Wish list if starting from scratch

columbiascJune 24, 2010

What if you could start from scratch? What features would be on your wish list?

Balance. Not too big, not too small. Plus or minus 900sf depending on local building codes. Since I dont have an actual design yet, I canÂt say if that will be one or two bedrooms. I think I would like the option of having occasional overnight visitors without folding out the couch so two bedrooms may be necessary. Still pondering that one.

One level. IÂm 49 now, so stairs are not a problem. However, this is supposed to be my retirement place. I donÂt think I want to climb stairs into my 60Âs, 70Âs or 80Âs.

Open floor plan. Fewer walls should make the space feel larger.

9 foot high, flat ceilings with a smooth finish. The added volume of 9 foot verses the standard 8 foot ceilings should add to the perception of being a larger space while not sacrificing the heat to the ceiling as is the case with vaulted or soaring ceilings.

Views and natural light. I love to look out and see my plants, flowers and wildlife.

Deep, covered, screened porch. I really love sitting on a screened porch and watching it rain. But the porch has to be deep enough (8 feet or more) to keep me completely dry when the wind shifts. Damp isnÂt enjoyable.

Energy efficient. Duh! Passive solar, proper site selection, windows, insulation, all that. I might consider partial solar cell or wind power but I am not shooting for true off-grid living.

Emergency heat source. No matter where you live, "stuff happens". I like the look of a real wood burning fireplace but fully understand that a wood stove produces much more heat AND you can cook on it. If my budget allows, I will probably add a stand-alone emergency generator.

Sufficient storage. Part of the allure of living small is editing your belongings down to very few extras. Nonetheless, you have to have room for winter clothes, linens, paper products, etc. Smaller packages cost more than bigger ones. I buy the bigger ones to save money but you have to store them somewhere. You can never have too much storage space.

Covered parking. This is one of the trickiest parts of the overall design. How do you incorporate covered parking into a small structure without having the parking area visually dominate the design or even dwarf the dwelling itself? I do not like going out into the rain to go between my vehicle and my house. IÂve had it both ways and much prefer staying dry during the transition. But maintaining design balance can be tricky. Remember, one level.

Free and clear by age 60. Double duh!

ThatÂs about it. I donÂt think thatÂs too much to ask for. WhatÂs on your wish list?


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Nice list, Scott. I'm in the boat of making do with what we've got. BUT I think it can become the best house for us.
It is one story. Two bedrooms. The second bedroom is in the process of becoming the study and a sort of guest room, but not really focused in that direction. Maybe a love seat with a big ottoman to make a bed platform.

The other bedroom is in process of becoming our master suite, with a clawfoot tub and a queen bed (just bought it) and a walk in closet.

I've already redone a tiny second bath, with the focus on having a second toilet. In any home with two old geezers living there, you HAVE to have two toilets. That little bath has only a shower, but it is nice.

There is a sun porch, a place for my large house plants and two parrot cages (very large) and one swivel rocking chair and a lamp for reading and watching both front and back yards. This is completed.

The living room needs some work on the fireplace wall. Like taking out the old gas logs, which smell so gaseous they give me a headache. Whether we can make it wood burning or not we'll have to find out. I don't want to burn down the house. Having a real secondary heat source is only of minor importance in our climate. I think a back up diesel generator would be adequate for most emergencies.

Make the dining room pull its weight. Just sitting down at a table does not earn it enough points to justify devoting a whole room to this one function. So I'm going to install a window seat and floor-to-ceiling storage drawers/shelves at either end. We already have a table that my DH made out of a slab of 4 inch thick Bolivian mahogany.

The kitchen will consume the back porch and will have a big hole knocked out of both front and back walls to accomplish the look I want. A bar height counter top with two stools sitting in the dining room actually, will give me a spot to sit (or anybody for that matter)while work goes on in there. My DH likes to cook and must have "adult supervision" which means I must sit and watch. :) (He is such a patient man.) We have a fairly low small deck outside the kitchen back door, and it is in the shade for late meals, and the gas grill is a few steps down, so it is perfectly situated. I threw out the electric range, and changed out the gas water heater to an electric one using the 220 circuit. Next will be the addition of a small 24" Bertazzoni range which is gas, and will take over the plumbing formerly used by the gas water heater. I want to cook with my cast iron Lodge WOK. It won't be a modern kitchen, but it will be OURS and have all stainless appliances. We have everything already except for the Berta range.

Then I want the old cement block garage restored as a greenhouse potting shed pool house--IF we get that Endless Pool swimming spa! That will come after we sell our two waterfront lots--which are endangered by this Gulf oil spill at this time.

We;ve already added a small piece of land to our lot, and it will soon have a privacy fence around it too. So we have a back yard that is private, and lovely plants in our garden to enjoy.

I don't need a garage for a car, don't need a carport. But I would like to use a windsail to provide some shade over the car while it is parked in the late evening sun from the west. If it is raining, we drive into the circle driveway and get out at the front door, which is covered by a small stoop (the entry not the driveway). They used to build something called portcoucheres or covered drivethrus at the side entries of fine homes. It was a covered entry where the horses stopped to let out passengers, then they continued on to the stable. A really good idea, but these days it should be located in a place where it will double as a pavilion for parties too. Multi function for everything.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 10:42PM
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First I will admit I am selfish with our house. I wanted a room all to myself to work on my glass in. I also wanted a room to sew in and the two could not be the same room. Tried that before and glass and fabric are not friendly.

We do need a space guests can stay but the room size is not all that important so I combined the sewing guest room. No closet in that room so not officially a third bedroom. And it is smallish at 9 by 13 foot.

We do have vaulted ceilings but not a high vault. the outside walls are not wuite 8 foot high and the center vault is a little over 9 foot. I think. I never measured. I can reach to paint from a 6 foot ladder and I am short.

I wanted a large master bath with out tub. Just walk in shower. There is a tub in the second bath. We require two bathrooms. I was thinking down the line I might need to help DH bathe or?? so the larger space in master bath and shower would be a good thing. We also use it as a mud room space as there is a door in there to the out side dogs yard/back yard. If it is wet and sloppy out there I can throw down an old spread and let them blot up on it before coming into the rest of the house. Love the space for that.And for us too coming in from dirty gardening and easy clean up with out dragging it through the house. There has not been a problem with drafts from the door. Just do not open it in dead of winter with hubby in the shower. LOL

Living room kitchen are totally open to each other except for one six foot wall. I am not thrilled with the long hallway resulting from the 5 foot of stretch we added to the house plan but it is also nice to be able to see a long way through the house from the living room . I can see from end to end giving a feeling of space and yet it sort of fools the mind because it does not feel like I am looking at the far end of the house because there is another room to the side of master bedroom being the master bath.

