Would Like Thoughts On Lofts In Homes

sandy808June 23, 2010

I am just totally pickled at this point with designing a floor plan for our house. I can get most of the way there, but my dream sewing studio is what muddies up the waters. This is a home we hope to stay in for the rest of our lives, so we have to do it right this time. I love our piece of property and have no interest in ever selling it.

We're trying to keep the size of our house down, both for costs and our belief that a home should be a cozy home....not a monstrosity. However, by nature of the stature of space needed for making quilts and such (as well as have my desk (and maybe a treadmill) in there. I have never had a decent sewing area...they were always way too small and never had enough storage.

In my kitchen table post I named a whole bunch of cons for not wanting a loft. Maintaining the outer structure of two home and extra heating and cooling, for example. I could always break a leg and not be able to use stairs, but I sure hope not. Maybe we'd run out of money during construction. That part can most likely be remedied by shrinking the base footprint square footage though.

Now for the reasons to love a loft. I have always liked going up in someone else's loft. I feel like I'm in a treehouse, and the railing up there keeps it from feeling closed off. There's lots of space to spread out. Someone stopping over for dinner can't really see "the sewing mess". When cleaning the house, I can skip that part and no one else is the wiser. I can have windows on the gable ends, but a shed dormer popped out with windows and looking out on the woods would be so relaxing. My cats would love it too.

I am almost 57 years old, so I am no longer a spring chicken, but not old (just wiser). I am in good health and hope I stay that way. Most people tell me I should be looking forward and prepare for being ancient. In the back of my mind I'm wondering why on earth I should be looking at "what if's" all the time and not living in the present.

An elderly architect looked at me one day and said if I got twenty years of enjoyment out of a loft, who cares if it sits after that, and I shouldn't be borrowing trouble. It can always be a bedroom for youngsters who visit. Hmmmm.....

My husband is not a fan of two story homes, and has not hesitated in trying to discourage having a loft during the past 8 months that I have been trying to come up with a floor plan. However, he has conceded that I may need one in order to get a sewing room I actually like.

I like the gentle vault in a log style home that results from building a single story. It feels nice and is not totally flat in any one room. A loft puts a huge vault over some portion of the house, although not the whole thing. The rooms below would have a flat ceiling.

Any thoughts on this? I'm totally, and I mean totally, confused at this point. I do know that I'd like to start building this house pretty soon.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


First, think outside the box and see what creative options you come up with. Second, check out some of the books I have listed in a seperate post, you may see something that triggers an Ah-ha moment. Sometimes it works best to create outbuildings for an artist retreat, hobby shop, etc. It can still function as a guest space, maybe even better since it is private.

As I read and hear all the buzz about energy related topics like Cap-And-Trade, it is apparent to me that energy costs will skyrocket in the near future. As a result, one of my primary goals in designing my own small space and building from scratch is energy efficiency. Coming from that angle, I am now much more reluctant to include "soaring ceilings" in any designs I am kicking around. Since heat rises, soaring spaces can be harder (costlier)to heat than spaces with flat ceilings. Just my thoughts.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

Hi, sandy808, I can't offer any advice as far as structure, but check out Martha Stewart's beautiful craft room in the link. That room is so gorgeous, it would be worth building a loft just to have it! Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Loft craft room

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

And, here's one with pictures of sewing rooms and quilt studios, maybe a loft or two.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sewing rooms

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We know a friend who has a 1bd home with a loft. She uses it as her studio, or as a spare bedroom.

Unfortunately, it adds nothing to the value of the home. The RE agents cringe when they look at the interior. Couples can't use it, anyone with small children is instantly envisioning kids falling 8' and hurting themselves.

More importantly, the elderly DO NOT WANT such a home. She herself acknowledges that if she has any health issues or disability - she's now 61 and has already had a bout with cancer - a loft is not a high-use concept.

If this is your forever home, any inclusion of universal design would be critical. A loft would be difficult to fit into that strategy.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do going forward.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WE had a house with a loft and at first it seemed the perfect thing to have for my studio /craft room. Then it got old real quick. Up and down the stairs because I needed something from down stairs upstairs. There was also a guest room up there and small bath. Twice we had to give up our down stairs master because company would not climb the stairs. That was a real bother for us.

Heating control in the upstairs was hard because if there was enough heat in the winter on the main floor it was way too hot upstairs and in summer time it was too hot up stairs and down stairs was cool. At that house we did have a hot spring and the water was 152 to 168 from the spring so it heated the house and we even had to keep a window cracked in winter because it could get too hot. Still the loft was not as ideal as we thought it would be. I was glad to move to a one story house. We did so and never even considered a two story house again. Not that there is anything wrong with them. I am almost 61 and Joe is 70 and we REALLY do not want to be climbing stairs.

I think a detached space for guests would be a good thing if you could make it not too far from bath room facilities.

I know you are having issues getting a floor plan down to show us. Will be easier for you and us when we can see what you are trying to do.

