northern mi small house update and new project

egbarJuly 28, 2013

well, we finally closed on our Illinois home and I have been here in Michigan for 2 weeks now. Almost unpacked and starting to think of projects ahead. we are going to have trees taken down ( one dead, two volunteers in lilac hedge that have grown to full sized junk trees which need to come down before they cause problems, and one nasty young silver maple which is trying to grow into the power lines and is right in line with where we want to place our new fence. I am more and more amazed at this house as I live in it. The planners thought of everything. It is 1000 sq ft and every inch is livable, usable and loaded with storage.
Once we get the fence up our new project will be to make use of neglected space by creating a courtyard from the waste space in the photos shown here. There will be a door placed where the windows look out onto it, the blocks will be re set. anybody know how to keep them from heaving where the dryer vents ? I don't think we can move or re vent the dryer, and the moist warm air must do a number on this area all winter. I was thinking of taking out a couple of the pavers and putting in pea gravel? anybody else have ideas?

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egbar

looking at the space from the opposite end. note heaved blocks in places. gutters have been placed but they do overflow when it rains hard. this space was previously used as a cache for firewood, cut brush, bagged leaves, old pots, etc... a total waste of the space as far as I am concerned. our fence will end just to the right as you view the photo, enclosing the entry completely. We will be able to let our dog out into the yard without having to trek to the back of the house and physically open the gate to let her in our out. opening the windows into a doorway will give us a little courtyard where I could put a bench and a couple of pretty pots of flowers and ferns or some hostas. The space does get sun briefly during the day. I am trying to keep track of how much sun and at what times of day so I know how best to plan placement of seats, pots, etc.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:03AM
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egbar

showing gas meter and dryer and boiler vents ( pipe sticking out of the ground is air intake for boiler) note heaved pavers.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:07AM
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susiemw

I have no good recommendations but I do really like your plan to put a door in place of the windows and use that outside space. I can just imagine a cute little area where you can have your morning coffee and enjoy being outside.

I hope you'll post more about the design features of your home. I always like reading about homes designed with a good use of space in mind.

Congrats on selling your home and getting settled into your new home.

Susan

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 7:48PM
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technicolor

Your area will be such a nice secret garden area. Love French doors to outside. Where are they opening from?

No answer either about the drainage needed. Had a couple thoughts, but when dealing with a basement there is more to consider. My driveway is concrete, but has a 6" wide runoff made right into the concrete to take water from the house under a gutter. I don't know if pea gravel would work and have read mixed info on french drains.

You might want to post in landscape forum. I don't know much about their input, although they may give you some answers.

Have fun with your new home. Would enjoy seeing more.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:43AM
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egbar

thank you Susie and Technicolor. I will try the landscape folks too. here is a picture of the other side of the windows which will become a door. The space is only about 9 ft wide and has another pair of windows on the opposite side of the room, entry door to house is on the end facing you, the entry to the garage door is behind the camera and to the right. .. This is a breezeway that links the garage with the house. It is very useful for shedding snowy boots and coats before coming into the house, we got to try it out when we moved most of the furniture in during a late January snow squall. . I am not sure I will get French doors out of this, Spouse seems to be leaning to just a normal exterior type door. French doors may not be the best choice for the extended cold and snow of the northern Michigan winters. Something insulated and well sealed would be more practical, though I agree the appearance is lacking compared to the appeal of French doors.
I want it to open out and toward the house side to eliminate any possible interference between the top of the door and the garage roof. Maybe that wouldn't happen anyways, but it looks like it could be a problem from the inside.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:44AM
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eclecticcottage

Oh, we looked at a 1950's ranch with a breezeway that created a similar area! We were thinking the same thing-doorway to the back yard for the dogs, lol.

Could the heaving be from it's former life as a catch all storage area? Firewood can get heavy quick, maybe the weight helped?

Do you want to replace the pavers or just fix the heaving? I'm thinking they would be nice to help control mud, especially with a dog.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:26PM
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marti8a

What a cute house! I'd love to see more of it. Since it's not going to be a doorway with groups of people going through it, I'd just put a single door in too. Maybe with sidelights? More light but less heat loss.

I can't help you with the heaving either. Maybe the landscaping folks can help.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:30PM
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