Author Topic: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??  (Read 9069 times)

Rosy

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2018, 10:44:37 AM »
1. Think vernacular - it is what's called passive house certification now, just a fancy way of using the materials and the design methods that are most suitable for your area of the US. Here in Florida, it is for instance, the overhang around the houses that helps with the cooling in the heat of summer.
2. Insulation - preferably the double walls with the deep window sills - saves money forever.
3. Practicality
This is your chance to address your families needs:
No weird steps and stoops - if you want to live there in old age - also a hazard for little ones.
Doorways wide enough for a wheelchair - usually 48 inches and a clear path through the house - especially in and out of the bathroom.
Standard size windows do save a bundle or do like our friends did - buy rejected, odd size windows once they had a general plan and integrate the ones that worked for them. Many of the window shops will be happy to work with you on this.
Research the heating options to the nth degree. I vote for floor heating and a fireplace, plus a stove that can use different materials for heating.

A thousand times yes on the accessibility of pipes and electrical. Quite expensive to rip into walls or hunt down the problems when you can't get to anything - not to mention the inconvenience - if you are handy, it could save you thousands.
All rooms must have a window and I insist on a nice size window over the sink in the kitchen.
Agree on the solar tube skylight, if possible.
Decide on bike storage, a separate, spacious laundry area as well as sports/camping whatever equipment or holiday decor storage areas - and easy access to them - from the beginning. If you make it an afterthought you'll live to regret it.

Think about all the homes/apartments you've lived in or visited and what you liked best about them when you do your own planning. Even if you go two stories, with all bedrooms upstairs, plan for a room on the main floor downstairs, near a bathroom, that could become, if ever needed or wanted, a separate space for a long time visitor, teen, invalid or older adult that can no longer manage the stairs.

I'd still look at plenty of homes for sale new and old, just to see their flow and get a feel for how it would be to live in such a layout. The devil is truly in the details - well thought out solutions pay off forever, think long and hard about what is important to you and make sure you incorporate at least the top five things on your wishlist.
In this case, mustachianism to me means get the best you can afford, if it brings long-term satisfaction, is important to you or saves forever on your utility bill.

Kitchen and bathrooms top my list of pet peeves for poor design - I hate bathrooms where if you spread out your arms, you touch the wall - even in the shower. It is supposed to be a room, not a dingy closet!:) with no windows and poor airflow. Then people wonder why they have mold - duh!
Heck, even the Romans of two thousand years ago had floor heating and spacious bath areas and thick walls - just sayin'.

Good luck!

PS - yes, I use a clothesline, because we live in Florida and it is better for the life of your clothing, perhaps for the environment too, but I did plan a space with electrical wiring already in place in the utility room for a dryer when the time comes that I am too feeble to hang my own laundry.

Since I had to grapple with an impossible floor plan, 5 foot by eleven foot, I elevated the water heater when it needed replacement anyway. It sits on a heavy duty shelf up anchored to the concrete block walls, so I have plenty of space for a dryer beneath.
I ran high and deep shelving on the other wall for holiday storage and placed the rolling tool chest beneath - it isn't easy to fit today's lifestyle in a 50's small bungalow.
 

bacchi

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2018, 01:41:44 PM »
Yes on passivhaus. Add rigid foam to the roof and walls (you can sometimes buy leftovers from craigslist).

The "perfect wall" is a good start. Make sure to adapt it to your climate.

https://buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-001-the-perfect-wall

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2018, 02:51:53 PM »
Angle your house to the sun, with large double glazed windows. Plant deciduous trees in front of the windows, which will shade the house in summer and let the sun in in the winter. Make them fruit trees, and you get double the benefit.

Maybe a gas continuous flow hot water system, so you're only heating what you need. It will also save space over a hot water cylinder.

A clothesline! And perhaps a large covered outdoor area that can be used to hang washing and also be an outdoor room.

Fruit trees can be tough to maintain pre-fire.  They take a lot of maintenance and upkeep or else youíll attract vermin.

Um... not so. They need a bee-friendly spray when the blosssoms drop, they need winter pruning (and the idea is to keep them small and compact so you can actually reach the fruit - no higher than your roof line), and they need someone to actually pick the fruit which is not something I consider a chore! A lawn requires far more maintenance than a fruit tree, and that's just a useless expanse of vegetation. Lawns were originally considered a sign of enormous wealth, because you could afford to have unused land. Now, of course, everyone has one and I consider them a sign of dumbarsery - pointless square footage that you paid for and now have to spend half your life mowing.

