Just Bought 20 Acres!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Aeolius, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Aeolius macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2002
    In less than a week my latest find, 20 acres of pastures, woods, and creeks, will be mine. Take a gander at www.aeolius.com, for some footage of the land. I have been looking over a myriad of websites with house plans, talking with a few architects, and interviewing a handful of builders.

    Now I am investigating how best to create a smart house. It seems my options include Xtension, Indigo, Shell Home Genie, and Thinking Home. I want home automation to include lights, thermostats, and a motorized door or two, as my son uses a wheelchair. I may also try to incorporate a video multiplexer, to view several outdoor cameras placed around the property.

    I am also considering a "hot spot" wireless access point, such as one offered by d-link, to extend wireless networking over the entire property.

    Any ideas?
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA

    I've followed your comments in other threads and am happy for you! Since you're building, I'd strongly recommend a couple of things:

    • wireless is great - but not reliable. use wire where you can. which is everywhere since you're building. use wireless for the outside and for laptops.
    • when in doubt, run cable. or at least run PVC duct or something similar to make fishing new cable you never thought you'd need for the automated blinds you didn't think you'd want easier in three years when you change your mind
    • the house across the street from me has what can best be described as two tubes going up the middle of it (sort of off center of the house, one on each side of centerline), sort of like empty elevator shafts. they aren't big, but they allow access to all the electrical, network, and cable wiring, as well as the water, from two convenient spots. there are ladders in them. quite cool, and a great idea. of course, wiring goes to the outer walls from there, but it's a no-brainer to bring new lines to various floors
    • it's a safe bet you'll change your mind after you build the house as to what system to use. if you design it to make it easy to re-cable, you'll be ahead of the game - for very little additional cost
    • an up-and-coming big thing is automated window shades. don't need to put them in now. but allow for power and control lines to any windows where you'd want them.
    • a video multiplexor is a good idea, but what about multiple wired webcam feeds to a cheap PC? easier to monitor your house when away.

    Hey, best of luck. I wish I was in your situation!
  3. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    well let me come out there with my jeep then i will give you some cool ideas :D

  4. Aeolius thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2002
    Two of the quickime movies at the site above were done on my 4x4 polaris ranger at night, in IR mode. Turn the volume up and you'll hear my kids screaming ;)
  5. pivo6 macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2002
  6. Aeolius thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2002
    Northern central North Carolina, near Greensboro.
  7. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I'm jealous!

    Nothing like seeing dreams come true...
  8. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
  9. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    where is this located? you have a satellite image of the area?

    I just bought a house and got a pic online of it from space at .5 m res - neat stuff :D

  10. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    i smell flood zone.... ;)
    sorry, that's work slipping in.

    Congratulations!!! :) :) :)

    edit: oh, very nice alpacas!
  11. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    ;) :)
  12. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    you have alpacas?

    i dont know why but that really struck me as funny- thats not common in NC, is it?
  13. themadchemist macrumors 68030


    Jan 31, 2003
    Chi Town
    I haven't seen any, that's for sure. But there are actually some llama farms or something. Is that what we're talking about here?

    Anyway, awesome property aeolius. You'll have to keep us posted on further developments regarding your plans & construction.

    I like your idea of wireless access across the campus (which is what you get to call your property since it's so frikin' huge). Could there be anything better than sitting amidst a patch of wilderness with a 17" PB posting to MacRumors? That's right, there couldn't, unless you happened to have a PB G5 while sitting admist a patch of wilderness posting to MacRumors.
  14. Aeolius thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2002
    An update: I close on the land tomorrow, after clearing up a bit of a snag regarding a half-trust in an undeeded driveway.

    Also, one of my potential neighbors, a woman renting six acres next to my new land, killed herself a few days ago. I found this out by driving by the land and seeing a "SLOW - FUNERAL" sign in the yard.
  15. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2004
    The Alpha Quadrant
    Woot for you!

