Planning for comfort
Comfort represents a collection of attributes that become part of the planning for most of the elements of the house.
We can address those overlaps briefly, comfortable in knowing that more exhaustive information will be available elsewhere on this site.
Indoor environment: The aboriginal comfort factors were a roof and a fire, and the same concerns endure. Attention to the structure keeps the insides dry. Attention to all HVAC factors (temperature, humidity, air pressure and air freshness) is implicit. Ignoring the role of the automation in allowing unused spaces to become less comfortable, that same role assures that comfort is manifest wherever there are people.
Lighting: The adoption of LED lighting eliminates the heat spots that older technologies create. We plan to eliminate the stalactites and stalagmites of traditional lighting, which intrude on the visual scene. We plan an emphasis on indirect and diffused lighting. We plan to assiduously avoid anybody being able to easily see the direct glare of emitters; similarly, we plan to find ways to bring motorized window treatments into play in places where and times when direct sun glare can penetrate windows.
Noise: Wags say the only noise-free house is a morgue but we all know that noise pollution within a home can be discomforting. We will use sound-abating wallboards and treatments to help block room-to-room sound transmission through walls. Double-walled ductwork should reduce transmitted blower rumble through the HVAC system. Wall treatments in the echo-vulnerable bonus room should help reduce that factor. The use of insulated exterior doors (slightly thicker and somewhat denser than usual) will, much as insulation in the floors, ceilings and walls, keep most outdoor noises from intruding within.
Water: If you've ever had a wonderful dinner ruined by foul-tasting water, or that iron pump taste was an unwanted accent to their coffee, we probably can stop there in explaining why cooking water will get its own purification even after whole-house washing water treatment.
Odors: We've lived in places where a hundred destinkifiers were not enough. High-performance fans in kitchen vent and in the bathroom fans are a first line of defense against bad smells roaming the house. Another key source, the litter box, has its own triple defense (in the choice of the box, the litter and an add-on ammonia neutralizer) and is located in a room that also serves as a night kennel for the animals.
Pests: Is there anything that can truly outmaneuver insects? The house will have termite control and regular pest control services. We don't anticipate many rodents will survive the cat and dog for long. Just chalk up this item as one more for reaction than for action.
Pets: We mentioned designing in a their own little “night kennel” room where the pets can feed and sleep; it will also have an automatic flap door that only unlocks when it reads their chips (it's even raccoon-proof) and leads to a protected run in the yard. Both the laundry room (next to the pet room) and the bonus room (up the hall and up the stairs) have utility sinks big enough for their shampoos. And we have no plans to engage a robot vacuum cleaner’ knowing that to date, not one of them is capable of recognizing and dodging a doggy accident on the floor, an encounter with which is likely to ruin both the floor and the robot.
Marty is also secretly planning a Scotch and cigar gazebo away from the house, but with power enough for a ceiling fan. Maybe that belongs in the next section.
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