I do not envy you. I went through all of this two years ago creating this place and all the decisions and one thing leads to another affects another. OH GGGRRRRRR I was so exhausted when it was all done and we were moved in and then I had to put it all away and it was not at all how I envisioned it. But it all works out. There is always that moment you will say I wish I had done this or that differently. That is life.

You will get there.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 4:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

yes, it'd be much easier to help if we saw what you have already planned and the measurements of the space you want to have. that alone could cause one of us to have an ah-ha moment.

the coming energy problems alone don't make a loft seem a good idea. be sure to put in lots of insulation.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 6:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow! Thanks for all the responses. My husband and I are extremely energy conscious, and have already planned extensive insulation for the home. It's one of the reasons we are going to use cypress siding rather than full logs. We will still have a home that is resistant to insect damage, and looks just like a log home, but we can insulate it better. Logs alone are not all that energy efficient, no matter what people who sell logs say. A log is only R-11.

In addition, with the full wrap around porch, and if we keep the home to a single story, the outside structure is extremely well protected from the elements. Combined with a galvalum (may be mispelled) metal roof to reflect heat away, we should be able to climate control for fairly low cost. Energy efficiency is one of the major reasons why my husband does not want a two story house. He also hates stairs.

My dentist and I were able to chat about houses a bit after my exam today. He said he built a two story, and likes it, but that the upstairs is mostly unused space now and his utility costs are double what a friend of his pays....same floorplan as his but single story, and ultimately same amount of square footage.

Scott, I printed off the post with the list of books you like, and I'm going to see if our small library can get them in for me.

It was also interesting to hear you mention a seperate structure near the house for artwork,etc. My husband offered the same thing. At first he suggested a section of our barn, but I wasn't crazy about that idea. Then he suggested a "gazebo" type of structure with lots of windows for views, and attatched to the house/porch with a little breezeway. He said it's less expensive to build a nice big room like I want that way, rather than up the general square footage on the house. I turned my nose up at that idea because I didn't think I would like "leaving" home to go sew. I also don't want to be isolated from him if I want to work later on a project. We don't mind upping square footage some, but we are keeping in mind that taxes aren't getting any cheaper either.

Chris, I think what I may do is post a very vague layout of where I would like to see the rooms located and maybe we can go from there. I was so frustrated today I crumpled up everything and chucked it in the garbage. I will need my husband to help me post pictures, as I am not very computer savy.

Thanks for the sewing room links. There's some good ideas there.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 10:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Wow! Thanks for all the responses. My husband and I are extremely energy conscious, and have already planned extensive insulation for the home. It's one of the reasons we are going to use cypress siding rather than full logs. We will still have a home that is resistant to insect damage, and looks just like a log home, but we can insulate it better. Logs alone are not all that energy efficient, no matter what people who sell logs say. A log is only R-11."

We built and lived in a log house for almost four years. We only had a small electric heater in the wall for emergencies. We heated the house with an Earth Stove and would burn 3 cord of wood a year. The house was incredibly warm and cozy. It was only about 900 SQ FT. They were 6 inch three sided logs. The biggest problem was getting them all sealed up. There was problems in the corners where we had to jack the logs into place the sil seal would tend to slip. I did finally get them tight by tracking down drafts.

This was in Clayton Idaho Zone 3 where winters dip to 30 below zero on the norm and usually ran 10 to 20 below for about 3 months of the year. So they might only be R 11 but this sure was a nice warm little house.

BUT........................... They are not as clean inside because even though I sanded all the logs inside and three coats of urethane there was always a dust coming off them and they collected dust even though they were flat sided inside. Log houses do have their draw backs. I also got sick to death of seeing all the wood. Everything wood. We did V cut tongue and groove for the interior walls and blue pine cabinets. Believe me I never want to see another wood wall. The hot spring house also had lots of wood. Some walls were still wood and the ceilings. I was close to painting the ceilings but after the flood we sold the place saving me a terrible nightmare of trying to paint.

I totally prefer sheet rock.


Here is a link that might be useful: Log house we built

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 10:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Chris: "I totally prefer sheet rock. "
Ahhhh, Chris, you are tremendous! You had a burro? And a sulky? And all that firewood piled up against the log cabin.
House. NOT cabin. Awesome.

About lofts. I like the idea of a loft. I really like the idea of a TANSU, or a step chest, which in Japan would be built as drawers behind the steps and it engages my mind.
BUT, I also have an aversion to high energy costs. And to paying to enclose a space you cannot really live in. That is why a cape cottage with relatively low ceilings is so attractive to me. Living in my DH's cape in Mass., was the first time I experienced another climate--except for hotels etc. Since reaching adulthood, all my dwellings were air conditioned and so I regard that as a must. But when you have a climate which is 20 to 30 BELOW ZERO for 3 months of the year, I've learned that a/c is not always the most important thing to have.

