Call Jerry at 248.224.0258

Green Living in a spacious house - an energy efficient home that makes a great amount of sense.  Everyone starting to love this type of highly desirable low maintenance home:

This platform raised wood floor house provides more benefits than typically build homes:  (see www.raisedfloorliving.com)

Spacious loft like living.  

Extensive commanding views and ample sunlight - in all living areas. 

Above ground living provides a more comfortable living space.

Full upper roof deck provides: views, storage, easy roof access, water control and storage, solar energy and rain water collection, and much more. 

Balconies all around provide outdoor living at its best.

Ample space and protection from flood damage and expansive soils. Ground level parking for multiple vehicles in either/or a carport, garage, or basement / garage / carport combination, This raised wood floor home could also be built on a crawlspace with the main living area up a half to full story and still meet universal access criteria.

The main floor on the second story provides commanding views of the  outdoors, landscape and neighborhood. Installation of an above ground swimming pool and/or patio deck is easily attached or situated off the main living area. Above the ground, the home, pool and patio all can be made very private. Nightly ambient air temperature maintains pool temperature and makes the pool easier to heat. 

Low environmental  impact is caused by this style of home. Benefits are the result of local material and labor, and low energy consumption savings both in building and daily living. 

Freedom of selection of energy sources, be it electrical, geothermal, natural gas, electrical back-up systems, etc.  This super insulated home, (R75 walls, R100+ ceiling), requires little heating or cooling to maintain the best climate indoors. The home provides the best of both indoor and outdoor living.

Cantilevered balconies and roof protect the windows, doors, siding, etc. from weather and direct sunlight - UV deterioration.  Likewise, the roof decking protects the roof water proof covering from normal UV exposure and  deterioration. Very long life with low maintenance can be expected from all the exterior building components even in extreme climates.

Flexible open floor plans allows for easy placement and movement of room walls and for future remodeling changes. The living space is essentially a two floor townhouse loft with flexible and movable walls.

Easy to build and lower cost construction is achieved through simplified construction.

A light filled and spiritual environment is created throughout the home personalized for each homeowner.

The home is universal access ready for any less mobile or otherwise handicapped homeowners and guests.

This House sits over a first story/floor garage and/or basement:

The location for such a home would be anywhere in the US including extreme climates.

Soil type - only needs to meet building code or engineering requirements.

Foundation layout. For discussion purposes, the house plan will have a square floor plan with nine columns carrying the load of the upper floors and roof. Supporting columns ideally are spaced equally along the perimeter of a square footprint and has only one center column for discussion. (Any shape, be it rectangle, circle or planar geometric could be built and floors can differ in height, be staggered or separated. A multitude of arrangements can be conceived. Column spacing is for structural purposes, but can be changed for aesthetics and style. 

Additional perimeter posts can support any deck installed onto or in lieu of cantilevered balconies and roof overhangs. Structural adjustments must be made for seismic, wind and other local conditions as well as local building codes and height restrictions.

The foundation columns can be purchased or site built to carry the two story load along with the flat roof and cantilevered balconies. The support columns can be of steel, wood, masonry, concrete, etc., what ever is reasonable, economic, and allowed by the code officials.  Beams / girders supported, bolted to, and/or cleated to the columns carry the floor support system.  The beams will cantilever to carry both the floor and balcony loads.  Trusses are the more likely system that will be held by the beams. Trusses allow easy installation and access to utility service equipment, such as wiring, piping, ductwork, etc. 

The floor structure can be made of any economical configuration. For sake of discussion, the house floors and roof will be square in shape. Each of the sides will measure 64 lineal feet. 44 feet will be the dimension of the exterior walls and a 10 foot balcony cantilevers over each end on all four sides of the building on both floors. The roof deck fully covers the building and balconies. It is therefore 64' x 64' square less any cutouts for access stairways, sunlight/shade control, skylights, etc. The cantilevered balconies as well as roof slope will be as required by code, 1/4 inch per foot to shed rain, snow, etc. At 44 linear feet on each side of the square floor plan, this configuration would utilize nine or more foundation columns evenly spaced roughly 22 feet apart. 

The floor structure support beams could be of steel, concrete or  laminated wood, etc. to carrying joists, trusses, "I" joists, smaller SIP beams, etc. to hold up the floor. Floors could be wood plank, sheathing, SIP, T&G materials etc. to support the finished floor surfaces such as tile, carpet, or planking,  with or without in floor heating. Trusses covered with OSB or plywood floor sheathing would probably provide the most economical configuration, but local resources or other considerations may dictate the use of other material configurations. Exposed members need protection from moisture, vermin or wood destroying organisms as needed. Chemical treatment, vermin screening, and water and moisture proofing prevents vermin entry or wood destroying organism infestation including mold. 

