1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Working on my cabin design

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Cowboy Billy, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    I'm trying to design the cabin for the farm. It would be a lot easier to build a big place. But its taking a lot of thought to build something to get the max use out of the least space. And have the options and look I want. Stairways are a pain and take up a lot of space but I want a room up stairs with a good view. I got tired of trying to design a cabin for the farm on graph paper. So I went out and got a home design software. Want a bedroom for Dad on the main floor and a small gust room. Two bedrooms up stairs with a loft. A observation reading room popup where I can see all the way around. And at least a 6' walkway where I can walk around the house when its raining

    I am trying to make it open without hallways so the heat will move easier. I also want a loft and a open room main room. I know that a cathedral ceiling is inefficient to heat but I want it. Would it be better to put the stove under the loft to help break up and move the heat?

    Here's what I got so far. I can't get the floor plan to export to jpg just some funky extension I can open or convert.

    [​IMG]

    It is 24x40 right now but I may shorten it up to 24x38. That will give me a 10x14 bedroom for dad and 10x10 pantry which may end up having the basement stairway in it on one side. Then a open 20x24 or 18x24 combination kitchen living room in the center with a bay in the front where you can look out and to the sides. Then a 10x12 guest room and 10x12 bathroom. And my bathroom rant. Why is the toilet always in the bathroom? Why are we trying to get clean in the dirtiest place in the house? I am going to put my toilet in a room adjoining the bathroom. That you can enter from either the main room or bathroom . And its going to have urinal in it so I can hit it when I am half asleep or been drinking and the girls can have the seat down like thy like it.

    Then in the roof on second story. I will have a 10x14 bedroom on each side, And a 10x20 or 18 loft between. And finally a 12' hexagonal room in the third story. That I can watch the wild animals or weather or read in.

    I don't know if I can do it this year or next but I am trying to get it all worked out.
    Billy

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,970
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    WOW Once again Billy......You need to throw a gtg really like to see your place before or after this build!
  3. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    Thanks Jay

    I don't know what and where I am going to be working next summer. But it would be great to have a GTG UP there!!!!

    My Sister told me how to save and paste the floor plan. This is close but I have the stair to the basement in the closet behind the bathroom for now. But I don't know if it will fit there. As the stupid program won't tell how long the stairs are supposed to be. And the stairs to the 2nd level aren't quite right yet either.

    [​IMG]

    I don't know why someone would have a stick built house and just pull the plans out of a book. Of course it may be that I am always working on something and need to clean up before coming in. The back entrance will be my main entrance with the front for guest and occasional use. The back will have a 10x10 screened entrance with a laundry sink. So I can take off muddy boots and wash up before going inside. I have also thought about having a bathroom that opens to the outside of the house for when I am muddy and in a hurry.

    Billy
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,970
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    Would not know why you would need a mudd room! lol The whole thing very Sweeet. In the wood it will just Pop!
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,865
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I love our Mud Room . . . and love it even more since my wife and I put in a small bathroom next to it . . . works out well for me to come in and clean up . . . or to do a simple wash up if I'm in a hurry.
  6. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    530
    Loc:
    Palmer, MA
    Regarding the stairs have you looked into a spiral staircase? We have one in this house for that reason takes up less space!
  7. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    Great idea Jake. I am one of those people that magically attracts dirt and grease. And I hate cleaning so if I can keep the mess out of the house it makes things a lot better.


    Thanks Seige

    I'll check into that. The only one I remember using the stairs were drastically narrower on the inside than the outside and I was worried about missing a step coming down. How are the stairs on yours?

    Billy
  8. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    6,770
    Loc:
    Syracuse NY
    Maybe extend some roof over at least one of the decks? We seem to spend more time in the screened in porches at the camp than in the house. Nice during black fly season and the pouring rain. They serve double duty as wood sheds in the winter.
  9. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    530
    Loc:
    Palmer, MA
    Billy they are just over 4" where they connect to the pole and just over 9 1/2" on the outermost point. I know what you mean but i always do my walking on the outside and use the railing. Ours are steel painted black, i have seem them made out of oak and steel with oak threads. In the process of pricing out the oak treads, i think it will look sharp when done.

