Underground House: Warm in Winter, Cool in Summer

My wife and I are busy people so when it came time to build our home we had to find something that would be near maintenance free, warm in winter and cool in summer.

We decided to look into building underground. It seemed practical until we came to the cost of the roof. The cost of the concrete waterproof roof equaled the cost of an entire above ground house.

Unfortunately that put the cost of the project beyond our budget. We did a lot of research but could not come up with anything that would give us the advantage of an underground house.

Now we were left to our own ingenuity. Fortunately we had plenty of that. We built a model of what we wanted. This is what commercial fishermen do when they want a better boat, The interior was the first thing that had to be designed.

The design is what is now called a “country kitchen” ours was years ahead of its time. A model of every appliance was constructed and placed where it would be in the finished house. This was followed by the cabinetwork. Next came space for the dinning room table and chairs. The rest of the space was our living room. There were no petitions to separate the different living areas giving us an unobstructed living space.

The stairs to the second floor were the most difficult to draw. They had to fit perfectly between the doors of the downstairs bedrooms. This was a project for my wife who is an excellent artist. A pencil line had to be drawn so that half of the line was the dividing line for the next step. When the house was finished the stairs fit perfectly.

When the carpenters framed the second floor windows they said they could not use the dimensions of my wife’s model. We told them that we were sure of our dimensions but to go ahead and do it the way they thought it should be done just as long as when they found they were wrong they would redo the job without cost. And of course they had to redo the job.

The south side of the house looks like a colonial but from either side or the back it is obvious it is a salt box. Windows make all the difference in the appearance of a house. Split-levels are not attractive no matter how much money one spends. The larger windows should be on the first floor. The second floor windows should be smaller and if there is a third floor those windows should be smaller still.

The house is buried on three sides and the front is fully exposed. Two by eight timbers on the three cold sides frame the house. The south side is framed with two by six lumber. Winter or summer this is the most comfortable house I have ever lived in.

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