non-traditional homes!

downeastwavesJuly 23, 2006

I would LOVE to hear from folks living in non-traditional homes!

I enjoy the tv show extreme homes and would love to hear from folks living in small homes that are NOT the regular wood or concrete type homes.

Anyone want to share their experiences? Anyone have such a structure? Tell us how you made it or just describe it for us? Tell what is good about it.

Calling on the brave soles that dwell in really different structures......


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Although my home is "Tranditionally non-traditional", our new addition will be very non-traditional. It will be made of recycled glass windows. The entire thing! Aluminum and glass windows, aluminum roof. The whole structure will be held up by the spiral staircase for which the "building" is merely a sleeve. The building is to act as shelter for the staircase, a rain collection system for the garden and a greenhouse/conservatory for plants.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 5:24PM
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I was reading the thread "where are we from" and a member from Moab, UT posted his website. He builds sand bag houses.... Home of Earthbag Building.

If he is around, should post on this thread. Enchanting and intriguing houses. One is built around a tree...always wanted a staircase made from a tree....I'm out of the box, but live in a rambler/ranch. Love hearing about the "different structures"

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 7:27AM
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We're working to convert our little house into a castle. Even as a castle it will be small.
The first part of the conversion was building the tower. It is accessed through our dining area and the first floor can be seen from the kitchen and the living room. It gives us a view of our 5 acres.

It took a year to build the main structure, and it's been another year for all the interior work. We're basically done with it now, and moving into the 2nd and 3rd floors (our offices).

It was built with balloon construction with 2X8s. Around that went the plywood (tough to bend around a curve) and then the layers and concrete stucco over that. We went a bit wild with the decoration for the top, but no one questions that it's a castle tower.

I've been designing the rest of the conversion and working to get DHs approval to talk to a builder about the rest of the work.


Here is a link that might be useful: little castle

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 1:38PM
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Leasa, I like that show, too. Mark doesn't - he thinks most of the homes are extremely gross. lol! Guess I won't be living in one anytime soon. But it's fun to see others creating their extreme dream homes.

Jennifer, very cool tower. Do you have long hair? (thinking of that fairy tale - Rapuntzel?) I saw your pics on another thread and think you've both done a wonderful job creating your castle. Love those bookcases you built. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Those sandbag homes are interesting. I like the yurts, too. Hmmm . . . I've got the acreage . . . maybe I could do something small somewhere off from the house . . . somewhere away from DH's immediate view . . . put a purple fence around it like GGG's . . . : )


    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 2:27PM
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Can you do some more pix of the rest of your tower and how you connect to t he standard house part. That is such an interesting building. I'm really curious about how you are using it and how you will furnish it.

What an imagination you people have. It's great


    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 8:55AM
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We came thisclose to doing one of these kit houses but couldn't get construction financing. "Too unusual... too many new technologies [New England is VERY much behind the times when it comes to building technologies - I had to fight tooth and nail to get engineered hardwoods and tile warming in the bathroom]... it'll be impossible to resell."

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:08PM
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If you go to the 'little tower' link at my first post, you can see a website showing the building of the tower.

It's 3 floors and a rooftop with stair access. The first floor will be a sitting/dining room. The second floor is my office (bookcases, desk/computer, loveseat) and the third floor is my husband's office (tons of books, desk/computer and small fridge so he never has to come down). The roof top has DH's telescope in a protective Rubbermaid building.

The final addition of a second floor over our current bedrooms we hope to use as a living room area and also have a bathroom. We figure if we ever sold the place that would be called the master suite. For us, we'd rather have a large TV room. The question will be having the living room up a flight of stairs from the kitchen. Might have to put in a mini bar and microwave or just stay in the really small living room that we have now.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 2:04PM
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Akhck, I'm going to end up saying this twice in a short time and looking like a product evangelist, but, since this question is here...

I haven't done it yet, but I'm planning to build out of steel. It's not normal for houses, but is completely standard for restaurants, offices, churches, retail stores, auto workshops, goverment buildings, warehouses, factories, agricultural buildings, and buildings used by other organizations... pretty much anything that isn't a house.

For smallish buildings like most houses, a few "red-iron" I-beam columns 10-20 feet apart along the outer walls hold up the roof, so the interior space allows complete floor plan freedom without concern for internal load-bearing walls. (Larger ones do have 1 or 2 interior columns per outer-wall column to hold up the middle of the roof, but that's for huge warehouses and factories and barns and Wal-Marts, and they're still just columns, not whole walls.) You just can't put a door or window where a column is, but they're easy to avoid. There's no plywood sheathing under the roof or the exterior siding. The basic, standard roof and siding from most steel building/construction companies are steel panels, but other things could be used instead if you think they look better.

Using steel instead of wood means you can build it yourself by screwing some bolts in place in a few days instead of waiting for framing, roofing, and siding crews for months, and the result you'll get is stronger, doesn't warp and twist with age, doesn't rot or get moldy, can't be eaten by bugs, and doesn't burn. It also means you spend a bunch less (which I think is what drew me to it at first, since spending more could very well not be an option at all); I'm looking at 1200 square feet framed, roofed, and sided for between 9 and 12 thousand dollars.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:08PM
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Thanks for the posts!

Anyone ever been in one of those straw bale homes???

Diana, did you see the show about the woman who moved to NM and lived in a yurt? That was very interesting!!!!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 11:18PM
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We have a friend that lives in a straw bale home. She's almost 70 and her children built it for her on one of her daughter's property. It just looks like a stucco home. It does resemble our Southwest adobe homes here in New Mexico. I think it is around 700 sqft but not sure. I do know it is very energy effecient and it's so cute. The roof is supported by post & beam because it's so heavey and I believe her sil told us that the codes wouldn't allow anything but post & beam for the roof. She doesn't decorate in southwest only chabby chic and victorian but is seems to just look wonderful in her home. I know it's got 2 bedrooms, eatin kitchen, living room and 1 1/2 baths and laundry/mud room. I haven't been in it for awhile now but when I get over there I'll try to get some pics.
Marilyn in NM

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 9:20AM
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Jenifer I really like your castle. I had at one time thought about building a castle that has two towers like that and a big wooden door in the middle so you can drive or walk through it into a courtyard. Gas lanterns and cobblestone facade and pavers was the vision. Situated atop a hill somwhere overlooking the moor. Couldn't find anyone that wanted to build nor finance it. It wasn't inherently expensive to build since it was a mainly open plan but that's exactly why a lot of people wouldn't want to buy it if it had to be resold. And it was a little on the gloomy/spooky side and a gingerbread house would probably be more fitting for me anyway. I still have the dream though. That'll have to do for now.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 11:37AM
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