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Author Topic: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design  (Read 1284 times)

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Offline woodsteach

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What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« on: February 18, 2014, 02:23:02 pm »
Am in the early stages of designing a home. 
Are very interested in a timber frame structure.
Took a couple of architecture courses 20 years ago in college, so I know enough about design to be dangerous.

Want to  use materials effectively, ex.  don't want to design a building 2 feet too big and find out that " if it was 38' wide instead of 40' you could have saved big $$$$.  The floor plan isn't as important as not over spending.

I have books and books of house plans, and we have some picked out, but they are not timber frame structures.

so is it best to design a "foot print" of ex 36' x 48' around the frame?  Or make the frame fit the foot print/plans.

Our best guess so far is a single story + basement.  some where around 1200-1500 sq. ft

Paul
Brand X Swing Mill, JD 317 Skidloader, MS460 & 290, the best family a guy could ever dream of...all provided by God up above.  (with help from our banker ; ) )

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 03:14:39 pm »
Well, now you've asked a simple question that has many many answers.

The most common one that they always tell me when you ask one if these is "it depends".....

It depends on a lot of things.

In my area when you say I want a 36' x 48' house, that means this is the size of the foundation footprint. All siding over hangs the outside of this foundation.

However, when you're working with a timber frame, you need to decide how you're going to enclose the frame and how thick these enclosure walls are going to be, in order to make the "frame" be the right size inside the "shell walls".

You can make your frame 36' x 48' and then have your enclosure outside the frame, but that may mean a different size foundation depending on the thickness of the walls and how you're going to support them from the foundation, if you are going to support them with the foundation.

For example, some "sips" wall enclosure systems "hang" from the timber frame and only have one "skin" of the sip sitting on the foundation.

If you have a 8" thick poured concrete foundation wall and a 8"x8" post sitting on it, then there isn't any room for the "skin" of the sip to sit on the wall. You may need a 10" foundation wall. Or you may need some pilaster inside the foundation wall to support the posts.

Wow, easy isn't it.....

As I haven't been to your area, yet, I'm not sure how you guys out there make your foundations. Do you all build on slabs or do you have full basement foundations?

What enclosure system do you think you want?

Jim Rogers
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Offline Thehardway

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 03:46:15 pm »
Paul,

I would recommend Ted Benson's book Timberframe Home; Design, Construction, Finishing.   In this book he steps you through thought maps and layout of a timberframe.  It has a lot of good information on designing a TF home from scratch as well as how to close it in and finish it.

In school I am sure you learned form follows function.  Design the house, rooms and footprint around the daily activities and lifestyle you live.  It may require a design outside the conventional square box design.  It may be an evolution in design, building a basic box now and then adding bays, bents, shed roofs etc. and you need.

I believe homes should be very personal and meet the needs of the individual.  Start with a clean sheet of paper.

I looked through stacks of floorplans as well.  They are great for ideas and layouts but the room dimensions I would not follow.  I think they are published by carpet and flooring manufacturers.  You will often notice that the rooms are an inch or two larger than standard carpet rolls.

In this regard, I think it is best to design backwards.  Figure out what will go in each room, furniture, key decorations such as artwork or family heirlooms, windows with specific styles or views, doors, etc.  Kitchen, baths and laundry require extra attention to detail.  Think about electromechanical systems and plumbing system and design a logical flow. 

Architects are often tempted to build to visual and emotional queues and they sacrifice functionality and economy.  Contractors are often tempted to ere on the side of economy and ease of construction and sacrifice symmetry and visual elements as well as durability.

The Timberframe is a very flexible skeleton and can be designed to simply and economically accommodate virtually any design but very large open spans.  Best practice in Timberframe design is to incorporate the timbers and posts into the visual and functional design elements of the house, not just the hidden structural elements.

