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Discussion Starter #1
Admin, please move if another subforum's more appropriate...

So, I have a friend who's a writer, and since I'm her firearms and tactics advisor, and she knows I've had some degree of architectural training and drafting experience (just enough to be dangerous... one year in high-school, though I've kept in by occasionally doodling out concepts in various CAD utilities over the decade-and-a-half since then) she asked me to work up renderings and pitch some thoughts on tweaking her characters' house to be better suited to the needs of home-defense for a Fed and a spook who each have an Enemies List that makes Nixon's look like a Post-It.

Anyway, before I waste bandwidth posting screencaps of her original concepts (which she did in a computer game, The Sims IIRC) and my development from them, I thought I'd see if anybody was game for taking a look, and for pitching in general theories, though I can pitch in preliminary observations and a few theories.

1. Smart planning on her part, putting all bedrooms upstairs--this helps establish presumption that anyone coming upstairs wants more than smash-and-grab goodies. I refined this in accordance with a note I saw on one gunboard or another, by adding locking grills at both top and bottom of the stairs and decorative wrought-iron rails around the stairwell. As a home invader comes upstairs their back is to most bedrooms, which also helps with "getting the drop on them".

2. Given that she put "resident" bed/baths on one side of the upstairs hallway and guest beds/bath on the other, and there's a LOT of clear space downstairs, I decided to upgrade the hallway walls to exterior-grade and load-bearing, figuring that adding that and some other sensible reinforcement would make them suitable backstops for the His & Hers home-defense shotguns. I also amended the specs to use exterior-grade solid-core doors for bedroom entry, both for extra protection and the fact that the extra 6" of doorway width would ease movement of furniture or large items when needed.

3. In accordance with a theory I saw, perhaps from Jeff Cooper, that someone approaching the door should be surrounded by the house, covered from multiple angles and KNOW IT before they make entry, I slightly reshaped things to create a front "entry alcove" with small windows that could be used as firing-ports in the rooms flanking it.

4. I'm suggesting that she might want to add a basement for supply storage, guns and ammo, workshop and reloading bench, etc.

Her design is a bit of a monster at ~5150 sq ft for four beds, three upstairs and one downstairs bath, so if anybody has suggestions for ways I can keep things fairly open yet still either trim down or make more of the interior space actually useful, that would be helpful as well.

Anyone want to pitch in "principle" advice, or should I post the various renders of original design, revised and a couple alternate options on certain areas and go straight to "in this specific application"? I did ask her for permission to crowd-source on this, and got her okay first.
 

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Just remember the 4 pillars of securing anything:

Deter
Detect
Delay
Respond

And the 3 rings of security

Outside the building
Inside the building
Inside the room

Now you apply the 4 pillars to each of the rings. Do that well, and you have a very secure building.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Kevin, I've already recommended clearcutting and floodlighting the immediate surroundings, and having the exterior under both TV and IR surveillance.

Outside
Deter: Floodlights, lack of cover, visible surveillance, overlapping fields of view/fire to approach front door (need to work on securing back door/deck), well-built entry doors
Detect: video and IR surveillance, entries requiring much noise to force entry
Delay: Secure doors, barred windows
Respond: Response plan would be retreat upstairs under covering fire, I guess

Inside
Deter:
Detect: difficult-and-loud-to-force grills on staircase, video surveillance
Delay: grills on staircase, having to traverse entire hallway to get to stairwell, having to reverse direction from staircase and come all the way back to front to get to master bedroom
Respond: back guest-bedroom door to be kept closed and locked at all times when not immediately passing through, cross-connect between guest bedrooms via bath would allow plan of "retreat toward master bedroom"

Safe Room
Deter:
Detect: Video surveillance
Delay: Exterior-grade, reinforced door and walls
Respond: Cellular and satellite communications, large firearms cache including multiple automatic weapons (I'm also her coauthor, and one of our characters happens to be a Certified Gun Nut who in addition to his duty irons privately owns several legal, registered select-fire weapons) and 12-gauges

So, here's some of what I have to work with... I'll break it down 2 pics per post, floor by floor.
Ground floor, original on top and my 1st-pass revision below (note: side viewslits not yet rendered)


Have not rendered the pool yet, either.
 

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OK,

Real quickly off the top of my head, the idea to put all baths on the second floor needs revision (oops, see done later). Guests have no need to enter residents areas unless invited/escorted. We built 2 story for similar reasons.

Emphasis on exterior grade sheathing is misplaced. If you want to stop bullets, you're going to have to stack 2x4s or 2x6 between studs to provide a bullet trap. Exterior grade/solid doors are a good idea, but all doors are now pre-hung and security depends upon how solidly they're mounted within the opening. At minimum, there needs to be solid shims behind hinges & door lock areas.

There seems to be some differences in floor plan layouts, I see entirely too many extrerior corners where potential intruders cannot be observed or engaged (don't depend on CCTV). The corners of the building should also kick out like bastions to allow the adjoing wall be be swept.

Windows are a weak spot, glass block is a much more intrusion resistant substitute and doesn't cost much more (why does a laundry room need windows?). Might have to be installed after the fire inspection. If worried about exit, keep a sledgehammer nearby. Basements are the cheapest way to add square footage to any structure.

Central hallway seems like much wasted space. I realize all women want a show-off living room we're not allowed to use (used to be called the parlor) and a dining room used Thanksgiving & Xmas, but that living room is ginormous.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Mr. Moore, there is one bath on ground floor--the lower drawing is my re-interpretation trying to eliminate blind corners, and to shave down exterior wall footage. (By "guest beds/bath", we had meant houseguests invited to stay overnight or longer.) I was also thinking, depending on cost, maybe sliding in some steel plate or Kevlar... I'm not thinking "sheathing" so much as "structural stress". I should also note that I haven't got all the windows drawn... so for them, figure on the placement shown in her drawings (the more colorful ones). Good point re the laundry room... I'm thinking maybe lop off that back section of hall and part of the deck so she can keep here garden intact. I'll suggest a couple bastions, though I think she intended the veranda at the back of Floor 2 to cover the entire rear arc.