    Tim
  10. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    Thanks S&W

    I changed the plans around some and used your suggestion. I like it!

    Thanks Tim

    I think I would have to find one and try it out. But thanks for the suggestion.


    I finally got around to working on it some more. I find taking the time to lay it out and think about how it will work out. Talk to friends on their ideas and think about it again. Is the best way to find out what will work out best for me. I changed some things around. Removed the 3rd story couplo becuase it added to many problems to build safely. But I am liking it.

    I don't see anyway to get it built this year. But I think we can swing building the garage. With two rooms up stairs to stay in when we are up. It will give us a lot more room to spread out in. And give us time to get setup for building the house.

    The redone 1st floor

    [​IMG]

    Second Floor

    [​IMG]

    I need to talk it over with my Dad and Brothers. But I think I want to make it 30x30 with a 10' ceiling. I drew it up with a 12:12 roof but might goto a gambreal for more room up stairs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I plan on having the garage 15' from the house. With doing a 10' deck on the back of the house. And a deck on the front of the garage I can connect them with a 5' crossover deck so I can walk from the upstairs of the house to the upstairs of the garage. And in the winter it will give me a covered walkway to go from the house to the garage. I really like S&W's idea of covering the decks with a roof. Giving us a dry area to hang out outside when its raining!

    [​IMG]

    Front of house

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Billy
  11. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    6,687
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    Hell, I'd just build a nice A frame like the one in the link floating around here. Inexpensive, great use of space, and easy to heat.
  12. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    Howdy Hogwildz

    If I was just going to use it for a cabin I might have built a chalet. But I am planing on selling my house and moving UP there. And want a nice open room where I can hang out when its cold and I don't want to go outside for a few days. Also it has to be handy cap assessable since my Dad will be living with me he's 77 and fine now but you never know.

    Billy
  13. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,393
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    The inside angles around that hexagon (as cool as it is) create a weird unusable space. Might want to open the wall next to it up.
  14. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    Hi Adios

    I plan on putting two barbers chairs in that area. That will get me out and forward of the house so I can see forward and to both sides. I get a lot of deer moving around there. And on the long rainy days we get theres not much to do other than sit our and watch them.

    Billy
  15. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    497
    I just built a house, which I (re)designed using a software program. It was based on a existing design. We paid the architect to go through the redesign and make sure everything was correct and change whatever needed changing. Of course we also paid for the original design. I also designed a couple of fully original designs, but for various reasons did not built them. Based on my experience, I have a couple of suggestions.

    1. Get rid of the Punch software. It's problematic and hard to use. :p

    2. Buy a high end home design software program. Because of the inherent problems with the low end programs, you can't afford not to buy the high end products. They will save you far more than their cost.

    Consider Chief Architect's Home Designer Pro and SoftPlan's SoftPlan Lite (if you can find it). These are lite versions of true full blown architectural design programs. They will set you back several hundred dollars, but they are worth it. Punch is not in their league, and it shows.

    3. Download a free demo version of the software to get an idea of how it works. You may have to download the professional version demo, but it will work the same way, but with additional features.

    4. Check out the support forums to see how much user support is available. Take a look at the work users are able to do with the products. Distrust consumer grade "example" drawings put out by the consumer grade products. Some have been shown to have been generated by something other than what they are selling.

    5. Don't try and design your house until you have learned the software, which will take time. All architectural design software has a steep learning curve. Go through all the tutorial programs, then try designing simple structures like cabins. Progress in complexity until you are comfortable with the software and feel confident that you can design the kind of house you want. If the software you are considering does not offer a tutorial, choose something else.

    Learning a good home design program is a lot of work, but it is well worth the effort. It is also a good idea to gather some reference material on house design. There are many things that make a house work well, some of which are not too obvious. Good books on house design help immensely. I suggest browsing the aisles at the bookstore to get an idea of what's out there.

    Good luck.

    http://softplan.com/

    http://www.homedesignersoftware.com/products/home-designer-pro/
  16. pyper

    pyper New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    491
    Loc:
    Deep South
    I've figured out more useful things about house design with file folders, scissors, and hot glue than with computers. There's nothing more 3-D than, well, 3-D.