As for vermin, a good cat will put paid to that. I have a HUGE monster of a walnut tree, which attracts all sorts. The hedgehogs can stay, because they also eat all the snails and slugs, but the cat keeps the mice and rat population very low. I just rake the leaves into a big pile in the yard and let them mulch down. Walnut mulch is a natural weed killer. Not so good on the vege garden because it'll kill the plants, but great in those corner areas of driveway or fence where you don't want anything growing.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 02:58:47 PM by AnnaGrowsAMustache »

the_fixer

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2018, 10:53:06 PM »
LED lighting
Thoughtful design / optimized space
Ranch single level
Whole house fan


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« Last Edit: March 25, 2018, 11:15:28 AM by the_fixer »

partgypsy

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #54 on: March 26, 2018, 08:48:43 AM »
Angle your house to the sun, with large double glazed windows. Plant deciduous trees in front of the windows, which will shade the house in summer and let the sun in in the winter. Make them fruit trees, and you get double the benefit.

Maybe a gas continuous flow hot water system, so you're only heating what you need. It will also save space over a hot water cylinder.

A clothesline! And perhaps a large covered outdoor area that can be used to hang washing and also be an outdoor room.

Fruit trees can be tough to maintain pre-fire.  They take a lot of maintenance and upkeep or else youíll attract vermin.

Um... not so. They need a bee-friendly spray when the blosssoms drop, they need winter pruning (and the idea is to keep them small and compact so you can actually reach the fruit - no higher than your roof line), and they need someone to actually pick the fruit which is not something I consider a chore! A lawn requires far more maintenance than a fruit tree, and that's just a useless expanse of vegetation. Lawns were originally considered a sign of enormous wealth, because you could afford to have unused land. Now, of course, everyone has one and I consider them a sign of dumbarsery - pointless square footage that you paid for and now have to spend half your life mowing.

As for vermin, a good cat will put paid to that. I have a HUGE monster of a walnut tree, which attracts all sorts. The hedgehogs can stay, because they also eat all the snails and slugs, but the cat keeps the mice and rat population very low. I just rake the leaves into a big pile in the yard and let them mulch down. Walnut mulch is a natural weed killer. Not so good on the vege garden because it'll kill the plants, but great in those corner areas of driveway or fence where you don't want anything growing.
Nut trees are even better than fruit trees! Both relatives and friends (one tried to do organically, one sprayed) got extremely low yields from their fruit trees due to pests and predation. It seemed like an uphill battle and not worth the trouble.
OTOH we used to have a pecan tree in the side yard of the house we rented. Free pecans, and every 4,5 years a big bumper crop with no additional work!

As far as geothermal, it does have a very expensive price tag. An alternative to reducing heat bills is to have radiant floor heating and have a fireplace in a central location, which can also heat the house if say heating goes out. I also ditto using passive solar building techniques, if you have the ability to angle how to set the house on the lot or at the least how the walls, windows etc are set. How exciting! When I was a kid I loved to draw "house plans" of dream houses. 
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 10:48:46 AM by partgypsy »

LaineyAZ

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #55 on: March 26, 2018, 09:51:31 AM »
Related to the above, take plenty of photos during construction.  Will help pinpoint where all the "innards" are after the drywall goes up - a big help in every future behind-the-wall project.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #56 on: March 26, 2018, 11:12:43 AM »
If planning to use the site productively, look at slope and the way water flows to help pick the best home site. Consider that while being on the top of a hill gives you great views, functionally itís a very bad place shelter wise to put your house.

For cold-temperate climates, the best book on overall homestead planning especially related to water is Ben Falkís Resilient Farm and Homestead. Iím less familiar with good resources for subtropical, arid, or Mediterannean climates.

grantmeaname

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #57 on: March 26, 2018, 11:51:32 AM »
If planning to use the site productively, look at slope and the way water flows to help pick the best home site. Consider that while being on the top of a hill gives you great views, functionally itís a very bad place shelter wise to put your house.
Because you don't want the water to flow up to your house?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #58 on: March 26, 2018, 04:02:12 PM »
If planning to use the site productively, look at slope and the way water flows to help pick the best home site. Consider that while being on the top of a hill gives you great views, functionally itís a very bad place shelter wise to put your house.
Because you don't want the water to flow up to your house?

No, being at the top of a hill puts you at the mercy of wind from every direction, so it makes energy efficiency much harder.

Edit: and you lose the ability to possibly gravity feed water to your house, having to rely on pumping.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 04:05:07 PM by HarbingerofBunnies »

robartsd

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #59 on: March 26, 2018, 05:29:43 PM »
Yes on passivhaus. Add rigid foam to the roof and walls (you can sometimes buy leftovers from craigslist).

