Friday, March 14, 2014

Re-activating this blog and new house design

This blog has been completely dormant for quite a while, but I now have something interesting to post about, and I expect there to be a lot of posts coming. I'm building a new house, which is somewhat interesting, but I'm also planning to incorporate a lot of custom-built automation into it and I think that's very interesting, and may be interesting to others. Particularly since I'm new to electronics engineering, so I'm going to be posting what I learn as I go.

Today, though, I just want to talk about the house as a whole. My uncle Kelly is doing the architectural design and he has finished the basic plans and is sending it out for structural engineering review, so it's pretty close to final. For those who've followed my Google+ posts, this will be old news. I'll get into other, more interesting stuff soon, but I want this blog to have a fairly complete record.

First, this is the front view and the view from the right end (as you face the house):

The left side of the house is the garage. The tower contains the stairs going up and down. The small sections on the ends with the archways are facades.

Next, this is the rear view and the view from the left end:

That's a two-car garage, but an extra deep one. We decided that two cars is enough, because we'll also have a large (approximately 30' x 40') shed on the property where we can keep equipment. The extra depth of the garage will leave plenty of space for tools and even a small workshop area in front of the cars. I may have a bigger workshop in the shed.

The big windows near the center of the house open into the great room, which is two stories high. To the left of it (in this image) there's a sun room that projects back from the master bedroom. To the right is the kitchen/dining area, which has a bay window.

Here's the main floor:

At the bottom of the plan is the entrance. You can see the covered area leading to the double doors. Just inside the doors to the right is a half bath. Straight ahead from the doors is the great room, with its 18 foot-high windows and a door opening onto the back patio. To the left of the entrance is the stairs going down to the basement and up to the second floor. Also to the left is the kitchen and dining area. I'll detail the kitchen design in another post. Beyond the kitchen are a mud room, laundry room and pantry. The mud room connects to the garage which will, of course, be the primary way that we enter and exit.

To the far right is the master bedroom and bath. The bedroom opens into a sun room in the rear, perhaps with a half wall dividing them. The master bath is large and comfortable and opens into a big walk-in closet. Note that the closet connects to the bath, not the bedroom. That's so if one of us is up earlier than the other (or later), that person can bathe and dress without bothering the other.

Here's the upstairs:

To the left are two bedrooms, each with its own features. The one on the end is larger, with a walk-in closet and a door (not shown) into the "bonus room", which is space carved out of the garage attic, for storage. The one next to it isn't as big, but has a nice bay window, with a window seat. There's a full bathroom next to the two rooms. One other feature of this area is that the hallway into the smaller room will have a laundry chute, which opens into the laundry room below.

In the center is the great room, which is open to the floor below, but with a walkway stretching across to the right. On the right end there is a guest bedroom, with connected full bath, and my home office which also connects to the guest bath.

Next, the basement:

The basement will be unfinished, mostly. In the front, underneath the front porch, will be a cold storage room, for food storage that needs cooler temperatures. To the right and further back is the utility room. I have great plans for that utility room, more in future posts. There's a location for a bedroom to the right, with a large window. The left and rear is a basement walkout, with lots of space for bringing in large furniture. Eventually we'll build a family room / home theater down here, but not right away.

Finally, the location:

The blue quadrilateral is the property boundaries. The lot is five acres. The black curving line is the driveway. The reason for running it back so far and then curving around is because there's a hill, and that route provides a gentle grade to the top. The red polygon is, roughly, the edges of the hilltop.

The larger black rectangle is the approximate size and location of the house, sitting on top of the hill. The house will fact to the southeast (north is up). This means all of our big windows will be pointing to the northwest, which is a little unfortunate. The smaller black rectangle is our planned storage shed (which will be built well before the house). The placemarker balloon is the approximate location of the planned well, which needs to be at least 100 feet from any building and from the property line.

Technically, the well doesn't have to be 100 feet from the property line, it just has to be 100 feet from another well. But if you put it close to the property line you have to get an easement from the owner of the neighboring land, which is basically a commitment from them that they'll never put a well on their property within 100 feet of your well. The easy way to avoid all of that is just to put it at least 100 feet from the property line.

Not shown on this image is that the septic tank and drainage field will be between the house and the road, in the low ground (which looks very green in this image).

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