Home Ownership


If we’re talking fantasy houses, I’d love to have a replica of the Flynn-Fletcher house from Phineas and Ferb because of the different entrances to Agent P’s underground lair that could be incorporated. Just a few off the top of my head include an elevator, slides and pneumatic tubes. Then there’s the hollowed-out tree with where the top flips open so that he can bring his jet car up through that.


I’d have some sort of elon-musk-come-hobbit-house thing, a high tech minimalist, almost brutalist structure set into a hillside for natural protection from the Dreaded Storms.

South-facing, naturally for something around the 55ºN mark, with plate windows to let in as many precious moments of English Sunlight¹ as possible. I was thinking geothermal for general heating, with solar for power and hot water. We’ve been looking into the concept of using USB3 as an actual replacement for mains power for a majority of appliances and, with the exception of the cooker, kettle and shower it should actually be possible… so the house could theoretically run from a 12V charge from the solar panels!

And of course, since it would be underground, a secret tunnel is a must.

… I’ll have to win the Lotto to do this of course, but I can dream!

¹ English Sunlight is a rare and mythical thing. The pale, high-UV light can cause a Briton to be sunburnt after just eleven seconds of exposure, or seven seconds if they’re from further north than Aberdeen. It has been rumoured that the south gets more sunlight than the north, but this is unprovable due to the scarce amount of Sunlight to take scientific readings.


I’d love to have a little straw bale house, with a triple glazed south facing exposure, terracotta floors to retain and release heat in the winter and stay cool in the summer, a geothermal heating system, a couple small windmills and a solar hot water system. Have a garage with a breezeway connection where I can have my wood shop.


I’m getting Facebook ads for something akin to this, recently. Open-plan houses intended to be built into a hillside or just creating a hill with a roof that grows grass and such.


Well, I need to update the house blog but we’re in the middle of this year’s major renovations. Friday, we got a new roof. Sat we got 2 new exterior doors. Today was the start of 2 projects. One was the removal and re-installation of the upstairs bathtub. The other was to begin new siding. The bathroom project is going nicely. They already have the old tub out. Our plumber is bitching about our HVAC guy’s work too (which he does have coming). The siding got put off a day. They dropped the ball and didn’t schedule the special demo crew to come out (asbestos shingles), but we’re hoping to still have everything done by Friday. The new roof and doors though have already made the house feel warmer. Obviously Heat Miser (that’s the name of the thermostat) is keeping the temperature good in the house but it doesn’t feel as drafty. It will probably be even better with the new siding.


I just faxed over paperwork for the new roof…


Last week we excavated part of our freeholding for our new hosue.

Because it is clay ground, we need to have a raft foundation, in order to prevent the walls from cracking should the clay soil expand/contract with the weather (dry/wet). $Wife is trying to find people who have building rubble so that we can use that as initial layer, then above that a 10cm thick cement layer, then the house.

House will be 10m by 10m to start off with, that’s our budget. Once we’re off better financially, we’ll look at expanding it.


I was just performing my daily YouTube Uptime Verification tasks (hey, someone’s gotta do it) and stumbled across this, which made me think immediately of this thread.

@DigitalShield: enjoy. :slight_smile:


Things were going too well. It’s not ‘end of the world’ stuff but there have been a few set backs. We had the scheduling mix up Monday that put us behind. Yesterday they ripped off the siding and wrapped the house but we’re running into issues. One is the weather which we can’t control. It’s supposed to rain off and on all day today so I doubt they will be onsite. Tomorrow is better weather but Friday is more rain. This is kind of a good/bad thing because it turns out they didn’t deliver enough materials for the house. They ran out of soffit materials yesterday and I think there’s not enough siding either. This gives them time to get more materials. But the other issue is the new doors that were put in. We asked for a natural oak and we got mahogany. We didn’t catch it at first and only noticed it last night. We called the foreman and let him know. We’re going to wait till the siding is up to see how it looks with the doors. If it’s okay we’ll let it slide. If not, they already know they might have to replace the doors again.

The bathroom is doing much better. It will be tight on tile though. We have 2 types and he bought just enough of the one type. We know where they bought it though (we went there to pick it out and it’s our new favorite tile/flooring store. A lot of options and good prices) so we will probably go pick up a pack of each tile afterwards in case we ever have to replace any pieces. I’m picking up the vinyl floor adhesive today so that I can tear up the bathroom floor this weekend and lay the new subfloor and vinyl floor. It’s this weekend where I will be once again saying how awesome my Duluth Trading pants are since they have pockets in the knees for knee pads.