The "perfect wall" is a good start. Make sure to adapt it to your climate.

https://buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-001-the-perfect-wall
Those perfect walls are great - of course the devil is in the details of how put holes through it.

change_seeker

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #60 on: March 26, 2018, 06:29:53 PM »
I had a house with a skylight in the bathroom. It sounds silly and indulgent, until you realize that it allows you to use the bathroom without turning lights on, including when the power goes out. Plenty of natural light for morning grooming, and because it's in the ceiling, the light makes it into the shower as well. You can even pee by moonlight :) Loved that bathroom!

Our new house has that too, but in the hall (kids) bathroom rather than the master.  Will have to try peeing by moonlight ;)

nickybecky1

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #61 on: March 26, 2018, 06:45:11 PM »
Major +1 to the have your house do your housework book. I borrowed it from the library but would absolutely buy it if planning to build a home or even if embarking on a house hunt. About half of it is stuff that I can implement in my own home but half is probably how you build the house to have the minimum maintenance (both cost and time efficient). It is recommended in the thread about making your house easy to maintain along with an ergonomics book that Iíd recommend checking out while planning.

My aunt and uncle have a house thatís passive solar heated, with nearly all the windows open to the south and insulated garage doors basically that close at night to keep the heat in. Itís very cool and very cheap to operate. One side is built into the ground which helps maintain temperature quite a lot. I donít know if Iíd go to the trouble of getting passivehaus certified but would use some of the principles to figure that out.

One story houses are the easiest to maintain. But after that, a two story house that has balconies by all the windows so you can wash all the windows while standing on your own, and a roof that on one side is low enough to step onto because itís built into the ground is almost as good. This is the case for my aunt and uncleís house and itís great.

Iíd also recommend minimizing the doors that go in and out to maintain more efficiency. I love houseplans where the garage/most used entrance and main guest entrance are either one door (some midcentury designs have this) or enter the house in roughly the same area so that you can always access the mudroom/coat storage easily from both without walking through the house.

I also love skylights and natural light and weíve been adding them to our house so I agree thatís a great option.

Lmoot

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #62 on: March 27, 2018, 03:21:58 AM »
When I think of a frugal house, I donít think of adding things. I would try and design it in a way which makes maintenance cheaper and easier. For example, wall panels to plumbing and electrical components, crawl space or attic access to pipes (instead of burying in concrete). Or even a detached ďcontrol closetĒ where plumbing, electric and mechanical components live).

Maximizing square footage by extending living areas to the outdoors. Wood burning stoves if live in colder climate, and slanted clerestory windows angled to capture max winter sun. If hot area, large roof eaves and short bushy trees around windows, fans in every room (fans are a friend to southern houses...we even have them on our porches).


grantmeaname

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #63 on: March 27, 2018, 03:49:59 AM »
clerestory
Damn that's a good word.

robartsd

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #64 on: March 27, 2018, 10:33:08 AM »
I've always dreamed about building my own house, but it doesn't seem like the practical thing to do. Early in life my dreams were probably an over-reaction to growing up in a large family in a 3 bedroom house (a very large family room was partially pressed into service as a bedroom while the occupant load exceeded 2 people per actual bedroom). Now I'd still like a house where extended family could gather for Thanksgiving, featuring a 6-800 sf space with the kitchen on one end and living room on the other. With a desire for an entry foyer and formal family room as well, the size of the public space in my "dream house" is close to the entire space of my current house.

Pushing the boundaries on environmentalism could include composting toilets in addition to grey-water and  rain catchment systems. These aren't likely to make financial sense unless you're building in remote areas and can completely avoid the costs associated with utility service.

More practical desires have already been mentioned: pantry space, passive solar design, aging in place. I picture integrating a ramp from the driveway to the porch into the landscape and space for a ramp from the garage to the interior (might use this space for a garage workshop until the ramp is needed). I do want to see a good architectural detail for how to connect a concrete porch and a raised frame floor in a way that would meet ADA accessibility standards - every raised frame floor I've seen has porches that are a step down so the porch don't have to be higher than the concrete foundation wall the framed floor sits on.

Vertical Mode

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #65 on: March 27, 2018, 06:04:55 PM »
I've always dreamed about building my own house, but it doesn't seem like the practical thing to do. Early in life my dreams were probably an over-reaction to growing up in a large family in a 3 bedroom house (a very large family room was partially pressed into service as a bedroom while the occupant load exceeded 2 people per actual bedroom). Now I'd still like a house where extended family could gather for Thanksgiving, featuring a 6-800 sf space with the kitchen on one end and living room on the other. With a desire for an entry foyer and formal family room as well, the size of the public space in my "dream house" is close to the entire space of my current house.