Sandy, I am intrigued with the thought of a separate structure for your studio (lets call it that, okay?).
Covering a walkway to it so you can reach the house easily in inclement weather is a good option. Locate it so you can look out a window while you are at your sewing machine or cutting table and see the activity in your house, and will know what is happening there. You won't feel isolated.

Going at the design as separate, you can keep the house footprint easy to heat and arrange. It is the matter of adding in the studio that is holding things up, right?

As Scott mentions, those books have some great ideas you might be inspired by. Like where to locate your studio in relation to your house. Even FLgargoyle has some designs for separate SHEDS, which will not literally be SHEDS, but will be gorgeous outbuildings. Heck, if you already have a BARN, you might as well have a stable or a smoke house design. In the smaller studio, you could also think of adding a short "loft" at the end of it which would be used for fabric storage. If anyone quilts, they have a big supply of finished tops, and tons of fabrics. And also, you could lift up the quilting frame to the lower ceiling under that lofted area. Leave the other half of your studio open raftered and with a couple of skylights (which open or not) And a small pellet stove and of course a backup heat source to keep the contents from freezing. I don't think you'd want a water line going out there, but if you do, have a way to cut it off and drain the line for winter temps.

I can really see you with such a studio. Designed as a gazebo with a covered walkway, a bench built into the arbor, the kind of plants growing on it that can take your climate. Lovely.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 12:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OH MAN The light bulb just went on. When I had my studio in the shed away from the house it was quite away from the house. Sounds silly but I had to go down front walk and down driveway say 60 foot or so then to studio.

ML you have hit on something . To be able to see into the house and know what is going on is perfect. ADD the baby monitor= two way talk thingie so you are still together in a way and I would have been happy with my separate studio. But it was too far from the house. Had to be heated in winter and impossible to cool in summer.

I think a two way listening talking device would really work for me. Here my studio room is only down the hall a bit and the sewing room shares the living room wall so I am close and do leave the door open. I play music when I am doing mosaic but not when I sew. So it is probably good I have the studio door shut.

And one thing for me is my eyes are very bad. I need lots of light and bright in my space to be able to see. I love the look of dark walls and woods but it does not play nice with my eyes. Too much of a strain to see.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 12:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Chris, I'm all for light colored floors too. I have to be careful about injuring my feet, and with bird toys and nut shells on the floor, I must be aware where I step. I am too impatient to always put my shoes on. Even the dogs like to steal birdy toys and scatter them. I cannot see them as well on a dark floor as easily as I can on a light floor.

Glad to see that my idea for locating the studio close but separate from the house is headed in the right direction.
And a baby monitor communicating system is an inspiration. Perhaps one also in the barn? Fantastic!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

shades, you never cease to amaze me! The cabin/house is wonderful, but I understand the cleaning issue. I remember the summers at church-camp--no matter how many times we swept those cabins, there was always dust!

sandy, if you decide to include a loft, you might consider a LaPere/Lapeyre stairway. ML, reading about the TANSU, reminded me of a magazine picture I saw years ago, of a LaPere alternating stair. It would be a space-saver, and I like the open concept, but the pics of the enclosed stairs seem a little claustrophobic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lapeyre stairs

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to hurry right now because my husband wants me to ride along on some errands (I'm supposed to be in the shower). I love all the responses, and I'm feeling encouraged about my "somewhat" attatched studio. If I do it correctly, I will have a huge space and lots of views. I want a section of the porch screened in and I can incorporate the screening into the studio entrance. I want my kitties to be able to patrol out there. I have no mouse or spider issues with them always on alert.

I am also toying with the idea of a future powder room in there, so it can double as a sleeping atrea when a family member comes to visit, but that would be a much later addition if I decide to do that.

We can safely run plumbing without too many issues of freezing down here. We learned if we cover our well with a fake rock it is enough to keep it from freezing in the winter. It's not very often we get cold enough to freeze the well, but it does happen.

Best of all, my studio will be considered an outbuilding by the tax people, even if I make it to match the house, and I can use one of the European (and very energy efficient) heating/cooling units. My husband has one in the barn, and it works beautifully for his office space and hasn't cost a great deal to run.

I'm getting excited about this now! Thank you!

Chris, I'm keeping in mind what you said about all wood interior, but we are planning on tongue and groove pine throughout. I've learned to hate sheetrock because I hate painting and want low upkeep. I'll most likely use tung oil on the walls. I've seen it done in a woodworker's log home, and it had a nice natural furnituire look to it. I'll have to poly the floors though. I'm figuring I can have pretty red gingham kitchen curtains and brighten things with lots of windows and textiles. Hope I'm right.

I love to garden and am particularly fond of growing camellias and antique roses. I can just picture a rose garden surrounding my studio. That way, it won't look like an obstruction from the house, but rather something picturesque. My husband is happy about my being willing to give the loft idea up, and feels this new studio idea is very nice.

