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A more sustainable house

My wife and I are looking for our last home of our life. We have been through many homes lately and run into the same basic planning issues which make me want to remodel the house. That is not very sustainable, filling several dumpsters.   

Here are four basic planning issues that might make the next homeowner think about remodeling and being less sustainable.

Wide open entry. My first house was a little bungalow with a 6’x6’ entry hall which worked very nicely. House after house has double front doors for looks but open directly into the living room. Your friends come over and the whole room gets cold. 

View into the master bedroom
. Ten feet from the front door are double doors looking directly into the master bedroom. Sometimes the doors are even on an angle so you get a direct view of the bed.  

Hidden lower level stair. Basements are no longer dark and dismal spaces but spaces to entertain. On two houses I have looked at the drastic measure of moving the stair because you had to walk through too much of the house to get your guests downstairs. 

Ignore the sun. The sun warms your house in the winter and provides important daylight all year long. I have seen many south elevations of the house with one lonely bathroom window or a master bedroom that could have a south window but got west instead.

I guess I will be patient and wait for the south facing house with a private master bedroom and the stair near a shielded entry. Let me know if you think it is out there!

-Rob Smith


Rob, after touring many many homes under constructin for construction loans I do, here is one I see that drives me nuts. Most builders think they are being impressive with soaring 9-12 ft ceilings. All I see is space that has to be heated and cooled and offers 0 use. Same with massive foyers soaring to a 2nd floor. Totally inefficient and huge waste of space.

I can beat "the lonely bathroom window in the south".I drive by a house standing alone in a rural area. The entire south facing two story facade is windowless. I guess that's so the neighbors to the south can't peek in.....but there isn't another house within 1/4 mile. The home is a result of a suburban home plan plopped into the country without regard for the setting, location or orientation. Other rural setting head scratchers. Why build on the highest point of the cornfield without a tree in sight only to be blown of the planet in winter. Why orient the outdoor deck 10' off the ground and on the west side of the house when that will be the hottest side of the house during the late afternoon and early evening. Guests at the front door? Ha Ha Ha. Guests enter the house through the garage.

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