Rules of thumb:

Keep unsupported spans less than 16'.  At 16' it becomes more difficult to handle mill and transport and erect timbers.
If using TF trusses, keep the span under 26'
Keep the smallest room dimension 1" or so less than standard floor covering rolls unless you don't plan to use anything other than hardwood or tile. Carpet and sheet goods typically come in 12', 15' and sometimes 13'6" rolls.  So if you build a room that is 17'X 16' you will literally buy twice the amount of carpet you need or have to have multiple seams.
If you are planing to use and purchase crown and base mouldings, you once again should figure your maximum room dimensions to minimize waste. 
Don't get stuck having to buy a counter depth fridge.  They cost a lot more and have a lot less space.   Allow extra depth for your fridge placement in the kitchen layout.  Don't put the fridge and stove side by side.  Allow some space between.
Try to keep plumbing in a logical flow and groupings to share main branches and minimize intersections and expensive fittings.
Arrange a low waste high volume fixture upstream of heavy waste fixtures.  This flushes lines regularly and prevents buildup/clogging and plugging.
Think through vent stack locations and roof penetrations.  Venting things like tubs and islands can be a pain if not well thought through.
Likewise, sheathing and dimensional lumber also has standard sizes and departure form this format or odd shapes will increase waste and cost. 


Build a miniature model of your home from small wood scraps.  It will help you visualize and understand potential assembly problems ahead of time.

Ask lots of questions no matter how stupid they might seem.  There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. 

Give us more info on what extent you plan to do yourself and what you are trying to accomplish. Do you have a mill of adequate size and logs? What species? Do you already have a site? Where and what are the snow, wind and seismic load considerations?  All these things become considerations for design.
Norwood LM2000 24HP w/28' bed, Hudson Oscar 18" 32' bed, Woodmaster 718 planer,  Kubota L185D, Stihl 029, Husqvarna 550XP

Offline woodsteach

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 09:05:11 pm »
Wow! 

First, thank you Jim and TheHardway for excellent information.  I'm going to reread both posts and reply to them later.  I'm on a tablet right now and don't type well with my thumbs

Paul
Brand X Swing Mill, JD 317 Skidloader, MS460 & 290, the best family a guy could ever dream of...all provided by God up above.  (with help from our banker ; ) )

Offline S.Hyland

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 10:59:58 pm »
One thing that I really try for in designing, is to make sure that partition walls land (when possible!) on a timber. The design of the timber frame will create natural places for divisions to happen, so it is nice to take advantage of that. It just help everything to flow and not look choppy.
So I would say, keep timber frame design a priority early on, as well as all the other good info that Jim and TheHardWay already mentioned.
I can't tell you how hard it is to take plans that have been designed without TF in mind, and make it all flow and look good!
“It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
― Wendell Berry

Offline witterbound

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 08:32:02 am »
My home is 1200 sf with a basement.  I started by thinking about 16x16 squares, and then modified that to be 12x16 squares for some rooms.  I think you've got to tinker with both the floor plan and the frame plan at the same time.

Offline woodsteach

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2014, 10:32:51 am »
Well, now you've asked a simple question that has many many answers.

The most common one that they always tell me when you ask one if these is "it depends".....

It depends on a lot of things.


However, when you're working with a timber frame, you need to decide how you're going to enclose the frame and how thick these enclosure walls are going to be, in order to make the "frame" be the right size inside the "shell walls".

Thinking about a Larsen Truss system..


Wow, easy isn't it.....

As I haven't been to your area, yet, I'm not sure how you guys out there make your foundations. Do you all build on slabs or do you have full basement foundations?

99% of all new construction in the area would have a full basement, as will mine.  I looking at the FASWALL ICF system.  8-10" thick.


What enclosure system do you think you want?

??? If I use the Larsen truss system part of it could hang outside if I understand it correctly. I'm one of the weird ones that doesn't like plastics or glue in my living space.  so I don't want to use any more than I have to.  EX. Styrofoam, plywood, particle board, etc.   

Jim Rogers


Paul,

I would recommend Ted Benson's book Timberframe Home; Design, Construction, Finishing.   In this book he steps you through thought maps and layout of a timberframe.  It has a lot of good information on designing a TF home from scratch as well as how to close it in and finish it.

