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New Floorplans and Elevations from ISA

by Chad Ludeman on February 21, 2008 · 23 comments

in architecture,Design,facade,floorplan

ISA and I have had a few meetings since the discussions on the new floorplans last week. If you look closely you will notice that we have incorporated some reader suggestions such as surrounding the new bathroom layout with closet space rather than having them run the length of the side wall. Special thanks to David for this suggestion.

Feb 100K Floorplans

Feb Elevation Draft

The kitchen and ground floor layout have been debated the most. In the current plans we have a sleek island or peninsula with all of the bulky appliances and storage hidden under the stairs. We have made a few sketches where the stairway and the storage and cabinetry below it are made into one piece that is disconnected from the wall an upper level. If we can’t pull this off design or budget wise then we will most likely look at keeping the peninsular where it is and adding the bulky storage along the opposite wall of the stairs to make a simpler L-shaped kitchen. This will leave the plan open and flexible while making the task of sourcing affordable cabinetry much easier.

The elevations show a mixture of stucco and James Hardi siding mounted vertical in strips of varying widths. I like the “light mist” color a lot which is basically a light grey. We talked about painting a few random strips with a different color for an interesting and cheap effect. We have some more research to do on the labor involved with mounting the siding in different configurations as well as how we can handle the edges and corners without making the home look too traditional.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eco-Icon February 21, 2008 at 8:56 pm

A few random questions: What about a mechanical room? (Water Heater, electrical panels, etc.) Since you are planning to use SIPs how will you deal with Air quality and Air circulation in non-summer months?

2 chad February 22, 2008 at 1:57 am

The mechanical room is below the bathroom to the right. The image is not great so it’s hard to see the details inside. We are planning to install an HRV to accommodate the indoor air quality.

3 moderns-r-us February 22, 2008 at 5:04 am

CKudos on the decision to use SIPS.

I have found the trims at Tamlyn Products to be useful in doing corners and edges with James Hardi panel or siding.

Scroll down to “PATENTED/TRADEMARKED TRIM ACCESSORIES” in the link below.
This might be what you are looking for.

4 chad February 22, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Thanks modern. Interesting product. I wonder if there is something like this that’s not made of vinyl.

5 Eco-Icon February 22, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Giving a little context to one of my earlier questions, since SIPs are notoriously air tight, it’s important to ventilate well. Also in case of fire extremely air tight homes are sometimes vulnerable to backdraft explosions.

6 Brandon February 22, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Any info on which type of HRV you’re going to be using? I’m assuming a wall mounted one, was just wondering if you had researched any specific ones.

7 Nick Allen February 22, 2008 at 3:45 pm

H iChad,

Nick again.

Regarding the extended kitchen bench:

The Leusche Group did it in their Omaha House.


8 chad February 22, 2008 at 4:41 pm

From a quick search I like this small, wall mounted HRV from Fantech that runs about $400 and is made for small homes less than 1500 square feet.

The main trick will be where to mount it and how to minimize ducting and the associated costs with ducting.

Nick – Nice kitchen pic, thanks!

9 Rob February 22, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Good to see the design continues to progress. I like the new plans and elevations. And I really like the look of the hardi siding even though it is not as sustainable as the metal.
I would like to know, though, how you will be doing the joints between the pieces of siding? At the vertical joints do you intend to just face seal with a caulking or use some sort of “H” clip? And for the Horizontal joints will you be flashing each one? I ask because it seems like a lot of joints, which could mean alot of labor. If you can do it, I really think the asthetic is great!
You might think about a reverse board and batten with the batten between the SIP and the exposed siding. A similar sort of detail could be used at the corners to leave a sort of reveal that would be different. You will still probably need to flash all of the horizontals though.

10 chad February 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Excellent questions Rob and these are the exact issues I brought up in my last meeting with ISA. If you reference the installation instructions for the vertical panels you have the Batten, “H” Joint and Caulk Joint as options for the side edges of each panel. You are also required to install Z-flashing at each horizontal joint. With the current design of random width strips between 5″ and 8″ this could add up to a lot of labor.

We are running the labor issues past our builder and have a couple other ideas that could be a bit easier to install while still yielding the aesthetics we are looking for. One would be to use the same random width lap siding and mount it horizontally as it is intended to. Here is a good example image from the the LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog that was recently posted. With the light grey color and some random colored planks thrown in here and there I think this could be a pretty unique look using standard and affordable materials.

Another idea is to simply use the vertical sheets that come in 4′ widths by 8 or 10′ long. If we cut each sheet in half offsite we would be left with a bunch of 2′ wide vertical planks that would cut down on the labor involved with each seam while still affording a vertical look similar to the concept shown.