The floors and roof deck with their cantilevered edges would also be configured to act as an inverted (up side down) wing to provide downward pressure in the event of extremely high winds. This can be accomplished in several ways, from trimming the windward edges downward to resemble and act as an inverted wing, to creating a lip or parapet wall to act as an inverted, frisbee airfoil. Water, ice and snow control will need to be installed where necessary, such as scuppers, gutters, downspouts, etc.  Engineered properly, no roof penetrations are needed for attic air or plumbing vents, etc.  If designed as a low cost vacation home, all exterior walls can be made to blow away at high wind velocity.  Wind protection coverings can readily be stored above or below the home and permanent coverings can be attached to the walls, etc.

The home is a three story structure with two stories on piers, basement or garage.. The roof is a 1/4 inch pitched shed or gable flat roof to direct and remove rain and/or snow. The roof covering may be any of the flat roof products, but will need to accept patio type deck flooring resting on top of it. Conceptually, a grid of 8' or 10' square decking on sleepers may rest on the roof surface. Water drainage will need to be provided. The decking can act as a patio atop the building.  the deck planking will protect the roof covering from sunlight exposure, heat, and UV deterioration, as well as from bird and hail bombardments. The deck could be leveled or remain sloped.  Vermin and debris cannot be allowed under the decking. 

Four stairways provide access to the three story structure and roof deck.  Two staircases, one private and one public  provides access from ground level if the home is stilted or above a garage.  A second floor straight staircase would lead to the upper floor, and a fourth straight staircase would access the roof deck. This latter staircase could be on the exterior of the home for fair weather use and possibly covered in snow climates. 

The public main entry staircase off the street could be protected by the cantilevered roof of the building.  This staircase could any configuration, but would  likely be full straight run, or have four short straight runs with turn landings that may act as small porches. The most economic version would be built like a patio deck stair system. A deluxe staircase could be of stone, brick, etc. The exterior stairway provides visitors a comfortable and easy climb to the second story main entrance, or to a  gateway to the main entry balcony and the home.  

The private staircase to the main floor could be under the home in the parking area or in the garage. It would likely be a straight run that is entered from the parking area through a secure entrance.  The staircase would likely be directly below the staircase to the upper floor.  If the house is built on stilts, (e.g. wood columns), a wall structure around the ground level private staircase provides security and can be engineered to provide the necessary wind resistance and seismic anchoring for the entire building, (similar to the stairway chases in tall buildings). 

For universal access, a stairway chair lift can be installed in/on the private staircase, or a free standing elevator can be temporarily attached to the outside of the home. The cantilevered roof structure can cover any temporary lift. A dumb waiter or other lift mechanism can be utilized for grocery delivery to the kitchen pantry. A roof top boom or davit can be used to lift large, bulky or heavy items to the upper balconies and roof, such as pianos, bedroom furniture, etc.  

The ceiling heights of the various stories can vary. The ground level parking area should be 8' or better height ceiling or 6'-8" height to bottoms of any low hanging beams, fire suppression systems, etc. The main floor ceiling would benefit from 9' to 10' ceilings and with either visible beams, or non-visible beams supporting hanging truss ends. The latter would allow installation of a single ceiling plane without installing a drop ceiling. Add joist support for any heavy upper floor walls or equipment.  The upper bedroom floor could have 7' - 6" or higher ceiling height. The floor can be insulated for both sound control and to prevent hot, lower level air from condensing on its ceiling attached to the air conditioned upper floor structure.

The thickness of the ceiling/floor structures vary depending on the structural components used. The main floor's floor structure may be a SIP floor panel system requiring exposed supporting beams below. Otherwise the structure may be 12" or thicker "I" or wood joists, trusses, etc. depending on design requirements and desired insulation and vapor control. The upper floor's floor structure likewise would be dependent on structural component needs as well a consideration for utility equipment placement, piping and access. If not built of SIPs, the upper roof deck would be supported by a truss system that would be much thicker to to accommodate  R-60+ insulation plus space for "attic" venting if needed. A vapor barrier can be applied to the appropriate side of all the ceiling/floor structures depending on climate. 

The potable water supply can be municipal or well systems. A gray water piping system can be installed for toilet flushing if desired. Homerun type water supply piping can be installed. Additional fittings and runs can be initially installed to allow later customized and relocation of water fixtures. 

The waste plumbing can be split into gray and black water systems. Gray water can be recycled, treated or used elsewhere. A single stack similar to the old soil stack system can be used with macerating toilets. This allows placement of toilets anywhere in the home as well as easy relocation if floor plan changes are desired. Washroom modules can readily be located anywhere where it does not freeze. 

