I originally posted this on Cruising Anarchy but then I thought it might be fun to put it on my blog. We had been discussing small houses and I had this design sitting around for the past five years. It combines my own life style with my ability to work with small spaces. Hope you like it.
560 sq. ft. not counting the upstairs office.
My house was designed at a time when I was reacting to sciatic pain and the stress of building what to me was a huge and overly complex new house, the Taj Ma Jill. I used the exercise of mentally designing the house in my mind, in acad of the mind, to help me get to sleep at night. Later I decided to actually draw it up to see if my mental files were accurate. With minor adjustments they were fine. The house has an upstairs office area but I’m not going to show that. It’s just an office. Keep in mind that this house is designed just for me, one person. I expect company on occasion but I have made no concessions to extra people in the house. The house is exceedingly simple yet very complex in its ergonomics. I have tried to make it economical to build.
My house is situated on a gently sloping, long grass and mountain weed covered hillside that eventually runs into the woods below. I can see the Cascade Mountain range in the not too far distance. It is sunny and about 72 degrees, it’s around 4:40pm and the dogs are off chasing things. The cat is off killing things. I am puttering.
I have a pretty big veranda with two long benches for relaxing and napping. There is a chair without arms that is well suited for playing the guitar. There is a rustic coffee table for important stuff, like my pipe and my tea. I picture me and my cronies sitting on the veranda playing and singing good old tunes, and passing the Jack Daniels well into the balmy PNW night. I’ll sit and smoke my pipe on the veranda. I won’t allow myself to smoke in the house. The dogs will love napping on the veranda. It will have that satisfying , almost hollow sound when you walk on it .
The front door is centered and stepping into the house you have a bench seat to port so you can sit and remove your shoes. I absolutely HATE shoes on in the house. The shoes can tuck under the seat. Mini partial height walls divide the entry area off from the living areas.
To port there is the dinette and galley. The dinette has a nice view of the field in front and also a good view of the TV mounted on the opposite wall. There is stowage under the bench seat. The galley stretches along that port wall terminating in a large refer/freezer. Beyond that is my clothes washer and dryer stack. Across from that stack is a pantry/linen lkr. combo locker. The galley is laid out so I can work left to right starting with a leg of the counter to collect my ingredients, moving to the sink for washing then onto the cutting board for the chopping then onto the range. There is space each side of the range for hot pots. There is no dish washer. It would be very easy to work one into that leg of the counter if I took the angle out of it. But hell, I’m living by myself and I can wash up what few things get dirty.
Spiral stairs take you up to the office.
The living room is designed so that I can sit and watch TV with the sound muted while I listen to beautiful music coming from the Epos 12 bookshelf speakers flanking the fire place and the sub woofer in the corner. The hi-fi gear and turntable are all visible in the cabinet on the aft wall. A magazine bin sits next to one chair with my guitar du jour next to the hi-fi cabinet. I’ll stow the rest of my guitars up in the office. There is LP stowage below the TV and bookshelves above the TV. There are more bookshelves/ lp stowage on the other side of the fireplace. There is an end table next to one chair for me to put my tea cup on or my pipe or my magazine or my note pad or my tobacco tin.
Can’t say I’m wild about the idea of a spiral staircase. Imagine trying to carry a very expensive guitar down that without knocking it. I added the office when I was done with the downstairs. It was an after thought. The spiral staircase is the only way I can figure out how to get upstairs without going to an external staircase. It rains too much here for that. Maybe I can find space for a dumb waiter just to transport guitars up and down. No, that would be to expensive. I am trying to dream with a budget. My pal Paps in Oz is working on some stair ideas for me. He’s a master staircase builder.
The chair closest to the front door can be moved to be centered on the two speakers flanking the Norwegian JOTUL fire place. These speakers are on 8′ centers and when I am listening carefully I want my chair centered in the “sweet spot” of the room for the best stereo imaging. I think that settee could be a pull out bed type so I have an extra bed for company.
I guess I’m going to have to give up my vast collection of cd’s and go to a half-vast digital storage/Ipod type system. They make some very sophisticated and expensive units. I like new hi-fi gear. Now I have a whole wall full of cd’s and I like to browse thru the cd’s. I sure would keep my LP collection though. I’m an analog kind of guy.
The double berth is high to gain stowage space below it. Note that the wall separating the sleeping area from the living area is only half high so that I can lie in bed and look over that wall and see the fireplace. I can also see the TV from the bed. But I’ve never had a TV in the bedroom so I’m not sure I’d watch TV from the bed. I do like to read in bed.
The head and shower area is enclosed, snug and adequate. There is a relatively large hanging locker with shelves next to the head area.
I want good stowage for outside things like lawn mowers, tools and all those things you don’t take in the house. I don’t need a work bench as I am hopeless with tools. I just need a space for some basic tools. There is also a wood bin out there near the back door. During the retirement in my mind I plan on burning a lot of wood cut from trees on my own lot out behind the house. I’ll keep my charcoal Weber out in the breezeway. My Laser on a trailer can slide right in there for the winter. The lake is 5 miles away.
The house has plenty of compromises. I will have to compact my life before moving in. The office will be smaller than what I have now but that’s OK. It would be nice to have more living space but then the cost goes up and so does the clutter.
I don’t have any drawings for the outside. I picture kind of a rustic, country/western look with a red tin roof. Maybe a log cabin or Panabode type of construction. Simple strong lines and big overhangs on the eaves so there is more tin roof for the rain to bounce off and create that nice ambient sound track.
If I was by myself then this is where I would want to live.