Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Daniel's dream house

Straw bale house in the shell of an abandoned factory or warehouse
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1) Buy a large brick one-story warehouse or factory with the roof caved in -- very cheap at sheriff's sale.

2) Clear out all the debris from the roof and interior partitions. Now you have an oversized city lot surrounded by a high brick wall (probably with a nice big arched entry way) and a nice concrete slab under the whole thing.

3) Build rooms around the perimeter using stuccoed straw bale construction (see http: //www.strawbale.org). Very cheap, very warm in winter, cool in summer and you don't need to build a foundation because of the existing concrete slab floor.

4) Waterproof the courtyard walls to the interior floor level (2 feet or so above the slab leaves room for a crawlspace and is deep enough for a decent garden). Break holes in the concrete of the courtyard in places where you want to plant trees. (Small trees, of course. Fruit trees espaliered on a south facing wall would be nice). Fill with topsoil (quite cheap, don't need to worry about lead contamination as on most urban lots with pre-1978 structures) to the level you waterproofed to.

Magpie, Dec 04 2004

The Ruins http://seattletimes...003/0119/taste.html
Built within a warehouse. [bristolz, Dec 04 2004]

[link]






       There is a somewhat secretive dinner club in Seattle, The Ruins, that is a woodframe structure with gardens and courtyards all built within an older brick building that was, before it was hollowed out, probably a three story building. It is a wonderful establishment with whimsical decor, great food and ambience. You'd never know it was there by looking at the exterior.   

       I doubt, though, that any city property this size, sheriff's sale or not, is a bargain in the absolute sense. In Seattle, it'd be in the millions almost regardless of where it is in the city.
bristolz, Dec 04 2004
  

       I plan on building a little a cottage in Daniel's courtyard...   

       But Bristolz, in Seattle you'd pay $250K for a 1 bedroom condo. In Philly, it's actually totally doable...
jennyusp, Dec 04 2004
  
      
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