Mini Cordwood House Plans: The Layout


Here it is, my favorite part of planning a house, the floorplans!  I coudn’t get it all in one piece.  It hasn’t been sunny enough to charge my laptop that has the photo editing software on it.

Here is the quick breakdown:  We will be off grid completely.  Up is North.

The majority of the windows are on the bottom (South) side of the house to get in the most sunlight possible.  There is at least one door or window on each wall.

There is a second door between the couch and the cabinets that I noticed was missing after I did all the photo work.

The house is 14X46 with a shed roof, the taller side facing South.  The woodstove with be close to the middle of the North wall, closer to the kitchen/living area of the house.  The woodstove is our cooktop, so near the kitchen is best.

The kitchen and bathroom will drain grey water into a “leech” field behind the house.  The toilets will be composting toilets and have no water requirements.

The master bedroom and dining area will have stained glass bottle windows to add light to the house.  I also plan to run one of these bottle walls the length of the South wall, about 2 feet tall.  Again, let in the light!

There will also be shelving built in to the cordwood walls in many areas.  Just extend the cordwood pieces beyond the thickness of the wall where you would normally hang shelving brackets.  There is one full wall bookshelf that apparently needs to be 18′ long to keep the Man’s book habit in one place.  He’s a nerd.

We may eventually add a small woodstove to the master bedroom, just for fun.  There will be a passive, earth cooled air cooling sytem (a buried pipe).  There will be rainwater collection and some solar panels.  I think that’s about it.  Nothing too fancy.  Just under 650 sq ft.  Almost twice our house now!  I can’t wait!

Update: after some helpful advice, I drew up another floorplan idea.  I will likely keep working on this, since we don’t know what we will find when we dig.  Here is the new plans:

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Your master bedroom will be 6′-4″ x 7′-10″ and kids’ rooms 4′-8″ x 7′-10″, according to the dimensions, counting 4″ for interior partitions, not counting any space consumed by shelves. I presume the shelves will be above shoulder height so the floor space can be walked on. I can’t see any chance of adding a woodstove to the MBR at that size. What if the hall ends at the MBR and has its door on the north side? That gives significantly more space and would allow a very small stove in the room. It wouldn’t have to reduce the bookshelf, just put some of it in the bedroom. I realize the ground slope would be an issue, but you can’t have a berm against a cordwood wall, the ground has to slope away from the base of the foundation for at least a few feet to avoid damp walls & floor.

You don’t want the shoes/hats/gloves space at the northwest corner; things will not dry well there in winter. You want it on an interior wall, or better yet near the heat source.

How much sun do you get in winter? I know that here in upstate NY my south-facing house can be comfortable from just sunlight on a sunny winter day, but there are many more cloudy days when the windows lose more heat than they gain. I think your configuration, three to four times as wide as deep, will lose too much heat and the bedroom end will be very cold. Maybe pulling the storage room to the north wall, and putting the bathroom on the north wall next to the stove, would allow a distinctly more compact and easier to heat space. Also, a more compact space will require distinctly less exterior wall to build, which at 18″ thick would add up to a lot of labor saved. Stretching the end walls 5′ and shrinking the long walls 10′ would give you 10′ less cordwood wall to build, and increase the interior space by 55 square feet, effectively a second master bedroom.

I look forward to seeing how your housebuilding progresses.

Plenty of good thoughts for sure. I will share with the Man and see what he thinks.
The reason for the long skinny house was only because we don’t know how much help we would have to get roof beams up and may have just the two of us. We are renting a machibe at this point, so we should re look at plans anyway. I can’t believe I missed that.

With the deeper layout, a shed roof gets pretty tall, and you might consider a gable roof with a few pieces of ridge beam and shorter rafters that would be easy to handle. What roofing material are you considering?

It just occurred to me – are your 14′ x 46′ numbers interior dimensions? If so, the original space is much bigger than I thought, and not physically unworkable. Common practice when describing buildings is to give exterior dimensions first.


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