812 SQ. FT. (square)
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I recieved this e-mail from Stuart and decided it was time to write something up on this plan.

Been looking into straw bale for years, bought all the books, etc. Have been looking for a two bedroom plan that was simplistic in design and that 812 seem to hit the nail on the head . I notice that you did not elaborate at all as you did with your other designs? What gives? Looks like a hell of a design to me. Congrats

Stuart (wmsonstuart@excite.com)


1. I was walking through the neighborhood one day and noticed this rather nondescript two story four plex going up and decided to check it out. I spent a lot of time studying the floor plan in the early stages of open stud walls and decided the basic plan had merit as a small compact "single family" unit. After some modification, I came up with this rather nice small and compact two bedroom plan.

2. In this version, the foot print is square, with eight four foot (three string) bales per side or 32 feet per side on the outside and 28 feet per side on the inside. The south wall is designed with a lot of glass...maybe more than needed...and thus is stud, cob, or cordwood rather than straw bale...resulting in 812 square feet of useful (inside) space. Two south facing french doors open the house when needed for ventilation and a strong connection to the out-of-doors.

3. In the four plex version, the bedrooms were facing south at one end of the complex and north at the other, with no real solar advantage. As a free standing, the living rooms are placed on the south side, with the bedrooms logically on the north. An east facing entry satisfies "feng shui" principles, with another more formal entry possible on the south side as shown, splinting the dining and living areas.

4. The square box footprint is split into four equal quadrants representing the living area, the kitchen/dining area, and the two bedrooms (with the compact bathroom and hall borrowing space from the bedrooms). The washer/dryer are in the kitchen with additional kitchen workspace optional above. The wall separating the living area and kitchen can be low for more connection or full to the ceiling for more privacy. The country style kitchen includes the dining table and a pantry.

5. The novelty and success of this plan lies in the trick hallway/utility room arrangement. By borrowing a corner from the kitchen, a bit from the bedroom closet and a corner of the square hallway a small efficient utility room is created, well located, serving the bathroom, the washing machine and the kitchen sink. The small central "hallway" easily accesses the bedrooms, the bath, the utility closet, the living room and the linen closet.

6. A loft under a steep gable, or a full second level could be added with access by ladder for the loft or staircase located on the living room wall by eliminating the east facing entry door and the fireplace.
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