the bedrooms/bathrooms (which is where laundry is created, and
>where it goes after it's clean) as practical.

I hear peoplle say this, but having had a laundry room for along time,
and having had an emergency wiht my washer, my laundry room will
remain in the basement. (which isnt dank and dark)

Barb

T

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 02:05 AM
JoelnCaryn wrote in message
>...
>>Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
>>see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water
heater
>>in the living space.
>
>Have you ever seen them kept in the living space?

Oh, yes. Again, back where I grew up in western New England, a lot of the
housing stock is a century or more old. Back then, places were built
without our modern amenities, so stuff has been retrofitted into these old
buildings. I've seen lots of exposed water pipes, uninsulated wires snaking
through little ceramic insulators drilled into wall frames, kitchens with
hot water tanks tucked into a corner, or tankless water heaters on a kitchen
or bathroom wall. I've lived in fairly new apartments and seen houses with
the heater/air conditioner tucked into a small closet with a door that opens
onto a living room or hallway. Places where the washer and dryer stand
right out there in the kitchen. Places with a "mechanical room" for this
stuff with a shutable door, but even so the water pump or softener can make
enough strange odd noises in the middle of the night to wake you up.

None of it is particularly pretty, some of it is ugly, all of it is noisy,
and when a repair is needed, inconvenient and messy.

>I always see them located
>either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
>climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
>including double gypboard for sound dampening.


That's an arrangement I've never seen. Sticking a water pump, pressure
tank, and water treatment machinery in an unheated space would be asking for
trouble during the winter in a cold climate. Where I lived in Georgia, it
was routine for water pipes to come out of the ground, go through a meter,
and into the building. It was also routine for the water pipe to freeze
once or twice a year unless you kept the water running all night.

A cellar makes an excellent "separate mechanical room".

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 02:05 AM
JoelnCaryn wrote in message
>...
>>Other than that, I realize this is a matter of personal taste, but I don't
>>see why anyone would _prefer_ to have things like a furnace or water
heater
>>in the living space.
>
>Have you ever seen them kept in the living space?

Oh, yes. Again, back where I grew up in western New England, a lot of the
housing stock is a century or more old. Back then, places were built
without our modern amenities, so stuff has been retrofitted into these old
buildings. I've seen lots of exposed water pipes, uninsulated wires snaking
through little ceramic insulators drilled into wall frames, kitchens with
hot water tanks tucked into a corner, or tankless water heaters on a kitchen
or bathroom wall. I've lived in fairly new apartments and seen houses with
the heater/air conditioner tucked into a small closet with a door that opens
onto a living room or hallway. Places where the washer and dryer stand
right out there in the kitchen. Places with a "mechanical room" for this
stuff with a shutable door, but even so the water pump or softener can make
enough strange odd noises in the middle of the night to wake you up.

None of it is particularly pretty, some of it is ugly, all of it is noisy,
and when a repair is needed, inconvenient and messy.

>I always see them located
>either in the garage, or in a separate mechanical room which isn't
>climate-controlled and which is well-insulated from the rest of the house
>including double gypboard for sound dampening.


That's an arrangement I've never seen. Sticking a water pump, pressure
tank, and water treatment machinery in an unheated space would be asking for
trouble during the winter in a cold climate. Where I lived in Georgia, it
was routine for water pipes to come out of the ground, go through a meter,
and into the building. It was also routine for the water pipe to freeze
once or twice a year unless you kept the water running all night.

A cellar makes an excellent "separate mechanical room".

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 02:16 AM
Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
>
>Hot water heaters don't make a lot of noise in my
>experience. Hardly any, in fact.


Electric hot water heaters are pretty silent, unless something goes wrong
and the emergency relief valve opens (then noise is the least of your
worries). Gas fired water tanks, at least the one in the kitchen of my
college apartment, make a fair amount of noise. Wall mounted tankless gas
fired heaters are noisier yet, at least the older ones are (or were) - I
don't know if a brand new one bought yesterday and installed today would be
or not.

>I've lived in places (in Florida) where a kerosene 'space
>heater' (small furnace) sat in the middle of the living
>room. This wasn't actually desirable or preferable, of
>course.


If there's no fan, these are quiet except for an occasional glug as air
bubbles into the fuel tank during use.

>Our furnace (here in our house in northern PA) is not in the
>living space, but it's right under it, in the crawl space.
>There's a big open grate in the living room and the heat
>rises from the furnace through the grate.
>
>This is called 'a floor furnace, hahahahaha, you know they
>don't make them anymore'. At least, that's what realtors
>all seem to call it.


You must have a spiffy model, the one in my brother's house is only "a floor
furnace, hahahaha" (one less "ha").

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 02:16 AM
Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
>
>Hot water heaters don't make a lot of noise in my
>experience. Hardly any, in fact.