    Here are a few observations:

    4-br / 1-ba -- If you need to get a loan you probably need a second bath.

    Your laundry will be cheaper if you put the wet wall on the same wet wall as the bath.

    Having your bath open into your great room is bad feng shui, and can be kind of gross, especially if it's near the stove. Or the table.

    Those big cantilevered decks look cool, but they're way expensive to build (unless you're planning on putting posts under them that aren't shown. Which direction is north? It will probably be pretty dark in the downstairs all the time with all the decks, especially if you make posts and the required diagonal braces. Dark can be good, but my wife would never go for it.

    Did you leave the interior doors out of the upstairs bedrooms on purpose? I'm assuming they're really supposed to have them and they just don't show in the plans. No windows in those bedrooms? If you're trying to get a loan you probably want each bedroom to be 10'-0 minimum, paint to paint -- yours are showing about 9'-8.

    So the ceiling in the great room is 30 feet, give or take. Wow. You probably don't want an entrance under that. Putting the entrance under the balcony will make it feel more like a house, and make it more spectacular when you come out from under it.

    I don't see a coat closet.
  17. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,865
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Lot of decking to shovel the snow off . . . you might want to add some trees around the house for landscaping. ;) :)
  18. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    Thanks White Pine

    The punch had good reviews. But you are right its a pain and I am not real happy with it. I mainly wanted it to play with floor designs. Then figured I would take it to architect and have it drawn up to code as I have no idea floor/roof loading ect. And final design is more than I want to get into. Getting a few books on home design is a great idea thanks for the tip.

    Thanks Pyper

    The front of the house faces east. the septic tank and field will be to the north of the house.

    I am planing on a second bathroom up stairs but haven't figured out where I want it yet. I thought I had put the doors in the second floor rooms but it is obvious I forgot. I do have windows in the second floor rooms but when I made the wall match the roof it covered them up. The decks are not cantilevered there just was not anything in the software for me to show the posts.

    Hard to say how dark it will be inside I think I will get a fair amount from the upstairs windows with the open design. I am planing on having a ceiling at 8' on the second story so I won't have a 30' vaulted ceiling that would be a pain to heat. I don't want any hallways I feel they are a waste of space and makes it harder to heat. This place is off grid so it is going to be wood heat. I don't feel having the bathroom in the off side of the kitchen will be a problem. That will be the main use entry way with the front door as occasional use. Under the rear deck will be closed off for my mud room. Coats and boots will be taken off and hung up on the wall next to the kitchen door.

    Its hard to tell but both doors come out under the decks. Also the roof over hangs 5' for a walk way so I can walk out and along the house so I can walk out it with out getting avalanched on.


    Thanks Jake

    Actually its in the woods now I will have to clear it to build. It will be behind where the trailer is now. Its about 6' higher than where the trailer is sitting.

    [​IMG]

    And being higher it will give me a better view down the road in and the ridge behind it.

    [​IMG]

    Billy
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,970
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    Thats just hard to take Billy! Awesome.
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,393
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    "And being higher it will give me a better view down the road in and the ridge behind it." That's genteel speak for "a clear shot" :)

    Looks like a beautiful area

    Consider a glassed in passive solar area facing south. That can provide a LOT of your heating needs
  21. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    6,770
    Loc:
    Syracuse NY
    Check out the shading calculators. Gary has some on his site about half way down http://www.builditsolar.com/References/SunChartRS.htm. I varied the overhangs on my new roof so that I get winter sun but no direct summer sun until very late in the day. The house is plenty bright even with an 8' overhang over the SW wall but no overheating issues in the summer even though it is all glass. In the winter, there is effectively no overhang. It made a dramatic difference in how the house feels and performs.
  22. MJ151

    MJ151 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Poulsbo, WA
    If you would like some recommendations on CAD software let me know (PM). I use primarily AutoCad, Rhino, and Solidworks. However there are a few good free products, depending on what you want to do.