Pushing the boundaries on environmentalism could include composting toilets in addition to grey-water and  rain catchment systems. These aren't likely to make financial sense unless you're building in remote areas and can completely avoid the costs associated with utility service.

More practical desires have already been mentioned: pantry space, passive solar design, aging in place. I picture integrating a ramp from the driveway to the porch into the landscape and space for a ramp from the garage to the interior (might use this space for a garage workshop until the ramp is needed). I do want to see a good architectural detail for how to connect a concrete porch and a raised frame floor in a way that would meet ADA accessibility standards - every raised frame floor I've seen has porches that are a step down so the porch don't have to be higher than the concrete foundation wall the framed floor sits on.

I'm not sure whether I'm correctly visualizing what you're describing here - are you suggesting that the porch and finish floor elevation at the door should be level, instead of a step down? Is the porch itself level with the surrounding grade?

You've probably thought of this already, but if you're planning ahead (as in new construction) it is generally easier to accomplish a flush egress condition by grading the site itself up to meet your porch elevation, unless you have serious space constraints. Much easier to play with the soft stuff (soil) than go to the trouble of architectural solutions which involve time, money, and engineering. In the grand scheme of construction projects, moving earth is relatively cheap. Plus, it will ensure positive drainage away from your house!

robartsd

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #66 on: March 28, 2018, 10:14:29 AM »
I do want to see a good architectural detail for how to connect a concrete porch and a raised frame floor in a way that would meet ADA accessibility standards - every raised frame floor I've seen has porches that are a step down so the porch don't have to be higher than the concrete foundation wall the framed floor sits on.

I'm not sure whether I'm correctly visualizing what you're describing here - are you suggesting that the porch and finish floor elevation at the door should be level, instead of a step down? Is the porch itself level with the surrounding grade?

You've probably thought of this already, but if you're planning ahead (as in new construction) it is generally easier to accomplish a flush egress condition by grading the site itself up to meet your porch elevation, unless you have serious space constraints. Much easier to play with the soft stuff (soil) than go to the trouble of architectural solutions which involve time, money, and engineering. In the grand scheme of construction projects, moving earth is relatively cheap. Plus, it will ensure positive drainage away from your house!
This is just a theoretical dream project for now. Every house I've seen where porch is even with floor has been slab on grade construction. I would love to see a porch even with the floor where the floor is framed over a crawlspace or basement. I've always seen these where the framed floor is built on top of concrete foundation walls and the top of the porch is no higher than the top of the concrete foundation walls. Usually the cladding will extend a little below the wood framing overlapping the top of the foundation wall and the top of the porch will be just below the bottom of the cladding. The detail that I'm having trouble envisioning is where concrete porch, framed floor, and cladding all meet. So far I'm thinking it probably involves use of pressure treated rim joists.

Yes, I agree that landscaping to provide grade level transition to the concrete porch would be appropriate.

LovinPSDs

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #67 on: March 29, 2018, 09:25:31 PM »
So we went and looked at a house that was "net zero" on Tuesday, how cool!! The owner had a pretty big solar array and was on the waitlist for a Tesla 3 but fell into 10 acres and is moving to build.  Property had electric on demand water, electric heaters to supplement the gas, and a few other nick nacks. He was also grandfathered in to the net metering plan until 2048 I think it is. I really liked the house enough to consider an offer but the wife doesn't like the lack of privacy sharing a private pond with about 10 other houses and it was near a highway which created noticeable noise. Once the trees bloomed I'm sure it would go down but o well, wife wasn't into it

I'll be honest, even if we stay where we are I'm becoming inverested in solar options. I read MMM latest blog about solar and noticed the link he provides for equipment actually went up in $/kw as the systems grew in size, what's that all about?

fixie

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #68 on: April 17, 2018, 05:09:35 PM »
A single-level open floor plan in the Danish/Northern European simple design with a centrally located wood-fired masonry heater/heated bench.  High efficiency glazing with excellent light.  Easy entryway to accomodate bikes/mudroom, raingear.  Super insulated straw bale or straw clay insulation(can last hundreds of years).  Clay plaster and wood interior finishes.  Wiring installed in-wall conduit.  Floor plan design to optimize plumbing runs.  Metal roof with cement board siding or Yakisugi board and batten cedar siding.  Covered outdoor cooking area for hot summers.  Water catchment to cistern from roof.  Solar panels with battery backup.  Enormous shop for all my tinkering hobbies built in same manner as house but BIG.  Apartment over shop for rentals/guests.  Shop has overhead gantry hahaha.  That was fun.

