Mini Cordwood House Plans: Design Process

Planning and Goals

Happy Spring!

Our house was designed quite differently than houses are often designed.  Many people look at a cape or a split level and some fancy floor plans.  You look at what color roof you want and what color shutters.  How much can we get financed for? tends to be at the top of the list.  Not here!

Priority number 1: Don’t have a mortgage

Our life plan and goal for this house is no mortgage and to not be in debt forever.  Self sufficiency and not being dependent on money is what this is all about, for us.  So we need to have a house with no mortgage.

Priority number 2: Get out of town

We want to raise our family outside of town where they have room to play, grow, and learn.  Where we can grow our own healthy food so we don’t need so many doctors.  We need a place where the environment fosters learning for our two homeschooled children.

After looking at these two priorities carefully, we came to the conclusion that we were going to have to buy cheap land out in the sticks, close enough to a hospital where I could work as a nurse, and build a house.  And we wanted 10 acres or more with water.

So we got to looking.  I set the 5 year plan in motion, we had to have picked and started a purchase within 5 years.  I wasn’t going to allow us being picky to hold up our plans.  There is no perfect time to pack up your life and go buid a house.  About four yeas later, we bought our property in central Maine.  WOOHOO

While we were looking at properties, we started in heavily researching housig options.  Everything was so expensive and required so much skill.  Our skill set is about 2 out of 100.

Priority number 3: A nontoxic house

We were not about to pack up our whole world to move to a cleaner way of life and then have a conventional house that is packed full of different chemicals and creates huge amounts of waste.  Everything surrounding our children should be clean and healthy.

This lead us to natural homes.  The idea of building a house that was of mostly clean, natural materials that we could collect and process easily ourselves was amazing.  I never knew you could do that.  Natural building also has a lower skill set.  Anybody can do it.  I love the idea of the children being able to help us build their own home, wthout worrying about their safety.  What an awesome experince for them.

Priority number 4: build with what we have

We now knew that we wanted to build cheaply with natural materials on the piece of land we bought.  Next thing we need to do is observe the land and see what we have available.  As you look around our space, you see tons of hemlock, rocks, and clay.  Even some sand.  These items are all incredibly good materials you can use to build a cordwood house.  If we have everythng to build cordwood, that is what we build with.  That is what is important.  Not what looks good, but what we have available to build a functional house with.

Priority number 5: the fun stuff

The Man would say that this section is not a priority at all, but I disagree.  It is the least important, but still, I care.  The floor plan and design of the house.  Where the rooms will go, where the table will be, where do I want shelves…  Some of this information is good to have before you start building.  Like the shelves, for example.  I can extend parts of the cordwood and have built in shelving.  If the supports for the shelves are built right into the walls, we need to know where the shelves will be.

And that’s all.  We, of course, have spent countless hours studying cordwood in everyway possible.  The details will fall into place as the house goes up.  We have attempted to collect as much information as possible so that we can adapt to whatever comes along as we build.  We don’t have any specifics to potentially tie us down or cost us more money.  It should be more fun that way….

For all the cordwood house plans, check here.

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