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Nice entryway on traditional home

Nice entryway on traditional home


Universal design home entry

Universal design home entry


Timber frame entry

Timber frame entry


Nice entry to custom straw bale home

Nice entry to custom straw bale home


Your home’s entry and entryway are the first things people see when they enter your home, and so it’s important for these areas to be inviting and attractive. To help design this area, imagine yourself visiting your home. What is your first impression? Is it one of warm, welcoming colors? Is there a place to hang your coat and put your umbrella and bag? What about a mirror, artwork, lighting and place to sit down and take off your shoes? Is the flooring durable enough to withstand wear and tear? Is the space large enough for a group of people to enter and close the door behind them? Is there a protected entry and adequately sized coat closet nearby? Careful thought on these and other considerations will improve the design and livability of your home.

Image source: Nush Designs Blogspot
Image source: Gant Construction
Image source: Hybrid Timber Frame
Image source: The Watch (interesting story about the house)
Related:
8,250 Entry Design Photos
Airlock Entryways (good for cold climates)

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Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower (click to enlarge)

Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower (click to enlarge)


View of eastern Grand Canyon from Desert View (click to enlarge)

View of eastern Grand Canyon from Desert View (click to enlarge)


Looking up inside the Watchtower (click to enlarge)

Looking up inside the Watchtower (click to enlarge)


Kabotie Mural in Desert View Watchtower

Kabotie Mural in Desert View Watchtower


“Build a structure that provides the widest possible view of Grand Canyon yet harmonizes with its setting: this was architect Mary Colter’s goal when the Fred Harvey Company hired her in 1930 to design a gift shop and rest area at Desert View. Colter’s answer was the Watchtower.

A perfectionist, Colter scrutinized every detail, down to the placement of nearly every stone. Each stone was handpicked for size and appearance. Weathered faces were left untouched to give the tower an ancient look. With a lavish, highly publicized dedication ceremony, the Watchtower opened in May 1933.

The Indian Watchtower is at the eastern end of the south rim of the Grand Canyon. From a distance the building’s silhouette looks like the Anasazi watchtower it was meant to mimic. In actual size the tower is considerably larger than any known Anasazi tower. In plan the structure is composed of one enormous circle at the north, a small circle at the south, and gently arced forms connecting the two. The largest circle and the arced portions are the sections of that building that are just one story in height. The smaller circular plan is for the tower itself, more than five stories high. The building sits out on a promontory overlooking the Grand Canyon.

The most noteworthy aspect of the exterior is the stonework–a variety of uncoursed rubble below and coursed sandstone above, with decorative patterns of triangular stones adding architectural interest directly below the tower’s parapet and other bands of color masonry adding even more visual interest.”

Text and image source: Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower
Image source: Field Studies in the Grand Canyon Region
Image source: Adam Schallau.com
Image source: Flickr

Nice grain bin house (click to enlarge)

Nice grain bin house (click to enlarge)


Grain bin home

Grain bin home


Another grain bin house

Another grain bin house


Stuccoed grain bin home

Stuccoed grain bin home


Grain bin apartment

Grain bin apartment


Interior view of grain bin apartment (follow the link below to see more stunning pics)

Interior view of grain bin apartment (follow the link below to see more stunning pics)


Our recent blog posts about Sukup SafeT Homes and SafeT Home Videos proved popular, so I thought readers might enjoy seeing a few more grain bin homes.