The house is 1300 SQ FT and perfect for us. We do not feel cramped up. Even with all the stuff I have if feels open in here.

We do have separate garage and I totally agree it would be nicer to not have to walk out in the rain or snow to get to and from the car. With the lay of the land we could not make it happen here. Too much fall from one end of the property to the other. So we deal with it.

We have lots of windows in kitchen and living room and three of four doors are half glass and the fourth is all glass or French I guess. I like lots of windows for light and ventilation.

We have the 8 foot deep porch. Not screened and would be really nice if it were. If I had a choice I would have loved a 10 foot deep porch. 8 foot is a bit narrow for table and chairs and to be able to walk past. So I have them at one end.

I created HUGE storage above the closet in my studio room by leaving out the wall on the top of the closet and just use curtains. This gives me several foot high of shelf. The wall can always be added by the next person. I would have liked to do it in the hall too but the studio room is the tallest wall so it was enough. I created racks and drawers for the space and it really works for me.

We have been living mortgage free for 25 years. I will be 61 in August.

Scott what you are asking for is totally reasonable. We have had 900 SQ FT and 800 SQ FT. If I did not get so involved in my silly glass stuff and other arts I would need less space. But it is what I do and it makes me happy. AND I have purged lots of craft things and eliminated the need for as much space as I used to want.

Great thread. Chris

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 11:02PM
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Hi Scott. Your wish list sounds a lot like mine, except I'll be opting for more square footage....somewhere between 1600 and 1800 square feet. I like to cook from scratch, and can and freeze food. I am a firm believer in stockpiling a year's supply of food for survival issues that can occur. The way things are going these days has reinforced my wanting to do so. A nice kitchen and storage pantries are a must, for me.

A master bedroom that is somewhere around 15 by 15 or 16 by 16. I've had it with dinky bedrooms that my vacuum cleaner gets caught on all the time and sore shins from banging into the bedframe! I dream of fitting a blanket chest in there and an old fashioned makeup vanity table.

Full wrap around porch. It'll be 8 feet wide. A true Florida vernacular style home. We sit outside in our free time except in the most horrid conditions. Like hurricaines. It's really cool to watch the sun setting in the west at the same time a full moon is rising in the east.

Lots of windows. I am very much an outdoor person and feel trapped in homes without many windows. Between purchasing good quality windows and the porch overhang, energy efficiency shouldn't be too bad. The alternative to not having enough windows on my mood.... I get cranky.

Covered parking. However, I am not even going to plan it on the blueprints at this time. It will be a nice matching "carport", only nicer, and we have general idea where it will most likely go. BUT, we want to see what our herd path is, and we want to make sure that it is placed so as not to be something we are looking at out the window. I feel it's impossible to tell the exact placement until the house is actually built and I go in it and look out the windows. In addition, if we start running out of cash, it's not a high priority item at this point, and can be saved up for if necessary.

We'll put in some solar. At least a solar hot water tank. My husband is an engineer and designed a system that we used on our last house. We have a back up generator. It gets a workout here in Florida. We may eventually put in an outdoor wood furnace for heating when we need it. I don't particularly care to have to live off grid, but want to be set up so that we are reasonably comfortable should it become necessary to do so.

Like you, an open floor plan. The decision has been made to build one level and not a two story. Larger, but fewer rooms. The ceilings will have a gentle, natural vault by following the roof line, from 8 feet up to about 12 feet at peak.

Mostly all natural building materials. Obviously fiberglass insulation and plumbing, wiring etc. don't qualify, but wood walls and floors do. With proper windows the house will still be light and airy. We'll most likely use yellow pine, and I will not be staining the walls. I am putting a tung oil finish on them to keep them natural and light. I have knicknamed our mobile home the "toxic box". It's not as bad now, but the outgassing from what they constructed it out of made me very ill initially. I still open my windows up for an hour each morning to get some fresh air in here. I turn the air conditioning off while I do this, and when it hits 80 in here I close up and turn it back on. It has made me aware of how many chemicals we are exposed to. I want to minimize that in my new home.

Storage space. No, you can never have enough storage space. It eliminates clutter. Stocked up supplies need space. Plus, there are always things we want to have, even if we have downsized. As long as they are used and give us enjoyment, there is nothing wrong with having some stuff. The stuff that needs to go to Goodwill is what is packed away somewhere and that we've forgotten about.

As you know, my sewing studio is a must. It can double as guest quarters.

I'd like some chickens. Maybe a cow and/or a horse. We have a barn built, but until this house is done and I'm settled in, I don't want to stretch myself too thin. We're doing most of the construction ourselves.

We refuse to get into the mortgage trap again. We're using our savings and paying cash as we build. We feel very free after selling our last house and living a simple life, but I'm easily entertained. I get a kick out of a bird building a nest in my folding outdoor chair, for example, or a toad that has taken up residence by one of my rose bushes, and comes out to see me.

We're striving to minimize house maintainance as much as possible. There's just too many trails to hike, rivers to canoe, and gardening to enjoy. We were a slave to our last house, and it ain't gonna happen again!


    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 11:18PM
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Sandy your dream house sounds pretty close to the house we sold several years ago.

Was only an acre and a half but I kept my cow and her baby there.

This is a mixed album of when we lived there and the people after us lived there. The people there now are wanting to move to a smaller place now so it is up for sale again. Really great house. It is a manufactured home but it is several years old now so the smells are gone. And talk about storage. WAY too much. LOL Too easy to not worry about packing too much away.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 12:03AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Hi, Scott,

My wish list would include a wrap-around porch, a sun-room off of our master bedroom, and a sewing room. Currently we have one room that houses the laundry, computer/printer, storage for camping equipment (that's rarely used now that the kids are grown), and my sewing area. I want my own room!

I'd also like higher ceilings, and a heat pump, and AC for our upstairs rooms. We have baseboard heaters, which I dislike--it's hard to arrange furniture around them. We put in air conditioning about three years ago, but only dowstairs--there are no ducts to the upstairs.

I'd really like to install a solar energy system. Oh, and I'd love an outdoor shower like moccasinlanding's, and walk-in closets in every bedroom. And a pantry like shades of idaho had in her previous house.

Shades, that house was beautiful, so open and airy, and lots of room!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 12:33AM
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"What if you could start from scratch? What features would be on your wish list? "

cost is no object? lol! I'd have a Santa Fe home with patio front and back. body jets in the shower to hit my back and a sleep comfort bed.

