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Prefab Zero Energy House Kit: Interior Framing Begins!

It is morning in the prefab zero energy house kit, and I am sitting here, in the middle of nowhere, typing on a laptop.

It's a little weird, good, sad... by having better internet connection (remember the boat battery hookup with the blackberry??? I'm no longer on the new boat battery for power, I'm on the old tractor battery! AND have an added device, a "personal hot spot" to better telecommute.), I can work from this rural area for longer periods of time.

However, let's face it: shouldn't I be outdoors right now?

Well there's plenty of time for that: I'm just on my first cup of coffee, so while I wake up I'll update you guys on the prefab interior framing progress!

So, now you can now walk around the inside of the prefab house and finally "see" the dimensions of the rooms. Several people have asked me if "there is enough mechanical / closet space." And, as I trace the spaces, the dimensions, I can't help but think, "who the heck needs more?!?" Seriously, folks, not only are the closet dimensions adequate, in my opinion they are generous- don't forget the ceilings are really tall so you could use that upper space for even more storage. (How many shoes do you need? ; ) )

I wondered what the spaces would feel like with framing. I do not feel confined, in fact, the front area, even with the addition of the dining table that seats eight, feels open and airy; the bedrooms are ample. The air mattresses we currently sleep on are Queen-sized; so you can now see, with the framing outlines, that there is plenty of room for desks and dressers.

But then again, I'm the owner. Of course I think it's perfect! However, yesterday Dolores, a house kit enthusiast, paid us a visit. So this was our first real-live non-biased non-family/friend visitor who wants to build a prefab casa ti in New York but wanted to check it out first. (Don't forget we're having an official Open House the weekend of September 26th & 27th to coincide with a lot of fun stuff in this historic area if you want to stop by! More on that soon, mark your calendars!)

So, dear readers, meet Dolores:
Here is what a total stranger thinks about our prefab off grid house: (she doesn't want to be seen so until I can get the sound off the video I'm just going to put her text here- just imagine her talking with a cool New Yawk accent : ) :)
"Hi, my name is Dolores. I'm visiting the casa ti because we're interested in buying it, and it's a lovely place.

They have dogs around (laughs, dogs amble into camera view)... and they've delineated quite nicely the space (sweeps arms)- You can see where the rooms are, the doors, closets... and it's enough closet space for people who are not pack rats. (we laugh)

Um... (looks up) the ceilings are quite high, so you can add extra storage up above you... and (starts walking through the rooms) it has a nice feel to it. (looks down) The concrete is beautiful. And the bathroom is an okay size (nods)... I'm from New York so I don't require too much space, this is a nice house for people who want a simple life and a clean slate to come to or live in.

(sweeps hand to front room) Out here is a living room/ dining room / kitchen combination that's not complete yet but it's quite lovely- you can see the windows and doors drape across the front of the house, there's also a side door for extra light and another entrance... and it's an angled ceiling so it gives the space a greater feel.

It's quite gorgeous, I think that you'd love it!"
(Thank you, Dolores!!! We do love it!!!)
Now, 'round here parts, strangers don't stay strangers long. So after Dolores got her fill of the house kit I said, "Hey, I'm going to go find the Amish, want to come?" She did.

Everyone told me where it was (remember the original stand we visited moved), but in these parts the directions are, "Well, you go down route X and then by the guy who sells shotguns, then look over near there on your right and They'll. Be. Right. THERE."
Oh.. of course.

So Dolores and I headed out down the road until my internal navigation system suddenly deemed that "this feels close." We slowed, and there was the Amish saw mill. Dolores turned in. "Oh, no, you can't do that!!!" I warned, but Dolores is from New Yawk : ) and dismissed my being-raised-with-farms-rules with a, "Maybe we can ask some one..." and there was no one, so she turned down a drive and as my protests rang further we saw a woman by a barn. I apologetically grimaced as we approached, and as we neared, I saw she was Amish. Not only was she Amish, but she was hitching her horse to her buggy, which was loaded up with her family.

