Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our First Floor Plans

We received our first set of plans from Jon and Kandy on Sunday night!

Another crisis! Tasha and I seem to have differing opinions on what our house should be like. We're meeting with Jon and Kandy again on Friday to resolve our crises and share our feedback.

Right now we're thinking the hall in the living wing should be on the east and the study should be moved to the sleeping wing.

I am certain of one thing, though: After falling on the fresh ice and snow yesterday and having compost splash all over my pants the compost pile must be very close to a door.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Design Goes Forward

Tasha and I, after visiting the site with Jon, had a little crisis of faith and we both felt we needed a meeting with Jon and Kandy in person to discuss some of our issues.

I may have wrote this before, but it largely boiled down to me wanting a passive solar house and Tasha not being able to live with both the view to the south--future neighbors--and the thermal mass--concrete doesn't play nice with little heads and probably won't be too nice to our knees when we're 80-- needed to make it work. So with that off the table we lifted many of the constraints and we were able to come up with something that will work for both of us.

Last night sitting around the table enjoying brownies--great job Kandy--Jon sketched this

We're shooting for something like the center sketch.

Basically, there are three components to the structure: The garage, farthest to the left, leading to the center of the house where we'll do the working and living, and then the tall skinny two story (with walkout) sleeping area. I'm not sure if you can see it, but the opposite face of the second story has a three season/sleeping porch facing the hills to the west. It'll be a great place to hang out and watch storms roll in. At some future date we may turn the walkout into an in-law suite.

We both want PV so tossing the passive solar won't be too terrible. As long as I can see some sun in the winter I'll be OK. Six years on the shore of Lake Erie was enough of a hiatus from the sun!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Even More Site Concepts

Jon took some of our ideas and came up with even more concepts

Concept A3

Concept A4

Concept A3 is a pretty good representation of what I want: lots of southern exposure with some to the east. By the way, the grid is spaced at 100'.

Concept A4 is what Tasha would like: lots to the east and some to the south, but she'd like to subtract the breezeway (I think it's there to keep the southern exposure up on the east west building) between the buildings. With only one bathroom on the first floor we wouldn't know where to put it.

We need to meet with Jon and Kandy next week to reconcile our differences.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Revelation!

Tasha and I have always imagined the house split into two pieces: the living portion encompassing the kitchen, living room, dining room, and mudroom/laundry room and the sleeping portion encompassing, well, the bedrooms. These two pieces have always been arranged so that the living portion was to the west of sleeping portion--the first thing you would come upon entering from Paddock Rd.

Well, while talking to Tasha's mom she suggested that we flip those around. Tasha would get her views to the east free of anything blocking her and I could have all the southern exposure I could imagine. Pure genius!

Site Visit

So we visited the site today and boy-oh-boy do we need some protection from that wind!

We rediscovered that our primary views lie to the east and south. Not to the far to the north we are blocked by trees off of our property and the west is blocked by the crest of the hill (at least at ground level).

We also found out that we're having a tough time on agreeing how to site the house. I'm bent on maximizing the southern exposure and Tasha's bent on maximizing the eastern exposure while minimizing the view to the south (future neighbors). I'm really hoping this first--and huge--step will be the hardest.

It turns out we've been approaching the house from two different angles and not really considering anything else. Tasha's been working from the inside out and I've been working from the outside in. I'm going to put my outside ideas on hold and focus on how I want the inside to work. I've come up with a little flowchart of how all the spaces should fit together.

I also tried to come up with a rudimentary floor plan accomodating my flow chart

Tough stuff. I'm letting Jon and Kandy figure this stuff out!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Concept A2

From our input Jon and Kandy came up with this new site plan

Now it's off to the site with Jon.

Monday, January 7, 2008

More Site Concepts

After reviewing the three initial site concepts Tasha came up with some further requirements for the siting:
  • Northern side should be protected from farm pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.
  • Don't want to face south where our future neighbors could build.
  • Maximize views to the east.
Trying to reconcile those goals with my own siting requirements:
  • Large southern face for solar gain
  • Protected northern face
We came up with this rough sketch

It forms a large T on its side rotated 12° or so from east-west. With the garage to the south we would have a nice little play area to the southeast and the outbuilding to the north should provide some protection from the winter winds.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Site Concepts

Jon and Kandy sent us some potential options for siting the house. We reviewed the drawings and came up with a siting which we sent back. More versions to follow!