IRL I'll take the doublewide my dbf has for me. It's twice the space I have now, has a kitchen, a shower stall, heat and will have a/c. and running water. I need 2 outside spigots and 2 outside outlets. a patio and / or porch front and back, fenced area for the dogs, a few more trees and bushes and eventually a ramp (for 2 old ladies - me and my girl dog). It has lots of storage space inside but I'll probably need a shed too.

just basic living on my desert land with my animals.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 2:43AM
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There is a lot of information in this topic, Scott. Very thought provoking.

Each of us appreciates light, space, storage, etc, but for widely different reasons and uses. And I've never even thought about what square footage this house is. Is it the sum of all the room dimensions? Or is it the outside footprint of the house? We've added to the square footage by bringing the front and side porch as enclosed space. If it adds up to a 1000 sq feet, I'd be surprised.

Sandy, tell me how you determine what will feed your family for a year. And how do you go about storing it. There are certainly many different kinds of foodstuffs, so what kinds are the best for this long term storage? If you go the dried foods route, you must be assure a fuel supply to cook with. I figure that will be the hardest thing to keep on hand. If you remember the old movie MAD MAX, it was gasoline to run the vehicles that caused a lot of violence.

In different sections of the country, emergency heat is a necessity. And around here, our worst season is the hot weather when hurricanes can take out power for weeks, leaving us sweltering and sometimes without safe drinking water or a way to keep food from spoiling. Even if we have a generator, a supply of fuel may run out if there is no power to let the service stations use the pumps. After Katrina, gasoline was in very short supply too.

And, keeping medications on hand is another consideration when folks get my age, or even young folks with serious health problems.

We do not have a mortgage either, which is a real blessing. We are doing the work on this little house as we go. It helps that most of my pastimes these days centers around improving the house. It is the most fun I've had in a long time. Thank heaven that my DH allows me to have sway over the home front--with little exception he approves of the way I do things. He is my consulting engineer. Yes, I am very fortunate to have a resident engineer who is a very smart man--even if he can be stubborn at times.

When I told my DH I wanted to make a few changes to this house, he asked if I wanted to sell it and move. I was shocked, because I decided this was my last home. No way.
We are happy in this house. I take pleasure in working on things, which satisfies a creative need.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 2:59AM
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Ross Chapin Cottages, the Coho plan. We bought the 2 bedroom version of this cottage in Vancouver. Absolutely loved it! Only change I would make is to add at least a half bath to the large laundry room. The front porch and back patio added a lot of square footage to the house. Great room ( I know, an oxymoron in 900 sq ft!), kitchen with granite island, dining nook, large bath with walk-in shower. Vaulted ceiling and gas fireplace in great room/kitchen area. Low utility costs since it was so small and well insulated. Plan was to downsize here in a few years from a large home across the river. Unfortunately we moved to New England in Feb. That was not in the plans when we bought this cottage!! Ended up here in a very large 1780 colonial that was originally a tavern and stagecoach stop. I'm looking forward to building that cottage again eventually.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 12:54PM
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Chris, thank you for sharing your beautiful home. I love your kitchen and your gun cabinet is gorgeous! It must have been difficult to leave that home, but maybe you were ready for your next adventure anyway.

I'm not really sure how to determine a year supply of emergency food. I had five children, and I still cook too much food even though it's just my husband and I now. It was a lot of years cooking big meals, and I can't seem to get out of that mode despite trying. I try to make things that are tasty left over!

I suscribe to Backwoods Home magazine, and Jackie Clay makes a good point that our food pantry should contain enough food to feed a hungry neighbor or two, as well. An overstock would be better than not enough. She has also pointed out that we should be making our daily meals from this pantry and replacing the items as used. For example, when a bucket of flour is used out of your stash, buy another one (or grain if grinding your own) in its place. Food will typically keep for a long time if properly preserved.

I plan on dehydrating, canning, and freezing food. However, a freezer of food can be lost. I'm hoping to balance risk with generator use follwed by canning it all up if we look to run out of fuel. We're planning on at least a tank of diesel for the tractor, and should get a tank of regular gasoline too.

I feel these tanks would need to be disguised from passersby. We don't have trouble in the area that I live, mainly because everyone here defends themselves if necessary and that fact is known. However, I don't want to invite trouble either. Out of sight, out of mind. It would be unlikely someone would dare trespass to snoop around. Since I like cooking on gas, we'll have a large propane tank as well. I'm really hating the electric stove in this mobile.

As far as fuel to heat things, I plan on planting trees for that purpose, if necessary. We have 10 acres, so we should have enough space for growing food, raising some meat, and having trees as well as gardens for enjoyment. Hopefully we won't need the trees, at least until they have a chance to grow. I would absolutely hate having to cut my huge oaks down for survival.

We can always heat our house and cook with wood. Done plenty of camping, and got cooking over campfires down to a science. I don't suppose doing laundry without power would be much fun though. We'd be back to boiling water and a washboard. Gosh the grid is nice. It has spoiled us.

Hopefully, we won't be put in a bad position before we are geared up for the worst. This process will take some time to fully achieve.

As far as cooling goes, we'd suffer some, but our home is being modeled after what the original settlers in Florida did to deal with the heat. The full wrap porch, windows and doors aligned to allow breezes to go through the house, and proper house vents to get the hot air rising up and out. We have a slight knoll on our land where are going to build the house. The difference in the breezes there is tremendous compared to a few feet away.

The sewing delemna can even be delt with if no power. I have my grandma's treddle sewing machine, and it works. Would I miss my computerized one...for sure! But I'd live. She made some gorgeous, well tailored clothing on that machine.

Now back to the wish list. I forgot to mention that THIS time I am making sure I have a nice laundry room. I am sick of the laundry room in the closet thing that seems to be the norm. I want storage for supplies, and a table for folding clothes. A rod to hang clothes on would be nice too. There needs to be a space for dirty clothes hampers. Maybe even enough room for the litter box.

This time I will make sure I have a hose spigot on all 4 corners of the house. I will also have rain barrels to collect water for irrigation. At least for the gardens close to the house.

My plan is to purchase a hand pump to put on our well in the event of a power outage and no fuel for a generator. I should actually be doing that now. We're into hurricaine season.