I'll check out that book ASAP

In school I am sure you learned form follows function.  Design the house, rooms and footprint around the daily activities and lifestyle you live.  It may require a design outside the conventional square box design.  It may be an evolution in design, building a basic box now and then adding bays, bents, shed roofs etc. and you need.


Yep!


I believe homes should be very personal and meet the needs of the individual.  Start with a clean sheet of paper.

+1

I looked through stacks of floorplans as well.  They are great for ideas and layouts but the room dimensions I would not follow.  I think they are published by carpet and flooring manufacturers.  You will often notice that the rooms are an inch or two larger than standard carpet rolls.

That is exactly the type of information that I'm looking for!!


Rules of thumb:

Keep unsupported spans less than 16'.  At 16' it becomes more difficult to handle mill and transport and erect timbers.
If using TF trusses, keep the span under 26'
Keep the smallest room dimension 1" or so less than standard floor covering rolls unless you don't plan to use anything other than hardwood or tile. Carpet and sheet goods typically come in 12', 15' and sometimes 13'6" rolls.  So if you build a room that is 17'X 16' you will literally buy twice the amount of carpet you need or have to have multiple seams.
If you are planing to use and purchase crown and base mouldings, you once again should figure your maximum room dimensions to minimize waste. 
Don't get stuck having to buy a counter depth fridge.  They cost a lot more and have a lot less space.   Allow extra depth for your fridge placement in the kitchen layout.  Don't put the fridge and stove side by side.  Allow some space between.
Try to keep plumbing in a logical flow and groupings to share main branches and minimize intersections and expensive fittings.
Arrange a low waste high volume fixture upstream of heavy waste fixtures.  This flushes lines regularly and prevents buildup/clogging and plugging.
Think through vent stack locations and roof penetrations.  Venting things like tubs and islands can be a pain if not well thought through.
Likewise, sheathing and dimensional lumber also has standard sizes and departure form this format or odd shapes will increase waste and cost. 

More GREAT Info!!! 8) 8)

Build a miniature model of your home from small wood scraps.  It will help you visualize and understand potential assembly problems ahead of time.

Great Idea, what scale would you suggest?

Ask lots of questions no matter how stupid they might seem.  There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. 

Boy,,, I don't know about that, as a teacher, woods and metals... I get some that might make you change your mind. ;) ;)  Ex, yesterday, I walk into my welding class of 10-11 graders and they ask... "What is quicksand and how deep is it?"  Never a dull moment... but I digress.

Give us more info on what extent you plan to do yourself and what you are trying to accomplish. Do you have a mill of adequate size and logs? What species? Do you already have a site? Where and what are the snow, wind and seismic load considerations?  All these things become considerations for design.

Brand X Swing Mill,
 Do as much as possible, Footing to finish, (I used to do that stick framing),
80 acres bought and 97% paid for, the site is 200' from the mill.
 South East Nebraska, so I'll have to do some checking on the snow, wind, and seismic info.

Logs... White oak, walnut, osage orange, hackberry, cottonwood, cedar, Kentucky coffee bean, red oak, black oak, and a logger that will get what ever else.  ;D




witterbound, do you have any pix and plans of your place?

S.H. ... more great info..

Thank you

Paul
Brand X Swing Mill, JD 317 Skidloader, MS460 & 290, the best family a guy could ever dream of...all provided by God up above.  (with help from our banker ; ) )

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 02:36:07 pm »
Floor plans in the past were very well thought out and important subject.
In many places, you can trace ethnic and social histories of a culture by examining the floor plan.

The point in mentioning this, floor plans are carefully thought out to match function, and form follows. You would do good to start off with a basis in some old floor plan designs and go from there. This of course runs into limitations based on the act that we have some different concerns today than they did in the past: sheet goods, plumbing, heating, lighting, to name a few. you would not have had a utility room or an office, for example, in an 18th century house. So, obviously, the old designs can't be strictly applied. Also, even in the old days the basic designs were modified to match each situation. Cooker-cutter floor plans don't work.

