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Old 08-19-2010, 05:17 PM   #101
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It doesn't. They're a pain in the @ss. They show every single smudge and brush of lint, and they're waaaaay more expensive than regular white appliances. Stick with white -- not as trendy, just as durable, much easier to clean.
Would microfiber towels work to clean the stainless steel finish on appliances? These towels work great on mirrors, car windows, and lots of other cleaning jobs with just a little water.
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:28 PM   #102
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Would microfiber towels work to clean the stainless steel finish on appliances? These towels work great on mirrors, car windows, and lots of other cleaning jobs with just a little water.
That's what we use (fridge/freezer, ovens, dishwasher), and it works better than anything else. But it requires serious elbow grease, and I mean serious! You can't just wipe it, you have to scrub it. With the brush marks, because if you go across them it doesn't look right. And a couple of times by the time I've gotten to the end of one appliance there are new smudges on it back where I began. It's sort of like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.

Stick with white. Or maybe Harvest Gold or Avacado. Classics.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:47 PM   #103
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Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) wrote a funny piece in this weekend's WSJ:

Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Tries to Build an Eco-Friendly House - WSJ.com

Mixed in with the humor are some serious points about the challenges of a non-traditional design.

One example: insurance may not be available with just a phone call and a quick visit from an agent.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:58 PM   #104
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Here is the ultimate in small housing: Cosmo Seattle: Pico-Dwelling, by Steve Sauer

This was created in an older co-op. The unit owner has a lot of design and engineering skills but the concept should be achievable for anyone who is willing to live with what is necessary and has an aversion to 'stuff'.

My brother down-sized to a studio with about 450 sq feet, a lovely deck and a parking space, again in an older co-op. He loves living there, his housing expenses are modest .. leaving enough $ to travel as much as he wishes.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:49 PM   #105
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Pico Dwelling interesting to see. I was drawn into clicking on the full article. I guess he uses the sofa as his bed? I think I would have put a bed up in the loft and done away with the lounge area. I wouldn't care to have my sofa double as my bed. As the unit also has a shower, I think I would have done away with the soaking tub in the hallway. Maybe used it for storage...for my extensive shoe collection But quite ingenious use of a small space especially if one lived in a neighborhood with lots to do and in a place with a good climate.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:00 PM   #106
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In my experience sofas do not make good beds, neither would I find a sleeping loft acceptable. But, this place is under 200 sq feet. The soaking tub made no sense to me either. Typical designer stuff.

Seattle doesn't have what some would call a 'good climate', but it doesn't have the extremes of Pittsburgh.

My brother has a modern wall kitchen, wall bed behind very nice paneling, efficient closet and chests. Stained concrete floor with Oriental carpets. Nice, not fancy bathroom. He is a great cook and entertains regularly. One lady who wanted out of her sterile Pearl condo (we are talking Portland) took one look and put an offer on another studio presently on the market.

This economy is enabling some to re-consider their values.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:04 PM   #107
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Pico Dwelling interesting to see. I was drawn into clicking on the full article. I guess he uses the sofa as his bed? I think I would have put a bed up in the loft and done away with the lounge area. I wouldn't care to have my sofa double as my bed. As the unit also has a shower, I think I would have done away with the soaking tub in the hallway. Maybe used it for storage...for my extensive shoe collection But quite ingenious use of a small space especially if one lived in a neighborhood with lots to do and in a place with a good climate.
I'm pretty sure I see a bed up in the upper loft. See image 4 of the 7. It looks like a small pad of foam, but it's better than a sofa. Not what I would choose, but some people like that. The concept of a 2 inch ceiling clearance would end it for me. I like to stretch up and touch the ceiling with my hands to unkink my spine. I'd hit his with my head if I stood on my tiptoes.

It reminds me of Bruce Willis' apartment in the Fifth Element, with beds folding up and the refrigerator being under the shower.
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:05 AM   #108
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I'm pretty sure I see a bed up in the upper loft. See image 4 of the 7. It looks like a small pad of foam, but it's better than a sofa. Not what I would choose, but some people like that. The concept of a 2 inch ceiling clearance would end it for me. I like to stretch up and touch the ceiling with my hands to unkink my spine. I'd hit his with my head if I stood on my tiptoes.