I think it's good to try and put our wish lists into our homes. Most of those are fun things and add to our enjoyment of life. We need to also incorporate the things that cover as many "what ifs" as possible, as well.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 2:22PM
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moccasin - you could get a book on dehydrated food and do your own - at least some things.

the Jim Bakker show has been advocating people stock up on food, water, flashlights etc and garden. they offer buckets of meals in packets that will last 20 yrs. (dehydrated). it seems expensive, but isn't if you think about what you'd spend in a yr etc. the pkts have different meals in them - just add water and cook. they also offer a small wood cookstove that folds up so it doesn't take a lot of space. made to be able to take camping or put in backpack to take with you (if going into tornado/hurricane shelter etc). the flashlight they have doesn't use batteries. they sent tons and tons of these things down to missionaries in Haiti.

anyway, when i get settled in the new place I'm thinking of getting a bucket or 2 of this food. they made some on the show and served to the audience. no one gagged anyway. each pckt equals about 5 meals - so depends on how much you eat. would probably serve me 6 or 7. feeding a guy, maybe 4 meals!

I also plan to stock up on canned goods enough for a yr or so (checking expiration dates).

a generator is a really good idea. if I can afford one, I'll get one too. at least if it's summer I could run the a/c some.

they had a guy on the program showing how to container garden (you can buy the cedar wood container parts from him). I've seen waist height ones that I want to get. can't be getting down on the ground to seed, weed etc. I need to get one of those. a good size for me is about 125.00 or so.

I also plan to store up water in gallon jugs. drinking water for a month would take up a lot of space...

meds - my doctor gives me prescrips to get a 3 month supply at a time. that wouldn't go far in a long term disaster circumstance tho.

sandy - I learned to sew (about age 9) on a treadle - wish I still had it!

a laundry room with table to fold etc is much needed. it's something we do on a regular basis!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 7:06PM
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Sandy I like your idea of using natural wood with limited finish. A while back I refinished an old kitchen table and used tung oil. The only drawback was getting all those splinters out of my tongue! Humor! One of the books I read recently was about building traditional Japanese houses today. The author left the US right out of college and moved to Japan and studied traditional building techniques with one of Japans master carpenters. He is now back in the US building these structures here. Interesting book. The traditional Japanese carpenters almost worship the wood. They use hand planes to finish the wood, not sandpaper. They often leave the wood in its unfinished state because the tools they use are so precise the surface is like glass. That kind of craftsmanship is a dieing art.

I find it very interesting how so many people from diverse backgrounds in this and other threads have responded to the concept of an eventual situation where you will have to provide for yourself as an eventuality and not a far fetched fantasy. Just a few years ago that kind of thinking was considered extreme yet now, I see it becoming a more widely accepted reality. I hope it never happens and I hope that more people accepting the concept as a reality will help prevent it. In the meantime, that is one of my motivations for wanting to relocate. I want to get a comfortable distance away from a metropolitan area. Those who are not planning ahead far outnumber those who are and it wont take long for those without to figure out that we have provisions and they dont. I agree with keeping evidence of provisions hidden.

We also seem to share a fondness for nature and gardening. Interesting how these similarities seem to go hand in hand. Did we all learn a few lessons from our parents and grand parents that endured the great depression or the austerity brought on by World War II? Could todays society pull together like they did during WWII? My grandparents raised their own food and used everything more than once. I remember my grandmother washing off aluminum foil and using it two or three times. What my grandparents used to consider practical and necessary is now looked at as Green.

Back to homes. When I said a covered screened porch at least 8 feet deep, that would be the minimum. I would prefer 12 feet deep. My brother, in Florida, has what I consider the ideal covered screened porch/patio. It runs the length of the back of his house. It is 12 feet by 60 feet which happens to be the exact dimensions of his first mobile home when he and his wife got married 40 years ago. His house was designed and built with the thought of being the family gathering spot for his four children and the extended family that would eventually create so it is a little over the maximum size to be considered a small home in this arena but it is still modest by local standards. The porch/patio floor extends 12 feet then he has a four or five foot wide planting area then a one foot wide concrete footer running parallel with the length of the porch. The frame for the screen sits on this footer, goes up about six feet then angles back toward the eave of the house. That creates this "indoor" planting space between the edge of the patio and the screen. It makes the space feel almost twice as large. He has tropical plants, ferns, fountain and a small fish pond in this planting area and it feels like an indoor garden. It is simple yet spectacular. I have never seen another one like it. If only I was trusting enough of the online photo storage spots to post photos. I do hate giving out my email address, setting up yet another username, password, etc.

Im not the worlds greatest typist or speller so I find it easier to type my posts in Word so I can check spelling and grammar. Then I copy and paste them into GW. Anyone else doing it this way?


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 12:24PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Did anyone read LUCIFER'S HAMMER, By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle?

Scott, your 'have-nots vs haves' scenario reminds me of that book. Scary to contemplate, but a good read.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 4:31PM
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Scott, I think people that like simple homes and lifestyle tend to be very down to earth people with their priorities in life straight. Many of us have the means (from good education and careers) to live somewhat expensively, but. instead we choose to not waste what we are blessed with. When I have a few extra bucks I help my vet out with a no- kill shelter she started, rather than a ridiculously priced brand name dress. We're also an intelligent group, from what I can tell.

My youngest daughter, who is only 22 has a great job and a great head on her shoulders. However, she starts to get things skewed a bit by the doctors she works around that purchase new expensive cars and own two or three large homes (also referred to as starter castles).

I gave her some food for thought the other day. I said that suppose our sun, which is a star, had actually burned out a long time ago, but the light and heat are still reaching us today. Next week we wake up one morning, and it is out...as I mean in totally gone because the light and heat were done traveling through zillions of miles through space, and that was that. A horrible end to all of life here as we slowly die. Guess what, all the people living in the fast track, basing self worth on showing up the "lesser" folks, and/or are extremely wealthy, cannot buy the sun or life itself back. In the whole scheme of things, the stuff is pretty meaningless.

Most people have gotten totally dependant on both government and easy access to basic needs, without a whole lot of effort. However, when things crumble into survival mode, such as a natural disater or war, they have no skills, and in many cases no ambition to do for themselves. Let's face it, it's hard work.

God gave us land to grow food, plants to forage, animals to hunt, beautiful scenery to enjoy, and hopefully rain water. We're actually given everything we need to live.

Now that doesn't mean that I won't buy myself a shiny new canoe if I want one and can afford it, or a really neat bicycle. I don't think we have to live without something that brings us joy, and that may even mean the little dream red sports car for some people. The key is to have the head on straight.

What's cool is when we build a reasonably sized house, with minimal expenses, we can then(maybe)afford a toy or two. Why should the tax man and the power company have that money.

It sure is interesting where some of our posts lead us. Hope I haven't annoyed anyone.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 5:14PM
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"Scott, I think people that like simple homes and lifestyle tend to be very down to earth people with their priorities in life straight. "

NO NO This is not meat all. I am just an old hippy chick that learned to live off the land back then in the 60's when all the others were just smoking all that pot. I did not inhale either. SNORK

I do agree with you Scott and Steph about those of us with stored up goods will have to be careful when / if the time comes they are in need.

