feel free to leave your comments after any posts - we'd love to hear from you

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's a GROUSE!

Yes...it is a small bird native to our area....but it is also a Garage that will first be a House - then be a garage again once our cordwood home is built.  Get it, "Grouse".  Well we think it's humorous anyway.   

The plan as it stands is that we will be building a Grouse this summer.  In fact Nate went and got the building permit just the other day.

Currently we live in about a 1500 square foot 2 story house with a full basement.  In an effort to practice what we preach about simple and sustainable living our Grouse will be a whopping 525 square feet (one floor with about 225 square feet of attic space above it).

Here you can see the floor plan.  Pretty simple.  A small bathroom, a one counter kitchen, a fireplace and the rest open.  At this point we are not planning on partitioning off any of the downstairs for sleeping (we'll just use curtains). 

You can think of it like the Ingall's home in the popular TV show "Little House on the Prairie".  They all managed to survive in a small one room house for years!  I like this mash-up of the "Little House" and "Dallas" TV show opening credits (you had to grow up in the 80's to appreciate this.)

For those of you who like 3D visuals - here's a few of what it will kind of look like.

This will be a simple "stick built" Grouse using lumber that we will cut from the wood on our land.  The walls will be blown cellulose insulation, the trusses wooden, steel roofing, and the whole thing will sit on a cement slab.

For those of you trying to image how small this will be think about it this way.  525 square feet divided among 5.5 beings (5 humans and a dog - thus the .5) gives each person 95 square feet of personal space.  To see how big this is - get out a tape measure and create a box 9 1/2 feet by 10 feet.  Now stand in the middle of it.  That's your space for the next year.  Now join that box to 4.5 other boxes the same size - and you've got yourself a Grouse.

When we think this can't be done we remember two things.  

#1 - some people in New York City pay a lot of money for something this small - just so they can have a view of Times Square.  

#2 - We have friends that lived in a hunting cabin (that may even be a bit smaller) for over a year, through a northern New York winter.  The cabin had no running water, no inside toilet, no insulation, and an open hearth fireplace for heating.  They had 2 small children and the wife was pregnant with their third.  

Craig and Maryann - you're our heroes!


  1. Nate and Denise, You have both been to our house. It is 24x24 on main floor, plus 6x16 entryway and upstairs bedroom......we raised 2 sons here. Yours will seem large in about 15 years! 30 years and we are still here and love it! Loren and Betsy L.

  2. Loren and Betsy - you're right! You've been just been added to the "hero's of the small house movement" list. :-) We love your cozy home! :-)