It reminds me of Bruce Willis' apartment in the Fifth Element, with beds folding up and the refrigerator being under the shower.
You are right! I feel better about the space now. I think this design would be okay for a younger, single person in an expensive metropolis. I might find it a little claustrophobic on that sleep shelf close to the ceiling, too.
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:10 AM   #109
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We'll be building a small caretaker's cottage at our place in a few years, probably this one from the Lowe's Katrina Cottage series. 576 square feet. Very cute!


The Katrina Cottage - Model 576 brought to you by Lowes.com

Go any idea about the cost to build it?
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:17 AM   #110
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I'm pretty sure I see a bed up in the upper loft...The concept of a 2 inch ceiling clearance would end it for me. I like to stretch up and touch the ceiling with my hands to unkink my spine. I'd hit his with my head if I stood on my tiptoes.
Here's a version of a loft bed that made sense to me when I saw it in the magazine Dwell (frequently a good source of ideas for clever use of small spaces). It has enough head room to get out bed and stand up:

[IMG]http://media.dwell.com/images/509*643/puzzle-loft-kitchen-view-hallway.jpg[/IMG]
Big City, Little Loft - Homes - Dwell

It looks like it would take a minimum ceiling height of 12 feet to pull it off, with the bed platform at an elevation of about 8 feet and the "stretching" space at an elevation of maybe 4 to 5 feet.

Mine would have a ladder or stair, however. I'm not capable of literally jumping into bed.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:23 AM   #111
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Looks like your bedding stands a strong chance of being infused with the aroma of whatever you cooked for supper. Boiled cabbage anyone?
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:55 AM   #112
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Was reading Weird Oregon and there is a lady named Frances Gabe in Newberg who has a home she developed that used spinning arms in the ceiling that hose down the house. Hot air bowers took care of the drying. Story is that Frances is now into her nineties and the house was damaged in an earthquake some years back leaving only the dish cabinet-washer functional.
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Windows, ICF & SIP, covered porches
Old 10-05-2010, 11:18 PM   #113
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Windows, ICF & SIP, covered porches

The Low Maintenance House by Gene Logsdon from Rodale Press 1987
ISBN 0-87857-718-1
You can have my copy. Contact me via private message, called notification on these forums.
Also consult with those who clean houses for a living.

There is a book and a website with forums for ICF and SIP houses.

JMHO

Consider higher walls with big roof overhangs so your windows still get plenty of light but with reduced rain on them. Windows and higher ceilings are important in smaller houses, but double paned glass is only R2 insulation. Your house walls will be R20, so too much glass will negate your wall insulation.

Have windows that open vertically, but be aware that the in-swing will reduce your living space since you will have to keep that area clear. I've had Pella windows with a horizontal removable pane for cleaning but it weighed 40# with my arms outstretched while putting it back into the bracket. It was on the third story and that location is why we needed the removable pane. Think ahead.

Our current house walls are made of insulated concrete forms(ICF). My suggestion is to use structural insulated panels(SIP). The installation is so much cheaper since you could do SIPs yourself by taking a class, or hire a couple of skilled people for a couple of days. Skilled framers can put up an entire cabin shell in two 12 hour days, or a small SIP house using a boom truck (very small crane) in one day if they have SIP experience. Habitat for Humanity(HFH) uses SIPs to frame a lockable structure in one day in neighborhoods where building materials wander away after dark. Go watch a SIP house being framed before or after the class.

For your area, HFH likely has the best suited, easy-to-build, inexpensive houses. Most are for families but others are sized for retirees. Contact them locally to find their architect.

Consider building an outbuilding (garage/storage shed/shop) first as practice for using the same materials in your house. The added expense of the better materials is offset by the value of the experience that you will gain.

A SIP roof does not have trusses so that opens up the ceiling and you can have small sealed windows high in the end walls for natural light. A SIP roof does need a boom truck for the one day of installing the roof panels.

Watch for situations where spending extra for a quick and easy installation in a day is cheaper than expending physical labor for two weeks on your retiree's body. I would contract out the dried-in framing then do the interior finish work myself. Framing is for strong, young people, not retirees.