We have lived in the mountains for so long and far away from the regular grocery store we are used to stocking up. We could easily eat for several months even right now and not run out. But we are less apt to store as much as we used to now we are only 20 miles from a grocery.

We do keep an eye on the state of affairs and if need be we could stock up in a real hurry.

And yes there is a small grocery in town but we do shop the sales and stock up and the store here can not afford to buy and put on the sales like the larger chains can. We are grateful for the store here.

Come winter time we start to buy more in staples for back up so we never have to worry about the storms and not being able to get out.

On the other hand we had a neighbor before that stocked up so much stuff it was going to spoil before he ever got a chance to use it. Cases of mayonnaise.It will turn back to oil after a time. Canned tomatoes will eat through the cans. Peppers too. So if you are stocking up on them use glass jars.

Scott on the spelling thing. I do not have word on my computer as I am too cheep to buy it. I use the free version of Open Office and I am also using Google Chrome as a web browser. I have it set to spell check and it will underline in red miss spelled words. I usually try to watch for it and fix. Even so I miss lots of them and my typing is fast but not perfect. I tend to over look lots of typos. Most others do too. Read some where as long as the first letter and last letter were correct and the right amount,number of, letters between usually a person does not even notice a miss spell. And that is my story and I am sticking to it.

I also think Firefox has a spell check setting. IE might too. Would be in Tools Then Internet Options Then View or?? Look for Spell check.

Or just Google Spell check and name the browser you are using.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 6:03PM
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you're right Sandy - God has given us everything we really need to survive. there are berries and other plants also. I've been reading about a whole grain (or is it whole food?) diet. not a diet to lose weight but as in 'way of eating'. tho, most people do lose weight eating that way - until your body adjusts and settles at it's correct weight. people are feeling much better and some ailments disappear. I want to work on that ...

when you watch what is happening in Greece and think of how people will react if they don't get their money, well, it's time to think about that. It could very easily happen here. and I've heard that gas prices could soar to 5-6.00 a gal if they stop drilling in the Gulf. at that price food prices will also skyrocket.

shades - you 'ol hippy you!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Ohhhhhhh, Shades, you just kill me. SNORK is right!!!!
hehehehehe.. I just have to tell my DH. Remind me to tell you a story about my DH....very straight laced man, but after 43 years around college students he was pretty wise....anyway, I'll save it for the Conversation Side....if anyone is still going over there?

In the news today, a charter boat captain on the other side of Mobile Bay committed suicide. He was 55 or so. Three kids and a wife. Now we have a tropical storm adding to the distress.

Steph, I hope you are wrong, but with short supply and high demand, even those with money to buy things will not be able to get stuff. Solar energy might be a good option for some things, but not for driving a car.

It was the same folks who brought us the Wall Street meltdown who were in collusion with Greece and a couple of other countries who led to this European economic crisis. They are criminals in the worst sense. As sure as they pull the trigger, they are killing peoplem, destroying lives.
I cannot go there.

Heaven help us all.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 1:18AM
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I hope I'm wrong too moccasin - but I'd rather have supplies stored up and not need them (for an emergency like that).

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 3:11AM
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"Collusion" with Greece? Oh please! Greece was overextended as a result of having hosted the last Olympics, but not alone by a long shot in dealing with the meltdown, they just had less falling room because they weren't terribly well off to begin with. Very little of what happened was their fault (if any) and I doubt very much there was any collusion, just lousy luck and a bad situation. Though I absolutely agree that it was Wall St. that started the mess!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 6:43AM
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Not to feel too confident. But living here in Idaho with such lower populations things are not only a slower lifestyle but things happen slower here. We have seen it over and over. Gas prices take longer to go up and longer to come down. The housing bubble lasted much longer here but will probably not go up again for a year or two after the rest of the USA recovers.

We do keep a good supply of foods on hand but have always done so because of distances to the stores as mentioned above. Not saying a devastating situation will not happen here like every where else but if it starts to happen every where else it would be easier to buck 5000 people , in our closest town, than to buck 500K people trying to buy services and goods.

I also agree money is not going to be the total answer. Scary to say. I hope I am long dead before it happens. Whatever "it" is. I think some of the hard times many are going through now is self induced. Not directing this at any one here just many in general. I am sure we all have friends that over extended.

On a lighter note. That wonderful bathroom I was talking about yesterday even has wildlife for entertainment. HEHEHEHE This morning hubby in there shaving and I hear a not great comment coming from back there so went to investigate. There was a frog in there. Glad Abby did not find it before he did.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 11:10AM
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Shades says: "That wonderful bathroom I was talking about yesterday even has wildlife for entertainment. HEHEHEHE This morning hubby in there shaving and I hear a not great comment coming from back there so went to investigate. There was a frog in there. Glad Abby did not find it before he did. "

Was it a tree frog? Those little peepers come every evening to the window beside my TV in the living room. Dixie doxie sits poised with eyes toward that window, waiting. A big and a small frog hop around the window after bugs coming to the light I turn to draw the bugs there for them. Dixie knows what she is doing, too....hunting. I'm not sure that these frogs will lead to a frothing mouthed doggie, like the toads do. But I like these frogs a lot.

Although Dixie is a small dog, she still has a strong hunting instinct. And the patience to wait for her prey to appear. When we go north, she is just as excited and persistant hunting chipmunks. Her favorite toy is a tree trunk w/ 3 tiny stuffed chipmunks which she pulls out with the tip of her snout. I keep a basket of toys for her, and she chooses different toys but the chipmunks seem to be her favs.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 12:52PM
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ML they are peepers. I guess tree frogs. There is a large abundance of them here. I really do like them and great entertainment idea for Abby with light at evening window. Will see how it goes. She was frantic over flies yesterday. Had a snack of three of them.

I encourage the little peepers to the yard. They must do some good with their eating habits. Aside from just being cute.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 3:13PM
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I love little frogs too. Baby ones keep going in our barn, so we catch them and put them back outside. Otherwise we find them dried up.

As far as stocked up food, well, you have to keep eating from your stocked up pantry. The idea is to stock up on basic staples and the rest should be things that are canned (preferably home canned in glass jars...yummm), and foods that you normally eat and cook from. Most of this stuff will last at least two years if properly stored. (Cool, dry, and dark).

The idea is to use them everyday and rotate them, not hoard all kinds of foods that are not used much. I would never use a case of mayonnaise in probably 10 years. I would, however, have a few of the smaller jars on hand. I go through more olive and grapeseed oils than other types of oil, so I always have a good supply on hand. The well stocked pantry is a very personal one, and needs to be evaluated by the individuals using it.

