Hey Ken. Did you ever look at sailboat's for design inspiration for
your house? They're really clever about packing in storage and
keeping things stowed away. You should also look at the old style
chest tool boxes with the movable tills.
SOmething I've been wondering for a while is a realted to under-floor heating
systems - usually, the tubes (that carry the hot waer) are embedded in
concrete when a foundation slab is poured, but, to make it more acessible if
repairs are needed, isn't there a way to use some larger hosing to either
(1) create a channel into which the actual hoses/piping could be laid, and
then have somewhat-raised flooring put on top,
(2) snake the hot-water hoses through the larger hoses/piping?
I never thought of in-floor heating on a second floor that isn't concrete (as
in a non-low-rise apartment building), to be honest - I've only ever seen it
embedded in concrete, so, if a repair has to be done, it's not just that the
floor has to be torn up, a concrete salb floor has to be torn up.
But I thought that, if a channel could be made in the concrete and the hot-
water hosing just laid in, and then if the floor on top could be on raised
panels (to insure there was no contact between the flooring and the hot
hosing/piping), then, if the system needed repair, there'd be no tearing at
all so to speak, you just lift up the floor panels.
Would that not work...?
Contact between the hot pipe and the concrete is how the heating
energy is transferred. Your system would cost more to operate as the
heat transfer would be less efficient.
Cutting open a slab and repairing some PEX would cost a grand or less,
and with thermal imaging locating the leak is not that difficult.
Your redundant piping idea would have some benefits, some
disadvantages and would cost more than a repair that might never need
to be done.
You are suggesting designing a system because you expect it to fail.
The holes would have frozen too.
The solution was heat tape on a thermocouple and a solar panel with
Or, just bury the dam thing 4' down and be done with it.
I know, I know, Ditch Witch rental is $75/hr but when you wanna run
with the big dawgs......
Yes, it would *work* but not the way you want it to.
You are not considering the principle of radiant heat.
The PEX with hot water running though them heats the surrounding
cementitious material and after a spell continues to radiate the heat
into the room.
Radiant heat if different than the other forms of heat you are
probably more familiar with.
When the PEX is embedded inside the concrete it is effectively inside
a conduit, just like regular PVC water piping is.
If the pipe breaks, so what?, its inside another pipe made of
When PEX is installed on a 2nd floor that is constructed of wood it is
secured to the wood subfloor with the proper channels and then a layer
of light weight concrete is poured over top, again, embedding the PEX
inside the concrete.
If you want to heat the air in a room a $20 space heater will do that,
but when it cycles off the air quickly cools.
If you want to heat the room and the things in the room that is where
radiant heat shows its stuff.
And then there's electric radiant floor heat but thats a whole nuther
Hell, most of them don't even reference working buildings for design.
I think Ken should have looked at some teardrop trailers for his house
Poke around this page and you'll see what I mean:
A teardrop design has all sorts of benefits in Ken's situation. It is
DIY friendly, it has a cool sloping roof that sheds snow and water.
It's basically made for cooking/eating and lying down - Ken's favorite
activities. It has a large opening rear hatch - perfect for after the
Spring thaw when the Grizzly bears have left the area. It rolls so he
can move it around. He could build several of them for when guests
and family visit and when he is in the dog house. He could circle the
wagons when the restless natives are particularly restless. It's
freaking aluminum and wood and how cool is that?!
There are buildiings that take their inspiration from boats or ships.
Here is one of the most famous, the Balat [name of a district] Ahrida
Synagogue in Istanbul, for which see:
The bema is in the shape of a ship and other parts of the interior are
Does anyone make those anymore?
Can a small car pull one?
I'd thought soemthing like that would be a great way to camp, a.k.a. avoid
hotel problems and sleep where you know how clean the sheets are - I'm not
at all up for sleeping ont he ground in a flimsy tent, but after seing some
of these teardrop trailers on an RV show, I thought it'd be a great way to
sleep up off the ground in a fairly sturdy structure, *but* without having
to spend a fortune on some super-techno monster that you need a 3-ton truck
to haul around.
The only drawback is they're too small to have a little shower/potty
inside. Or are they...? I don't know anything about them, really. I like
the idea of being able to bring your bed and a small kitchen along with
you, so you don't have to stay in hotels and eat out all the time, btu I'd
also liek a small shower/toilet.
What I saw that I really liked was the compact units tat are now made for
long-haul truckers. I wouldn't want to lve in one permanently (I have too
many hobbies to fit into the unit), but IMO, it'd make a great little
People have pulled the things with their Harleys. Pretty much any car
can pull a teardrop.
Some of them have a porta potty and it wouldn't be too much work to
rig up a shower curtain hanging from the rear hatch.
Here's one guy that hooked up a car engine heated shower:
Store-bought version that takes a car with a little more oomph:
And here's where you can ask specific questions and say "wow" alot:
Hey, thanks for the links!
I just started thinking about this recently as a possible way of taking
vacations after retirement - my idea of vcation being "let's explore teh
Grand Canyon" as opposed to "let's go spend wads of $$ gambling and
watching shows and going to overpriced bars".
