Our house inside our greenhouse!

goodgreen(5)March 13, 2009

New member here (hope photo posts OK).Constructed (used, bought off craigslist) 30'x60' clearspan aluminum framed glass greenhouse over top of our 400 sq. ft. cordword cabin. Unheated at this point, greenhouse came through ~100" snow, -10 temps., winds up to 40 mph this winter in great shape! Ecoblock foundation & buried 500 gallon water tank helps stabilize temps, but single pane glass just sucks the heat out. Over 400 panes installed & only broke one (never glazed before=you learn quickly to be very methodical). Someone told me you have to dream big to achieve big - and we did it! Check our website for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: GoodGreen House & Farm

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OMG!!! That is wonderful!! I absolutely love it!!! Please keep on posting pictures, I'm anxious to see your progress and follow how your garden does with this setup. Awesome idea!! Congrats!!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 2:39PM
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amazing. i got something similar. its a greenhouse inside my house. ;) but not as impressive just a bunch of aquariums with lights over them.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 2:55PM
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redheadedninja(6 PA)


    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:04PM
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My absolute dream!!!!!
Glad someone finally did it.
I know you will enjoy it for many years.
The best to you.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 12:14AM
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May be I have missed it.

What is the reason for putting a greenhouse over a house?

Sorry to ask.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:01PM
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Thanks for the kind words and sorry I didn't get the photo posting correct (I'll work on that). Also, don't have internet access at home, so I'm rather slow at responding. Why a greenhouse over a house? We knew we needed more space (only had a 400 sq. ft. cabin, but didn't need square, boxy rooms that serve only to collect junk). We wanted a true living space, needed some protection from our climate (and bugs, deer, other critters), wanted to be able to produce more of our own food (and food for our kind neighbors with whom we exchange favors). We have a small (9'x14' Riga greenhouse), and if you own a greenhouse, you know that it never seems to be big enough. Also, our tiny cabin would get way too hot with the wood stove going, so we knew we had excess heat that we make use of. This greenhouse came up for sale on craigslist and that got me thinking about possibilities. Anyone with a greenhouse knows that it's got to be close by to get the max use out of it - we pondered other locations, but after reading about ecohouses in Sweden, we knew it could be done successfully. It's a fascinating, very experimental, learning process. OK, got to get back to work, but will try and post more details of our project as time allows.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 9:10AM
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i don't know if that is the coolest thing i've seen, but it's got to be up there in the top 10%

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 1:07PM
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cybersal(8 Heart of Tx)

The reason? If I had the choice I'd rather step out into a coldish greenhouse than a blast of snow at -10 degrees. Really 400 sqft is plenty of room when you can putter around in the greenhouse. Gives a new meaning to "out-house". I'd rate it 99.9% of the neatest things I seen. I recently moved from a 8,000 sq ft home into a 4,500 sq ft and still can't manage to keep it up properly. Rooms really are just boxes filled with "stuff". Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:45PM
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Wow! Very unusual. Do you have some way to cool it when summer comes?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 6:10AM
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We have 10 swing out windows on the front side of our foundation, 7 louvered vents w/auto-openers on the back side, and double ridge vents the whole length (60'). So far, so good. It's been very cold here lately: at 30 degrees and sunny, we can stabilize the temp at a balmy 75! We're installing shade cloth - on the inside, below the beams and purlins (using heavy duty row cloth = way cheaper than fancy curtain system). Also, our green/house is in a sheltered location, surrounded by trees (we live on a hillside, so the trees are up away from the structure, but will provide lots of shade).
Love the "outhouse" term - we're always talking about being "inside-out" or "outside-in", but think we'll adopt the "outhouse" reference.
Again, the kind words are very appreciated. We took a chance on something different, and we're loving it (and our progressive building code officer says it's agricultural, so no hike in our assessment!).

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:06AM
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As far as I'm concerned, the future belongs to people like you who aren't chained into the proverbial box. I love your set-up and understand exactly why you did it. Our 1820s farmhouse is two story and quite large, but we did the closest thing we could to achieve the same benefits.

I ordered a half of a commercial g'house and we set it up along along one ell of our house, the one with the length of the wall catching the northerly winds. Our backdoor is now the one into the g'house. Our kitchen door, the dining room door, one dining room window and the center hallways door from the other ell, all open into the half-house.

We heat it with a fireplace, but even unheated it stays above freezing in all but the coldest weather. It is an air-lock and prevents the winds from hitting the north wall of the ell downstairs and that in itself makes our kitchen and dining room much warmer and easier to heat. It does have some solar gain, as well. It keeps me sane in winter, because we can go out there and be comfortable, and keep plants there and a fountain as the snow is flying outside.