By the way, I like hippies:)


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 3:32PM
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We do have watch to keep foods rotated. Mostly buy staples as I do a lot of cooking. Rarely buy prepared foods. I agree foods are totally personal choices. We all eat differently. I know some people would not even survive with out packaged meals. We keep a few packaged things on hand for those quick meals or emergencies with the days turn out longer than expected and I have run out of time to cook that roast. Course usually I just cut a couple steaks off of it and do the other part od the roast the next night.

We have a smallish corner pantry here. It works for us but I totally loved that big 6 foot horse shoe shaped walk in pantry. It was neat and the shelves were made just for canning jars so no wasted space.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:50AM
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" would never use a case of mayonnaise in probably 10 years."

geeze, me either! I get some things like that from my sister - things I use very little of and not worth buying. like a stick of celery, a few tablespoons of baking powder (not sure what I'd use that in anymore - but just in case). She'll send me half a cup of mayo and it'll last a yr - or until I throw it out. When I go to subway I always get extra packets of their mayo. I don't normally use it even on a sandwich.

does anyone have a good spaghetti sauce recipe they can up? I wouldn't mind doing that. I use very little at a time. I"m thinking I could can in those tiny little jars you see now - like maybe a cup (or .5 a cup?). I use to make my own jelly - by the quart (with 4 kids!). those were some days back then... maybe i could do up some raspberry 'butter' and can in those tiny jars. Once I get settled. that'll be a yr or so - lol!

While raising the kids we seldom ever ate frozen meals / pre pkgd stuff. now I eat a lot of it. People who knew me back then wouldn't believe how I eat today or that I seldom cook - lol! a pot pie twice a yr was a thrill to my kids! or a frozen pizza.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 2:33AM
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I wish I had a "recipe" for sauce but I don't. I watched my little Italian grandmother just dump things in the pot and it came out wonderful. So, I just dump as well, and that is how my children learned to do it too. I basically saute lots of chopped onions and garlic in olive oil and then use tomatoe puree, and some whole tomatoes. All tomatoes can be used, but the sauce will take longer to cook down. Some paste helps thicken it, but I don't use tons of it. Obviously if you have home canned tomatoes and puree it is much better, but store bought will be good too.

The key to the sauce is to have great homemade meatballs, pieces of beef (chuck is good), some pieces of pork chop and some sausage. I usually broil the meat a bit to get some fat out of it, and also skim it off fat as the sauce cooks. Oh, and you have to have a few spareribs in for flavor Bones and all go in to help flavor the sauce. I take them out when the sauce is done. This would obviously not work for a vegetarian, and extra lean cuts of beef aren't as good. Chuck has the most flavor for this. I tried turkey sausage and ground turkey for the meatballs only once. My family declared the sauce inedible.

My grandma also went out in her garden and threw a few sprigs of spearmint in. Other seasonings would be whatever you like in spaghetti sauce, and is to taste.

There is a lot of tasting going on during the cooking. This is an all day, low simmer, and somewhat messy process. My kids live for my sauce and will sometimes come for a visit even if not planning to, if I've made sauce. That's something if a young adult will come to mom's to eat rather than go to the club that night! Each pot is always a little different, and I think it depends on the meat and the phase of the moon:) I have also discovered that an enameled cast iron pot makes better sauce than a stainless, and doesn't stick and burn on the bottom of the pot.

Be sure to use a pressure canner if you can sauce.

If you want a real treat, make your own pasta. What a difference.

I can't wait until my house is built so I can do canning, etc. once again. I can't function with this electric stove, and already know I can't can on one. My husband asked if I wanted to buy my gas stove for the house and put it in here to use in the meantime. I've thought about it, but things usually get scratched and dented moving them around. It would be a bummer to put a dented new stove in a new house. I may do it any way and take the chance.

I've gotten where I can't stand the prepackaged stuff any more. I don't think they make them as good as they used to. What I am going to do is when I make a chicken or beef pie for dinner, I'll make two and freeze one uncooked. If I make lasagna, I'll make one and freeze one. That will help with the nights I've overdone things and I don't want to cook.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 3:34PM
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I can't believe I missed this thread yesterday- y'all are pushing a lot of my buttons!

As for the dream house-
My plan is to build a modest cross-gable design, with only one bedroom on the main floor. The BR will be average- 12X16, but I want a big walk-in closet. Two bathrooms, both about the minimum size I can get away with. The eat-in kitchen will be large in comparison to the rest of the house, since we spend much of our quality time there. Add a cozy parlor, and that's about it. We'll have a walk-out basement, which could be finished for expanded living space if needed. I would also like usable space upstairs, so we can easily access the second floor deck I'd like to have over our back porch. Since the house will be on a hill side, the upper deck will actually be like a third floor in the back. I'm thinking of load-bearing attic trusses for the upstairs.

We'll have two porches, with the back porch facing a mountain view. SC is a great climate for sitting on the porch much of the year.

The cross gable design results in the BR, kitchen, and LR each having windows on 3 sides for light and ventilation, and all 3 major rooms will also have a view of the mountains. The downside is that it's a bit less efficient, and more expensive to build, due to the increase in wall area versus a plain box. I've drawn plenty of plain boxes, too, and we may have to go that way for financial reasons, but I'm working hard to keep the original design.

The size keeps coming up around 1200 sq ft, which is pretty generous for a 1 BR house. It seems like stairs and laundry are the two things that give me fits when I try to trim the size. I plan to make a very tight, energy efficient house, so a bit more square footage shouldn't cost that much more to condition. We have an endless supply of fire wood, but it remains to be seen if I'll have the energy to cut wood every year as I get older.

Other design components that are important to me are universal design, so we can live there if handicapped at some point, and durable exterior finishing, to cut down on maintenance and to keep the termites at bay. Siding will be Hardi plank, and the roof will be metal.

As for design elements, I'm planning to make it look like a 100 y/o cottage. Flooring will be made from my own timber, with face-nailed random width oak. Walls will be papered or paneled, with very light colors or white being used. Ceilings will be about 10', and I'd like to have coffered ceilings in the LR and kitchen, with bead board for infill, and maybe tin panels in the kitchen. I'm going to make my own rustic plank doors with hook-and-latch hardware in lieu of conventional door knobs. The kitchen will either have no overhead cabinets, or only a few. The lower cabinets will be mostly drawers, as I find regular cabinets to be a huge waste of space. Outside, I may do some simplified trim, with braces for the large overhangs, and maybe a little gingerbread. To disguise the ugly foundation walls economically, I'm thinking of painting the foundation black, and then putting painted lattice over them with faux brick columns every 8' or so. It should give the effect of being built on piers like they did years ago.

