Pros & Cons of the Arched Cabin

After the Arched Cabin completed the shell, we finished the house ourselves, with the exception of some heavy machinery operators we hired to do some excavation.  We feel we encountered all possible issues and compromises one must consider when looking at this unique house model and compiled a list to help others who are looking at building one to call home.

Pros

  1. We are the coolest looking house in town.  Of course, this is subjective but we do feel proud when we drive home and see our super awesome, totally weird Arched Cabin.
  2. The tall ceilings create the feeling of more space without adding additional square footage.
  3. The tall ceilings give us a lot of play space – for a climbing rope, bird fun, etc
  4. Because we incorporated passive solar principles into our design, a house without east/west windows worked great.  Some might see this as a con, especially if your Arched Cabin is particularly long, reducing light penetration from the endcap windows.  This can also be remedied by a window placed higher up on an endcap.
  5. The height gives us a lot of vertical storage options.
  6. The shape and height allows the addition of a loft in the future if we want it without much difficulty.
  7. This may not necessarily be because of the Arched Cabin but it integrates with it – the layout and wood paneling are great.  The space feels versatile and peaceful.
  8. Did I mention the unique and awesome shape?

Cons

  1. Finish work, finish work, finish work.
  2. To elaborate – everything that involves the walls is challenging and requires an adjustment from the traditional approach.
  3. Our loft-less design means using a scaffold and/or ladder to do the high work.  Everything up there is hard.  And many things have required additional steps that wouldn’t be needed in merely ‘adding walls.’  Furring strips, vertical furring strips, the construction of a mega scaffold…
  4. The solar guard insulation used for the arched walls is viable insulation but the second, inner layer is tricky to attach and requires a lot of tape for creating proper seals.  If you’re creating any dust during the build, it must also be wiped down prior to being covered.
  5. The combination of the curved arched walls with the spade-shaped endcaps means a lot of careful cutting.
  6. The arch means the wall material must be relatively thin in order to conform to the shape.
  7. The arch creates a bit of ‘dead space’ on the edges where tall items cannot go because they’ll bump into the wall/ceiling.  For example, in our case, the full height refrigerator stands about a foot off the arch wall.  Likewise, anything that gets put on the wall will not automatically point perpendicular into the living space; it’ll point down somewhat.  The smaller the model, the more pronounced this effect will be.

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