Got to go...I'll check in later.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 1:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sandy, a new thread started by WritersBlock has some ideas which you might scale UP and use in your studio plans.
Here is a link in case it gets separated from your thread, which is right next to it at this point.

Take a look at the slide show. just 16 pictures, worth the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tiny retreat

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

that'd be great. you could put a 'bridge' or catwalk from your porch over to it and have french doors to let in lots of light. plus big windows!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 7:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a loft bedroom/bath. We love it because the wood stove downstairs heats it up perfectly and it's always warm up there in the wintertime. There's a 2-story wall of windows in the LR that gives off light to both the upstairs and the loft above. The ceiling is quite high and gives a nice roomy feel to our small house. I love it and would have a loft again.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oldgardener, you are making me question the whole loft thing again. I guess common sense is telling me not to have one, but I feel they have a huge amount of charm.

I had a floorplan designed that didn't have the high windows that require a ladder in order to clean, but I did have windows on both gable ends in the loft, with a shed dormer to allow windows to be installed on the other two sides. I would have access to clean the windows, open and close them, and to pull blinds when needed to control sunlight and heat.

I had the floorplan designed so that light and air would reach all parts of the house and circulate well from both levels.

My concern with living in Florida is NOT wanting the heat up there most of the year, though we did have an especially cold winter and solar gain was appreciated then. I live in North Florida, almost to Georgia, so we have actual season changes. No snow though!

I hear about huge utility costs involved with lofts, but part of me wonders if some of that is due to inadequate insulation. What code dictates and what should actually be put in are two different things.

My dentist also informed me that their roof is black. A black roof in Florida, the sunshine state, is not a good thing. I can't wear red or black clothing outdoors this time of year without getting overheated very rapidly. As soon as I change into a white tee shirt, I'm good to go. The difference in color and heat retention is tremendous. We are having a metal reflective roof.

How have you felt about the stairs? Many people hate them, especially as they get older. I am 56. Not young. Not old yet. I get my share of aches and pains if I try and do too much gardening in one day. However, I'm also thinking that stairs are exercise. Some people pay gym memberships to use a stairclimbing machine!


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 12:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sandy, I was offbase thinking you were in the piney hills somewhere. I knew someone on this board was in the FL panhandle, but forgot who.

One of the best ventilation systems is to have low openings of some windows, and then a high opening near the roof peak, so it sets up a chimney effect. That is the way they cool the grass huts of the East Indies and all those lovely Hawaiian grass huts too. And the metal roof is the way we are going when our roof needs replacing.

If you are a clean house nut, and I mean that kindly, you might consider a catwalk across the room so you could reach the upper windows.

But what I'm thinking would be good, is the house be a normal roof which has two end gables, open rafters in the center. One set of steps going up to a loft at one end, which could have a ventilating window high in the end gable. Store your more unattractive things up there, or have it as your guest room, out of the way of your crafting and sewing. Then the catwalk leads you in front of the windows to the other gable loft, which can be totally enclosed if you like or not, and have the storage there. It might also be vented with some grates in the floor allowing air to circulate up from below and then out through an open vent in the end gable wall. Up high though.

In old style southern homes, they had the windows inside, then they had the operable shutters outside the windows (and doors). They closed the shutters when sunlight was on that side, and opened the ones on the shady side. They also had very tall windows, and then transoms above the doors and windows. Very tall ceilings were another way of air conditioning. Hot air rose and exited through the transoms.

At my grammar school, before a/c classrooms, they had a big wall of windows, and I remember the shades, and I remember the long pole like a boat hook that the teacher used to open those high windows. Heat has always been a part of our lifestyle, and old folks built smarter than they do today, when we always rely on air conditioning.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

moccasinlanding, I'm "sort of" in the piney hills, but not in the panhandle. I live in Live Oak. Love it here. It's mostly generations of the original Florida settlers, and is mostly farm and timber. They're polite and respectful. My kind of people.

My husband just remarked over coffee together that I keep exploring other sewing options and keep coming back to the loft. He said he'd rather be the one to say I told you so than to hear me whine about how I never had a loft the rest of his life. He said to make sure I weigh the benefits carefully to make sure having one outweighs the negative aspects.

I don't mind a flat ceiling over a good share of the house because I think we can make them 9 ft. I would also loft almost the whole upstairs. The railing around the whole thing would keep the house open. The windows shining light into the downstairs would open the house up more than rooms that block sections off. No matter how open we strive to keep a single story house, bedrooms and bathrooms still close part of your house off to a degree.

My husband asked me if I was going to go up the stairs every day to open and close blinds. My reply was that as we age we tend to take the easy way out. I strongly feel we need forced exercise to keep us from getting old. I want to go out of this world used up and kicking and screaming! I have a friend who is in her mid seventies and she said she would never give her sewing loft up. She is the envy of all those who sew, who know her. She also told nme if the day comes I can't use one for sewing, well, then I'd have bigger problems than that, and probably wouldn't want to sew anyway.

