August 4, 2006 at 6:43 PM #7089
In response to a question about my house that I sold: it was a stapathya veda (or vastu) house, designed by us and architect Byron Holmes in Ramona. The only stapathya veda homes in this county are my house and the houses he built in Ramona. more photos. I did not post photos of my house here.
A vastu house is filled with light, faces solar east, kitchen in the SE corner (sink is north of range), bedroom in SW corner, no doors opening to the south (south is bad energy), toilets facing north, beds facing east, ceilings at least 10′ high.
In the center of the house is the “brahmastan”, a light filled area extending above the roof. It is made of skylights in less costly homes. You place a permanent object in the brahmastan, as you don’t want to walk through it. The meditation room is in the SW corner of the house.
A fence, even ornamental, surrounds the entire property. The east view must see the sunrise, and the west view must see the sunset. It should not be blocked by trees, houses, or geogrpahy. Great care goes into site selection. Any water (pond, pool) is on the NE corner of the lot. Properties must be at least 1 acre. The purists have their astrology charts done to get the exact dimensions of the rooms, and build on a raised foundation. I think it is one foot high, but we didn’t do that part. It seems like a throwback to India’s days of snakes crawling in your house, so to me, that didn’t serve any purpose.
A fence of any type, it could even be ornamental, surrounds the entire property. The east view must see the sunrise, and the west view must see the sunset. Any water (pond, pool) is on the NE corner of the lot. Properties must be at least 1 acre. The purists have their astrology charts done to get the exact dimensions of the rooms, and build on a raised foundation.
Vastu houses have light coming down from the brahmastan in the center of the home, and from all 4 sides. So you have lots of windows. Often the garage is a separate structure, so you can have windows at all 4 corners. This give you the light flowing from all ends of the house, through the center.
Ideally, building materials are natural. Stucco cannot be wire – it must be a certain more expensive type. Insulation can be fiberglass, although some use cotton. Carpeting is preferably wool.
Nobody who came to our house knew it was a vastu house. But it felt so good to be in it. It was open, filled with light, and most important, faced east.
The vastu rule that I follow, is that I NEVER buy or rent a house with a south facing door. That is the most important rule: the door you use to enter must be facing east, or even north. Never south. Your back door can be south facing as long as it is under the roof cover. None of this was ever explained to my satisfaction, so I just chose to go along with this, and my husband has obliged.
While on the subject of architecture, I would like to add that I used extensively Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House in my design. And I went crazy at Standards of Excellence on my appliances and Tutto Marmo granite store.
I read that McMansions are harder to sell now, and I think in 3 years, McMansions and granite counters will be as big a turn-off as SUVs today: both will exemplify the ueber-consumer of the housing bubble, who just couldn’t be satisifed with living in his means, and had to overconsume and plunder the earth to satisfy his ego.
While I was designing my kitchen, I hung out for many months at a kitchen forum (gardenweb), and we bantered around the questions: what comes after granite? Today, it dawned on me: something less expensive but beautiful and resourceful. Something more like a Honda Hybrid than a Suburban.
So, does anyone else have any interesting housing plans they like to share, or think where the future of housing design is going? Will builders focus more on crafting a home vs. just putting up big boxes? Will we have more neighborhoods with mature trees and character, rather than tree-less tract homes?August 4, 2006 at 7:11 PM #30732equalizerParticipant
Well it does appear that the posters that alluded to your having a sense of loss over your house couldnt have imagined how “special” your house was. But if you sleep better at night then you definitely made the right choice. here’s hoping that your next purchase is just as special.August 4, 2006 at 7:19 PM #30736
equalizer, thank you. Curiously, I don’t miss the house at all. I am so happy with being debt free and having money in the bank, living in town, close to neighbors. Regarding the house, I am proud of my design choices, and how it turned out, but I lived too far out of town on a crappy road, bumpy, steep, desolate. My life is enriched with the choice that I made. But I wanted to point out that without the housing bubble, we would have stayed. It was the housing bubble and the prospect of losing 50% of the home’s value, that made us sell. That was a financial loss we could not afford.
