Saturday, February 18, 2012

Our (DIY'd) Home for 10 - Question 4b

"What steps did you take to make it functional for a large family?"... Continued

Mechanical and Construction Considerations:

Heat and Hot Water:  I was tired of cold showers and high heating bills with our former oil furnace.  In this house, we opted for a heat pump, which was put on zones, so we could concentrate heat where we needed it, upstairs or down, without adding heat where it wasn't needed.  This also pertains to cooling in the summer, a luxury we'd never enjoyed before.

$1 for 5 minutes +
another qtr for every
extra minute.  Might
have paid the water bill!
We also have 2 hot water heaters, so that after 9 others shower, Mom might get a minute or so of lukewarm water for hers.  I threatened to put in campground showers... The kind that take coins for a certain amount of time, for which we'd give the kids a certain number of coins per week.  If they wanted long showers, they'd have to put in their own earnings.  I didn't do it, but I still think it would've been a good idea!  ;-)

The water heaters and auxiliary furnace are all housed in the crawlspace, so don't take valuable square footage from the house.

Building Economy:  The reading I did prior to planning our home gave me a few hints about saving money and getting the most of out of the space I planned.  One strong suggestion was to build square...with as few corners and turns as possible, as such things are more labor intensive, and more expensive per square foot because of additional materials and possible waste.  It's also best to plan the exterior (wall length and door and window placement) in increments of 2 feet... even 4 or 8, if possible, since framing materials come in even lengths, and sheet goods come 4 feet x 8 feet or 4 feet x 12 feet.  This means less cutting (labor saving) and, again, less waste (money saving).  The main part of our house is 32 feet by 40 feet, but I placed windows and doors by appearance and size we wanted, not by the 2-foot rule. 

The series of pocket doors between master
bedroom and boys' bedroom that makes
our bathroom/shower set-up work.
Sort of like the entrance to "Control" at
the beginning of Get Smart!
Limiting Unneeded Square Footage:  With 10 people and money enough for only 2500 square feet (stretched to 2750), every square foot of our house needed to serve a purpose.  I skimped and reduced... as I said, maybe too much in terms of closet space.  
I found that in drawing our floor plan, door swings could require a lot of room without gain in room function... So we have 9 pocket doors in our house.  I was hesitant at first, remembering cheap, hollow pocket doors and weak hardware from pocket doors I'd used years back.  But Hubby assured me he could get sturdy hardware and we could use solid core or even French-style glass paned doors in the pockets.  I love them.  They do the jobs quite well, are not hard to use, and the doors are never in the way.

Expansion:  The only way I could know expansion would be possible is if we planned for it from the outset.  First of all, we needed to place the house appropriately on the lot so that any additions would fit without encroaching on lot boundaries or the required buffer around our septic system.  We also wanted to plan for an easy-as-possible, inexpensive-as-possible change.  Adding the garage meant losing the back porch, which was sad, but unavoidable.  Other than that, just a simple add-on, sized and angled to keep the back of the house far enough from the back property line.

Adding a family room would be more complex, since it would become part of the house, and need electricity and heat, joining in the existing systems.  In preparation for that dream, we placed a larger-than-necessary header over the window in the center of our south wall, so that it could become a wider doorway to the new room.  
Rendering of idea for family room.
Doorway is where current window is.
Also, we dead-ended wiring runs from each side of the window, so we wouldn't have to relocate wiring that stretched across under it, and so we could, quite easily, just continue circuits into the family room for outlets and lighting.  HVAC lines were planned similarly, for easy extension of ducting runs.  The window we'll remove will move to the front of that new room. 

One more post to go on this subject, so please 'stay tuned'.... 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...