[Homestead] Houses, tiny and solar collection

Gene GeRue genegerue at ruralize.com
Fri Sep 24 12:32:12 EDT 2004

>  (houses are too damn big to economically build and maintain, to say 
> nothing of taxes---make tiny houses act and feel like big ones by opening 
> up angles, vistas, getting rid of interior partitions and those cursed 
> second stories,

Chris and I have never been happier than when living in the little shack at 
Heartwood, only 800 square feet downstairs. Two rooms totalling about 400 
sq. ft. upstairs are used for storage and a guest room. But I will not be 
fulfilled until I design and build a home from scratch. Will build a new 
house to the east connected to the new enclosed front porch by a long 
greenhouse hall. Due to substantial east down-slope, the straight-across 
level will be an upstairs bedroom and library/writing studio/office. Might 
need to ramp up a few feet to create high ceilings downstairs, but no 
stairs from old to new house. There will be stairs from that bedroom level 
to the downstairs.  The downstairs is a walk-out basement where one will 
walk out through a covered patio--bedroom balcony above--directly and 
immediately into the garden. Total square footage will be about 1,300. Only 
interior walls are for pantry shelves and bathroom. Bottom level will have 
tall, attached greenhouse on much of the south wall, opening to both 
kitchen and patio. Bottom level will include inglenook with two built-in 
couches that, if hips and knees later require, will be beds for our last 
years. The lower level will connect to the original with a basement hall 
under the upper greenhouse hall and will be used for food and wine storage 
and for cooling.

A free-standing heating stove wastes space in a small house; I prefer 
under-floor radiant heat. The existing house has inadequate crawl space for 
pipe and perimeter insulation installation. So I will remove the existing 
rotten, too-shallow front porch, dig straight across from the new lower 
level, create a new 12-foot-deep porch basement, turn and dig under the 
original house, connecting to the basement I built under the kitchen years 
ago, which is the back twelve feet. I'm hoping a track-mounted Bobcat can 
dig the basement across the fourteen feet between porch and kitchen basements.

After we move into the new house the original house will evolve, perhaps 
from woodworking shop to guest house and personal museum. It is part of the 
history of the place and we can't bring ourselves to tear it down even 
though it occupies the best house spot on the entire 130 acres.

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