Rustic Modern Cottage/Cabin, here I come!

sochiNovember 8, 2012

I have another project on my horizon! We just bought 26 acres of heavily wooded land on a small lake. We don't get possession of the land until April 1st, but that leaves me lots of time to research and plan (the best part IMO). We probably won't build before next fall or the spring of 2014 I expect, but we may put in a small bunkie in April or May.

No doubt I'll be pestering all of you for your opinions soon. Thanks in advance for your patience. I guess I should check out the home building forum too?

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Congratulations! That sounds like so much fun. Will this be your permanent home or a weekend retreat? Either way it sounds heavenly.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Congratulations! You will LOVE it! Can't wait to hear more about your long term plans.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:36PM
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The Building Forum has been so very helpful during our build. Acreage on lake, wow, wonderful.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Marti8a, it will be a weekend and summer cottage for the next 12 or 15 years, then possibly our near full time home once our kids are in university. It is only a 35 minute drive from our home and from downtown, so it is possible to live there most or all of the year.

It will be quite modest in size, 1300 or 1400 square feet. That is actually fairly large for most older cottages in our area, but modest compared to most of the new giant cottages I see going up these day.

Now I need to buy a canoe and read up on living in bear country!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Oh how wonderful! Be sure to check out the small house forum in addition to the building a house forum. Also, I hope you will investigate building for energy efficiency...there are so many things you can do up front that have a huge pay off down the road. For example, just from passive solar design, our house warms by 4 degrees in winter on sunny days. There is a renewable energy forum where you can learn about hvac, insulation, etc. These are the things that can make a house really comfortable, in addition to the design for good looks and livability.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Thanks Annie, I will check the small home forum too. I will be looking at energy efficiency and green design. Our budget is modest to medium, so there are some limits to what we can do. I'm considering a pre-fab company that uses recycled steel beams for the shell of the house, recycled plastic bottles for the main wall shell, soy spray foam insulation - the houses go up in less than a week typically, generate zero waste at the building site (a huge problem with most building sites) and are so well insulated/sealed that minimal winter heating or summer cooling is required. I will keep passive solar principles in mind as much as possible too.

I didn't know there was a renewable energy forum either, I will definitely check them out this weekend.

I'm VERY excited about this project.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We built green, but with the idea of low energy costs and low maintenance....that is different from building green where the focus is on green materials and waste stream. We didn't care about the latter any where near as much as the former. Our vinyl flooring isn't a green material, but given that it will be here for our lifetime keeps it out of the waste stream for a long, long time.

Of course, just building a smaller home automatically means reduced material and reduced cubic footage to heat/cool, so the smaller the greener.

If you can build on the north side of the lake, that would be best as by maximizing the view of the lake, you are also maximizing sun exposure and solar gain (assuming this is in a cooler region of the country. If it's a warmer area, then reverse that....)

Very exciting project....I'm so pleased for you.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Congratulations! This wil be fun! All of us deride McMansions, but there is nothing worse than a McMansion where there should be a cottage --- like on the lake or at the beach. Small is good. Plus since you get to design it, you can make a small home that functions wells and feels cozy but airy.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Oh're living the dream...also look into geothermal, yes?

I *can't wait* to follow your progress on all fronts because I think we think very much alike, only difference being that you have the money to do what you want to do! Please post as to where you'll be posting most, so that we can know where to find you, or x-post regularly, at least? This is vicariously exciting.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:59PM
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oh--on the DIY channel, I think, there was a show documenting the creation of a prefab sustainably-built home, just recently. You might want to check it out to see their challenges and solutions so you can have a few of them thought out ahead of time.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Flyleft, the main reason we won't build for a year or 18 months is financial. We can't do it all at once financially, so we will spread the costs over at least two years, and try to stick to a modest budget. I've been wanting to do this for years and we probably should have waited another year, but the right lot at the (almost) right price came along and we couldn't resist!

Annie, both aspects are important to us, so we'll do our best. I read (but haven't corroborated) that landfills are 60 percent waste from building materials and sites, so it is something to consider I think. We definitely want to use materials that won't need replacing in a decade, ie metal roof, etc.
The best building site (i think) is east facing. We could build on the north side of the lake, but it would be more of a mountain view than water view as the lake isn't wide at that spot. But even with east facing, we could add windows south facing for a winter sole thermal gain.

I'd love to do geothermal, but don't think it will be in the budget right now. We probably won't use the cottage much in winter (not in Jan and Feb anyway) for the next few years. Probably we will have to use electricity for now (the electric power is derived from dams and is very, very cheap where we will build).

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Wonderful. What a lovely project. Perhaps you could plan for convertibility as much as possible. In all likelihood this next decade will finally see some big changes in solar energy costs.

I'm guessing you'll want south windows for their benefits all year round. When the sun provides too much heat, windows on the east and west are a liability, whereas south windows may get little or no sun rays coming in depending on the depth of your overhangs and how far north you are. When you have pretty views out, it's really nice to not have to cover them up. BTW, deep roof overhangs--then you can leave the windows open while it rains.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Congrats! I'm very excited to hear about your project!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Rosie, you're absolutely right, at a minimum we will plan for convertibility. I will explore geothermal options, but I'm fairly sure it will be too expensive for us for now, but perhaps doable in five to ten years. I have a number of friends whose cottages are powered by solar power too.

Good point about deep roof overhangs too. With east facing windows at least we would get morning sun to warm the house up in the morning. Not necessary in the summer, but nice in the spring and fall. If we build on our east facing site, there would be a small mountain and dense trees behind, so there would be little westerly sun.

Our first decision is the orientation for building, so we will be back on the land this weekend to consider it further. The south facing site is more easily accessed and my preference at this point, but not DH's as the water view isn't as expansive.

Flyleft, I will check out the DIY channel online if possible, we don't have cable anymore.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Sounds wonderful! And with plenty of time to plan, you'll have a house you truly love :)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:20PM
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