As you can see, I've put a LOT of thought into this for the last 3 years! Before anyone mentions it- I don't give a rat's patootie about re-sale. I'm building it for US.

As for self-sufficiency- that's another biggie that I've done a lot of research on. I won't bore you (any more) with the details, but I like the idea that I can raise much of my own food with the land we have. I'd like to experiment with solar energy as well. Suffice it to say that I'm very much afraid of what the future may hold. I only hope I'm facing it from our place in SC if and when the time comes. We won't have a mortgage on the new place, which should help us live frugally.

Believe it or not, that's just the 'Cliff Notes' of the plans we have! I've decided next March will be the start of our last great adventure. Should be interesting....

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 4:50PM
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Me, I'd take a 1500 sq foot Arts and Crafts style bungalow. Coffered ceilings, quarter sawn oak trim, fireplace with beautiful wood mantle, small stained glass window on the stairwell landing, a bench seat in the DR, 3 bedrooms, and a room for my baby grand piano. Kitchen would have a Blue Star range, a farmhouse sink, and a small 2 burner induction cooktop. Oh, and a cold storage room, like we had growing up. And a nice deck (with a good sound system). And a hammock. And the list goes on....

Sited on a no-power-boat lake, without zebra mussels, with a floating dock approx 100 yards from shore. Lots of trees around, but enough sun for a garden. No traffic noise, except the frogs and cicadas. Enough room for my (soon to be) dog to run, without worrying about leashes or traffic.

I'm hoping to nudge my little farmhouse close to this ideal, except the coffered ceilings and no-powerboat lake. My swimming spot is a 15 minute drive away....

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 8:26PM
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I adore Arts and Crafts style houses navi_jen.Your vision sounds lovely.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 8:59PM
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flgargoyle - Where is your lot in SC? I spent the week in Rosman, NC which is about as close to SC as you can get along the Continetal Divide and still be in NC. I drove back via Hwy. 11 past Table Rock. Are you anywhere near there?

I think I will eventually end up somewhere in the Brevard/Rosman area. I grew up in South Florida (Vero Beach) and although the climate is pretty good there, the out of state retirees have ruined the quaint little town I grew up in so I don't think I will ever go back there. Columbia, SC, where I am now is just too danged hot and humid. The new city slogan is "Famously Hot". I prefer "Armpit of the South" as being more descriptive.

Rosman was fantastic! I can't wait to get invited back.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:53PM
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Scott- We are about 2 miles east of HWY 25, and about 7 miles south of Rte. 11. If you look at the dot on the map called Tigerville, that's pretty close. We're on top of a ridge, with a decent view of the mountains in the winter. We've got 7 acres to play with, which slopes all the way down the hill. It's noticeably cooler then Greenville, and judging from the flowering shrubs and trees, spring is about 2 weeks later there than Greenville.

We looked long and hard at western NC, but ultimately it was too far from work of any kind, and too expensive. That little corner of SC is still somewhat undiscovered, with everyone clamoring around Simpsonville, and mostly ignoring the mountains(?) We're on a desperately tight budget, so affordable land that we could pay cash for was vital. You'll have to come up and check out my build next year!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 7:48AM
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Jay - sounds good, I can be at your place in about two hours. I'd love to see your place, even at the early stages. I'm still exploring possible areas for relocation and I didn't go through your area this trip. I was going from memory, not using a map, as I came back a different route than I went up and I got onto 25 instead of staying on 11 like I planned so I detoured before I went through your area. Next time I'll get it right.

I have a friend who goes to the big music shindig in Campobelo every year. Don't know if you are into live music but they have a big, multi-day blowout there every year.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 9:03AM
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Scott, have you considered north Florida? The Live Oak area is mostly local type folks and not the out of state retirees that (I agree) have ruined much of Florida. We get nice breezes here and the air smells fresher than farther south in Florida. They've even ruined Ocala, which is why we fled from there. Sounds like you'd fit right in.

It reminds me quite a bit of Upstate N.Y. without the snow and the taxes. We lived in the country up there before moving to Florida. Maybe because it's mostly farm land and timber. Most of the people are polite and respectful, something that is sorely lacking in many other areas. They are very independantly minded. It's developed enough to survive, (Lowes, Publix, and a couple restaurants), but no malls and such to bring in the people that ruin areas with their excesses. We live on a dirt road about 10 miles out of town, and we love it.

Even at this time of year I am able to open my windows briefly in the morning before closing up and putting AC on. Last night I opened windows up for about an hour or so. I hardly ever could do that in Ocala in the summer. It is not a hurricaine concern area. It's not perfect....summer is summer here in Florida, but I love our piece of land and would never consider moving again, and we looked long and hard at other areas and states.

My husband and I are also of the mindset that we don't give a rat's patooty about resale either. We consider it a crappy McMansion mindset.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 12:58PM
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I've been working on one of these lists lately since I'm scanning house plans for the perfect one. We are building with a family in mind. So....

--3 small bedrooms: 1 for us, one to be shared with both/all the children, and one that would serve as a guest room (all family is out of town) and an office for DH (works from home every night)

--The ability to see the kids fighting when on the main level, so I know who started it. LOL! (I guess that's the teacher in me) That translates to a pretty open layout, though I'm generally a fan of snuggly spaces.

--Storage, storage, storage, STORAGE! We have no storage right now, so we're looking at a basement home. This is my first experience without one, and it hasn't been good.

--Small shared bathroom for the kids. I believe in learning to share spaces. I grew up with five people and a dog (yes, the dog) all in one little, pink and black bathroom. Why do dogs like to be underfoot? :)


--OUtdoor space (porch/patio) ONe part will have to be screened. We love to eat outside, but there are CRAZY mosquitoes here.

--Access to the garden from my bedroom so I can have my morning tea outside. Selfish, yes, and rather unrealistic, I suppose. :)

--a pantry. We currently have a laundry/pantry closet. That doesn't work.

--Which brings me to....a laundry/mud room. I can't wait to have a place to fold/iron the laundry and keep the laundry baskets! I'd love a sink in here for all my gardening/flower-cutting needs.

--Window boxes are a need, not a want, I believe.

--Lots of windows so I can see the yard and gardens.

--a pretty fence with a whimsical gate

--a fireplace. HOw can you have a fiarytale cottage without one?

