Here is my scale model for our future tiny(ish) house. Suggestions please.
Well we only 3 short weeks ago were planning to buy the house we have been renting for over a year now and then save to build a nicer home, that plan fell through though so now our plan is to buy some nice vacant land in the country and hopefully build something like I have designed right here. The plan is for a 450sqft (15x30) solar greenhouse abutting a 360sqft (12x30) + an 80ft sleeping loft home, Most of the living area has high ceilings both to take advantage of the light collection ability of windows over the roofline of the greenhouse but also to make the space feel less claustrophobic. I went back and forth about the idea but i’d like to combine the greenhouse and house after talking to a few people who have solar greenhouses. The consensus would be all through the cold season here, 6+ months in zone 5 upstate NY, we would have to use very little heat and should be able to get by on sunny days with none at all during the day just from venting excess heat from the greenhouse. For the summertime, which can get quite warm, reaching at least 90 a couple days a year here, there may be some excess heat buildup but this should be mostly mitigated by a well insulated wall separating the two spaces. The other advantage is it will be easy to heat the greenhouse when it is needed to to its proximity to where we are living, I really dont want to trudge across the yard to fire up a rocket stove on one of our -10*f evenings here. Not to mention all of the mental health benefits with being in close proximity to plant life year round. The plan isnt to be living in this house here forever, I woulod mostly like something straightforward enough to build myself that I wouldnt need to go into much, or any debt to build. In the meantime while living here my girlfriend and I could save money towards a dwelling more suited for a family. It would be nice to keep afterwards as a studio or apartment along with having a large solar greenhouse.
Here are some pictures of the design, I have filled it with a possible trial layout just to get a feel for some of the ways the space could flow potentially.
Pretend that the opaque white is triple-wall poly board, I am limited with the program I designed it in.
I think depending on the site we decide on I would like to sink the floor level of the greenhouse a foot or two below grade to increase the thermal mass of the floor and get a greater moderating effect from the earth. The house windows also serve a couple puposes, facing south they illuminate the entire house all day and also add a small passive solar effect. Being at the top of the ceiling they also can be used to create a solar chimney effect if opened along with the 2 windows on the north side of the house.
You can see in this picture I would like to go with a metal roof.
And here are some of the interior. As far as utilities I would put the well pump pressure tank in the kitchens utility closet and the hot water heater most likely in the greenhouse area along the back wall along with a washer, dryer and slop sink. The bare L shaped area along the wall in the living room would be the place for a rocket mass heater bench which will be our only heat source besides a small propane heater in the greenhouse (Which could heat the whole structure if need be) in case we go away or for some reason don’t want a fire. The loft bedroom has a 8ft ceiling tapering to ~4 over its 8 foot width with the space further over being a low closet space. We also would have a large coat and clothes rack in the entry hallway, a small pantry/utility closet in the kitchen and the bathroom ceiling will be possibly capped off leaving a large open space to put objects above, possibly more food storage or valuable things I wouldn’t want to stick in a shed outside.
So this is basically the general idea. The only addon I can think of would be that I would like to include a sunken root cellar built up against the north wall of the house with an entrance from outside, the storage space for food in the kitchen is somewhat limited with the only space being cabinets and the utility closet.
Anyone have any feedback on the design? Ill probably be starting in the early spring as long as we have found a suitable piece of property and obviously I may to tailor the design slightly to the space. I estimated a total construction cost of about $50,000 which includes me doing nearly all of the labor and assuming the septic and well already exists.