Hmmm, who was it who'd posted pics here, I guess about a year ago, that
he'd taken in Nevada, takin a day trip while the rest fo the family went to
Las Vegas? That's the sort of thing I mean. A mini-trailer would be great
The last link suggested a sit-down shower/bath, which would work fine for
me. Main thing is just to be able to pour some hot water over myself,
slather on the Cetaphil, and another pour to rinse off - nothing too fancy.
The car-engine-heated water was clever ;)
I followed some of the links and it's interesting to see all teh plans for
building one's own. I'll have to look to see whetehr tehre are
instructions for fiberglass ones - that should make for a more lightweight
item, yet still sturdy enough.
Anyway, interesting links, and inspirations for small-scale living :)
There is some very fine-mesh stuff available these days :)
Yeah, it'd be nice to have the choice ;) .
My parents had one of those old VW Van campers. Now that was a neat littel
thing. Main problem was that it was too narrow for the height, making it
top-heavy. But I held onto the idea of something compact.
My aunt has some sort of mega-beast, with all of those motorized pop-outs,
that requires a mega-truck to pull it, so now they can't aford to go
anywhere becasue of the diesel prices. THat's not even remotely what I'm
I'm actually not a camper - I'm allergic to too many things :p to have
gotten into it. But I'm thinking about something that'd basically be a
place to sleep, while travelling to see various places, like the Grand
Canyon or other national parks, monuments, and so on. I also like the idea
of being able to prepare my own meals, given all the fat and salt and MSG
and whatever that restaurant food is likely to have. I know, it sounds
geeky, but there it is. At the same time, if you have a self-contained
unit, you're less confined to specific geographical areas.
Anyhoo, some of those links Rico provided have furtehr links to plans and
so on, so I'll have to give some thought to "living small" ;)
THe interesting thing is how little useable room on egains with increased
square footage. The rental house here was 2500 sq ft, and had a *huge*
amount of built-in storage. THis place is 3200 sq ft, about the same closet
space, less kitchen cabinet space, and little additional storage (soem
shelves in the laundry room is the extent of it). The otehr, and even
stupider, thing is that the entire area under the stairs is simply walled off
- no access, no storage. It's goofy.
If I can ever have a place custom-designed, I want to be sure it uincludes
lots of built-in storage. I'd ratherput stuff into a cabinet or closet or
whatever, and shut the door, as opposed to having to buy (and maintain!)
furnitrue just to store books and hobby materials and so on - it's kind of
stupid IMO. And nonesense like "game areas" (i.e. open space they couldn't
figure out what the heck to do with) just adds insult to injury so to speak.
I saw a program profiling several Tokyo designers,a dn what I liked was that
walls weren't merely blank areas of nothing - walls were storage. MEaning,
teh room itself didn't need to be all clogged up with furniture that has to
be kept up with, because stuff was stored. The older I get (and the more
ovten I move), the more I've come to hate furniture.
The key overall to a smaller space is storage, and organization. I've been
in huge houses that "felt" small, becasue they were set up like rabbit-
warrens; conversely, one of the most comfortable and "large" place I've lived
was a 1500 sq ft house, becasue it had almost no hallways. Main thing was
that it was 2 storeys, so it did need stairs, but the area under then was
utilized (basement door) andthe overall floorplan was compact. OF course, it
also only had a bath and a half - most Americans these days seem to "need"
five bathrooms, and a master bath large enough to host a formal ball...
So that's the trick with smaller spaces - organization, and flow. Oh, and
quality materials ;)
Movable storage systems are interesting. You've seen them in
libraries and doctor's offices - there's no reason that similar, but
more attractive versions, couldn't be used in residential
One of the houses at the Solar Decathlon last year had a movable wall
between the bedroom area and the dining area. You rarely need both
spaces at the same time.
Interesting - I'd meant "moveable" as in, move from one
house/city/state/country to another, however, that link opens some very
interesting posibilities - if the mechanism could be fitted with
materials/finishes more geared towards living areas, there are a great many
That could be interesting if the dining room is very rarely used, but ti'd
get annoying if one had to move itall every evening. Kind fo a mixed bag
but, like everything else, it depends upon one's lifestyle. Personally,
the last time I used a formal dining room as such was Decenmber of 1997 ;)
The whole idea of having a separate "formal" living room (which IMO ought
to be re-named "visitor room" or even the old "salon", because nobody
"lives", i.e. spends much time, in the "living room") are dicey in modest
homes, where the "formal" rooms end up being space that's almost never
My personal preference would be to have some sort of mobile wall system
around the kitchen - I donlt likea continually-open one because grease,
noise,a nd odors jsut migrate too easily. So, I'd liket o be able to close
it off while cooking (and have a super-powerful fume hood - most don't pull
worth beans, *but* sound like a 747 at takeoff). If that could be done,
you'd only need an eating area, becasue if you had visitors, they wouldn't
have to go to the other end of the house so as to no look into the kitchen
while dining - put down flooring that loks nice but is easy to maintain
(i.e., *not* wall-to-wall carpeting), have a table/seating system that also
is fairly easy to maintain and therefor can be also used for things other
than just eating.
It just seems to me that there have got to be more adaptable solutions,
other than just having a humongous house with a lot of seldom-used spaces
that are very expensive to heat/cool.
ANyway, thanks for tthe moving-storage link, it's giving me some new ideas
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