Design Dev for this home for homesteading is wrapping up and I am moving onto putting together the drawings for construction. Here are some views of the exterior in 3D. I have not yet really selected the exterior finishes so these are showing siding by default.


Why have I not chosen finishes yet? The house must have a functional aesthetic. The overall form and use of the house is where we spent the research and design on. The view can show plain empty white walls and I would still go with it since I believe that the character of the house meets the purpose I set out to find.

  • capture prevailing wind and use it to keep space cool in the summer and warm in the winter
  • provide comfortable interior spaces using passive methods
  • provide spaces that cater to homestead related work and production
  • design in solutions to improve security of the home
  • optimize for sun path for selected location
  • designed for ease of future maintenance and DIY home repairs
  • flexible to build in phases and to expand beyond current complete design
  • support ageing in place and serve as a forever home
  • design in potential short term rental use (AirBnb or VRBO type income sources)
  • designed to be flexible as a multi-generational home
  • designed with option to include a tornado shelter
  • includes considerations for being built off-grid (solar, septic, rainwater harvesting)
  • abundant outdoor living space
  • captures the flow of activities for homesteading and food production
  • captures the flow of activities from arriving at home from commute to going to bed to rest
  • designed to stay warm considering the colder winters we have recently had in Texas in 2020 and 2021

With the above solutions included, the finishes can be tweaked from here. We can add all sorts of details, panels, add stone veneer, do board+batten. The combinations are plenty, and at that point it won’t have any adverse effects to the function of the home. The finishes can be purely, honestly a pursuit for how I would want the house to look.

Here are images taken from the corners of the house, showing it in summer sun-my main concern for my climate and location. This is actually showing late afternoon sun, which comes in at my current home at an angle which I wanted to address. My high noon solar exposure is actually pretty easily resolved with this design, so I am showing a worse case scenario for me: what it looks like later when the same hot summer sun is at about 6pm or so and starts to heat up the west side of most homes.

View from the NE corner. The left most section shows the bedroom wing, which has windows and ceilings designed to let the morning sun into the bedrooms. The north facing main deck space extends outdoor living space to the property. Most of the food production and homesteading in this site is located on the north side, which is where this deck faces and serves. The dormer at the center roof lets in north light without adding to the interior heat load. It also acts to suck out the warmest air inside the living space.
View from NW corner. North facing porch has the main view of the homestead. Workflow from homestad activities is thru the west dogtrot (seen here where the trellis starts). There is a shop which is closest to the flow of activity from the backyard to the kitchen. This extends productive outdoor space into the interior: think of indoor space for starting plants or finishing your projects in. The west facing roofs are designed to optimize shade and increase attic vent to keep the interiors cooler.
View from SW corner. The western most structure is the garage. As seen here, with the late afternoon sun angle most of the windows and interior spaces will be shaded. The high noon summer sun is also well shaded. The shape of the house is designed to catch the predominant wind and be used to cross ventilate the interior space. The flow of activity is also visible from this angle- from when one arrives home from commute (garage on west side), to spending time in the homestead (kitchen and shop next to garage) and ending with rest at the bedrooms (east end of the house)
View from the SE corner. South facing entry porch is also well shaded, but is not meant to be the main outdoor living space. Bedrooms all let in morning sun. The roofs are segmented to allow it cool down faster in the summer

There you have it, a quick rundown of the benefits designed into this home as seen from the exterior. There will be a separate post explaining the thinking behind this design as seen from the floor plans and interior spaces. I’ll also include a summary of these benefits in a downloadable package in the below link.


My goal at Alt-Ark is to Make Homes More Permaculture, to help you build that permaculture home on the homestead.

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