Mini-levels divide one elevation of the house or room from another. They primarily function as stairs but can have these advantages:

(1) They are aesthetically pleasing and add character to a room;

(2) They gentle one elevation into another;

(3) They are safer than stairs, making the change less abrupt. If a guy trips going down there are a few feet in which to catch the balance, not another stair immediately to further mess him up.

(4) They are forever being used as seats. They seem to function, in fact, as miniature conversation pits.

Excellent storage areas may be constructed beneath mini-levels. Built carefully, these areas can become secret compartments with a piece of carpet on top covering the trap door.

A person would probably want to stick with stairs in out of the way places, or where there is considerable elevation to be overcome, or where space is crucial. Otherwise mini-levels can be highly interesting.

Drawings show table/seat concept at elevation changes. Top drawing has seat built into earth itself, plus a desk above to keep things from falling off.

Photo shows the three elevation changes within the $500 house. Highest level (study area) in foreground, middle level (guitar) in center and lowest level (stove) on left.

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There are five approved methods of getting good views and lots of light and air into the underground house. These are:

(1) The Uphill Patio concept of the Basic Design.

(2) The Offset Room.

(3) Clerestories.

(4) The Royer Foyer.

Using the methods of building favored by the easterners there are four additional methods of getting light and air into a house, though not always a view. These methods are:

(1) The First-Thought design.

(3) Skylights.

(4) Lightwells.

Five Approved Methods of Design

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