-fixie

dhc

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #69 on: April 17, 2018, 08:32:04 PM »
Wait a minute here, are you saying the other houses in town are too cheap for you? What makes you think you need a house in the 175-250k price range? Please tell me that all the other houses are actually more expensive than this. Building a brand new house is almost never more cost effective than buying an existing one. You also don't want to have the most expensive house in your neighborhood when you try to sell.

Yes they are cheap, but also in very low income/drug filled/not areas I want to raise my family of 4. We're in the Midwest where I believe 200-250K should go a pretty decent way (1 acre(ish) + 3/2 house).  I am trying to work this very fine balance of a house nice enough to meet our quality and appearance standards (which admittedly are relatively high for this group I'd guess), reasonable enough to not cramp our budget, close enough to reduce my drive and in an area where we can sell if I get a wild hair for the oil field again.  It's a very delicate balance.

I know many here will say "imagine if you bought that 15K dump next to the coke dealer!! You could save 75% of your income" but that's just not where my priorities lie for my young family.

I am simply seeking out great ideas for which you would add to a house if you were going to build. Some are probably less Mustachian than others but I don't believe we're out of line.
You're moving to be closer to work, but is this somewhere you plan to live forever? Because if not, building a house that's the most expensive in town is almost certainly a great way to throw your money down the toilet - who else is possibly going to buy what you're building where you're building it a few years down the road?

Besides, if you think every house for sale in the town you want to move to is so below your standards that there's a coke dealer next door (Im sure that's not true, but it suggests you think the town is somehow "below you), are you sure you're going to be happy living in that town?

Seems to me like the mustachian way of doing this isn't to buy a dump and just be happy with it, but it's also not to contribute to sprawl and waste by building something completely new. Instead, it's probably to buy an existing home with good bones and no coke dealer directly next door and spend the money you save rehabbing it to be pleasant, safe, efficient, and not completely out-of-character with its neighborhood.



chaskavitch

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2018, 06:31:49 AM »
A single-level open floor plan in the Danish/Northern European simple design with a centrally located wood-fired masonry heater/heated bench.  High efficiency glazing with excellent light.  Easy entryway to accomodate bikes/mudroom, raingear.  Super insulated straw bale or straw clay insulation(can last hundreds of years).  Clay plaster and wood interior finishes.  Wiring installed in-wall conduit.  Floor plan design to optimize plumbing runs.  Metal roof with cement board siding or Yakisugi board and batten cedar siding.  Covered outdoor cooking area for hot summers.  Water catchment to cistern from roof.  Solar panels with battery backup.  Enormous shop for all my tinkering hobbies built in same manner as house but BIG.  Apartment over shop for rentals/guests.  Shop has overhead gantry hahaha.  That was fun.

-fixie

Ha, this sounds like a perfect compromise between what my husband and I want.  He's always talking about making a longhouse-style home with a big fire in the middle, and having a giant shop with living space above it.  I'm all about the neat energy efficiency/water saving features.  We'd both love a sunny house and easy to access wiring and plumbing.

Roadrunner53

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #71 on: April 18, 2018, 06:41:30 AM »
Built in cabinets in the bedrooms so no need for dressers. Lots of closets. Lots of outlets. Ceiling fans. Large laundry room. Large bathrooms. Walk in closets.

partgypsy

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Re: What Mustachian things would you put in a new house if you built??
« Reply #72 on: April 18, 2018, 10:47:18 AM »
Double thick walls - Net zero

In colder climates (Canada) its a construction technique where two sets of wall studs are used (offset) so that the insulation can be doubled. You get 12" walls and extra deep windows sills. The main benefit is it removes most of the heating/cooling cost from the house forever. A current house can be built that won't need a furnace (in Canada, we're talking cold weather), or AC in the summer (where I live the temperatures range from 40to 105 F every year). Without a forced air furnace or AC there is less dust in the house, its a weird side note that cleaning is minimized as well!
 
I use to work with a fellow who was a pioneer of the net zero homes, he passed away unfortunately. Being an engineer he posted all the costs of building his own house, his utlity bills and did a comparison to a conventional house built to be the same size. His build cost was under 10% more than a conventional home, in 1990! costs have become better since then, unfortunately its still difficult to find plans or contractors that can adapt building styles.

Bonus in the country, you won't need natural gas lines to be extended to the property.

This is awesome. It's too bad these building designs are not more mainstream.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 10:56:16 AM by partgypsy »