An online journal documenting the planning and building process of our modern home from start to finish. It is intended to share our experiences throughout this project with all those interested in modern design.

Exciting Start to Memorial Day Weekend - Plan D

We didn't have anything planned for the holiday weekend (I don't like traveling during holidays) but it started off with an exciting email from Jim at GMK Architecture with his most recent design plans for our Wisconsin home. This most recent plan is the result of the changes we discussed when we met at his Madison office back in April. This is about the fourth version that we have gone through since November:

Plan A - initial plan, long and narrow, like a glassed in bridge extending out toward the cliff; 2 floors with a long "pier" like deck that continued the "bridge" concept to the cliff
Plan B - long, going out towards the cliff but then turned back on itself with bedrooms on backside of house; 2 floors. This change was necessary after the results of the geotechnical engineering study showed we needed to stay 50ft back from the cliff.
Plan C - 3 floors w/ master bedroom on top which had a south facing angled huge skylight above the bed.
Plan D - the current one - a 2 floor version of B with a skylight like C which will run from just over our bed, south over the kitchen. The master bedroom is set up so that it is open into the kitchen and living room so the view from all the windows in the living room and bedroom can be shared, as it was in Plan B with a large pocket door and a pocket wall that we can move into place for privacy when guests are over; however, the pocket wall's orientation has moved from north-south to east-west. Most of the living/dining/kitchen area is going to be floor-to-ceiling windows looking out towards the cliff. The master bedroom window looks west out into a beautiful stand of poplar trees.

We were excitedly waiting to see this update and it did not dissapoint. After spending a lot of time this weekend looking at the plans, there aren't many changes that we will want made other than moving a couple doors and maybe a window near the master bedroom. I think this is the final design concept and now its on to working out the details. As Jim goes on to work out the structural and building details, we've got a few things we need to work on as well:

Heating/Cooling - no forced air (i.e. duct work). We'll have radiant heat in the floors and use a geothermal well system to heat and cool the house. Anne is working out the early details of the geothermal system. We will be on a well for water, we'll be drilling that anyway.

Photovoltaic system - we had an assessment for solar energy potential done by a local consultant, Pipkin Electric, Inc. It looks like solar will work great and we now need to determine how many panels we will need.

Electricity/Phone - need to figure out what is the best way to get it up to the top of the hill. Our access road is 1/2 mile from the paved road (and power) to the house site. It's not feasible to trench up the road, so we need to figure out how to go up the side of the hill. I think we will also have a back-up generator in case. Since our power will be coming down the road from a long single run either way on the highway, in the event that there is a big storm/ice storm, a generator would be a good idea. We plan to meet with Eric from Pipkin Electric to go over the constructable possibilities.

Septic System - not really happy about this, but here is no sewer system in this area so we'll need a septic field or large holding tank. We don't have much flat land at the top of the hill, so the latter is probably the only choice we have.

We've set a goal to start construction in April/May 2012 to give us time to finish working out these details and hopefully to have it completed by December in 2012, just in time for the end of the world!

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