Image source: Little Homestead in Boise
Image source: Mother Earth News
Image source: Greenieweenie
Image source: EcoFriend
Image source 5, 6: Travel Shack
Related:
Mother Earth News: Convert a Used Grain Bin to a New House (best article I’ve found so far on grain bin houses)

Grain bin root cellar

Grain bin root cellar


“This is a root cellar we built out of an old grain bin that was going to be sold for scrap metal. When we had our CSA farm in Montana we needed a place to store vegetables to eat through the winter. We also wanted a place to keep the veggies cool while we prepared them for delivery in the summer season. We had so many rocks on our property that I was thinking about building a circular root cellar, using a rock wall that by design would keep the walls from caving in. That’s where the thought process started, circular things that would hold up to the pressures of dirt pushing against them. I was thinking about culverts at the time, and it led me to thinking about grain bins. Gigantic culverts! I’d always see what seemed to be abandoned grain bins in the fields along the highways and thought that maybe some farmer would be interested in selling one of them. So I checked into it. Low and behold, a farmer friend of ours knew somebody who tore down grain bins for scrap on the side, so I called him. He had two to choose from at the time, so I picked the 16 foot high by 18 foot diameter one. He said if I paid the $200 he would get for the scrap metal I could have it. SOLD!”

Read the entire article with step-by-step photos of construction at the source: Homestead Haven

Attached greenhouses have numerous advantages in addition to just growing plants.

Attached greenhouses have numerous advantages in addition to just growing plants.


“Building your own greenhouse is a great idea if you are a gardener and want space to start seedlings, or grow plants that require a longer growing season than your climate can normally provide.

But a standalone greenhouse is one thing — an attached greenhouse design for your house brings in a whole other host of benefits to be considered that extend beyond the conveniences of growing food more easily.

Read on ahead to learn about all the reasons to consider an attached greenhouse design for your home — they include providing additional free heat, extending living space, and supplying space to grow food for a longer period of time.”

Read the entire article at the source: The Year of Mud
And while you’re there, check out Ziggy’s Timber Frame Workshops at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

Ceramic tile floor

Ceramic tile floor


Soil-cement floor

Soil-cement floor


Stone floor

Stone floor


Recycled brick floor

Recycled brick floor


Earth coupled floors – high mass floors in contact with the soil below (slab on grade, tile, stone, CEB, earthen floors, salvaged brick) – are ideal for keeping homes cool in hot climates. They are not recommended for cold climates where underfloor insulation is best. Our earthbag roundhouse, which is in a hot climate, remains cool year-round due in part to the earth coupled floor. The indoor temperature is about 15 degrees F (8 degrees C) cooler inside than out, and the temperature remains nearly constant night and day. Plastic sheeting under the floor prevents wicking of moisture.

“Floors are often the primary link between the structure of a building and its foundations (the ground upon which it sits). Where floors are in direct contact with the ground, they can have a major influence on the internal climate by adding thermal inertia (capacitive insulation) which is assisted by thermal coupling with the mass of earth underneath the floor.

The coupling effect of the earth and building structure increases with depth. Walls and roofs can also be earth coupled if the structure is excavated below ground. Once a structure lies about 3.0 metres below ground, it has such great thermal inertia that it is no longer subject to day/night temperature swing, but only to slight effects from seasonal variation.”

Text source: TT Architecture
Image source: Ceramic-Floors.com
Image source: Rammed Earth Works
Image source: Inehome.com
Image source: Vintage Brick Salvage



These screening machines are primarily for production earthbag builders and other natural builders who want to mechanize the building process for maximum efficiency. They are useful for screening soil for earthen plaster, earthen floors, straw/clay and, of course, soil for earthbags. One advantage is the ability to utilize soil from the building site, which would offset the purchase or rental cost of the soil screening machine/attachment. The screened soil would be ready for filling earthbags. The rubble can be used in rubble trench foundations, under floors and as fill material.

Soil screening machines are usually not needed for earthbag building. Typical clayey/sandy soil can often be used as is to fill the bags. Or you can use road base or crusher fines, which have been processed in a gravel yard. This is my preferred approach because using a readily available material that’s already been processed greatly reduces labor, speeds construction and eliminates the need for a screening machine.

More soil screening videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFsoV0–mys
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyqru_YR2tE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ys7YapOjM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSaWVcnQ7Xc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEnZFqpLGkc (note how he is standing and shoveling from the wrong side — either that or build a lower soil screen)

Related:
Sandbag Machines (covers a wide range of machines for automating all aspects of earthbag building)