While I'm trying to line up a well, septic, foundation, and ... a *driveway*, my wife insisted on me laying out the kitchen. 🤔
We have a galley kitchen in our Edina house and love it. So, much like we're copying our current den, we're trying to copy our current kitchen, too.
Somehow my drawing ended up having 11' between posts, and 9' of wall against the stairs, which makes this layout math so simple even I can figure it out.
On the exterior wall, left-to-right, is a 2' pantry, 1.5' dishwasher, 2' sink, 2x 1.5' cabinets, and a 2.5' fridge.
Explanation and rationale:
"Kitchen work line." We don't really cook, so more important for us than a "kitchen work triangle" is a "kitchen work *line*" running from the fridge to the sink. 99.5% of our takeout is unpacked in this space, as evidenced by the wear pattern patina on the floor. (It's at least as patinaed as the space in front of the sink.) Having 36" of counter-top between fridge and sink, with two silverware/knife/utensil drawers below is incredibly handy and efficient. I don't think I would build a kitchen without this setup.
Windows where cabinets should be. On a .25 acre urban or inner-ring suburban lot, the kitchen often ends up looking into your neighbor's living room, so a single window above the sink is about all you want. Even though this wall is facing east (the non-water view), there are a lot fewer neighbors to see, so we're sacrificing shelves/cabinets for glass.
Signature refrigerator. This was unintentional, but the refrigerator is turning out to be a focal point not just for the kitchen but for the entire MVC. It's in view at every turn, so in the drawing now is a ridiculously expensive 30" Sub-Zero with a glass door. We plan on offsetting this expense by doing IKEA cabinets. 😉
On the 9' wall is a 1' cabinet, a 2' range, and 3x 2' cabinets. We'll put all our plates and glassware on 3 floating shelves made from some of the trees I cut down.
Explanation and rationale:
Baby *does* get put in a corner. We use our current range for scrambled eggs and frozen pizza, so we're going with a mini 24"-wide range, sacrificing symmetry, and getting it off to the side to make room for ~6'-wide shelves.
On the next kitchen post I'll break down the prices for all this stuff. Love it? Hate it? Completely indifferent? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One look at the MVC floor plan and even a casual observer could see that we're doing timber frame construction. (The posts are a dead giveaway.)
I didn't get exposed to timber framing until way too late in life, and now I wouldn't consider stick frame construction for anything, even a shed. Every day I bike by all these massive new stick frame additions and new stick frame construction here in Edina and after I say, "Gross!" — usually in reference to the already dated, cheesy-ass architecture — I next ask myself, "Why?"
Even putting aside timber framing's subjective superiority over stick frame, like its clean, simple, organic, timeless, rugged, and sturdy appearance, it's *objectively* more practical and better than stick frame in three important ways:
They can be cut offsite. In a controlled environment, with precision, *before you even own a piece of property*, then shipped to the building site. I don't care if it's Larry Haun's Ghost doing the stick framing; he still can't do it offsite.
They can be erected quickly. While the MVC is small — just 36x24 — the Big River Timberworks (BRT) crew will put up the frame *and fully enclose it in SIPs* in 5 days. Let's call the frame erection half of that; 2.5 days. Stick framing is measured in weeks.
They don't have structural interior walls. I've laid out interior walls on the floor plan, but this is all still pretty flexible, for the most part, and they're all partition walls. Nothing is load-bearing. Nothing is critical. I can put an interior wall anywhere, and when I goof it up, I can put it somewhere else, no problem. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but unless you use trusses, stick frame will have an interior load-bearing wall.
Onto the specifics about our frame:
Port Orford Cedar. All my previous — and very limited — experience is with EWP (Eastern White Pine), which is readily available, cheap, and easy to work with, but I hate how it yellows over time. Thanks to BRT, I got turned onto Port Orford Cedar, which grays over time. Please don't judge our carbon impact having timbers shipped from Coos Bay, Oregon, but we far prefer POC over EWP, and really all the other timber options we looked at.
No braces. Timber frame purists might scoff at our frame, but a brace-free design really cleans things up, pretty dramatically. Again thanks to BRT for pointing us in this direction.
For a few days I thought I could cut this frame myself over time, in my garage, but after practicing this rather advanced joinery (for me) on some scraps, I gave up. 4 hours yielded this sad-looking post. At this pace we would have the MVC when I'm dead.
The best space in our current Minneapolis house is this den. We spend countless hours here in front of a fire watching Dateline, 48 Hours, and 20/20. On network.
The 🐕 🐕 love it, too.
A key objective of the MVC (Minimum Viable Cottage) is to recreate this space, except with a view of Lake Michigan. On paper it's somewhat of a success. Our current den is 12' x 13' with an 8"6" ceiling. The den on this floor plan is 12"4" x 11' with an 8"6" ceiling (once the loft is built).
Taking two feet from such a small room turns out to be a 15% reduction, but it's not a "hard" 11 feet because there isn't a rear wall. At least this is the rationalization I am going with.
The rest of the floor plan needs a lot of work, but it's pretty simple: 1 bedroom, 2 baths, 2 lofts (not shown yet), galley kitchen, laundry/mechanical room, puzzle table, and 3 garage doors to the western (view) elevation. Much more to come.
Everyone has an opinion on floor plans. Lay them on me: email@example.com
Cottage on High Bluff Road is a blog documenting a house build in Door County, Wisconsin. A more in-depth explanation is in the inaugural entry.
We're just getting started and don't have a lot of channels, but the early leaders for content are mistakes, lot, and view. Many more to come.