A suggested main floor plan would include making the Northeast quadrant of the main floor the kitchen. A quadrant can be defined as the square shaped floor grid area defined by the center column and the exterior walls.  corner column and the mid-side columns to each side of the corner column. (Or the square shaped floor space between the center column and the mid point of two adjoining walls).  A formal dining area could be placed in one of the adjoining quadrants to the kitchen. Likely the quadrant furthest from any swimming pool or hot tub would be best.  The remaining floor space would be used as living room with foyer area. A straight stairway to the upper floor would be on the far side opposite any pool and could face the formal front entry door area. Below it would be the staircase for the occupants to enter privately from the parking area below. The foyer area can house a coat closet if needed. The flooring of the foyer could accommodate wet or dry footwear depending on climate and conditions. At a minimum, a half bath would be located either off the kitchen or near the main staircase. 

The main floor kitchen would feature a semi-circle or horse-shoe bar with lower counter that offers work space as well as houses sinks, dishwashers, small refrigerator, (door or drawer), wine cooler, a heat drawer, and microwave ovens and creates casual seating. An interior wall behind the bar service entry could be the location of  the main ovens, stove, range hood, refrigerator and additional counter work space as well as a doorway entry to a walk in pantry and/or butler pantry.  A dumb waiter to the garage parking area would also assist the ease of  bring groceries into the pantry or kitchen area.  A janitor closet should also be constructed nearby. Universal Access standards can be followed in design and installation.

The exterior wall beside the kitchen bar should have easy access to the adjoining cantilevered balcony outdoors. Access may be through French, patio door walls, etc. Exterior cooking and seating facilities on the balcony can be utilized while other visitors remain comfortable inside sitting at the bar.

An above ground swimming pool and/or hot tub can be located on the kitchen's east side balcony. The balcony can be widened into a deck or patio and stepped down if desired,  provided space is available. A  bathroom with  shower could be built in the kitchen quadrant between the deck and any pantry. Both an interior and exterior entry to the bathroom would provide double duty as both a powder room for visitors and a dressing and shower room for swimming or hot tub bathing. An exterior foot and body shower can also be installed for convenience. 

The upper floor would have a privacy and climate control door at the end of the upper landing to maintain the impression of a grand stairway yet provide control of conditioned air flow between the two floor levels. The upper floor hallway would lead to at least three bedrooms, a common bathroom, and a laundry room. The master bedroom would have a separate master bath and dressing room. The other bedrooms may or may not. A linen closet, as well as a utility room is needed on this floor. At the top landing of the grand staircase would be a doorway to reach the upper roof deck and could also be the entry for any future elevator. Ideally, guests would not entering any room.

The wall structure on both floors could be up to 24" thick, filled with the lowest cost insulation such as cellulose or insulating straw. Vapor barriers installed according to climate. Fire stopping may be required a top these insulated wall. Exterior siding will need to prevent moisture from entering the wall cavity and allow drying as needed.

For further energy efficiency, sliding, roll-up, awning type, etc. insulated panels can be utilized over glazed areas.  State of the art dehumidification and air cleaning systems can be installed if the home is considered too tight. A whole house vacuum is easily installed. A vapor barrier between the upper floor and the lower floor ceiling can prevent condensation problems in more extreme climates. Additionally, a upper floor stairway door can prevent upper floor air conditioned air from escaping and falling to the floor below.

Minimal heating and cooling costs should be achieved even with traditional heating appliances such as furnaces, boilers, electric, etc. The installation of one or more wood, pellet, coal, or gas burning fireplaces on either floor not only provides additional heat but also aesthetics and ambiance.  A fireplace structure in any corner of the building can be designed to provide corner bracing for seismic and wind resistance.  Since the building is super insulated, smaller or room sized heating and cooling appliances can easily keep the home cozy or cool. The separation of the upper floor heating and cooling from the main floor allows for low cost zone control and allows a mix of both outdoor weather on one floor and conditioned air in the other.

Windows and doorways should abound on the various balconies or decks to allow as much sun light in as possible. Window coverings can close off light to sleeping areas.  The protective balconies and decks protect doors, windows, and siding from direct contact with the elements, thus furthering their useful operating life. Insect screening can be applied both under open deck planking and as screen walls around balconies and decks.  Cook type tent(s) or other insect protected screened structures can be installed  over the roof deck stairway or atop the roof deck.

Utility services such as electrical service can be either above ground or underground. The electrical panel and the utility meters can easily be located above any flood height. The use of a truss floor system  allows easily placement of plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning equipment. Drain piping can connect to any public or private septic sewage system and be protected by bollister and/or insulation.

 

 

Call Jerry with your questions, at 248.224.0258