A loft also can solve the once in awhile guest issue and where to put them. I hate using square footage in my house for a dedicated guest room, but there would be room upstairs. I just feel every inch should be used in a home. Guests rooms are wasteful of space. Usually. In fact, I'd probably be the one wanting to sleep up there and give the visitor the master.

I can control the amount of solar gain with modern day blinds. I have even investigated window quilts, but they are costly. I had a friend that had them in her house, and they do an excellent job of insulating.

I keep trying to talk myself into other sewing room options, but I still like lofts. We can design the stairs to turn and have a couple of landings, so as to make them gentle. If something happens to me and the stairs become a problem....well, I guess I should allow for a possible plan "B" in the house design. We can always build on.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sandy if you really like lofts then you should have one.

I have a small loft in our garage just for storage. I think it is 8 by 12. The last storage loft I had had a half ladder half stair way up to it. Was miserable to get up into and carry things up to and down from. This time hubby built me a REAL stairway and he let it run out a little further than usual to make it not as steep for me to climb. He put a great strong railing on the wall for me to hang onto and yes I do use it.

So just be sure to make under your stair way totally usable space too. We had washer and dryer and storage in the short end. Under our loft stairway. Even the kitty litter box was in there with one board left off for them and the door swung open for cleaning for me. Worked great.

The loft we had was only open to the living room on the one end. AND the lady that bought the house from us does use the loft room for her sewing room and she loves it. The walls were pitched so built in closets down the sides. Made lots of good storage. If I were doing it from scratch I would have raised those walls up a few feet to make that storage better to get to and more head room in the room itself.

OH Goody we get to plan a loft sewing room. :^))) Do not try to talk yourself into something you do not want. Get what you want. You will be so much happier for it. And yes the stairs are exercise.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 5:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shades says: "The walls were pitched so built in closets down the sides. Made lots of good storage. If I were doing it from scratch I would have raised those walls up a few feet to make that storage better to get to and more head room in the room itself. "

What kind of roof is it which looks like a barn, a mansard or a gambrel? I get confused. It is a very Dutch style.
But that would give some much taller storage spots beneath the "eaves."

If your loft sewing house is separate from your house proper, as I agree would be good to avoid extra taxes, then you can put in the TANSU STEP CHEST as drawers beneath the steps. OH JOY.... LOTS of space for sewing supplies.Even open shelves too. The Japanese never miss a beat at using space economically. Not knowing what kind of quilting frame you have, I can imagine one that suspends from beneath the loft, and can be raised out of the way when not working on quilting.

A cutting table.....did you say you had one already? Or was that someone else? One that folds up out of the way but also becomes an island or smaller working surface. Of course you will need a chair--nice upholstered swivel rocker--for those moments of hand sewing beside the wood burning stove.....with a lamp and a table. Also a hot pot to boil water to make tea? Nothing fancy. And a glass lidded container for your snacks. The baby monitor will work if the electrical system is part of your houses wiring too. Otherwise a walky talky. Intercom system?

Don't you just love having all these extra folks helping with your projects? Let us know when you need to do the "barn raising."

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 1:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry I'm so late to the party- we just got back from vacation. I have a lot of catching up to do!

There are several ways to look at it; some work for some folks, some for others. My mother climbs stairs to this day at age 84. It may even be why she's still in such good shape! But if something were to happen, you'd be shut off from your favorite space. We've looked at all sorts of ideas for 'expansion space', and as ML said, I plan to go with outbuildings. A loft is tricky to control the temperature of, and they can be noisy, with the sound bouncing off of the high ceilings.

We have property in SC, and have plenty of room for outbuildings. A small building can be cooled right down with a $200 window A/C. As far as the tax people are concerned, they will be 'sheds', and won't be subject to taxes. We're going to take a third of the barn and make a 'summer living room' that can double as a guest house. I'll have a wood stove and maybe A/C, but I'll only run them when we use it.

I have ACADD like other people here, so building a variety of unique outbuildings will help me scratch that itch.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 5:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FLGargoyle says: "I have ACADD like other people here, so building a variety of unique outbuildings will help me scratch that itch."

:) That probably means you'll have two foundations being built at the same time, and when you get to the roofing stage, buy the materials and have a roofing party to see which team will finish the job first. AND best.

Hmmm, maybe you could even offer up your land to HGTV or to a design school at some university to see which class or team could do the best job....and you be the grand vizier and head muckitymuck.

My nephew who lives in New Orleans was fascinated by something called the Katrina Cottage, a permanent alternative to FEMA trailers which blighted the landscapes of the Gulf Coast for several years. I give one of many links to this little house concept below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Katrina cottages

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Today we went to Valdosta so I could get to a Petsmart for some kitty food. I have a kitty that has a problem with every cat food manufactured except for the expensive Royal Canin brand. I need to get into the habit of mail ordering the stuff before I run out!