But in terms of space and material efficiency, the old guys new what what they were doing. Modern architects don't, at least not as well. Like was mentioned, architects today focus so much on appearance and impressions. You'll love it for a few years, but eventually the inefficiency will drive you nuts. The number one most important factor is not appearance, it's not impression, it's not scale. It's function. You will be much happier with something that suits you than something that impresses or was easier to build.

Offline witterbound

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 08:15:16 pm »
My floor plan for the timberframe upstairs is open.  Shaped like a t.  The living room is basically 16x24 and the base of the tee.  On top of that is a 16x16 kitchen.  Then to the right of that is a 12x16 foyer / bathroom.  And on the other side of the kitchen is the 12x16 dining room.  All of the bedrooms are downstairs, where its cooler in the summer.

Offline bmike

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2014, 03:46:48 pm »
I would suggest that you map out with bubble diagrams how you really live. What's important. How spaces interact. Where you prefer certain things to be in relation to another.

Then map who uses those spaces and how often. Should a public space (kitchen with bar) be right next to or under private spaces like bedrooms? Etc etc.

My clients sometimes feel like I'm a shrink for the kind of questions I ask - but life should drive the plan, and the frame and form of the rooms should follow.

And of course site, sun, and climate, along with locally available materials and supplies should then influence all of the above.
Mike Beganyi Design and Consulting, LLC
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Offline Thehardway

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Re: What came first the chicken or the egg... house design
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2014, 09:22:44 am »
Paul,

It sound like you are in pretty good shape as far as the species you have available.

Use the white oak for the sills and plates.
Use the Red/black oak for posts and girts as well as flooring
Use the Osage for Pegs (trunnels)
Use the cedar for Siding, exterior Trimwork and Shakes as well as interior closet paneling
Use the walnut for stair banisters, cabinetry, and interior trimwork.

Larson trusses can work well from an insulation standpoint but they are a lot of labor to build. I understand your view on synthetic building materials. They have as many curses as they do virtues.  How do you plan on heating and cooling the structure? What do you plan on insulating your Larson trusses with?  Cellulose?


Might be good to nail down a envelope philosophy.
Two approaches to envelope design:

1. Let it breathe.  Nothing sealed tight.  Natural ventilation. Natural materials. Don't plan on running AC in the summer, just open windows.  Use a woodstove  or a masonry or mass type heater in winter.  Individual heat sources in each room heating only the rooms you occupy while you are in them.

2. Make it tight.  Seal everything using vapor barriers and making every thing as tight as possible.  Natural materials can be used like rammed earth, solid wood, concrete, adobe, cobb etc.  but easier to use things like foam, plastic, etc.   These structures are more easily heated and cooled but special consideration must be given to humidity control and indoor air quality. 

Either one can work well, where you run into trouble is where you attempt to seal up a house that was meant to breathe or vice versa.  Then you get a sick house.


I have never used Faswall or Durisol.  It looks good on paper but I am not sure how well it will hold up over time. 

I have used AAC block and liked it pretty well above grade.  I have considered using it for TF infill.  IMHO it is a great building material. 

Do you want your TF exposed on interior, exterior, neither or both?

IMHO, the best building method is a traditional Masonry foundation wall using stone and mortar and topped with white oak sills and built upward from there using traditional TF methods similar to what D. L. Bahler speaks of.  These building have served occupants well for centuries as long as the roofs are kept in good repair.  They are best in either a heating or cooling dominated region.  Mixed climate areas or areas where insect infestation is high can be harder on them.

You can try to improve on this for energy efficiency/comfort but it will shorten the life.
You can improve on it material wise but it will decrease energy efficiency/liveability.  There is a balance point.



Norwood LM2000 24HP w/28' bed, Hudson Oscar 18" 32' bed, Woodmaster 718 planer,  Kubota L185D, Stihl 029, Husqvarna 550XP