440 sq. ft. (GUEST HOUSE)
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  • At 440 square feet, one of the smallest plans in the group, this "guest house" could be built for about $13,200 assuming $30 per square foot for materials, the owner/builder(s) doing most of the work with their friends.

  • It features a small but complete kitchen and bath with two private bedrooms (or one study). Bedrooms can be constructed with raised platforms, storage under, a futon or mattress on top. The same space will also accommodate a standard bed. For effective solar gain, cover a waterbed mattress with a black or dark cover. Bedrooms closets are adequate when used with under bed storage.

  • A futon bed in living area could provide one more sleeping area. Space is available in the living area for a small wood burning stove next to the sliding glass entry door.

  • A well located "pantry" (shelving) shares the mud, utility room out the back door to garden access, parking or a studio/shop/garage. Counter and cabinets on north, straw bale wall more difficult to construct/attach than on interior stud wall.

  • No windows in the east/west walls reduces summer heat build up and suggests attached housing. A relatively high percentage of south facing glazing provides full passive solar capability.

  • Can be built as load bearing or post and beam with shed, gable, hip, or flat roof. I tend to see it with a two level "flat" roof with overhangs.

  • Although not well suited to expansion, a studio or garage could be build as a separate building to the north or west with access through the back door. The plan could be stacked with garage. storage, or workshop under, and studio, library, or study over the basic living unit. Access would be by outside staircase. This would result in about 1320 square feet of enclosed space on three levels. The foundation and roof area are a small percentage of floor area for economy of construction.



  • comments: 440 sq. ft. (guesthouse)

    I really enjoyed the plan and will at some point probably order study plans for this home. I would like to discuss a couple of possible modifications. My use would be as a primary home for one person perhaps a couple with only an occasional guest.

    First as this would be primary residence some provisions for laundry facilities would need to be made. You have drawn a standard water heater and furnace in utility room. A tankless water heater and small boiler for hydronic heating would be much more efficient and effective in such a small house. This would certainly provide sufficient space for a stackable washer/dryer combination.

    The house is very oriental in its design so the smallness of the bedrooms does not bother. However I do think that pushing the east and west walls to a length that would accommodate a full sized futon is a good idea. It would only require a few feet and still maintain the overall compactness of the house but the benefit of having a “full sized” bedroom would be there in the event of a resale. I would add small windows to the east and west over the beds. All the interior doors would be eliminated except for a pocket door to the bath.

    I would raise the level of the center section for three reasons. First in the event of any pluming disaster or weather related flooding, there is a bit of a barrier. It would also provide for a crawl space for utilities and additional storage. Finally, I would extend the entryway and put in a separate set of double doors. I would use double swinging glass entry doors to create a more formal entrance. The entrance would be divided from and step up into the main room and – again a very oriental layout. It would be finished entirely with masonry to provide a thermal mass to aid in heating the house.

    I think you are right about the flat roof though I am not sure about the detail yet. There is a guesthouse on a ranch in Arizona that comes to mind – I used to pass it on the way to work every day. The layout is very similar from what I could tell in passing. I think a southwest style with high-tech insulating materials would work.

    I would appreciate your response to redbmwk1@yahoo.com

    Webmaster and Straw Bale Design: Robert Andrews, 3223 Urban Street, Pueblo, Colorado, 81005, 719 406 1901
    e-bale@balewatch.com


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