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April 19, 2007

Seeds and House Plans

There was enough of a break in activity over the weekend that I finally managed to plant some tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cabbage. It's a little later than I would like, but according to the planting chart that I have from West Coast Seeds, I'm pretty close to being on schedule.
You may be asking yourself why I'm bothering to start seeds when I won't actually have a garden this summer. Call me crazy, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to put a garden in on our property, fence it off from the deer, mulch it well, and check in on it periodically while we're building over the course of the summer. Option two (and perhaps the more realistic choice) is that my mom will take pity on me and share her lovely garden with me if I promise to share my plants with her (we will be living with them while our house is being built). Option three is that I leave them here as a housewarming gift for the woman who will be moving in when we leave.
Speaking of building, we've been consumed lately with trying to settle on house plans. I've always dreamed of building either a cob or strawbale house, but that doesn't seem possible when we have such a short period of time in which to build (maybe we'll build a strawbale or cob guest house or chicken coop one day). With the location being somewhat remote, and contractors being in short supply, we are looking at using a company that will build our house here in the city in a warehouse, send it in pieces by truck to the property and put it together for us in a few short weeks. That will get us to a "lock up" stage, which essentially means the outside of the house (siding, decking, windows, doors, siding, roof) will be ready and waiting for us to come in and finish the inside. This company uses locally sourced woods, builds smaller homes, and has many green options, so we're feeling pretty comfortable with this option.
So lately I've been pouring over Sarah Susanka's "Not So Big House" books, and have spent a lot of time on Ross Chapin's site (his small houses and cottages are so beautiful), at the Robinson Residential site (gorgeous Craftsman style cottages), as well as at BC Mountain Homes (a local firm that designs wonderful "West Coast" houses). There are so many to choose from that it's really hard to pick one. It's also difficult to find a plan that squeezes 3 bedrooms into a small floor plan that works with the layout of our lot. We're slowly getting an idea of the things that are most important to us, and will hopefully settle on something in the next week or so.
If you happen to like looking at house plans and feel like sharing your opinion on any of them with me, please do! (I would also really appreciate being pointed toward any other sites with plans for small, efficient homes).

12 comments:

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Well, I can't help you choose, nor do I know any other good sites (those are pretty good) BUT you will have so much fun doing this. Try not to worry to much since in the end---any house will have little things that you would like to or will change. I know it's easier said than done---but really--Have Fun! In the end you will have an amazing new house and land ;-)
Monica

Carla said...

How exciting! I saw an interesting site awhile back...I'll have to see if I can refind it. It was one man's journey with building (I can't remember if he did strawbale)but he documented the bad with the good. He ended up having difficulty with his contractor so there was a lot of helpful hints on how to choose. My friends in Cawston have a strawbale cool house or shed (they store produce in it before it's stored). It's amazingly cool in the hot Okanagan sun. They often joke about camping out in there over the summer months as it is so much cooler than their regular home (wood frame).

Chelee said...

Fun, fun, fun!

Sp excited to see what you end up with.

Christy said...

What size house are you looking to build? On the Ross Chapin page I really like the Egret Cottage and the Elderberry House. The houses were actually all pretty big, didn't seem to fit the small house category to me. On the other page, what series were you looking at? Some of those get really big too. I love looking at house plans! Unfortunately, we will be getting an already built house when we move.

Steffi said...

It´s not easy to do all right when you have a big selection.I think it makes much fun to furnish a new house with plants and other things.I wish I can help you,especially with your selection of your plants because I work in a big garden- shoppingcenter.I am already excited and curiously which things you bought now.

Have a nice weekend!
Steffi

kansas crochet mom said...

Cant wait to see what you end up with :)

Cheryl said...

Monica - You're right, any house will have its problems.

Carla - I'd love the link to that site if you find it.
A strawbale shed for produce is a great idea.

Chelee and Kansas Crochet Mom - I'll keep you posted!

Christy - We'd love to keep it to no more than 1500 square feet. Not exactly tiny, but the kids are desperate for their own rooms, and I'd love to have a study for all of our books and supplies (as homeschoolers, we've got a lot of that stuff) which will also double as a guest room (we're hoping to have visitors fairly regularly). I also like the Elderberry, as well as the Madrona (they're quite similar).
On the Robinson site, we were thinking about the smaller of the "D" series.
If you're interested, check out the Brockton on www.ajia.ca (click on Cascade Custom Collection). That's probably my favorite so far (it has a breakfast nook for goodness sake), but we'd need to figure out where to put an extra sleeping space. Fun, fun!

Steffi - You work in a garden center - what a great job! I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have!

Midlife Traveller said...

I've just been referred to your blog, as our family is searching for our piece of acreage right now. I like the Maple Homes website (www.maplehomes.com) for house plan ideas. We're also looking at pre-fab houses in retro-modern styles (a la Eichler). I want to combine the openness, light- and view-incorporating aspects of these designs with materials that give it a more natural, west Coast feel (cedar, exposed beams, etc). Good luck and enjoy the fun part of planning!

Jo said...

Congratulations on the quick and easy sale! Whatever you do, remind yourself to love the process, and not focus too intently on the result. You never know, and it's important to enjoy it all.

Robbyn said...

Congratulations!

I discovered the Chapin plans a while back and my hubby and I came up with what we thought me might tweak as a jumping-off point. But it all depends on what you're really wanting as far as how it will be situated on your site, if you want to do passive solar things, etc. Mainly, what we'll do when the time comes is to take the best of what each of us hopes to have in a house (design, materials, style, floor plan, etc), try to incorporate (and negotiate? ha) some of those things, and fit it into a workable budget, even if that involves stages. There are some things you'll probably think of as MUSTS. Then you can build your ideas from there. It may be as big as what you want your main building material to be, or as detailed as knowing you really want a window over your kitchen sink.

Mainly, have FUN :) And put YOUR own personal touches into it...that's the neat thing about not having to build it in expectation of "resale value." Mazel Tov!!!

Cheryl said...

Midlife Traveller - We actually spoke to the Maple Homes people a few weeks ago! They seem to have a lot of great plans (we loved some of their Craftsman homes). The person we spoke to didn't seem to actually be in BC though, as they are part of a larger chain. That would probably change once you were actually dealing with the local company, though.
Good luck with your search!

Jo - You're right, it's easy to get anxious for everything to be over and done with. The process is the exciting part.

Robbyn - Thanks for stopping by. It is difficult to settle on one plan when there are so many great ones out there and so many things to consider.
Not having to think about resale value is a wonderful thing!

Anonymous said...

Look at Elke Cole's wonderful cob designs.

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