I got to update the house blog with pretty pictures but contractor work is currently at an end. Our favorite contractors are coming back next week for a few minor things they were having problems doing the other day. Yesterday we had a Thunderdome situation going on. One crew was doing the siding, our contractors were trying to fix a few outside connections and we had Verizon on-site trying to get our phone and internet working again. Basically the siding guys didn’t want to stop to let the other guys work and they didn’t want to work under the siding guys and have pipes dropped on their heads. I guess it got a little tense there for a while. But it’s all done including the gutters today and the house really does look completely different. Now I get to start working in the bathroom (which looks awesome by the way).

So there is one thing maybe some other people can comment on. The siding/roof guys (country wide company and not a panel van crew) are starting a new thing. Solar. But it’s free for us. The idea is they would install the panels on the roof as well as all the other stuff including batteries and charging circuits and all that. This is all no charge. It would be hooked up to our house but the extra power would be sold to the electric company and they would get the profits. They are basically renting our roof for the cost of the solar power. If we ever want to get rid of it, it is also no charge. I looked into it and where we live, we’re not prime solar country. Yes we get decent sun but we’re not desert or high mountain country. From my reading, we’d get a drop in electric for sure, but I doubt we’d ever have a surplus except a couple times a year. With everything we’ve done recently, we certainly were not going to pull the trigger right now. This would be a later in the year thing. But my query is, does anyone think it’s worth it? I’m thinking yes but I’d like outside opinions.


The upside of that is you will not experience any power outages.

But like you said, the times you’re getting sun may not make solar a worthwhile option.

IMO run with this as it doesn’t cost you a cent. If it goes TITSUP*, it is not your problem, but somebody else’s.

I so wish we could get this option here in SA as we have sunny days most of the time. But theft and a monopolistic SoC (state owned company) does not make things easier.

Total Inability To Supply Usual Power


Tons of our neighbors have gone with SolarCity or similar, which is a similar-ish deal: Cheap/free install, you get a cut but not nearly the same as if you bought panels outright, etc. I researched it and maybe if we had a single family, but at the moment I can’t see it making sense.

I have heard with these deals you can be in a weird state of having to pay to have the panels removed/stored/reinstalled at your cost if you need future roofing work done.

It also sets off my “this can’t be real, it sounds too good to be true” sense.


… as long as you don’t live in Florida.

There, you have to be hooked up to the grid or they can issue an ‘abandoned location’ ticket and seize your home. Electricity lobbyists. You can run your solar power wall, but you still have to pay the electric company a monthly fee to be connected. You know, in case of emergencies like if the sun fails.


Pretty sure monopolistic companies will love this setup.


Monopolistic government bureaucracies, or government issued monopolies.

“How do we pay all these pensions if everyone gets their own power?”


In New York, your panels have to be disconnected if the power company loses service. Something about now wanting to electrocute guys on the lines because you’re backfeeding.

You’d think we’d have this tech sufficiently developed such that it could be automatically switched, keep delivering power to the house if it’s daytime, and not have to worry about it.


You guy’s don’t have that? Man the most complicated part of my parents’ solar feedback is the combination regulator and cut-out switch! Bloody thing is awkward as hell though, you have to turn the switch back to the clear position to reconnect after the power is back on, but because of the isolator you don’t know the power is back on unless the neighbours put their garden lights on!


Ugh. Yard work is like 60% done for the spring. It was so cold for so long I got a way late start on it. And the subdivision wants it done by a certain holiday weekend, which is fine, but I work alot this month so very little time.

But! I did get my roof repaired, so once we have some super heavy rains (hopefully this week) and it stays dry in my house I can pull down the ceiling and replace the drywall. And paint the house trim.

Then I can start on my real project list. Ugh. I’m thinking of being a little crazy and scraping all the popcorn off my ceilings and painting them. Anyone know how hard and nasty it really is? :thinking:


Ugh. Municipality rejected our drawings as “it need to be done by a draughtsman who is SACOP registered, and to SANS10400 standard.”

Ugh. Smells more like a money-making scam than anything else. I can understand the reason behind this, but why not offer a service on the side where you can hand in your drawings, have them checked out by a qualified person, then revise them yourself? I won’t mind paying $ for this instead of paying $$$ for an architect… There’s nothing wrong with me, I can use a CAD program.

We found an alternative - and is busy exploring that venue. Hopefully the bank will play ball as well.


I have heard it’s not too bad if you research and know what you are doing. Youtube is your friend.

I have to say this process sounds incredibly interesting and refreshingly simple up to this point. If I were to try to build a house I’d drown in paperwork before I even picked a location.