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I know someone who got tired of taking care of property and bought a airplane hanger type building and built living quarters inside.
Part of the hanger is for living, other part for car related stuff.

The 40x50 shop I recently built is a steel building. I joke with my wife once I have a loft for storage (already have a bathroom with shower) the fam may never see me!
 

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LOVE the ideas. I want to do something similar myself. I look forward to seeing what others come up with.
 

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I think it's a great idea. I'm more the urban type but the idea of an open warehouse floor plan has always intrigued me. Unfortunately buying a warehouse in the city is absurdly expensive so it defeats the purpose.

When I lived in a condo the first thing I looked at in my quest for a house was an old converted auto garage. My ex-wife was skeptical and we ended up with a house in the city that I love, but I still like the idea of a converted commerical/industrial space.

It's cool that you guys have practical wives. Lots of women would be diametrically opposed to the idea because of what their big hair too much makeup friends might think. But a 3000sqft mutli-level stick constructed house in the suburbs will never be laid out perfect and they're a maintenance nightmare compared to what a steel building of the same size would be like. Heck, my circa 1954 1340sqft house seems nebulous sometimes.

As far as the cold floors... check the garage thread. Heated floors, man, heated floors. Also nothing stops you from, if you want, creating a platform for the living area with a sub-floor to soften things up on the joints.
 

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aS FOR HEAT MIGHT WOrK BEST TO use hot water piping in the cement pad. Have thought about it now and then
Yep! A very good friend of mine bought 40 acres in the woods about ten years ago. He installed a driveway and utilities then built a nice steel building with a huge garage and living quarters. He also installed a high efficiency boiler and radiant floor heat in the whole building. He can heat his garage simply by opening a valve and letting the hot water flow inside the concrete slab. It's sa-weet!

My friend has since built a large custom home directly next to the steel building home. He now uses the steel building home as a guest house. Shoot, I'd be happy to live in that guest house the rest of my life!

My friend had a few minor problems with the steel building related to the rain gutters and a few roof pieces. He was able to get it all resolved.

Anyway, that radiant floor heating is the way to go if you have a concrete slab. It costs more up front, but it's just so much better than forced air heat and it's also more efficient.

In his new house, my friend added a solar panel to the boiler system. It's also tied in with the water heater. The solar panel actually looks like an old-fashioned steam radiator only larger. It's up on his roof. That solar panel alone is often all he needs to heat his house and provide all the hot water his family needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
"It's cool that you guys have practical wives. Lots of women would be diametrically opposed to the idea because of what their big hair too much makeup friends might think."

People are all different, but my wife (the Rose, in rose62) is from the Philippines and impressing others (or wearing make-up for that matter) has never been on her radar. I mean, she married me, didn't she?
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Well, after the fire, we're back to this. The insurance company paid us for the structure of the rental house and we own the land. My garage (24'x46') that I built and used for two years before moving is intact. We bought our current residence at the bottom so we have pretty good equity. So between the settlement cash and the equity we're investigating the cost to see how much of a mortgage we'll end up with. If it's lower than what we're at, we're going to jump. Rather than build a shop where I'm am we can just move back to where we were and, viola!, I have a shop and the wife has a brand new house with a smaller mortgage. Our initial thought is a 40'x60'. I'll keep posting as we move along.
As an aside, one of the factors that always inhibited us previously was the knowledge that banks were hesitant to do mortgages on these due to the lack of "comps." But my daughter works at a bank and told me that the popularity of the "barndominium" has increased to the point that they've financed several in the past two years and there is no longer that concern regarding financing.
 

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We are discussing going unconventional ourselves. Our primary home is mortgage free and only 2.5 years old.

We would rent the house, put up the building, live inside in a TT or 5th, and pay as we go.
 

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Fire Codes continue to expand in the area of residential construction. For a combined garage/living space fire rated walls separating garage space from living space are just the beginning. Residential fire suppression systems (sprinklers) are now required here in NorCal on new residential buildings. If you haven't recently priced a code compliant sprinkler system, you might be surprised. Do your due diligence on what is required in your target location.
 

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Really? Fire suppression system in a residential home? Home ownership just got a lot more out of reach for many buyers.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
No such requirements here in N. Georgia. And, it will have just a one-car garage. Right now, I'm still looking for someone to do the drawing of the living space so the G.C. can work up an estimate that I can take to the bank.
 

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Are you comfortable doing your own drawings? I did my own drawings for the second floor of my house. But it does require a lot of knowledge and study of building code.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
A buddy of my son is nearly finished with his studies in architecture. I told him what are our basic preferences and he will do a rough drawing that should be detailed enough for my builder to make a proposal. But he's got school, a job and kids and therefor is taking a while to get it together. If he takes much longer, we will engage a professional and just get an actual set of plans.
 
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