    That is so great! About a year ago my parents bought 12 acres in a rural community, yet less than 20 minutes from our mid-sized city. It's beautiful land--in fact, I went out there yesterday. It has a pond, 4 acres of alfalfa, and 7 are in beautiful, golden wheat right now. They begin construction on the house in two weeks!
  16. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    You definitely have an awesome opportunity ahead of you. I did own 10 acres of land for a couple of years, but had to sell because I left the area. My thought would be is try looking into an earth shelter or definitely solar power. That was my plan. Is there plenty of water on the property? Any plans for faming or cattle?

    Good luck on your upcoming endeavor.
  17. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Here's an idea for a really "green" home.


    Check out their Glide House design. It's got integrated solar power and I bet it could be modified for geothermal heating and cooling making it practically self-sufficient.
    If I had the money I'd go for one.
  18. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040


    Sep 13, 2003
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.

    I always loved this idea...


    Imagine all of the strengths of a geodesic house with 0 chance of leaking and no real need to heat or cool.
  19. ratspg macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    20 acres wow

    congrats on such a cool purchase! :) hope it is well used!

    how much does 20 acres cost!??? i wonder what that cost
  20. davecuse macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2004
    Congrats on the purchase, as you are building the place I would definitely recommend that you allow for plenty of future expansion. If you allowed for something like JSW's neighbor has I think you'd be really happy with the opportunity to add new tech toys in the future.

    Wireless is great if you are retrofitting an older home, but if you are building I would definitely wire everything! Allow for wireless roaming around your house, but you're going to want to have things hard wired for better performance and reliability.

    Google "X10", I've looked into setting up my house with this, it's the standard for automating your home. All you need to do is run 1 extra wire to all your switches, windows, exterior doors, basically anything that you would want to automate or monitor. Once it's wired you can set the whole house up to be monitered from a PDA while you're away or your computer at work. Even if you're not going to set it up right away, allow for expansion.
  21. Aeolius thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2002
    I updated the overhead shot of "The Land" to include an image map which links to more detailed images.
  22. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Aeolius,I do not know what your ideas/wants are for your house, nor the amount of money you are able to spend, but I would humbly suggest pre-fab architecture.

    It has actually come a long way in the past few years, and allows for pretty drastically decreased building costs, as well as a great amount of flexibility.
    Dwell Magazine (one of my favorites), recently held a contest for architecture firms to design an innovative house for under $200K. The results were quite impressive.

    The eventual winner, Resolution: 4, created a concept called Modern Modular which is based on pre-fabricated, easy-to-transport modular units, which are craned onto a site-built concrete foundation, and then finishing elements added on site, all for practicality and cost-savings. The modules themselves can be configured in limitless ways.

    This savings and flexibility can be channeled into many unique (and otherwise too expensive) design choices, interior and out.

    Just an idea...there are many good pre-fab designers and architects out there...FWIW

    BTW, Nice purchase.
  23. davecuse macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2004
    I just had a chance to check out your videos, looks just like what my dad did before he renovated an old farm house. You're gonna love watching those when it's all done!
  24. Aeolius thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2002
    Here's an update:

    My wife and I consulted with an architect and, after six or ten major revisions, have gotten the house to a size we can afford. We have big the project out to three builders, who are now working on their proposals. It was difficult designing a house that had an "old farmhouse" look to it, while still making room for modern amenities and handicap accessibility (elevator, wider halls and doorways, roll-in shower, etc).

    If you'd like to see the neighbors in my backyard, take a gander at http://www.aeolius.com/deercam/

    Next week, Time-Warner runs cable out to a travel trailer that I'm keeping on the land. I intend to play around with a wireless network and some outdoor network cameras, as time permits.
  25. stubeeef macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    Hey I live near, I wish I had known of this thread a ways back, there is a great conference everyyear in Asheville, the SE energy conference. Lots of great contractors and tech to not only get a smart one, but efficent also.
    here is a link

    Also if you are interested NC State has an awesome ongoing program here not just solar though, they are a great resource for tax credits as well. And with that much land, you must use a geothermal heat pump!

    PM me if you need more or want to talk on the phone. I just built a house nearby, didn't get to use the technology I wanted but got a good edu on it.

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