Correct on noticing difference: my first revision was to try to chop out her "blind spots" by rotating the laundry 90 degrees, rotating it and reshaping it and the bathroom into a simple "block" extending from the living room. I also, as mentioned in the OP, narrowed the kitchen and built it out more in front.

Kitchen's hu-freaking-mongous too, though it does incorporate the dining room and pantry as well... my gut is that she's thinking to combine a sitting room, den, study, home-theater and other "recreational/entertainment rooms" all in one space, and her oversized bathrooms tell me she hasn't quite gotten the concept of "scale"--I, too, thought whacking the hallway down would be a good way to shave footage. Also, I've considered flipping the second floor around... putting the narrower guest-rooms section over the living room would allow cleaving some off that side. Plus there's been a lot of work cleaning up overhanging unsupported structures...

Second floor, resident beds/baths on left, guest rooms on right (again, original above and revised below):



I've also proposed a major rethink on the guest rooms, rotating the bathroom 90 degrees and moving it to between the hall and guest rooms so its fixtures (and the two walk-in closets I carved out of its excess footage) can add to available cover for that side, that and a couple proposed alternates for the "resident bedrooms" block I'll slide up next post.

Also, before I go any further I should note that I appreciate the help, and I'm sure my friend will too--I'm going to shoot her a link to this thread so she can see your feedback straight from the source. :)
 

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I'm not quite sure why there's spaces between the laundry room & bathroom, the bath and central hallway. That's creating deadspots and opportunities for unobserved entrance. It's also creating extra expense in exterior sheathing, foundation & a gardening/lawncare nightmare.

Also, getting a really good alarm company involved in the preliminary stages can help reduce the bills there. If they can come in and do their wiring before the wall coverings go on, the price drops about 50%.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
On those spaces, my guess is she thought she was done, had an "oops, I forgot" moment and tacked them on as an afterthought, and closing them up was one of my very first engineering changes, same thought-processes as you just mentioned--biggest reason I've included her original workups along with my revisions is so you can see what I've already fixed, goal being to fix the "broken" issues while keeping the flavor of her concept as far as practical. I should see about scooting the second-floor layer out of the way on the 3d model and getting a square-on top view of the ground floor by itself, where my rework would be more clearly visible. Good point on the alarm--I'll need to ask her how long ago she conceived the original structure as being built to know who was in the game then, though we're also assuming a top-to-bottom comprehensive overhaul and hardening early 2012. We're also discussing adding an attached or built-in two-car garage, which would also mean further shuffling on that back-left corner.

Master bedroom block alternate options:

I personally think the leftmost, most recent revision is probably best, as it has the non-bath spaces arranged to have better field-of-view; the middle still has less-than-desirable view from the master bath's position, but at least makes some improvements on the other resident bedroom's positioning, though I'm thinking about going back to the "Alternate 1" configuration for bathroom and office. (Second resident bath inboard, office outer with window, the two spaces back by the rear hall. Wish SketchUp had better text and labeling options... should probably take the whole next revision pass just to label room ID's and design changes.)

Lopping off the left 6' of hallways and a 2' slice out of the right side should go a long way in reducing wasted space, also, and would mean less distance to cover retreating across the hallway as well.

Guest bedrooms alternate:

Here you can see what I was thinking by having the closets and guest lav as a "buffer space".
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Solomon, you're thinking something like a mini-version of the Vauban fortifications of Medieval/Renaissance France or our own post-Revolutionary to Antebellum "star forts", right? (Dunno if she'll bite on that, but I think I could sell her on at least a bastion at front left: "good spot for the tree at Christmastime.")

Kevin, I'll make sure to call that to her attention--quick and easy beautification as well, which should also appeal to her.
 

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Actually, one of the first things needed is to sit your co-conspiritor down and find out what level threat is realistically expected. Local kids, druggies in need of funds, stalkers, professional thieves, terrorists and/or ninja asassins employed by an international conglomerate?

We no longer build star shaped redoubts for good reason(s).

Bayonet plant is well named and there are some really vile thornbushes.

BTW, it's easy to overlook that the walls by loopholes...uh decorative windows need reinforced as do all walls on bastions.

DB, check PM.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Done and replied, older and wiser compadre. :)

Threat level, I think we can assume criminal stalker to small gang... possibly minor terrorist (the ninja assassin LIVES there LOL), but I'll poke her for a cross-check on that. I'm thinking to suggest adding planted bushes all the way around the perimeter, possibly using them to conceal tripwires connected to the alarm system as well. Perhaps a mix of bayonet plant and firethorn for nasty effect, with roses planted along the outer edge and near the windows for "look pretty" effect?
 

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Exterior tripwires suck. You'd be shocked at how many squirrels, rabbits and various other examples of God's creation just love them. I recall watching someone's dog using a fence with a vibration alarm as a back scratcher.
 

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Exterior tripwires suck. You'd be shocked at how many squirrels, rabbits and various other examples of God's creation just love them. I recall watching someone's dog using a fence with a vibration alarm as a back scratcher.
I'd be shocked if that was an electrified fence that dog had used.

No, wait, I wouldn't. The dog, however ....... :censored:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
TG, as my late grandfather woulda said, "A thousand comedians starving to death out on the street and here you are trying to be one..."

:p
 

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I know..... I know... I'm BAAAD. I can't resist it. People tell me they can't take me anywhere . . . . .:rolleyes:
 
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