Electric hot water heaters are pretty silent, unless something goes wrong
and the emergency relief valve opens (then noise is the least of your
worries). Gas fired water tanks, at least the one in the kitchen of my
college apartment, make a fair amount of noise. Wall mounted tankless gas
fired heaters are noisier yet, at least the older ones are (or were) - I
don't know if a brand new one bought yesterday and installed today would be
or not.

>I've lived in places (in Florida) where a kerosene 'space
>heater' (small furnace) sat in the middle of the living
>room. This wasn't actually desirable or preferable, of
>course.


If there's no fan, these are quiet except for an occasional glug as air
bubbles into the fuel tank during use.

>Our furnace (here in our house in northern PA) is not in the
>living space, but it's right under it, in the crawl space.
>There's a big open grate in the living room and the heat
>rises from the furnace through the grate.
>
>This is called 'a floor furnace, hahahahaha, you know they
>don't make them anymore'. At least, that's what realtors
>all seem to call it.


You must have a spiffy model, the one in my brother's house is only "a floor
furnace, hahahaha" (one less "ha").

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 02:20 AM
Pat Meadows wrote in message >...
>
>Some homes have their oil tanks buried in the ground
>(outside the house altogether). I also lived in a house
>that had such an underground oil tank (again northern NJ).
>This is no doubt more expensive initially and more expensive
>to repair, if repair is necessary. But it seems a better
>and safer idea to me.
>
Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak could
contaminate the ground for years and you might never know. I'd also think a
buried tank would be much more susceptible to rust or corrosion.

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 02:20 AM
Pat Meadows wrote in message >...
>
>Some homes have their oil tanks buried in the ground
>(outside the house altogether). I also lived in a house
>that had such an underground oil tank (again northern NJ).
>This is no doubt more expensive initially and more expensive
>to repair, if repair is necessary. But it seems a better
>and safer idea to me.
>
Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak could
contaminate the ground for years and you might never know. I'd also think a
buried tank would be much more susceptible to rust or corrosion.

Dana Miller
July 19th 03, 07:08 AM
In article >,
(Karen Wheless) wrote:

>> Having lived in houses without a garage and houses with a garage, I find I
>> must disagree. A tarp is nothing like an attached garage when it comes to
>> convenience in bad weather - carrying groceries in from the car on a rainy
>> day, (not) brushing a foot or two of snow off the car before leaving for
>> work in the morning, stuff like that.
>
>A carport does most of that without the extra cost of building a garage.
>I'd still rather have a garage since it gives you more options but a
>carport is a less expensive way to get most of these benefits. It
>doesn't keep your car from freezing but it keeps off the rain and snow
>and sunshine.
>
>Karen

I'm just grinning at the amount of snow a 20-30Mph wind could pack into
a carport. They are much more economical. Its interesting how much
Garages have evolved. From a detached caraige house to, in some cases,
the car room of the house.

--
Dana Miller

Dana Miller
July 19th 03, 07:08 AM
In article >,
(Karen Wheless) wrote:

>> Having lived in houses without a garage and houses with a garage, I find I
>> must disagree. A tarp is nothing like an attached garage when it comes to
>> convenience in bad weather - carrying groceries in from the car on a rainy
>> day, (not) brushing a foot or two of snow off the car before leaving for
>> work in the morning, stuff like that.
>
>A carport does most of that without the extra cost of building a garage.
>I'd still rather have a garage since it gives you more options but a
>carport is a less expensive way to get most of these benefits. It
>doesn't keep your car from freezing but it keeps off the rain and snow
>and sunshine.
>
>Karen

I'm just grinning at the amount of snow a 20-30Mph wind could pack into
a carport. They are much more economical. Its interesting how much
Garages have evolved. From a detached caraige house to, in some cases,
the car room of the house.

--
Dana Miller

Nick Pine
July 19th 03, 09:09 AM
Pat Meadows > wrote:

>>As I recall, "frost protected warm foundations"
>>needn't be deeper than 16" anywhere in the US.

>I cannot believe this is correct. Unless 'frost protected
>warm foundation' means something not obvious to me.
>What does it mean?

Foamboard foundation wall insulation extends down at most 16" then outward
from the building for at most a few (4?) feet, with soil on top. Dimensions
increase in colder climates (deeper and wider with more freezing hours per
year) and floor insulation (wider with more) and whether the building is
heated or not (wider if not.)

This is widely done in northern Europe, and accepted by US codes. It works
by making frost travel sideways as well as downwards before it can freeze
the ground under the foundation. There's a free HUD manual on the web.
The national homebuilder's association sells a paper copy for $25.

