I think that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I am currently working on a retreat building that will ulitmately be the guest house on my property... but if a SHTF situation arises this will double as a snug winter house and the long term summer cook house and laundry.
From a womans point of view a few things I have put in cost no more to do than any other construction... but make all the difference.
- First of all the actual house is small, as a guest house should be but is very charming and full of lots of luxuries. A 15X 30 main room with a 14X 25 bedroom wing and a 12X24 covered porch that spills onto a large patio next to our pond. It is field stone exterior (faux) on a steel barn (MD) framework. with log accents. There is a basement (root cellar) under the main room.
- There is a combination woodstove, regular range with a reservoir in the Kitchen. This range backs to a rock wall that is common with the bathroom. A flip of a lever lets me fill the hor water line that services the bathroom and kitchen from the reservoir. A closet in the bathoom has washer dryer and a double sink... . A door leads outside to the outdoor japanese bath and a shower in a private bathroom garden (all can use the reservoir). I Have strung high strength cable between the eves and schedule 40 plumbing pipe that anchors my privacy fence around the bathroom garden and it currently has mini lights and vines trained on them..they can support clothes lines in a crisis and the outdoor bathing area can be used as a an easy outdoor bath house with the entire area doubling as a laundry. It currently serves nicely as a dressing room and for showering off after swimming in the pond!
- All the water for the property is gravity fed Cristern that has a solar pump on it and we have about 125 feet of head all underground and freeze proof. We also have a year round stream and pond.
- The main fireplace is a soapstone stove that fronts both the living room and the bedroom.
- The covered eating porch right off the kitchen has a built in wood or gas barbeque/rotisserii/bread oven. This has been designed to be able to be enclosed (as a greenhouse?) using standard door blanks.
- Under the main room is a root cellar and in house cistern.
- The entire porch is south facing and I have green house roof panels that can replace all or a portion of the porch.
- There is a solar hotwater and panel system on the house.
The main point of the house is it is stylish, very romantic, but it could be defended in a pinch and there is an escape route. I hope however to just have a wonderful guest house that friends, family and children can enjoy for years. The Bedroom has a closet full of vintage wool blankets, down comforters and trundle beds. The bathroom is warm and designed as a retreat to soak off the days cares... who knows... it may be someday soak off the cold from a long day of survival struggle.
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