We’ve all heard the saying that… “we learn the most in this life from our failures”.
And unfortunately… it’s true.
A better way to learn is from observing OTHER people’s mistakes… and successes.
When building something as significant as a house we want we want to avoid painful “life lessons” as much as we can. Few people will share their mistakes with us (it’s often embarrassing and humbling) so we need to make a habit of seeking them out (that’s not hard to do when it comes to something as large as house).
It’s been a lifelong passion of mine is to study houses… to learn from the best and avoid the rest.
In this week’s episode of Handmade House TV I take you to three small houses that I recently came across in the search for land for my next home. Each of these houses was built about the same time… within a few hundred feet of each other… likely for about the same amount of money.
Two of them turned out tragically, while the third… stands proud and true.
What can you learn from them?
These two poorly built homes in this episode ignored the 12 Keys to a Handmade House… if you haven’t watched the free video that I put together revealing the 12 keys make sure and check it out sometime! Here’s the link… The 12 Keys to a Handmade Home
Most small vintage log cabins were built with short “knee walls”, generally there were only two courses of logs above the second story flooring, in other words… about two feet tall. I like to add a couple more courses of logs when I rebuild these antique cabins giving the homeowner four foot knee walls. This allows furniture to be put along the outer walls and creates a much more practical and spacious room. It also creates a taller, more attractive, profile for the exterior of the cabin. Notice also the painted paneling we used on the ceiling (so much better than drywall).
Here’s a photo of the angle-cut course of stone made in order to create a wider base for the stone chimney that is to come. It’s a really nice touch to add to any chimney.
I’ve never read why the masons of old added this feature on the finer chimneys of that era, but I would imagine it was a way to further strengthen and stabilize these monuments.. and that is what a well-built chimney is, a monument. A chimney often stands long after a home is gone.
Folks back then paid more attention to nature than we do today and Incorporated those observations into their homes. Take a look at the tallest living structures that you encounter on a daily basis… trees. Notice how they flare out at the base?
It’s little details like this that will bring joy to you and for the generations to come. This handcrafted detail is right down there near the ground and is something that catches your eye every time you walk by it. New visitors always comment about it and often go over to touch it.
But it’s not without cost, it takes effort for you to get it in your plans, it takes extra materials, but most of all it’s about extra labor, it takes a mason days and days, with a hammer and chisel in hand, to create it. There is nothing like breaking the budget on day one… but IT”S WORTH IT !