Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
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Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
Follow along as we share our experiences building our own home. We are neither builders nor architects so we get a lot of help along the way!

Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
Rural Ozarks
Madison County
Northwest, Arkansas 72632

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(479) 555-5555

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The mis-adventures of the Bailey family building their own home Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
More Photos From Our Project.

The Floor Plan


Date: December 4, 2003

Always need a good floor plan, but this will do till one comes along.

This floor plan has gone through MANY mutations, some of which you would not recognize. I have use round shapes and diamond shapes. As a result, the next major project will be a bit more unique. (Click here to see the hobbit house design) For the first home I have built, however, a building with square angles in the corner seems a bit wiser.

This floor plan has the south to the top of the page. Poor design, I know. The windows on that wall face 15 degrees east of the south position. In all the research I have done, I have seen recommendations to face directly south and as much as 20 degrees from directly south to gain full benefit of the solar heating that is possible. I could have spun it more to the west, but the view is this way.

There are two bedrooms designed into the floor plan. The first one is the large master bedroom with a view. The second is a smaller room, yet large enough to comfortably sleep two children. The plan shows a bathroom on the master bedroom, but die to financial constraints, it will more likely be an office for Jen and I.

The walls that face the earth berm will be made of 12 inch block. Rather than a mortared wall, it will be laid dry then we will apply a mortar to both sides of the wall. This is called surface bonded.

As seen in the illustration to the left, regular mortar walls have less strength because they may rock under the lateral pressure of the earth against it. The surface bonded blocks provide strength on the inside and outside of the wall, making lateral pressures less of a concern. If the wall tries to bend right, the bonding on the left side holds it straight. If the wall tries to bend to the left, the bonding on the right side will hold it straight. It seems like an ideal situation for creating the wall with better strength.

For a 12 inch thick wall, we will need 24 inch wide footings. They need to be at least 9 inches, maybe more deep with rebar running through the bottom three inches of them. As you can see in the second sketch, the area within the footings is divided into two parts. There are a few reasons for this.

If we were to put in a cement floor, the cross piece would not be needed, however, I will be installing a wood floor with 12 - 36 inches of crawl space below. This creates a 12 foot span for the floor joists to cross.

Why wood? First, wood floors create a homier feel to a place. It creates a more intimate and less industrial environment. But don't think that is the only reason.

The two portions have differing purrposes. The walls will be insulated from the surrounding earth to keep warmer in the winter. This, however, means there will not be as much benefit in the summer of the cool earth. The open section under the floor at the top of the sketch will be uninsulated, creating a cool space. In the summer, we will be able to cool the cabin by moving air through this space.

The other side will be insulated from the earth. It will have crude cement pad in it, the solid outlid will be level. This area will store several storage tanks for water that will be heated by the solar heater or by the fireplace. The water will be driven by El Sid Circulation pumps and controled by differential temperature controls. There will be more on this design later.

Tha last of the red sketches shows the framing for the floor joists. This is absolutely necessary because as other layers are designed, it can be re-designed to fit. For example, when I began drawing in the fireplace, I discovered there should be an opening for it to sit on a cement footing. I also had to move a few joists to place the posts and the trap door used to access the warm side of the 'basement'.

Concept Drawings

Click to enlarge image  - The Floor Plan -
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Click to enlarge image  - The Floor Plan -
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Click to enlarge image  - The Floor Plan -
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Click to enlarge image  - The Floor Plan -
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