Well, long story short I ran into Books A Million before going out to eat. Browsed through all the log cabin "porn" books. As pretty as the pictures all were, I just can't get into the huge vaulted ceilings that having a loft involves. Sure, they look impressive, but I don't think the rooms that have 20 ft. vaults are cozy. I guess that's what makes life so interesting. What one person loves, another isn't comfortable with. And wouldn't you know it, my knees were achy today.

I do know that I didn't care for the 14 ft. vaulted ceilings in our last (single story) house. I had an artist come in and paint a beautiful tree and vines with flowers on the highest walls, just to make the house feel warm.

flgargoyle, the thought of something happening (such as a broken leg or illness) shutting me off from my favorite place has crossed my mind. I don't like that thought. The other thought is with trying to move furniture, etc. up there. My husband made a joke last night that he could always haul me up there with his engine hoist. What a guy! I could just see the thing breaking with me dangling in mid air!

So....I'm back to square one. A decision will have to be made whether to design the room in the house and hope that it's not too small (it will be, I just know it), or go with an auxillary room off the house. My husband likes the idea of the "sewing shack". We can't keep delaying a house plan or it won't get built. The process is also starting to get to me and I want life to be fun again.

We've been testing a European type of air conditioning/heating unit in a section of our barn. It has worked wonderfully and is low cost to run. It's like a low profile wall unit similar to what some newer hotels have. It is also very quiet. We are actually thinking of installing those throughout the house rather than having ductwork for a conventional system. There are units available that are like a small flat screen TV, and can be made to look like a picture hanging on the wall.

If we go with the "sewing shack" we'll build it after we get the CO and move in the house. I'll probably put a sewing room into the floorplan, and if it doesn't work out for me, we can go forth with the little oasis.

Chris, yes I have a cutting table. It's stored in our barn right now because I don't have room for it in the trailer. It's BIG when opened up. I do have my sewing table in here, though it is crammed in a small area with a couch and our kitchen table. It's not enjoyable. The house will feel gigantic after being in here, so it will be greatly appreciated and loved!


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 11:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sandy the house we had with loft did have the 20 foot ceiling over the living room. There were logs across to the outer wall and the lady that lived there before us told me she would walk out on those logs and clean. OH BOY NOT ME!!! I am terrified of heights. It took me a couple of months to be able to look out over the railing on the loft room. Had plants on a shelf across and had to kneel on the floor and reach through the spindles to water than as I could not make myself reach over the top of the rail.

That is a great plan to make the sewing room in the house to see if you can make it work and then if it does not you will know you have the option to do the Sewing shack.

My studio room is small but it works for me. I do have to dodge one cutting ruler that hangs out off the glass cutting board. I just moved the center table to see if it works better and so far it really does.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have any of you gone absolutely nuts and been stressed beyond belief at trying to make such a huge decision on the basic design strategy? If you haven't please let me know how you were able to handle this. I think part of the frustration is the fact that despite my husband being an engineer who can do just about anything, including overhaul engines, he has no practical sense of domestic duties and how things need ample clearance and space. Laundry rooms in particular seem to baffle these guys. He loves my cooking, but left to his own devices he eats beanie weenies out of a can.

I've been working and reworking a design. I can get the major rooms oriented where I want them. Things like closets and bathroom details aren't worked out, but where the rooms are placed in the basic rectangle seem to keep going back to the same places. So that part is progress and worked out. I know all of you will be good at how to detail the laundry room and such.

I keep trying to talk myself into the "outbuilding" concept. My gut just doesn't care for it. I don't know why, but it doesn't feel right for me.

I would prefer to have my sewing space as part of the house. Doing so with the views I want tends to close in other rooms more than I would actually like. Of coarse, the correct windows throughout can help correct that, but.... still. I tend to feel closed in very easily, maybe because I'm such an outdoor type of person.

I keep coming back to the darn loft. I think that is what I truly want and have always wanted, but I let others make me second guess myself. Don't get me wrong, the other feedback I've gotten, and that includes that from my husband, has done the absolute right thing by pointing out the negative considerations as well. My husband is willing to let me have free hand at this point with what I want.

I feel with a loft I get my space I want, and bonus storage as well, without "leaving" home. At the same time it promotes lots of light and airflow throughout the whole home.

I think there may be a way to minimize the vast portion of ceiling that bothers me. One idea is to loft the whole upstairs, putting a flat ceiling over everything except the area that has the stairs....perhaps the foyer/library. The risk is "closing in" the other rooms in with a flat ceiling. Maybe it doesn't really close them in. Maybe they're just flat.

The other idea may be to keep the dining and living room area vaulted, but perhaps try to come up with an idea to minimize the "exposed" feeling such a vault entails. Perhaps blunting the point of the roofline inside would achieve that, so it bevels rather than goes up to a huge point in the center.

