Skip to main content

Paige's Highlights

So, I skipped a week. And this week has been busy....not exactly the most interesting of topics, but both important for building our own home.

1. Fireplaces. Well, as with most things, I'm first interested in something by an article by Mother Earth News about improving the efficiency of wood-burning stoves. Dan and I are planning on having a very nice, large masonry fireplace in our home one day, but we both know that they're not very efficient. The ceramic, stand alone fireplaces are VERY efficient, and although they're pretty, there is a certain degree of heft and pomp that you lose with them. To be honest, since we're placing it as a focal piece of our living room, let alone our entire downstairs, we need something with some presence.

2. Fireplace inserts. Enter the inserts. They have the functionality of the stand-alone wood-burning stoves and can be slid into the impressive masonry hearth. Unfortunately, few of these have the efficiency of the Hearthstone stoves--they're usually behind by around 10% or more, which adds up to 2-3 winters of FREE heating over the lifetime of the stove.

3. The Compromise. Do a large masonry facade with a Hearthstone freestanding stove slid in. Dan and I want to do brick, so something like above would work. It's not a Hearthstone stove, but there are some that are similar. Additionally, I'd want something like the elaborate side of this design, so one side would be the stove that faces out living room and the other would be a very convenient wood storage area. We're looking at the Homestead design of the Hearthstone stove (not that color, grey and matte black would be our choice). 1800 square feet of heating, over 80% efficient, and slimmer to slide into a brick surround a little more flush.

4. Septic Systems. Ok, not as exciting or picturesque, but you gotta deal with it! Dan and I have already discussed separate grey water treatment systems for the showers, sinks, and washers. The water at the end of the treatment system would not be potable, but could be cleanly diverted as irrigation water, pool water, and flushing water for toilets. All the "black water" would have a standard septic system, however--messing around with that one! However, if you subtract the dishwasher, clothes washer, and showers, that's a TON of a house's water uses--all recycled! Here's a great website for grey water management--tons of data and information!


5. Solar Water Heating. Build-it-solar has an AWESOME website on an amazing build-it-yourself solar hot water system--all for $1000! To be honest, their system is relatively small, but could be easily doubled or tripled for between an extra $500-$1000, for a total cost of about $2k--that's easily ten THOUSAND dollars less than a comparable pre-fab unit. And for those of you who are a little skeptical, the unit is set up in the mountains of Montana (I believe) and is made out of commonly available materials. Dan and I have spent hours (his patience is nearly inexhaustable) discussing these units, and this one seems the most feasible.

Comments

  1. Our Hearthstone Mansfield is the best piece of furniture in the house! After @6 winters of continuous use as the main heat source, I have nothing but praise for its construction and beauty (we love sitting around the fire).

    MomR

    ReplyDelete
  2. The fireplace is definitely a focal point of the home. Dan and I have been impressed with it for its efficiency, ease of use, and home-y qualities. We'd be getting a similar stove, but one that is a bit shallower to fit in our hearth. We love them!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Where have we been?!?!?!

Yes, blogging land, it has been a while.There's been a lot of transition for us in our little homestead, and nearly a year ago, we returned to the suburban life for the current time.Have we given up on our dreams of wide open spaces and green acres?  Certainly not.Is homesteading still something we love or would love to do? Definitely.Here's the thing. Homesteading is what you make and how you define it.  If you expect me to be a purist, you are far from mistaken about me.  My life is far from purist.  Bits and pieces of life are combined into a recipe that is of my own making and best suited to my own life priorities and goals. Do things sometimes get a bit mis-mashed and messy?  Yes.  But it is always worth re-tweaking and making something unique, beautiful, delicious.It's all in your priorities and goals.
 For me, having a manageable sized garden and quantity of produce is high.  Along with short commutes. And less stress.  And possible early retirement.  And extra time …

Looking back and Looking On: 2016 reflections and 2017 dreams

The blog has been quiet these days, but we've been busy behind the scenes.  At times, it feels like I get nothing done but keeping the kids alive and us semi-fed with healthy food, but we have been steadily plodding forward.  Here's where we've been. The Year of Simplify: 2016This past year really had me getting serious about taking stock of my life-how I spent my time, what was important to me, what I actually wanted to see and bring into my house.  I was getting pretty exhausted from working my 5th (yikes!) year on night-shift, raising two small children (with a third on the way!), and having "to-do" or "should-do" lists as long as my arm.  My home felt cluttered and overwhelmed as we were in-between two places for the past few years.  The extra space between two locations hadn't reaffirmed the "stuff purge" as I felt like I always had more space.  All in all, was juggling too much; I felt overcommitted--with work, with hobbies, with to-d…

Taming the Consumerism Beast: My Minimalist Christmas

As we enter the holiday season, I have consciously been trying to be more mindful of the choices that I'm making and the example I'm setting.  Unfortunately, the holiday season has become part and parcel with excess--excess food, excess buying, excess debt, excess stress.
I want to do better.
The past year or two, I've been gradually shifting towards simplification and minimizing my life.  My schedule has been too busy, my home too cluttered, and my life just too stressed. And if we're honest, the holidays are no exception. We are consumer-minded, we don't budget for generosity, and we are wildly selfish, but carefully disguise this as generosity to our already well-provided for families, friends, and children (global perspective, people). 
I want to teach my children better.  And the only way I can accomplish this is to lead by example.
I want my children to learn that Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, not over-indulgence. 
I want my kids to remember that Chr…