This Space for Rent

The traditional waste of time (pt 2)

One sign that it's getting closer to summer is that I'm spending more time working on the summer camp plans. I don't expect that I'll get the silly thing finished this summer (unless I quit my job and resign myself to being eaten alive by health insurance costs), but I'm still making jabs at making better houseplans.

This one is another one of the huge (6x9 meters, or 20x30 feet) camp-or-real-house plans, but I've moved the staircase to the center of a wall so I can wrap the downstairs around the stairwell and make room for a little study/nook/Stickley-style fireplace cubby™ (the current plan shows a fireplace on the right wall, but as you can probably guess these non-structural fireplaces can be, and are, extremely mobile.) This one also implements one of the Holy Grails of modern house design -- a ridiculously large bathroom (well, at least according to my standards; the bathroom we have at home is 2x3 meters, and which includes a 2x.5 meter dead space next to the door), which I've drawn out as split into two rooms; one with a toilet, and one with a shower and a tub. People still have to go upstairs to use the bathroom, but this plan is still arranged so you can use the toilet while someone is having sex in the bathtub.

I sacrifice the large extra room by having a larger bathroom, but note that this larger bathroom is stacked on top of the kitchen so all the plumbing gets to stay in one tidy stack instead of being spread all over the house. And the little bumpout in the walls around the kitchen and bathroom are not actually bumpouts, but the places where I've sacrificed strawbale insulation in favor of more conventional non-rotting synthetic insulation. I don't expect that there will be regular floods in either of the kitchen or the bathroom, but it's been my experience that bathrooms get to be fairly humid, and I don't want to experiment with having the strawbale walls wicking that humidity out of the house.

The cross sections of this house are, if anything, even more boring than the other 6x9 meter house plan. The ground floor will have a heavy bearing beam running left to right about 2.5 meters from the staircase wall, and I'll rest joists on top of those running from top to bottom. I'll probably not even bother to plaster the ceiling on the ground floor, but use pretty enough wood so that it can remain exposed, then build the floor of the upper story (obUS: second floor. ObUK: first floor?) out of some finish-grade wood panelling lying face down (at least something that's moderately weatherproof, so my heirs won't have to worry about it delaminating and coming down around their ears) with a layer of bamboo flooring on top of that.

The kitchen and bathroom will be done a little differently. The kitchen is going to have a finished ceiling so I can work the plumbing out into the bathroom fixtures without having cast-iron pipes looming above the kitchen stove, and I'm planning on tiling or cementing (most likely tiling; I've been accumulating floor tiles and have almost enough to do both floors in the elegant magpie on speed style that I'm known for) both floors so that they'll be (a) waterproof (with floor drains) and (b) can have radiant heating coils embedded in the floors.

I have had to sacrifice the split staircase (one leg going down into the basement, one leg going down into the main room) to fit it into the center of the house. I'm not sure how much of a sacrifice this will be.

Some of the site-specific things that will need to be worked out are whether to do a porch or to provide an outside entrance to the basement. If the house was going to be a place to live after emigrating to Canada a camphouse for long summer vacations (my father was a university professor, so we got to take a month-long vacation at his family's summer camp in Maine every summer. Working a more conventional 9-5 job sucks, but perhaps I'll win the lottery one of these days) I'd want to build at separate workshop for all of us to do projects in, and if the climate was bad enough I'd probably have to build some sort of garage for the obPrius.