The floor is brick over sand, and you can even hose it down. LOL.

It was part of a very serious energy savings retrofit we did long before prices started rising because we KNEW they were coming. It's been one of the best things we did to this old house.

Do you have a blog? I'd be interested in keeping up with your life in this environment as you go through the seasons. How do you get fresh air for combustion when you heat in the cabin in winter? Do you have CO monitors?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 1:58PM
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rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)

Very neat! :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 9:34AM
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Incredibly interesting! I spent a good deal of time going through the website last evening.

May I ask several questions?
1. how did you decide to make the larger space the conservatory and the smaller space the growing greenhouse.
2. how do you intend to use the conservatory?
3. do you plan to grow vegetables etc in the greenhouse side through the winter? Or for an early start to the season?
4. has the greenhouse overhead made your house darker? Do you miss being able to see as much from the windows of the house?

I'll be very, very interested to track this site (or a blog, if you start one)to see how this works through the various seasons.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 11:09AM
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Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! A blog would be great to follow your experience! Have I said that it's awesome?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 11:29PM
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Some quick answers to Bobb Grow: When first starting this idea, we already had a model of our cabin, so we built a model of the greenhouse. Many hours of playing around, trying to get things right. Wanted to keep the greenhouse small (10'x30') so we could pack it full of plants and heat it in winter (using mostly extra heat from cabin wood stove) We use this space as early and late season extension. Conservatory is larger and will contain deciduous plantings (grapes, hops, blueberries, apricots, etc.) - things that can take and need the chill. We went through a wish list of things we wanted in this space: hammock, clothesline, water feature, in addition to permanent planting beds. One of my hardest challenges is to have edible plants only, but filling it with flowers is hard to resist (and they do feed the soul). Our cabin is rather dark: 18' walls (cordwood construction), so adding the clear span greenhouse didn't make it any darker, but actually we increased light by adding sliding doors, using the greenhouse structure as support (instead of wood framing), and adding the foundation windows. When we were slinging ideas around about adding space, I knew I wanted to grow old here, so having everything on one level was of utmost importance (hence the greenhouse made more and more sense). Much planning ahead: reading, visiting other greenhouses, and literally 'modeling' our behaviour has helped avoid costly mistakes.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 8:32AM
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Thankyou! I can understand that better now. I suppose that you could include in the the conservatory space some plants that might be marginal in your climate outside but could make it with the protection the unheated greenhouse would offer.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 10:10AM
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I am curious about how hot and humid the house would be in the summer time when the sun is bright in the middle of the day.

I am curious if you have considered carbon monoxide poisoning if you heat the house and greenhouse with a wood-burning stove.

I am curious if you spray plants in the greenhouse of chemical fumes getting into the house.

I am curious how do you get rid of bathroom odor if you are venting inside the greenhouse.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:01AM
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This weekend's weather will be a real test of things: almost 90 here in upstate NY. Could be brutal as trees are not leafed out yet. These will be our first super hot temps since finishing the structure. However, cabin stays very cool during summer(thermal mass of walls and concrete floor), so we've got that on our side. We ran the chimney up through the greenhouse structure (replacing a roof pane with aluminum), up above ridge line 24'. Bathroom venting is dual: shower vents to greenhouse (extra humidity), other vents are up/outside of greenhouse (same as chimney). No chemicals used in greenhouse. We are 'zoning' our plantings: nothing close to the cabin, misting & heavy watering at outer edges of greenhouse & conservatory. Greenhouse is in totally incorrect orientation for maximum sun, but we wanted it that way. We've tracked how much sun/shade our structure will get: in summer it's less than 2 hours of direct sun. Of course, like everyone else, our plants and us will spend most of the summer outside. dcarch, we love to be questioned about this: we were heavily quizzed by folks before starting this venture and are very thankful for it. As with this forum, we are all benificaries in shared knowledge and exchange of ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: GoodGreen Farm

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:26AM
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seems that if you can heat an entire home, with firewood, then heating that size of greenhouse, should be perfectly fine, for heating both house and greenhouse..got vents, got windows that open and can install a carbon monoxide detector, to make sure it's all fine...

oh, you have no idea, how I have coveted this idea, for the longest time.
I had only the day before, I heard of this site, said to a friend, that if anyone came to my house and would do just one thing to help me, what would it be?

to have a bio dome of some sort, built over my entire yard..
and then, a friend posted this thread!

now, my mind has gone close to 'tilt' with thoughts and wanting to watch as you progress...
I wish you all the very, very best in this adventure.
you are opening the door, to a new way of living...

