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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys-

I am pretty fortunate I was just given the 30 acres my current mobile home is on. I put the mobile home there just after my wife and I got married is it was all we could afford, we have now paid it off and would like to build a house.

I have all the tools, friends, and knowledge it would require to build my own home so I am going to do that to save lots of money, I hope to only finance the shell and finish the inside with cash to keep the mortgage extremley small.

I just started reading this board a few weeks ago but have been soaking up all I can and starting to get prepared. The land I have has 2 running streams, 2 springs, some pasture, and some wooded space.

I really want to start a small farm since it is about all my family has really ever done. I know I will have livestock, an orchard, a garden, and a greenhouse.

But my question is about my home design. What features would you guys build into your home if you were starting from scratch, I can basically do anything since I'm starting with a clean canvas.

I was thinking of a slab on grade, ICF home. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, nice big open attic for storage. I would really like to make the master closet a saferoom with built in gunsafe. Radiant in floor heating, wood stove or fireplace. But like I said I'm new and want to know what you guys would build into your homes if you could.

By the way this home will be located in rural southwest Virginia.

Thanks!
Josh
 

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In floor heat in great but the pumps are expensive and with out power to run the pumps you have no heat. A wood burner or fireplace should be added to the design even if only for backup. I have often thought that if I were starting over I would build mostly with concrete and earth bank at least part of the house. A deep cellar for food storage and storm shelter I think is a must.
 

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Proverbs 22:3
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I would look into an earth sheltered home. put the north side of the home into a hillside, use the south side of the home as a livingroom/greenhouse. Also, with earthshelter, the house maintains heat from the earth. all you need is a small wood furnace for winter heat. I think if you build any house without a basement, you will kick yourself later. You could build an awesome basement shelter before you put the house on it, and not need a seperate safe room. Please post pics and keep us updated on how it is going.
GOD Bless
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know lots of people love basements, I personally have seen even well built basements leak and become musty.

I just think there are to many negatives of building below ground level.

I love earth sheltered designs, but they cost a lot and would stray away from my low cost plan. Earth berming is a viable alternative but once again moisture infiltration becomes a problem.

An ICF home with a woodstove and good windows and doors should stay reasonably warm in our climate. ICF homes are very airtight and well insulated, not to mention made of concrete.:D:
 

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I would recommend taking a look at a book by Joel Skousen called "The Secure Home" Amazon.com: The Secure Home: Joel Skousen, Joel, M. Skousen: Books

Its got some great ideas on how to make your home secure and since you're starting off with a blank canvas, as it were, this might help you during the design aspect.

Oh and btw, congrats on the fantastic deal you have going on!! I wish you all the best.
 

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I would also suggest reading "The Secure Home", primarily for the "'Skousen Wall", which is a steel framed wall, sheathed with 3/4" plywood and filled with gravel. It is the easyist practical bullet resistant building technique I've found.

Quality security/hurricane shutters on all windows and doors
Use framing plates to tie all portions of the house together
Use five-pin cylinder locks on all external doors
Use heavy steel clad entrance doors
Use fiberglass based shingles on the roof, or better yet, have a metal roof
Install a roof and wall washdown system for fire protection and to wash away fallout
Install a pool and an independant fire pump and have plenty of hose. Place it where the fire department can get to it with a pumper truck.
If you are not going to install a basement for the reasons you state, build in a fallout shelter in an internal room of the house.

Just a few things off the top of my head.
 

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Sounds like a wonderful place to build a home. First off, I would never build a home without a basement...its a storage area, place of shelter. Second, I'd try to go totally off the grid and go solar. Third, I'd def'ly have a wood-cookstove to heat and cook with.
 

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Well if not going to have a basement make sure that you make a large room as you tornado selter. Enough to store some food and water, and to sleep everyone in the house after the tornado. A tornado hit Xenia,Ohio which was was amost as bad as the one that hit in the 70's. When everybody was working day and night to pick up the remains of their house and worry about lotting as the marched of to the shelters for the night. One man made the news as he had a concrete above ground shelter that stored water and food, and a bed (he was single), he had a generator for powing of a tv and a small refridgerator. He didn't worry about lotters for he recovered his vauluabes and put them in the shelter. And being he stayed on site no one was going to bother with what was left of his home and it's contents.


BTW the man house was totally swept clean to the foundation yet their was this one all poured renforced concreate room complete with roof still standing. Everyone else around him felt like a dumbass after seeing that. And the city of Xenia now requiers that all new construction have a saferoom.



Rifleman 336
 

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I would also suggest reading "The Secure Home", primarily for the "'Skousen Wall", which is a steel framed wall, sheathed with 3/4" plywood and filled with gravel. It is the easyist practical bullet resistant building technique I've found.