"I am SO SORRY we couldn't turn around and are lost and are trying to find the stand to buy bread..." I quickly apologized, but thankfully was met with a smile. "That would be my mother, Lydia Esh, and they are just the next road down. " We thanked her profusely, apologized again, and headed off, where we then found her mom. Now you know you can't take pictures of the Amish, which is why the house kit construction pictures never showed the crew that built our prefab house. But I wonder if Mrs. Esh will let me take a picture of her store; I will ask her next time to show y'all how nice it is... there are quilts, wooden chests, children's toys, jams, relishes, breads... and even a pet chicken named Betty, yours for $5.

Both of their homesteads are beautiful: solid, immaculate homes and structures, bountiful gardens... happy farms. And when we passed Emma in her buggy on our return, we all waved at each other... Turns out her brother, Lydia's son, with others, were the ones that helped put together our prefab house kit! Thank you, Dolores, for going with me!

Now, one thing you need to know about farms: If you do not know the occupants, whatever you do, do not go on the land. This is why I so strongly protested when Dolores turned down the drive. One of my friends almost shot an encyclopedia salesman a few years ago similarly: seriously, think about it: You're in the middle of nowhere, on hundreds of acres alone, and a stranger is trying to access your house? What would YOU think? (The poor salesman- he was peering into windows at dusk when my friend showed up behind him with a rifle at the ready... )

However, if you KNOW the farm, around here it is the opposite: People come a-callin'. Telephones are often out, cell phone coverage is spotty, so when you know someone is "at home," well heck you just go and visit 'em.

So we had several friends stop by yesterday, including James Scott, whose family used to own this land and whose parents still live two doors down. Mr. Scott tells us so much history about the area, about the land we now own, and what he thinks we should do with it, and we listen: he knows all about the things we have discovered, and more. He thinks we should put a pond in near the old tobacco barn and knows all about the spring-fed stream and old breached pond...

We were all sitting there, enjoying nice breeze and the view inside as we discussed the prefab construction (he was very interested in the structural insulated panels) when, suddenly, there was a buzzing and bumping heard against the clerestory windows.
"Dag," I thought, "that's one big horsefly!" It wasn't.

We then decided to install the rest of the window screens...

...Our adventures continued further yesterday, but I wouldn't want to bore you.

It was an unusually cold summer evening, so we closed the windows.

I awoke this morning, then, sleepily, after awhile, thought out of curiosity to check and see what the temperature was inside the prefab house kit, it read 75. (Handsome Husband says the weather service said it was in the 50s last night...) And that's with NO SYSTEMS installed yet to heat the house other than the energy efficient SIP and passive solar design!

Now I have finished my coffee, so am off to play outside this prefab-ulous house. : )
...Off to pick blackberries for breakfast!

P.s. Interior design:
  • You may have noticed we added a reused dining table originally from our local modern design store, La Diff, to the house kit - it seats eight, and we also are reusing some Xylon chairs by Giancarlo Piretti, which we bought after being used originally in the cafeterias of Circuit City. We picked them up for a very good price to reuse in the casa ti!

  • ...Handsome Husband also nailed up more sconces to the walls. #designfight
Ok, ok, maybe they're looking rather cool now... and heck, we only have one camping lantern and no lights yet, so any illumination is welcome...

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At 7/20/09, 7:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks awesome, Copeland and Co.! Where exactly is the house?
--Amy A.

At 7/20/09, 9:25 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Hi Amy!
The land is exactly an hour and a half away from Richmond- near Hampden-Sydney, Appomattox, and tiny, historic villages filled with great people. need to come out some time! : )

At 7/23/09, 8:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great project! Have you considered doing the interior walls with a natural (clay) plaster? It's great for regulating humidiity.


At 7/23/09, 9:15 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Thank you! : ) We *would* have considered clay plaster except that we bought VMI's basketball court (oh yes we did) to recycle on the walls- : )
Check out the VMI posts here-

: )


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