Ideas for small-ish New England farmhouse/homestead design?

collins designApril 12, 2013

We're starting to plan for the next life phase, which hopefully includes building a small-ish (~1800 sf) new house with facilities for small livestock (chickens, goats, poss turkeys). I'm wondering if people have found any online resources for inspiration for this type of design that they can share.

This home will be in Maine, passive solar, and possibly heated mostly with wood, so the design needs to reflect that (i.e. not a sprawling one-story western-style farmhouse.) Will have solar panels for hot water and poss electric for well, etc.

And, of course, it's on a budget ;) So I'd love to hear cost-cutting tips when designing. For instance, maybe we want to combine a garage with animal housing and garden supply storage, rather than build two separate structures? What are other good cost-saving ideas to consider when designing?


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Annie Deighnaugh

Well of course the old new england homes had the barns connected directly to the house so that you could tend the animals in the winter without going outside. Family friend had a place in NH and as I recall from the main house you went into a summer kitchen, then a wood shed and then the barn, all without going outside.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:51AM
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collins design

Yes, that's a beautiful vernacular that I originally intended to incorporate. Almost all old farmhouses around here are built that way. And also very practical, as you note, for reaching the barn in winter. I wonder if it adds significantly to the cost to have another chunk of foundation like that?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:41AM
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If you decide to house animals in your garage, you may have issues with car fumes making the animals sick. I know people who keep small animals in their garage, but it's not an optimal solution-- I'd at least want a wall separating the garage portion and the animals.

We plan to have chickens, but we're going to have a small separate structure for them. Probably a chicken tractor like the Garden Ark at the link I'll add below. I like the idea of a chicken tractor because it will let us move the chickens around on the lawn, so they can eat bugs and fertilize the grass, while still keeping them safe from critters.

I don't know what your background is, but in case you have a background similar to mine, I will pass on advice from a farming friend: it is important to have a plan to deal with manure.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicken coop plans

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Bridget Helm

i think this is the cutest little cottage. the architect is allison something. i can't remember the last name. i kept the image in my files because i found it so charming

sorry i'm no help with the livestock stuff

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Bridget Helm

this is bigger, but it's lovely too

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:04PM
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staceyneil, for smaller New England farmhouses maybe you'd get some ideas from Russell Versaci's Pennywise house plans? For structure, HVAC, insulation etc. in addition to the great Gardenweb experts here you might look at the green building advisor website, they often seem to feature Passivhaus ideas and detailed postings from folks who currently are building in the Northeast.

bmh4796, those look like sketches maybe from Bill Allison/Cooter Ramsey? I've quite enjoyed browsing through drawings in their online plan books.

Here is a link that might be useful: Allison Ramsey Architects

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Bridget Helm

yes, allison ramsey. that's the name. i knew it was allison something. nice sketches! pretty lines

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:43PM
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Have you checked out sunplans? They have a nice selection of passive solar house plans.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar house plans

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 9:14PM
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collins design

Hi all,
Thank you for the recommendations and leads!!!
zone4newby, I've been raising chickens for years, so I have a good idea of the living arrangements I want for them. Chicken tractors are not great in my locale, I will have a large fixed coop. I was more trying to figure out how to save building costs by combining the car storage with farm storage and animal housing on one foundation.... I'd certainly make separate, walled-off spaces though! Chicken dust would permeate the cars and anything stored in the garage really quickly, otherwise ;)
I will look at sunplans!
bmh4796 and oaktown, thank you for the leads! I will look further into those. The Russel Versaci plans I'd seen before were for REALLY teeny houses, so I'll investigate further. It's weird, there seem to be lots of sites for REALLY small (I've been driving around looking at farmhouses locally and what continues to stymie me is the car storage. I have not seen one example yet of an attractive way to include 2-car car storage, barn, and small house :(

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:02AM
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If you haven't already, you should check out the book Big House Little House Back House Barn

Here is a link that might be useful: Big House Little House Back House Barn

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 12:01PM
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How many animals are you planning to have? I'm not sure if you're looking to house a couple miniature goats, or a herd of standard ones.

Anyhow, an old neighbor had a handful of animals, and what they did was close to what you've been talking about (I don't know why I didn't think of it immediately). They had the house, garage, and animal area in a row in a telescope configuration (I don't have a picture of what they did, but I'm attaching a link to houzz so you know what I mean by telescope). Basically there were three similar structures, each smaller than the one before, like a telescope.

Here is a link that might be useful: Traditional telescope house

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 12:45PM
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