    Matthew
  23. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    497
    By carefully controlling the orientation of the house and the overhangs, it is possible to get full winter sun and literally zero direct summer sun. Anyone who has enough land and a southern exposure can easily incorporate passive solar design features into their new home. It costs a little more to build a full passive solar home, but the paybacks in the form of greatly reduced heating AND cooling costs last forever.
  24. pyper

    pyper New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    491
    Loc:
    Deep South
    Hi Billy, sounds like you have things mostly thought through.

    When we bought our house there were no hallways. I think it was Christopher Alexander who said that if your house has no hallways then some of your rooms are really big halls. He has a point. One way or the other you have to get from area to area, so just make sure you think through the circulation space. Careful placement of furniture and various architectural details can make "virtual" hallways for people to move through without needing to put up walls.

    I think you would get plenty of light in your second floor, and since the ceiling is open there would be a fair bit come down from it. If the bottoms of your roof overhangs are white that will help. My concern about the ground floor is due more to the fact that it's a deck that will be over it. It's usually pretty dark under decks. Between the dark color of the wood, the joists, the posts, and the braces, they really seem to swallow up light. Here's a funny anecdote. My wife and I just bought a house. There's a basement, and a 12x16 deck on the back of the house. Well, there are two windows under the deck. When I went out to see the house again with the Realtor, who is also a contractor I've worked with on projects in the past, we both realized that neither one of us had noticed that there were windows there because it was so dark.

    But there's more than one way to build a deck -- you can use more posts, or fewer, more bracing or less, etc. It all has to be engineered to be safe, but there's more than one way to do it, so just make sure whoever does the deck plan take that into account and leaves it as open as possible.
  25. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    885
    Loc:
    Britton MI
    Thanks Jay

    I love it UP there!!!

    Ya got that right Adios

    1/4 mile strait shot right down my road. It jogs around at the end of our property before it goes onto the county dead end road so anyone driving upto the end of the road can't see up without going on to our property. I am not too worried about passive heat. With 120 acres of woods and big equipment to handle the wood with. I am aiming well insulated and controlled air infiltration. I am planing on 2x6 exterior walls and probably 1" of foam board. I am more concerned with bugs hence the screened in mud room.

    Cool S&W

    Thats what I want. While the rooms should have enough light so I don't have to use power to light it. Direct sunlight inside bothers me it constantly draws my eye and I am sensitive to bright light.

    Thanks Mathew

    I am not worried about doing it all myself. I just want to get it close to what I want then give it to someone experienced to finalize it. Experience is a hard teacher. First comes the test. Then the lesson. While I enjoy learning and doing things myself. Trying to totally control everything would only open me to mistakes that are only obvious in hindsite.

    Thanks Again White Pine

    I am trying to balance having a open comfortable house. With the lay of the land and the best views. As it is the family vacation area the number of people staying there varys wildly. My Sister BIL, Nice and Nephew come up about 2 weeks a year and 4-5 weekends. My youngest brother about the same. And younger Brother and his son that makes it up 3-4 times a year. And usually all try to show up at one time to get together. And my Dad that goes up most times that I do and will probably retire up there in a year or two.

    Thanks Again Pyper

    I am trying to. But I don't ever think I know it all. And in this case I know I don't. I have lived in a few houses but only owned this one. Which started out as a summer cottage and has had five additions. Which is all broke up in different areas and have to walk through several rooms to get to any one room. You have a great point about not having hallways makes the rooms hallways. And thats what I was trying to do with the main room but not though out that clearly. I like to have a bunch of friends and family over. But when ever you have a bunch of people around it seem they always stand around in a hallway or constricted spot blocking traffic. And I like the idea of being able to go around them with out being impolite or braking their conversation because I am in a hurry to get to the bathroom.

    I was watching a pbs broadcast this year where it stated that even in a big room that the furniture should be set up to provide intimate areas that it is easy to converse in. And that seems a good idea and stuck with me. I feel with where the stairway comes down breaks up the bathroom entry and the off side of the kitchen with the living room and back main entry way.

    I know I will not get all the features I want in the house. I am trying to make the best compromises that will work for me. Thank you all for all the kind suggestions and ideas. The more I have to think about and work out now will save me from latter on going bou I wish I would have thought about that!!!!!

    Billy

Share This Page