I think the temperature diferential in the loft can be mitigated with its own European unit up there. I would only need to use it in the middle of summer, at most.

I'm thinking that if something happens to me where I can't use stairs, then we can always build a sewing "shed" attached with a breezeway if I have to.

I had to chuckle about the scared of heights issue. I'm a pilot, and settled on a career as a flight instructor for many years. (I can still instruct, but have taken a break from it right now). Believe it or not, most pilots are afraid of heights, but we feel secure thousands of feet above the earth. Go figure. Maybe it's the wings that we know are holding us up there. I haven't figured that one out yet.

I don't think I'd be hanging over the railing either. I want my stairs to have at least one landing, maybe two, as the stairway turns to go up to the loft. It puts just a few steps in between landings, and doesn't feel so intimidating. I don't feel safe on stairs that just chug their way straight up.

Anyway, I'm sure open to suggestions!


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK More experiences of 2/3 loft over lower floor. Just tossing these experiences out there.

We had new carpet put in the whole house and when the guy was repairing the floors upstairs all the hammering brought down scads dust and grit from all the years seeping into the cracks. There was tongue and groove two by 6's or 8's for flooring.

The lower floor did feel a bit closed in by the ceiling above. I believe the ceiling was a bit short of the norm. There were no side walls as ML suggested to give better ceiling height in loft.

There was no way to hang pictures on the loft walls except the one end wall. They slanted too much.

Since we did not have to worry about heating with the hot spring water available I have no idea on the added energy costs. A person could always hang a heavy draw curtain across the loft opening when not in use to control heat loss from below. Would have to be custom made but us sewers could figure out how to do it.

I am terrified of heights but planes do not bother me other then now all the bother to board. I have pretty much given up flying. Not to mention the 90 mile drive each way to and from airport. The only place to fly to for me would be to see my Mom and it is also a 90 mile drive to airport and back on her end. I might as well drive the whole way. LOL

I went through exactly what you are going through Sandy. I had some more limitations because once we chose the manufactured home that would fit our lot I had to work within that floor plan and only had the options of adding stretches and moving windows and the closet thing I explained before. then the master bath switching it up from glamor bath to half glamor bath. I really would have liked a larger laundry room. but this one works fine. I just fold laundry wherever it lands and I do use the line to dry the clothes most of the time so they come off the line and end up in master bedroom on bed to fold.

We had another model house chosen at first in fact there were two other models and one I liked better but the added 20K put the bite in things. And there were issues with it in the living room arrangement.

There just seems to be give and take. I think you have already written down all the things you want. I just do not think you can ever make it all perfect.

What is pretty funny is the house we built took us one evening, a couple of hours, to draw up the plans. Was totally simple. We later decided if we had moved the master bedroom door over to the other end of the room it would have been so much better and still could have been done with out too much trouble. But we never bothered to do it. We were so happy in that house. Was a small house too. We built exactly what we drew up. That house would not work for me now. I am really happy with this house plan. We both are. It is a very comfortable house to live in for us.

I do not remember what your SQ FT was going to be. Was it 1200? If so that was a little too small for me as we had it in the last house. Just the lay out here and the added 100 SQ FT helped to make this house work. AND at the last 1200 SQ FT house I had an added out side pantry of 8 by 6 and then my shed space of 10 by 16 and that would add up to more than we have here and it did not work. So it is not always the size that matters. I think it is the lay out.

There used to be manufactured home sites on line with scads of floor plans. I looked at them for weeks taking things I liked and things I did not like. One place we chose we had to make so many changes to it it turned out we were better off not getting it at all.

Add in we had a special roof snow load we had to adjust for. There were restrictions on how open we could go. I do not think you have that there. Here it is required 85 pound roof load. We have 120 on the house and 100 on the shop just so we do not have to shovel the roofs.

You might want to back off just for a few days on this thought process. Like trying to balance the check book that is off 15 cents and you can not find it. Step away from it and when you come back a day or three later you see the mistake right away. Just a thought.

You have my sympathy this is so stressful.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Chris, thanks for the kind words. I needed them!

I spoke last night with a lady that has lived in Florida most of her life. When they bought their most recent property a while back, they moved an old (100 years old) Florida "cracker" home onto the property. When they did so they decided to add a loft for her sewing room and an extra bedroom.

Well, she told me that the quilts she wanted to make never got done because it is so much hotter up there than downstairs. She also told me a funny story about how their dog threw up all over their bed a couple of days ago. They are sleeping in the spare room up in the loft until the mattress dries from cleaning it. She said it is HOT, and yes, they insulated. She also said she has a friend with a loft, and she complains about all the hot air rising up there.

Adding another cooling unit would help with cooling up there, but then there are the extra cooling costs involved. We have the same costs with climate control as anywhere else. Some states need to worry about heating most of the year. We need to worry about cooling most of the year. It seems more critical as we women get to a "certain" age:) My husband gets cold easily now....I get mighty warm!