On the other hand, my husband does miss the house, and the views.August 4, 2006 at 7:28 PM #30739equalizerParticipant
I would like to discuss something offline. Could you send email to moremail(at)san.rr.com with subject line of veda. ThanksAugust 4, 2006 at 7:54 PM #30741CardiffBaseballParticipant
As we are walking down to the beach yesterday from our crappy 1050 Sq. foot house I overheard my 11 year old talking questions from his best friend.
The gist was, do you like it here in our (1050 Sq. feet) small house but now you live close to the beach or would you rather have your house back in Ohio? (2500 Sq. foot, not counting basement) He says he misses the big house in Ohio. Sure the weather was crappy but he had a huge bedroom, 3 acres (about 1/3 wooded) and a huge basement.
We have been here for a year and figured he was loving the beach living all the way. Big shocker.August 4, 2006 at 8:35 PM #30746PerryChaseParticipant
Powayseller, thanks for the post on vastu housing. I learned something new today. I follow Feng-Shui principles but I never knew about Vastu. I never liked south facing houses because in San Diego, it’s simply too hot.
I looked at the pictures and I find the Vastu houses too imposing. I would rather live in an architecturally understated house. My ideal house would be a mid-century modern type home. I’m so sick of the Tuscan, Spanish, Italian, Hollywood Regency style houses around SD (but i live in one, yuk). I wish developers would do something more innovative.
As far are an alternative to granite, how about concrete? A while ago there was an LA Times article on concrete counters tops. It’s too bad that they are expensive.
PS, thanks again for the info on Vastu houses. I’ll definitely do some more reading. I’m sure there are many different ways to make a house Vastu.August 4, 2006 at 8:42 PM #30747PerryChaseParticipant
Cardiffbaseball, I was amazed at my cousin’s house in Ohio. Everything is so green there. It’s like they live in a park setting — all for 1/4 of a similar house here (without the land).August 4, 2006 at 9:12 PM #30752PDParticipant
I think that straw bale houses are very interesting. I also read up on a San Diego company that makes a machine that makes large, interlocking bricks out of the soil at your homesite. You send them a sample of the dirt and they send you a recipe for mixing the dirt so that the brick is durable. They are very energy efficient houses that are also environmentally friendly.
As a side note, I think that all new homes in areas with a certain amount of sunlight (like AZ) should be required by law to have solar roof tiles (tiles, not the big ugly sheets).August 4, 2006 at 9:24 PM #30756
Our vastu house had siding, and was a ranch style. It looked like a regular house. I don’t like the ones in the photos either – they are real weird looking I think.
Vastu refers to the layout and other features I described, but you can make the outside look like Tuscan, Mediterranean, log cabin, ranch style, stucco, anything you want.
Straw bales are great – my best friends in Phoenix built one back in 1991. The walls were so thick! Wonderful. Again, you can use straw bales to make a vastu house too.August 5, 2006 at 1:14 AM #30773anxvarietyParticipant
I am designing a hobby house to build in the desert.. it’s going to be a mix of straw bales, papercrete and cinder blocks.
Papercrete is exactly what it sounds like.. it’s very light and struturally very strong! Google it if you want to see what cool stuff people have done with it..August 6, 2006 at 7:14 AM #30909speedingpulletParticipant
I was watching ‘Real Orange’ a couple of days ago and there was a short piece on housing being constucted from surplus shipping containers from China!
Apparently, there are so many surplus that new laws have been passed to stop shipping companies from stacking them in near residential zones, because they’re piled so high that they can block out sunlight.
Surprisingly shipping containers make pretty good pre-fab units: they’re insulated, already have hardwood flooring, are termite-proof and have decent internal proportions.
There was an architect in the piece, who specialised in modifying them to make low-cost apartments and also houses of multiple containers.
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