For fun, here is a plan I'm considering. I'd have them move the laundry out of the closet and make a small laundry room off the kitchen instead. :) I think we'd prefer the chimeny on the front wall, for floorplan reasons. What a shame to lose the dormer, though!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 9:25AM
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OH Love the four bed wall. What a grand idea.Even if you only had two to share it the bottom bunks make for useful play space and room for sleep overs.

Your vicar's cottage looks like a fairy tail for sure.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:40AM
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Gardner - I adore the four bed wall! I'll have to print that one and keep it for reference.

Sandy - My father grew up in Greenville, FL. We lived 6 hours south of there but went up about once each year or every other year when I was a child. My grandfather designed and built the farmhouse himself. I sat down with my dad a few years ago and we sketched out the floorplan. There were no frills, mostly just a series of bedrooms connected to a kitchen. No dedicated living space and no indoor plumbing. Most of the socializing was done on the front porch. There was an outhouse out back and a well with a bucket that we had to draw water from. One year we went up and the had installed an old iron handpump beside the kitchen sink so they could draw water directly into the kitchen. A year or two later and they had upgraded to real running water and indoor bathroom.

We would visit during the summer and they had no air conditioning. At the time, we didn't have A/C at our home either but it always seemed much hotter there. I still have cousins that live there but I wouldn't know them if I ran into them. I would have to visit now, as an adult, to form an opinion.

One last bit of trivia about the old days, I remember there was a spot just down the road from their farmhouse where there was large lettering painted at an angle on the asphalt that said "QUINCY" and a big arrow underneath. They said this was painted on the road in the days before modern navigational beacons and was meant to guide airplanes.

Later today I will be driving past a newer, very small home I spotted a few months back. It's in a rural area aobut an hour from my house and I don't pass that way often. I have prepared a short letter inviting contact and will be pinning that to their front gate. Let's hope we can meet them and draw them into our circle.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:58AM
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Scott, you've hit on most of my wants as well. The only thing I would add is that I would have hollywood baths between the two spare bedrooms and the master bath would be adjoining the master bedroom and the hall so it would double as guest bath.

And I would have the living area facing the backyard with doors so I can enjoy my gardens from inside as well.

It seems like we all have similar values as has been mentioned above, and it also seems we are like minded in being debt free. I will never have another mortgage. It is so freeing.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:44AM
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Thanks. I think one of the reasons I like it is because as a child, we had a camper with this same concept, only there were two bunks on each side. They were so snuggly, and each had a little window, which I'd like to do for the bunks (fixed windows, I think).

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 2:23PM
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I like those bunks too. That must be a really tall ceiling to have so much headroom in each bunk though. Beats having little sister below with her feet on the bottom of the top bunk bouncing big sister. (I was the little sister, lol)

ML, tell me about your gas logs because I've been thinking it would be a great idea to convert our wood burning FP to one with gas logs. But I couldn't take the smell. We have an unvented gas log looking fireplace in the den and I can't stand to be in there because of the smell.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 3:00PM
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I'm going to get off gardenweb for awhile and had this thread open so am posting this here. Both times I have opened a thread here in the last 30 minutes, I've gotten a threat detection alert and have moved the threat to the vault. Didn't happen this morning when I was on.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 3:03PM
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I also like the 4 bumk bedroom for the kids. It kind of reminds me of a Swedish (? I think?) arrangement which has built in storage beneath a raised bunk and it was enclosed by curtains. In the day the curtains were tied back. As I remember, these bunks could be located down a wide hallway, or around the perimeter of a room with fireplace in it. I think it was a matter of sharing the warmth.

If you only plan a couple of kids, the raised bunks with storage beneath is quite economical of space. A neighbor of mine built something like that for her college age grandson when he moved in with her. She always did everything top drawer, so it was fantastic wood, for a furniture effect.
In her room, she also had her sewing and the big electric organ, because the grandson only wanted a place to sleep and stash his stuff. I expect that one day the house will be his anyway.

One modification I'd like if I was doing a kids communal bunk room, would be to have the pairs of bunks back-to-back with an aisle down each side. Boys left, girls right, so there is a little more separation. This would also give each side a spot to be away from the action if ill or in a contemplative mood.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 3:04PM
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Marti8 sez:"ML, tell me about your gas logs because I've been thinking it would be a great idea to convert our wood burning FP to one with gas logs. But I couldn't take the smell. We have an unvented gas log looking fireplace in the den and I can't stand to be in there because of the smell."

Marti, our fireplace in Mobile is small. I checked for a flue or whatever...a damper?....and there was none. There was instead a metal plate over the top of the firebox, and it had rusted through. Probably because it was exposed to so much heat over the years.

The old style gas logs, which are the ones in our fireplace, are antique looking. I cannot stand to smell them. So I only turned the logs on ONCE in the four years we've lived here. Too much for me. They give me a headache.

I am thinking about removing the gas line into the fireplace. And instead, I could put in a "gel" flame source, which is next to nothing for heat, or else get something with a remote control such as the fireplace inserts that Candice Olsen of DIVINE DESIGN always installs. Looks good to me. But the end of July is NOT the time to be thinking about huddling around a warm FIRE, for Pete sake!

What is it you want to know about them, Marti? Need a closeup photo? I know I took one in the past, but will have to browse to find it. Too ugly to take seriously, so not many photos featuring it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 3:12PM
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Scott, take a look at this passive home up in Vermont. It is a Euro style, no furnace, heavy insulation. It might be of interest to you.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:18PM
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Great cottage! It does look like something out of a fairy tale :)

My wish list would be similar to the ones already mentioned. A big fireplace in the living room with a window seat. A woodstove in the kitchen with a cozy seating space for two...and a dining area with a window seat LOL. A master bedroom with good storage and lots of windows...maybe access to a hot tub for my husband and a clawfoot tub in the bathroom (for me).

I'd also love to have a screened porch that's glassed in for the winter and a greenhouse out in the garden. It's the only way I'm ever going to get tomatoes! :)

While I don't have kids, that bunk bed area would be wonderful for visiting nieces and nephews. Thanks for all the great ideas!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 6:21PM
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In setting my project priorities, the plans for storage spots have a priority now. I am fed up with things in boxes sitting around getting dusty!!

So I will be completing the new walkin closet shelving for the master bedroom, the storage towers for the master bath, and then onward to the dining room......where there will be the two storage pantries with masses of shallow drawers flanking the storage of a window seat. Once those are in place, I can unload the cabs in the kitchen and begin demo of that space. I SAY demo, but it is more like refurbishing. The real "demo" will be the roof line of the back porch, and the floor level, which must be raised about 4 inches to match the original kitchen floor height. I don't think a step down in the middle of the room would be a good thing.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:17AM
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