How do I post a drawing I've sketched out with my floor plan ideas? I'm just not real computer literate. My husband can help me, but I'm hoping you can tell me the steps on how to do it. I do have a scanner, so I can scan drawings.

I've drawn out a single story plan that is not very detailed at this point. It does show where I want the rooms oriented, since my favorite spot is looking towards the back woods. Therefore, my house will be a little unconventional in that I don't care about a formal "front" entry. We'll be routing the driveway towards the side of the house with the kitchen and laundry any way. I find that's wehere I need to enter the house anyway, because I'm usually carting stuff in. Friends don't mind informal ways to get in the house either.

Do you think you can help with details such as how to do the storage within these "boxes", and how to orient doorways for bedroom privacy?

We have to get the house started SOON, because if we don't re-file our homestead exception by February, we'll lose the tax exemption from our last home, and have to pay higher taxes with a new exemption. That would NOT be good.

The house is going to be a smidge over 1800 square feet...pretty good sized, but that allows for a decent sized sewing room. Not as large as I like, but do-able. I can always build a sewing "shack" later. I'm not sure I would really like to go out on the porch before entering my little building. My gut turns a little when I try to plan an outside one, so it must not set well with me at this point.

It would be nice if I can come up with something detailed enough for my husband to finish the blueprints with and start the permit process. That alone is going to take a month. I'd like to break ground by the first week of August.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sandy, you can open a free photo account online (I use Photobucket) and use it to post your pics. They all work in a similiar fashion.

Mama-goose, didn't you just learn to post pics? Your recollection may be better than mine. Maybe you can explain it. But this is what I remember.

1. open Photobucket account
2. download pics from your harddrive or camera to site
3. open Gardenweb, write message and insert pic's HTML code (to get the code, just select pic, mouse over it and a dropdown box will appear. Click on HTML and copy. Paste in message)
4. hit preview and pic will show up
5. hit submit

Some people just link to their album.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

" My husband gets cold easily now....I get mighty warm!"

Yep here too. Fortunately I am over most of that hot flash ordeal. UGH but they are bad when they do happen.

You can also just take a picture of your plan you have drawn out and upload it to Photo Bucket.some times if you do not know your scanner really well it will make the pictures too large of a file size.

I just take pictures of my old photographs if I want to share. So much faster than the scanner.

Yes the heat can be bad in lofts. Heat rises. We do have a swamp cooler here but not sure they will work in Florida. We have it in the kitchen/dinning room window and the far back master bath window open and it draws the cool air through the house. They do not work well if you already have high humidity. Joe said they are about the cost of running a house fan. And they do use some water. And oh boy I love what it does for my skin!!!! The only time of the year I do not like like lizard skin.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sandy, I had to go through a LOT to get this uploaded for viewing, hope it explains an option. This sort of roof is what I'm thinking of doing for restoring/rebuilding our old cement block garage which is not totally roofless. The low roof area could be planted with ajuga or aloe or something or even put in Lexan panels for skylighting. Then the part which rises nicely will give a vertical surface for a window wall, and the floored space would of course be a LOFT, or could be converted in the future to a half story.

Here is the sketch:

Now, you have two options with this arrangement. The lofted windows could face the front of your house and be visible from the street/road, or it could be on the front of your house and the room would be above the entry and NOT visible when someone walks into the house. BUT, you'd be looking out over your back yard space. Under the steps which lead up to your loft, you could have a coat closet and a powder room. I also think with this arrangement you could very easily ADD A HOME ELEVATOR. I worked on a boat which had a 2 person elevator for the old man (the owner), and it was fantastic. My brother was thinking of adding one to his house too, but dropped the idea when he rebuilt his steps at an easier grade and also had both knees replaced. For me, I'd get the elevator and not let them cut me.

And hon, I know you are nearing the end of your rope, and I do hope your travails end happily. Believe me, this too shall pass. It WILL work out.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 6:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
So where are you? New house? Still looking?
Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b
Need help with porch roof color
Hello, I don't know if I'm posting in the right forum,...
Organizing the kitchen
Do you wish your kitchen was better organized? I do!...
Help for me coming soon...
My family and friends have been praying for that all...
Okay, how about tea on Monday this week? :)
How is everyone? How was your weekend? I don't know...
Sponsored Products
36" Christina Double-Bowl Farmhouse Sink with High Backsplash
Signature Hardware
Dry 5 pc. Cutlery Set by Alessi
$84.00 | Lumens
Florence Knoll Style Armchair
IFN Modern
Red 3528 Single Row LED Strip Light 240/m 10mm wide 5m Reel
George Kovacs Fabric Shade Chrome 11 1/2" High Wall Sconce
Euro Style Lighting
David Bromstad Yellow "Flowers in Unity" Artwork
Grandin Road
Tulip Fields Throw in Ivory & Black
$129.99 | Dot & Bo
Orange linen napkin lara (set of four)
Origin Crafts
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™