One variation would be a crawl space with a sealed skirt that might contain
cheap automatic foundation vents that open in summertime, with the house
supported/cantilevered by blocks on the ground (no digging :-) far enough
inside the skirt that the ground would never freeze under them. Plastic or
rubber water bags in the crawl space might store rainwater, store heat,
treat sewage, and keep the house from blowing away. I've never seen this
done or documented. Might be an interesting building code battle.

Nick

Nick Pine
July 19th 03, 09:09 AM
Pat Meadows > wrote:

>>As I recall, "frost protected warm foundations"
>>needn't be deeper than 16" anywhere in the US.

>I cannot believe this is correct. Unless 'frost protected
>warm foundation' means something not obvious to me.
>What does it mean?

Foamboard foundation wall insulation extends down at most 16" then outward
from the building for at most a few (4?) feet, with soil on top. Dimensions
increase in colder climates (deeper and wider with more freezing hours per
year) and floor insulation (wider with more) and whether the building is
heated or not (wider if not.)

This is widely done in northern Europe, and accepted by US codes. It works
by making frost travel sideways as well as downwards before it can freeze
the ground under the foundation. There's a free HUD manual on the web.
The national homebuilder's association sells a paper copy for $25.

One variation would be a crawl space with a sealed skirt that might contain
cheap automatic foundation vents that open in summertime, with the house
supported/cantilevered by blocks on the ground (no digging :-) far enough
inside the skirt that the ground would never freeze under them. Plastic or
rubber water bags in the crawl space might store rainwater, store heat,
treat sewage, and keep the house from blowing away. I've never seen this
done or documented. Might be an interesting building code battle.

Nick

July 19th 03, 01:10 PM
Ed Clarke wrote:
> In article >, JoelnCaryn wrote:
>
> My water heater (propane) was in the laundry - which was part of the living
> space. I see through-the-wall propane heaters for sale that are designed for
> living space installation. In my present house both the water heater and
> oil furnace are in the basement.

I have two of these propane heaters. Mine are made by Rinnai. They are
very efficient. They take up little space [I had them installed under
windows..space that would go unused anyways].

Our house has electric baseboards and a wood stove. I didn't want to
use the electric. The price of the Rinnais were far less than the price
of a furnace or boiler would have been. I didn't have room for a
traditional system anyways. The house is 1000 square feet and that
includes a finished walk out basement level.

Last winter was extremely harsh here. We were very pleased with the
performance of the Rinnais.

PC

July 19th 03, 01:10 PM
Ed Clarke wrote:
> In article >, JoelnCaryn wrote:
>
> My water heater (propane) was in the laundry - which was part of the living
> space. I see through-the-wall propane heaters for sale that are designed for
> living space installation. In my present house both the water heater and
> oil furnace are in the basement.

I have two of these propane heaters. Mine are made by Rinnai. They are
very efficient. They take up little space [I had them installed under
windows..space that would go unused anyways].

Our house has electric baseboards and a wood stove. I didn't want to
use the electric. The price of the Rinnais were far less than the price
of a furnace or boiler would have been. I didn't have room for a
traditional system anyways. The house is 1000 square feet and that
includes a finished walk out basement level.

Last winter was extremely harsh here. We were very pleased with the
performance of the Rinnais.

PC

Colt
July 19th 03, 03:43 PM
lpogoda wrote:
>
> Pat Meadows wrote in message >...
> >
> >Some homes have their oil tanks buried in the ground
> >(outside the house altogether). I also lived in a house
> >that had such an underground oil tank (again northern NJ).
> >This is no doubt more expensive initially and more expensive
> >to repair, if repair is necessary. But it seems a better
> >and safer idea to me.
> >
> Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak could
> contaminate the ground for years and you might never know. I'd also think a
> buried tank would be much more susceptible to rust or corrosion.


Not sure, but I think buried fuel tanks are out-of-code just about
everywhere in the country due to leakage problems. DH and I rented a
house with a buried tank. There was also well water, and guess
what--you could taste and smell the kerosene in the water.

Colt
July 19th 03, 03:43 PM
lpogoda wrote:
>
> Pat Meadows wrote in message >...
> >
> >Some homes have their oil tanks buried in the ground
> >(outside the house altogether). I also lived in a house
> >that had such an underground oil tank (again northern NJ).
> >This is no doubt more expensive initially and more expensive
> >to repair, if repair is necessary. But it seems a better
> >and safer idea to me.
> >
> Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak could
> contaminate the ground for years and you might never know. I'd also think a
> buried tank would be much more susceptible to rust or corrosion.


Not sure, but I think buried fuel tanks are out-of-code just about
everywhere in the country due to leakage problems. DH and I rented a
house with a buried tank. There was also well water, and guess
what--you could taste and smell the kerosene in the water.

MerryStahel
July 19th 03, 04:11 PM
lpogoda said:

>>Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak could
>>contaminate the ground for years and you might never know.