Quality security/hurricane shutters on all windows and doors
Use framing plates to tie all portions of the house together
Use five-pin cylinder locks on all external doors
Use heavy steel clad entrance doors
Use fiberglass based shingles on the roof, or better yet, have a metal roof
Install a roof and wall washdown system for fire protection and to wash away fallout
Install a pool and an independant fire pump and have plenty of hose. Place it where the fire department can get to it with a pumper truck.
If you are not going to install a basement for the reasons you state, build in a fallout shelter in an internal room of the house.

Just a few things off the top of my head.
I'd like to learn more about this myself. Any place to see pictures of this stuff?















/
 

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DO NOT buy 5pin locks. If you are going to the time and expense of the other security upgrades do yourself a favor and buy high security deadbolts. Either The Medeco3 Maxum deadbolt or an ASSA deadbolt. Both are UL437 rated/pick+drill resistant. Properly installed in a steel door with a well mounted steel frame should repel any kick-in type attacks. Also install a commercial knob/lever. Medeco and ASSA also produce cylinders that can be inserted into most commercial hardware and keyed-alike(one key for house). Also key control is an additional benefit as identification and authorization is required for duplicate keys. No your local home depot or Wally world cannot cut these. Also in regards to commercial knobs/levers get grade 1 heavy duty as these will probably be the last ones you will ever need to buy. Schlage grade 1's run in the $400 neighborhood but Hager is a good lock and should be less than half the price. Also Hager comes clutched standard(lever moves freely when locked) to help guard against vandalism/force attacks. Disclaimer I am not employed or in any way represent any of these companies. This can be expensive but how much is your peace of mind worth? Btw the levers at home depot/lowes marked commercial on the package....read the small print. They are for INTERNAL use only. Hope this helps. Contact me if you have any questions.
Sorry this post was so long:)
 

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All masonry construction, block or rock walls, metal roof. I'd build it in a U-shape, that is, with an inner courtyard. The inner facing walls of the courtyard would have porches and window/doors (secure storage on the porches, egress into the courtyard for safety, courtyard allows R&R and visual security). The exterior facing portions of the home would have heavy shutters and double thick walls from the lower window sills down. I'd add dormers on the roof with a mostly finished attic; these would be prepped to act as LP/OP positions and ready to be sandbagged for shooting positions. Attic vents would be likewise ready for action. I'd make sure all doors, jams, and so forth were the heaviest construction I could afford. I think I would use either heavy commercial grade, or have them built specifically for me. I would not insist on a basement. Instead, look at in-ground "flat top" storm shelters, steel covered in epoxy, or concrete. Build the house on these. Price to spec on both types versus a basement. I'd also try to build passive heat options, wood stove, and generally try to make it low maintenance and low energy. Look at the federal tax rebate for energy efficient systems, and also, look into the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage, a new fed. program. Get solar or wind power in your mortgage so you can spread the cost out. Add a generator with am underground natural gas or propane tank, or a feed from the city line. Obviously you want to drill a well and consider the need for water storage.
 

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If you have the streams and decide to build close enough install a small pump to supply water to the house. It doesnt have to be the main source but it would cut utility costs. And of course solar panels. Do enough little things like that and it will slowly start to make money.
 

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Hubby and I recently built a custom house. We were not thinking "SHTF bunker" when we built it, but we did consider security. We wanted a house that looked nice but was a little bit more secure than you could tell at first glance. Here are a few things we did:

- Interior "blocking" locks on all doors. Like floor locks or cane bolts that slide into the floor. Example: http://www.taylorbrothersdoorlock.com/

- Solid wood front door with speakeasy window.

- Fire suppression system (aka sprinkler system). This means we automatically have 300 gallons of water stored in our basement.

- Monitored alarm system

- Many of our windows are transom windows. They're high, horizontal and narrow.

- Full basement with area that can easily be converted to a hidden safe room.

- No garage. Garages are often weak entry points.

- Wood pocket doors that slide over our patio doors. These provide extra security and better insulation. Example: http://www.theglasshalfempty.com/2011/09/attractive-security-for-patio-doors.html

- Woodstove.

- All bedrooms on second floor.

If we could've afforded it (maybe someday), we would have had security film installed over all the ground floor windows. One day we'd like to build our safe room, too. But at this point, budget constraints prevent that type of construction.
 

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Wood pocket doors that slide over our patio doors.
That's actually a brilliant way to provide extra protection in general. You could use this for all portals, if you were so inclined. And the "door" which slides out could be just about anything -- including plain old plywood backed with sheet metal. Excellent idea!
 
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