Monday, January 30, 2012

Office Desk

Nancy at work. I was concerned the L would impede the passageway to the basement stairs, but its fine

The view outside is important and this arrangement works really well. Our bird feeder is outside the window on the right allowing for an easy glance over the computer

Sketches of the desk. We'll store the printer under the desk in a faux cabinet

We've been working on making the office space functional. For many months the computer has been set up on a little 3' x 3' table and we decided we needed to design a desk that would work well in the room.

This is Nancy's primary work space and she has a few priorities that we've been considering for a long time but never really figured out satisfactorily. Going way back to our original house plans we knew we didn't really know how we were going to make the space work, but we just figured we'd figure it out.

Nancy's priorities:
-View: In the yurt, she could glance just to her right and see the birds on the quince bush.
-Not having the desk run in front of the window(s)
-Proper storage and being able to spread out her work as needed

Beyond these requirements we want the room to still be useable as a secondary guest room when needed.

I spent some time playing with different arrangements and didn't really come up with anything satisfactory. As we looked at my sketches, Nancy suggested having the desk extend in an L out into the middle of the room. For me this seemed like putting a big hook in the way of the flow walking from the upstairs to the basement (something I do multiple times a day), but we decided to mock it up and to our satisfaction found that it met all our requirements. Nancy's been working on the mock-up since. Meanwhile I've been planing out the real thing and am just starting on building the desk now.

Our plan is for the wing of the desk that extends out into the room to be easily removeable. This will open up the floor space for a futon should we need to set up the room for sleeping.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wood Use

Later on January 14, 2012...our second 1/4 cord stacked

January 14, 2012...the last of our first 1/4 cord

January 1, 2012...roughly an 1/8 cord

September 24, 2011...our first 1/4 cord

Its been fascinating to monitor our wood consumption this fall and winter.

By New Years Day we'd used just over an 1/8th of a cord which you can see in the middle photo above. Now, two weeks later we've used most of what was left. This means it's taken about three and half month's to go through a 1/4 of a cord to heat a 17oo sq. ft house.

Of course it has been a mild fall, so this may not be indicative of future use, but it starts to lay out a pattern for us to plan around. January and February are the coldest months of the year and it will be interesting to see how much wood these months require. It seems like a reasonable guess that we won't go through more than a cord total for the year, but we'll see when all's said and done.

(I've spent some time trying to figure out a way to present energy use in comparable terms and I'm not there yet, but I want to work it out so it can be presented in a way that would allow comparisons with other forms of fuel, house size, and energy efficiency.)

In dollar terms we paid $200/cord in July for the wood we have on hand now. Roughly this translates to about $50 to heat our home so far this heating season.

The quarter cord we are just finishing burning is a couple years old, so its delivering more btus/kwhs then the woodstack we are about to start using which has not had time to fully season. The new wood was (presumably) cut and split in the middle of the summer since we had it delivered at the end of July. After this season it will be easy for us to maintain a seasoned wood supply by having one dry cord to burn and stocking up a green cord each summer.