Of the three choices for the vertical joints I think I like the “H” joint the most as caulking seems labor intensive and sloppy. I have seen battens done effectively in modern applications but I am not sure it is the look we will want, especially on the large West facing wall of the corner house.

I also wonder what a shingle method of install would look like with 2′ x 4′ shingles rather than the 12″ x 18″ max single shingles sold by Mr. James Hardi?

11 Rob February 22, 2008 at 5:56 pm


Glad to see you have already started to address these issues. I still think your existing design of random width vertically oriented siding is the best. It is contemporary and seems to fit well in the city, but the random width horizontal is very interesting. You could precut to your “radom widths, say 4-5 different widths, and try to keep you horizontals to a minium and that should ease labor costs.
I also really think the reverse board and batten would be a viable look. Here is what I am talking about
The 2′ wide panels may also work. Could look more like the original metal siding.
And the above mentioned air exchanger is not a true HRV as I understand it, as it mixes air streams. It could definitly work for this small house but I doubt it would work as the sole kitchen exhaust as it mixes inside air with fresh outside air.

12 chad February 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm


You are right on the HRV and it’s a result from searching too quickly. Ross Mechanical is researching these for us now to find the most economical model for our needs that can operate without being hooked up to a typical HVAC system with a blower.

I understand the reverse batten concept but it does seem like it could be more labor than typical battens. The good news is that I guess you could use the small width siding as the batten to make the install easier. What if you simply varied the reverse batten pieces also to incorporate them into the varied width design. This would maximize material use while minimizing labor. Hmmm. We’ll have to run this my the local rep.

You could take this concept a step further and create a checkerboard type of pattern on the facade. There would be an extra layer of depth to the facade which could be interesting also. The battens would in effect be serving double duty as an aesthetic and functional piece more so that they are as small strips. I like where it’s heading…

13 Rob February 22, 2008 at 6:49 pm


Yes, good developments indeed. Using random width reverse battens with the boards would be a ” board and board” style. I like the possibility that brings. I am not sure horizontal boards or battens would work as typically that is a catch point for water, which is why hardie recommends the flashing.

You clearly have a very good handle on all of this, I am very impressed.

14 moderns-r-us February 23, 2008 at 12:40 am

Tamlyn does have an aluminum H section similar to the one you might need. It is not on the website yet. They are in the process of changing many of these profiles to aluminum.

15 moderns-r-us February 23, 2008 at 12:47 am

Have you thought of putting up the 5/16 Hardi panel sheet product and then applying random sized vertical battens to the panel. Not as cheap as some options, but it might give the desired affect. And it would be very weather tight.

I had considered this on a project that was trying to duplicate this look in new construction.

16 chad February 23, 2008 at 3:12 pm

In general, we are trying not to add materials on top of others for aesthetics reasons only as it it not in line with our mission. Any extra money spent on something that does not serve a functional purpose is less money we can spend on the core aspects of the home that improve it’s sustainable and energy efficient qualities…

17 david February 29, 2008 at 5:41 am

hey chad. new plans look great. am i to take it that my earlier suggestion re: cupboards as walls got taken on board somewhat? i’m giddy with the excitement of trans-continental architectural collaboration!

i just posted my floor plan for my own tiny house. i’d love to know what you think.


18 david February 29, 2008 at 6:54 am

oh i just read the text. thank you. you’re most welcome!

19 chad February 29, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Floorplans look great david. I’d live there. Thanks for the kind reference to our project.

20 will March 26, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Has anyone thought about using the hardie in a rain-screen application? Maybe it’s not necessary in your climate, but you could then leave the horizontal and vertical joints open.

21 chad March 27, 2008 at 12:03 pm

We have thought about that but are a bit concerned about the cost due to the extra labor. It may not be too bad though. The SIPs manufacturer is telling us we don’t need a rainscreen application and the Hardie rep hasn’t been too helpful either way. I have only seen rainscreens done for vertical installations, so I would tend to agree with you. More research is needed…

22 Michael April 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Chad, I too am thinking of doing a similar project in the NJ area. The simple difference is I will be doing a majority of the work. I was interested in your experience with the architect. What was their fee basis? What did it end up costing for the plans? The reason I ask is I am looking for an architect that has experience in this area of green building. BTW, your posts and those of others have been invaluable.

23 chad April 5, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Our experience with ISA has been great. I can’t speak to their fees but I am sure they would be willing to give you a ballpark once they know your project plans a bit better. Building modern and green is some of the hardest work to do for a firm so I wouldn’t skimp on an architect no matter who you end up going with…

Thanks for the comments on the blog. We’re glad others are able to learn from our process which was the whole idea from day one.

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