If you insist on wood framing, use spray-in foam insulation since that seals the air infiltration from those extremely leaky walls. You can spray the foam yourself but might need a laborer to assist with cleaning up the overspray as you go.

Consider ICFs for the foundation walls so your concrete floor is completely insulated from outside temperatures, but make sure that your rough-in plumbing (that gets buried in the concrete) is carefully insulated. There is foam between the floor edge and the stem wall so expansion is not a problem. Our floor stays the same temperature summer and winter. Cover the concrete with whatever suits you. You can put wood framing for an OSB subfloor on top of a lowered concrete floor if you want the advantages of both flooring materials.

Choose your land for good drainage then build without raised decks. Decks are not wheel chair friendly, even with ramps. Have covered, concrete carport/patio/porches instead, which are especially nice for being outdoors in rainy climates. Site the add-on structures according to how the sun or prevailing winds effect your house. A covered carport used as a patio between the house and the garage is our favorite space.

Use low maintenance, seamless gutters feeding into underground pipes to empty the roof runoff far away from the house. With decks, that is less of a consideration.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:46 AM   #114
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Wrong phrasing on the windows, they need to open to the side, the glass is vertical and the open hole is vertical. Can't find the edit button.

The Katrina design is great. Note the efficient use of materials that come in 4' widths. You purchase the same amount of materials on a 15' width as on a 16' width. If you want more house, just stretch that plan in 4' increments, keeping the layout the same.

Look at manufactured housing floor plans, as in go walk around in them at the sales place. Those are the only house plans that you can easily tour before you build your own. For smaller homes they show the most efficient use of space. Their cost is less than other building methods and some, but only some, are not bad houses. Since Katrina, building codes likely require manufactured housing to be fairly well assembled. If you want site built, just use their floor plans.
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:00 AM   #115
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Can't find the edit button.
It goes away 6 hours after you post...
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:35 PM   #116
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A wonderful thread. Makes me want to build a home from scratch.

I think you need to clean regularly irrespective of the 'low maintenance' features. Dust & in your area, mold is a health hazard. I guess the impact on our bodies will only get worse as we age. Best get used to the idea and set aside a weekly time to just get it done. Seems to work for us - though we skip it every so often.
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Consider RV-style cabinets
Old 04-24-2011, 08:36 AM   #117
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Consider RV-style cabinets

For maximum use of space, consider RV-style overhead cabinets THROUGHOUT the house, in every room. As a full-time RVer, I can attest that they make a HUGE difference in available storage! I have often thought that whenever we settle down and get a house again, I would have cabinets in every room, because they are so useful, and because I now realize how awfully much space is wasted in most houses. My wife and I have been living in appx. 330 sq. ft. of floor space (although the actual useable floor space is much less, since furniture and cabinetry take up much of it!) since 2003. We find it a discipline as well as a lifestyle - you can't go buy a bunch of stuff, because there's no place to put it, and the RV can't carry the excess weight safely! Everything MUST be put away securely when they "house" has to move to a different location!
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:07 AM   #118
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For maximum use of space, consider RV-style overhead cabinets THROUGHOUT the house, in every room. As a full-time RVer, I can attest that they make a HUGE difference in available storage! I have often thought that whenever we settle down and get a house again, I would have cabinets in every room, because they are so useful, and because I now realize how awfully much space is wasted in most houses. My wife and I have been living in appx. 330 sq. ft. of floor space (although the actual useable floor space is much less, since furniture and cabinetry take up much of it!) since 2003. We find it a discipline as well as a lifestyle - you can't go buy a bunch of stuff, because there's no place to put it, and the RV can't carry the excess weight safely! Everything MUST be put away securely when they "house" has to move to a different location!
Do you have a picture? Or what make of RV do you have, so I can look at the manufacturer's site for a picture of the cabinets you are describing? I am not familiar with them.
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:23 PM   #119
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Every RV I've ever seen (except for popups) has the kind of high cabinets I'm talking about, so any one you look at would have them. Our RV is a New Horizons 5th wheel (website New Horizons RV | Luxury Full Time RV & Custom Fifth Wheels). New Horizons are famous in the RV industry for the high quality of their cabinetry - when we visited their plant in Kansas, there were several other RVs there (from other brands) having the other factory's cabinets replaced with Horizons cabinetry.
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