When we first moved into our house, we had an underground gas leak. We didn't
know it until we'd lived there 3 months and the gas bill still hadn't gone up.
I kept calling the gas company about not having a bill, and they kept assuring
me it was because I wasn't using gas...I told them I had a gas heater on the
pool, a gas hot water heater and a gas fireplace, the last two being used
DAILY.

For 3 months I harassed them. Then one day, I walked out to the yard, and the
overpowering smell of gas just about did me in.

I stomped back in the house, because the smell was right by my garage, called
the gas company and told them I had a gas leak. 20 minutes later, a city truck
pulled up, looked at my meter and told me it was BROKEN. They HAD to shut it
off.

I had to call plumber to come fix the leak. The plumber had to trace the
leak...turned out when the pool's gas line was installed, the company simply
TAPED the joint were it bled off the main gas-line.

What I was smelling was contaminated soil as the gas permeated UP into the air.


After they fixed the leak, the city guys came back out and fixed the meter. My
gas bills were normal, after that.

However...two things. One, if you say you ahve a gas leak, you get service
IMMEDIATELY. Wish I'd known that the first month (but I didn't know about the
leak).

Two...the soil took about a month to recover, but now has a lush cropping of
grass that has to be mowed every 3 days. Is it still contaminated? I don't
know. However, it's growing grass.

Doesn't mean that grass is good for ya, just an observation that contaminated
soil CAN grow things...which will then cause you to start thinking about other
soils that are contaminated...and wondering if food-grade is still grown on
it...and what if you eat it...hmmm...I better stop thinking <G>.

Merry


Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once
http://www.stardancerpress.com/MerryStahel/
http://community.webshots.com/user/merrystahel

MerryStahel
July 19th 03, 04:11 PM
lpogoda said:

>>Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak could
>>contaminate the ground for years and you might never know.

When we first moved into our house, we had an underground gas leak. We didn't
know it until we'd lived there 3 months and the gas bill still hadn't gone up.
I kept calling the gas company about not having a bill, and they kept assuring
me it was because I wasn't using gas...I told them I had a gas heater on the
pool, a gas hot water heater and a gas fireplace, the last two being used
DAILY.

For 3 months I harassed them. Then one day, I walked out to the yard, and the
overpowering smell of gas just about did me in.

I stomped back in the house, because the smell was right by my garage, called
the gas company and told them I had a gas leak. 20 minutes later, a city truck
pulled up, looked at my meter and told me it was BROKEN. They HAD to shut it
off.

I had to call plumber to come fix the leak. The plumber had to trace the
leak...turned out when the pool's gas line was installed, the company simply
TAPED the joint were it bled off the main gas-line.

What I was smelling was contaminated soil as the gas permeated UP into the air.


After they fixed the leak, the city guys came back out and fixed the meter. My
gas bills were normal, after that.

However...two things. One, if you say you ahve a gas leak, you get service
IMMEDIATELY. Wish I'd known that the first month (but I didn't know about the
leak).

Two...the soil took about a month to recover, but now has a lush cropping of
grass that has to be mowed every 3 days. Is it still contaminated? I don't
know. However, it's growing grass.

Doesn't mean that grass is good for ya, just an observation that contaminated
soil CAN grow things...which will then cause you to start thinking about other
soils that are contaminated...and wondering if food-grade is still grown on
it...and what if you eat it...hmmm...I better stop thinking <G>.

Merry


Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once
http://www.stardancerpress.com/MerryStahel/
http://community.webshots.com/user/merrystahel

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 04:14 PM
Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
>
>>Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak
could
>>contaminate the ground for years and you might never know. I'd also think
a
>>buried tank would be much more susceptible to rust or corrosion.
>>
>
>Gas stations do it. I don't know otherwise.
>
Two wrongs make a right?

lpogoda
July 19th 03, 04:14 PM
Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
>
>>Safer in some ways perhaps, not so much in others maybe. A slow leak
could
>>contaminate the ground for years and you might never know. I'd also think
a
>>buried tank would be much more susceptible to rust or corrosion.
>>
>
>Gas stations do it. I don't know otherwise.
>
Two wrongs make a right?

IleneB
July 21st 03, 11:00 PM
In article >, Chloe
> wrote:

> If I lived alone I'd probably be fine in
> the kind of space you're talking about, although I don't have much affection
> for real tiny rooms.

My house is about 1250 sq.ft. The first floor is a big open space with
a window wall into the woods and a small kitchen, a bedroom and master
bath. Second floor is half the size, a full open loft with full bath.
It feels huge to me. I've lived here with a friend who left her husband
and my father has lived here occasionally. The loft bedroom would need
to be enclosed for proper living for two people not in a couple, but
otherwise it's a fine space if I were to marry or something.

You can always take down non-bearing walls that might split a small
house into tiny rooms.

Ilene B

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