Bungalow or Multistory

You may already have decided whether you are building your home on one or two levels. (Three stories plus a basement is the maximum allowable by many residential building codes.) If you haven't decided, now is a good time to consider your options. Size alone may dictate whether your building is one or two stories. Tiny houses don't need an extra level, while

7.3: This 1,000 -square-foot bungalow leaves a small footprint on the planet, was affordable and easy to put up. It's also more than enough space for a family to live comfortably.


very large buildings usually do. However, with a moderately sized building — 1000-2500 square feet — you have the option of going either way.

It may seem that the added complexity of an extra level would be more costly to construct, but a reduction in footprint size can often cancel out such cost factors. A 2000-square-foot building constructed on one level will require a large foundation/floor area and a large roof (often the most expensive elements). However, if you build two 1000-square-foot stories, you half the size of the building's footprint and the costs that go with them.You will end up adding expenses for stairs, second-floor joists, and flooring materials for the two-story option.

When making this decision, take into account your mechanical systems (which are most efficient when kept centralized), your building experience (two stories is more complex), your passive solar strategy (shading considerations), and your choice of materials.

The biggest factors in making this decision are your level of experience, confidence, and intended involvement in the construction. There is no doubt that multi-story construction offers many more logistical and practical barriers to owner-builders, ranging from the need for scaffolding to the construction of staircases to fear of heights. Bale homes, in particular, offer challenges on multi-stories. Scaffolding will need to be rented and erected. Bales must be lifted into place, as must plaster and plasterers, causing work

7.4a - c: Your own design goals and the nature of your site will both inform your decisions during the design game. As these three very different examples of bale homes demonstrate, there no real limitations imposed on your design by the use of bale walls.

times to rise significantly as the building gets taller. Experienced crews may not be affected as much by taller walls.

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