Someday I will build a house house

There are many types of owner built homes. I dream of building myself one someday. My favorite is stone but there are straw, cordword and even paper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The amazing insulation properties of rice hulls

This is a picture of a house insulated with rice hulls. Seems like the best insulation material was sitting right under southerners' noses.
The rice hulls are unique within nature. They contain approximately 20% opaline silica in combination with a large amount of the phenyl propanoid structural polymer called lignin. This abundant agricultural waste has all of the properties one could ever expect of some of the best insulating materials. Recent ASTM testing conducted R&D Services of Cookville, Tennessee, reveals that rice hulls do not flame or smolder very easily, they are highly resistant to moisture penetration and fungal decomposition, they do not transfer heat very well, they do not smell or emit gases, and they are not corrosive with respect to aluminum, copper or steel. In their raw and unprocessed state, rice hulls constitute a Class A or Class I insulation material, and therefore, they can be used very economically to insulate the wall, floor and roof cavities of a super-insulated Rice Hull House...
From Home remodling news
Some other information is here and this guy really has some good ideas about constructing economical rice hull homes here. If I lived in the south, I would certainly look into this. Transportation costs would be a consideration further north.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I want concrete countertops in my house


I love the look of concrete countertops, and I don't think it would be too difficult to do myself. I could even make sinks and bathtubs. Those sacks of concrete would be easier to lug around than a bathtub.

I once lived in an apartment with a large bathtub made of little ceramic tiles embedded in concrete. It had to have been made on site, the tenth floor of a condominium. Only problem was the hot water heater was small--half the size of a normal waterheater, and I could never fill the tub more than about 3 or 4 inches with warm water.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My father built the house I grew up in


He did everything except the brick chimney. He took the plans from a catalog I believe. Did an amazing job, except never quite finished.

We always had just a little half bath downstairs for a family of seven kids. There was a room upstairs that we used like an attic, but we always called it the bathroom, because it was supposed to be the upstairs bathroom. We even had a bathtub in it filled with attic stuff.

My father mistook the inside dimensions for the outside dimensions, so the opening in the stairwell to the upstairs was very low. Everyone had to duck.

My brother lives there now and has continued in the housebuilding tradition, remodeling almost everything. The upstairs bathroom is now like a spa, and he added two feet to the front to make a larger dining room and bedroom upstairs, but the stairwell is about impossible to fix. Everyone still has to duck.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Adobe building game


Here's a game about adobe building, one of the oldest building methods on earth. Couldn't be simpler, except they forgot to put in the building inspector visits.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cob houses


Here is good description of building a cob house on an Irish website. I didn't quite understand it before. This sounds like it would be as fun to build as a stone house.

Cob construction uses sand, clay and straw. Mixed well this special mud is applied to the foundation in continuing layers. Each layer must dry so that it can support the next, and the wall is tapered in as you build up. When it is dry, the walls are very hard and load bearing. The roof is built directly on to the walls, as the walls themselves are the support structure.

It goes on with more details.

Most of the cob houses I can find are like storybook abodes. I guess the process really lends itself to getting carried away by the imagination. I'm all for it actually.

Image from soilapprenticeships

Friday, July 08, 2005

Free CAD software

This would be nice to have. I've always gotten a kick out of drawing houseplans. Was wondering how to put them on my site. Maybe this software would be too complicated.

Click on the big X. Let's try to get 100,000.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Building dome houses


Dome houses are energy efficient, inexpensive to build, and easy for the do-it-yourselfer, but I just don't like how they look. I suppose I could get used to it if I had to, but domes just don't seem like home to me.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Masonry fireplace


I want to have a masonry fireplace in my house. Wouldn't it be great to incorporate steps to the second floor in the brick. That's probably prohibited by building codes, but since this is a dream house, I'll just dream on.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Love balconies and overlooks



I once saw a plan in a magazine for a three story house built with a central open space. All levels could look out over the middle space. That's a lot like typical houses are built in tropical climates, although they are usually only one or two stories and the middle is open no roof. I've never seen that plan anywhere again. Most house plans today are so ordinary.

Here is one I really like. The plan is here: First floor and second floor. Aren't those second floor bedrooms cozy with their little baths?

Here is a back view.