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Old 04-04-2008, 10:42 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,619 posts, read 15,799,296 times
Reputation: 10135

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Living View Post
I appreciate the thoughts, so far, everyone! If this ever became a viable option, I would be looking at Western Montana and Northern Idaho for building. Again, somewhere very rural, not in town sandwiched between brick and mortar homes!

Thanks for the links, PNW-type-gal!
In those areas you're going to have to deal with snow and wind codes. (And earthquake codes - Montana and Idaho have earthquakes.)

In general, you'll have to present a set of building plans to get a permit, and those will need to meet code. Going with straw bale or an earth house that's already been built, and that you can buy ready-made plans for, will be your least cost route.

You can always add interior touches - for instance, you'll want good low E, high SHGC windows to keep the cold and heat out. That means vinyl frame windows, for cost reasons, so the wood window trim in the Hobbit House can be only that - trim, not part of the structure. You can make it LOOK any way you want (budget allowing) but the underlying structure has to pass inspection and meet code.

There are other things - current National code requires that stairs have railings, and that the railings are spaced so that a 4" ball can't pass through. So the only way to get those stair railings would be to use steel cable in addition to the whimsical bits of wood. It CAN be done, but it's adding quite a bit of cost.

My favorite current house design is this one:
LaMiDesign.Com/Plans | Catalog of Plans

very modern, very simple - build the back wall with ICF, insulate the heck out of it, use high-quality windows, and you've got a light, open, airy, simple home with high ceilings and a ton of natural light.

Last edited by PNW-type-gal; 04-04-2008 at 11:00 AM..
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:59 PM
 
1,839 posts, read 4,519,140 times
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Yeah, it's the "age-related problems" that concern me. Still, it intrigues me and causes me to want to check into underground homes more seriously.

PNW-type-gal, NOW you're just raining on my parade! LOL
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Old 04-04-2008, 01:13 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,619 posts, read 15,799,296 times
Reputation: 10135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Living View Post
Yeah, it's the "age-related problems" that concern me. Still, it intrigues me and causes me to want to check into underground homes more seriously.

PNW-type-gal, NOW you're just raining on my parade! LOL
Lol, better to know NOW what the hurdles are than to set your heart on it and then be balked every step of the way.

We designed our own house and then sent our plans to a structural engineer for final review/engineering inputs. I don't recommend this route to any but the most hard-headed.
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Old 04-04-2008, 02:58 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,797 posts, read 41,447,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Living View Post
I appreciate the thoughts, so far, everyone! If this ever became a viable option, I would be looking at Western Montana and Northern Idaho for building. Again, somewhere very rural, not in town sandwiched between brick and mortar homes!

Thanks for the links, PNW-type-gal!
You should be ok in MT. Last I heard they just inspected the septic and electrical. I have friends in Plains and Thompson Falls, that's pretty close to ID. They like it real well there.

I've been interested in underground homes since the early 70's, but have settled for daylight basements in our current climate of 120" rain / yr.... and really dreary 260+ days / yr. Thus take 'sun-vacations' frequently.
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:00 PM
 
1,839 posts, read 4,519,140 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janb View Post
You should be ok in MT. Last I heard they just inspected the septic and electrical. I have friends in Plains and Thompson Falls, that's pretty close to ID. They like it real well there.

I've been interested in underground homes since the early 70's, but have settled for daylight basements in our current climate of 120" rain / yr.... and really dreary 260+ days / yr. Thus take 'sun-vacations' frequently.
Great information! I'll check it out!
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:25 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,139 posts, read 22,728,341 times
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I'm planning on a log cabin with a sod roof, but, not underground (there's the possibility of something called permafrost I have to deal with on my land, I need to keep the soil from getting warmed up under the home or the permafrost if it's there will melt and the house sink). If I were to build that underground thing, I'd use larger logs for the roof supports/etc. I've heard of people very pleased with their underground homes, and others with lots of water/moisture related problems. It must be designed to fit the site, you can't just use a pre-made design and be certain it'll work fine. Soil composition, slopes/flatness, etc., all influence what you'll need to do to keep it dry inside. As for building codes, who cares about them, find a place where they aren't there or aren't enforced. "Life expectancy" of a house has been going down for years along with tighter building codes being implemented, not up, which says something about how "effective" codes are. LOL
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Old 04-04-2008, 08:52 PM
 
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If you have a log cabin with any type of modern fixtures like a toilet etc ;it can get very expensive to build.I know a friend who built had one built and it cost about twaice what the normal structure would cost becuase of movement problems that cam arise. There are alot of crummy log home built. He spent about five years doing research and was surprised what it took.I ask him about underground homes and he said they are only for the right climate and have major peoblems in wet climates.I have always thoiught they are neat but most that build them either have alot of money or years to do the work and research on them it seems.
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:36 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,797 posts, read 41,447,473 times
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agree about the crummy log homes... I have had several friends who built them, and others who have lived in ones built in the 1800's. They can be a maint headache and very breezy and they move a lot in first few years and can break up your molding / trim.

I like the rammed earth home, there was a real pretty one in "fine homebuilding" a couple years ago, the walls were like a sand painting. Concrete impregnated foam blocks are my #2 option. But don't short yourself on light, it can be very healthy.

A local guy is building a 'cob' home, even in our wet climate. But it is a 'guest home / studio', so he still has a place to keep warm if that collapses, tho I suspect it won't.

Some of the most interesting underground homes I found were 'monolithic' pours of 24' sq pods with domed ceilings, high enough for lofts. They could be poured side by side. We toured a 6000' one in MO, it was very nice, 2 cords of wood to heat for winter...(I use that much in a couple months
Earth Sheltered Buildings
Remodeling : Underground House : Home & Garden Television
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Old 04-05-2008, 07:18 PM
 
Location: NoVa
18,434 posts, read 30,053,624 times
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There are two homes in my area like this. They do not have the 'woodland home' look, but they are built into hillsides, with the top of the home being covered in ...grass.

Only one side of the home is visible. Both houses are next door to eachother. Over the years, one of them had built up and is no longer like this, it almost looks like a regular house. Where they are visible, the exterior is brick.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:49 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,236 posts, read 42,006,520 times
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Gamble Plantation, Judah P. Benjamin, and Florida in the Civil War

Expert Reviews

Gamble Plantation
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Situated northeast of downtown Bradenton, this is the oldest structure on the southwestern coast of Florida, and a fine example of an antebellum plantation home -- something that's quite rare in Florida. It was constructed over a 6-year period in the late 1840s by Maj. Robert Gamble, made primarily of "tabby mortar" (a mixture of oyster shells, sand, molasses, and water), with 10 rooms, verandas on three sides, 18 exterior columns, and eight fireplaces. Now maintained as a state historic site, it includes a fine collection of 19th-century furnishings. Entrance to the house is by tour only, although you can explore the grounds on your own. Prime Outlets Ellenton is a 5-minute drive from here via U.S. 301, so you can combine a plantation visit with bargain hunting.



There was an article in our local newspaper talking about how the lime plaster used in the mansion is starting to deteriorate...but how bad is that after 150 years?
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