many, many thanks! and cheers, to you both.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 8:40PM
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Do you care to report how you fared inside the house and greenhouse during the warmer weather over the weekend in your area?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 10:29AM
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Well, we survived! Saturday, with some shade curtains installed, outside high 86, inside greenhouse 104. Sunday, temps about the same. Monday, hottest day, more curtains up - outside 90, inside 104. Still need to finish curtains, but happy we could keep temps *only* ~10-20 degrees above ambient temperatures. By 7:00 p.m. each night, temps had equalized: cabin, greenhouse, outside temps all the same. Advantage goes to greenhouse: same temp, but only a few black flies got in. Plants never looked wilted, seem to be thriving. By Monday, we could see, and feel, the difference in shading by trees: leaves not fully out, but enough to start filtering the sun. Temps then dropped 50 degrees in one day (Tuesday). Ah, the roller coaster of life!

Here is a link that might be useful: GoodGreen Farm

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 1:45PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 2:45PM
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Absolutely amazing! I love it!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 9:46PM
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Good Green,

Now that it's been a few weeks of (hopefully) spring like weather, can you update us about how it has been in the house and greenhouse?


    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 12:15PM
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Most striking note is how little fire wood we have used this spring. Heat from greenhouse has kept cabin comfortable. Now as it get hotter, best feature is full length ridge vents: they do the trick - open both the foundation windows & vents - breeze flows through nicely. Shade: the large leaves of maples & basswood are shading the south side so much, it's now the coolest, darkest spot. East side has mostly ash (slow to leaf out) so we're still a little too sunny on that side. Worried about our trees - we get invasions of Eastern Forest Caterpillars. They'll totally defoliate trees (scary - everything else is green and lush, but the trees will be leafless). Should know in the next few weeks how bad the damage will be this year. Inside things are blooming and growing nicely. Added a ping-pong table to the conservatory! Great fun, nice atmosphere, and relatively bug free. Invite: we love to show off, so anyone who lives near or plans to visit the stunning Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, drop me a note and come see for yourself. We'll treat to you pizza baked in our earth oven!

Here is a link that might be useful: GoodGreen Farm

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:57AM
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sheila0(7a So. MD)

Boy! those Eastern Forest Caterpillars did a number on those trees! Nice to see they came back ok.

Neat photos of the caterpillars, you should have shown the yuckie ones too! I love a good yuck. hehehe

The oven is wonderful, and the bread looks so yummy, that I got hungry just looking at it.

I even took a look at the potato link you listed, and it reminded me of how I always wanted to use the cooking method mentioned in the article. I'll need a lot more information about it, but it made me decide to find out, and add it to the list of things I want on my property.

Cooking potatoes in the ground has always been of interest to me, and I'm just going to HAVE to find a way to include it into my outside cooking area.

OH! and because I'm Irish, I will continue to believe the potato is from Ireland, even though I know better. hehehe

I have so enjoyed your site, Thank you for posting it here. Now I'm off to make a couple of your recipes.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 6:37AM
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How have the house and greenhouse fared during the summer weather? (and the people and plants inside them?) I know that the east has not been as hot this summer as we have in the northwest but wonder if heat and humidity have been problems for you.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 12:15PM
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Things are going quite well in our house/greenhouse. WeÂre glad itÂs been a cool summer here in the North East. WeÂre able to keep the greenhouse temps only about 10 degrees above the outside temp. Cabin stays cool  just like any other house, you close your windows/curtains in the morning. Plants seem to be thriving (blossom end rot on tomatoes  weÂve read this common on trellised plants). Bit of an aphid problem (on the hard shelled gourds), maybe IÂll try oak leaves. Now we just let the daddy long legs do their thing Âgood way to spot bug problems (look for the "good bugs" as well as the bad). Trees are doing their job  filtered shade through the morning hours, then starts again around 2:00 p.m. If itÂs a sunny day, we mist and water down the floor (gravel) mid-day. We wrestle with the divide between trying to grow most of our food (a noble, yet lofty goal) and using the space as living space. Next year more space will be allotted for veggie production, but the ping pong table has got to stay. More work to be done (isnÂt there always?)  automatic watering, permanent planting beds, replacing the fountain with a small pond and waterfalls. WeÂve just finished splitting 5 cords of wood for this winter and weÂre already thinking ahead about how to best subdivide the space for overwintering (our aim is to keep the temp at a minimum of 45). All in all, itÂs been a great experience.

Here is a link that might be useful: GoodGreen House

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 3:48PM
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Very interesting. I've been keeping up with this. Have you considered canning and freezing food for the winter?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 2:44AM
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rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)

Yes we have been watching too here in Wi..How neat! Please keep us all informed..What a great concept...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:09AM
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