Living above a barn?? (Alternative Housing)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
My husband and I are considering building a 4 stall barn with an apartment upstairs. We just purchased 16 acres of land and want to live there as soon as possible. Does anybody have information or ideas on this type of building? We are very curious about how much a structure like this would cost, if we could build it ourselves, and how long that may take. Also building code and insurance. Thanks in advance!!
-- Liezl O'Connell (email@example.com), April 20, 2001
Liezl, Meli and I are also building our house ourselves. But, instead of a barn like you have described we bought a old camper and have been living in it. Our house is an a-frame and is realitivly easy and inexpensive to build. I have blueprints from a company that shows you how to build it as a one person crew. The hardest parts were the excuvation of our cellar and pouring concrete. But again, Meli and I plus our one year old daughter managed to do it all by ourselves. The barn you are talking about sounds like a great idea. A friend of mine built a two-story workshop and lives out of one side of it with his wife until he finishes the mainhouse. He built his shop and house timber frame style. If you go this route you will kill yourselves moving the big timbers. He tried to do them by himself for the first three or four tiers of logs, finally he rented a backhoe to help lift the rest in place. As for the building codes, insurance and such...it really depends on what area you build at. Here in the Missouri Ozarks there are no building codes. This allows of the luxury of designing our home the way we want as well as building it with the materials we prefer. The only situation that required us to conform to a "code" was when we wanted to put electric onto our land. The electric company came up to the undeveloped land and explained to us that we needed to prove to them that we were building a permanent house on the land before they would put in the poles and electric. This meant we had to have a foundation of concrete of at least 500 sq. ft. and a permanent water source. Though, we had already dug the cellar and the holes for our footers they wanted us to fill them with concrete and thus make it a permanent foundation. The water had to be either from a well or an inground cistern. We do not have a well as we pump our water directly out of the creek. So, we had to dig a hole and put a tank in it to store water, (minimun 500 gal). We put a 1500 gallon tank in. This was the only "code" we had to comply with but, it was only for the electric company. Since Meli and I do all the work ourselves every detail has to be completed by us. If you work a regular job you will encounter less time on your house. Weekends and evenings are usually the only times. But, you will have to handle everything. I had a shipment of lumber deliveried yesterday. The driver could not dump it where I had wanted it due to the incline of the site. So he dumped it as close as possible and we hand moved it to the building site. This is just one of the situations that you may encounter. Materials have to be purchased and many times you will need to stop your construction to run into town to get a missing item. Time has a way a going by fast this way. The best thing I can tell you is to plan your house building by phases. Work towards the completion of each phase before going on to the next. This works well for me and I think it will make your house building more efficient. If holes need to be dug, dig them first. If footers have to be built, build them one or two at a time, pour the concrete, take the forms down and put them back together on the next footers and pour those and so on. Do not try to do all the forms first and then the pour next. Break it down so that you will not be overwhelmed by the strenous work of concrete pouring/foundation building. With all this in mind you and your spouse will not only enjoy building your own house but, will be very productive as well. Years from now you will still be talking about the funny things and experiences you had during the construction, instead of the dreadful nightmare that nearly caused a divorce. Sincerely, Ernest
-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 20, 2001.
Liezl, in the archives under alternative housing about half way down is a whole thread about living above barns and people's thought and ideas.
-- diane (email@example.com), April 20, 2001.
I've considered this as well. One of the main considerations would be good insulation and vapor barrier between dwelling and barn portions of the structure. I've thought that a large pole barn with two story home in one end and barn/hayloft in the other end would be an economical way to get started. Everything under one roof. Eventually we would build a separate house and use the barn-house for a quest house or office, etc.
Just check out the local codes to make sure you don't build something that will expose you to fines from the local land Nazis.
-- Skip Walton (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 20, 2001.
A friend and I "designed" such a living arrangement as you are talking about several years ago. We were short of dough and long on horses at the time, so the option seemed plausible and necessary. It never got built though... The arrangement was based on being centered in the field with stalls and doors exiting into individual pens that came out from the entrances in gradually expanding triangles. This would allow each animal individual room, stalls and feeding... Actually we planned it to be circular. The feed troughs would be easily accessible from the center, and the center would have been a sizeable indoor "arena/work area". Can't remember the entrance plan, but that should be easily resolved. Either from an outside section isolated from pastures with small yard/car patio, etc... The ingeniuos quality (to me anyway) was that hay storage was to be above the stall/arena area, between that and the living area. this would give ample insulation from cold seeping through the floors almost all year. Aside from that we decided the biggest obstacle would be getting around all those morons regulations, building permits--and the smirks, derogatory remarks and laughs two women would get when we broached our plan to builders! RUN WITH IT!!!! LiveLoveLeaveNoLies... Donna P.
-- Donna M. Davis-Prusik (Seven9erkilo@knoxcomm.net), April 20, 2001.
When I was living in Germany I noticed that nobody, and I mean nobody, lived out in the country (I was in Bavaria). Everyone lived in town, of course there could easily be another town just a mile or two down the road. Housing normally touched in the smaller towns with famers and such having a sort of mixed living space where their homes were above the various barns and sheds that made up their compound. If their front gate was closed you'd have no idea as you drove by that a farmer and his livestock lived there. Worked well for them (for centuries to date)
-- Chris Stogdill (email@example.com), April 21, 2001.
It's not very healthy for the respiratory systems of horses to have a big old vapor barrier and house up above their quarters. Cluster flies are also a problem. Check archives for more about same.
-- julie f. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2001.
I know for a fact that many people used to live in houses with barns attached, but not over them. I used to visit a little place when I was a kid... Shaker, PA Dutch... don't remember... But, they had their home attached to the end of the barn by a door. You'd have to keep both places spotless to avoid problems, though.
Are you going to live in it on a permanent basis??? If so, then I would suggest next to, and not on top of - for several reasons.
A) Fumes... both your's, and the animals'. B) dust, mold, mildew, etc. C) Smells, again both your's and the animals'. D) the health department will be an expensive and hard sale. E) extra plumbing precautions. F) Storage, for both house and barn....
-- Sue Diederich (email@example.com), April 23, 2001.
In one of my horse magazines, cant remember which issue[ i will look if you like] there was a artical about a couple who bought a barn kit and in the kit they built there house in one side, had a storage room next to stalls . It was a two bedroom home and looked great and only cost them 15 thousand for barn and house if i remember right, 6 stalls i think.
-- kathy h (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 2001.