Over the years, much as 'average' young ladies dream of their wedding day, i have dreamed of a house. Specifically, MY house. one i will own. eventually. The design and materials have changed over time, but the overall logic and dream have remained. I want to own a 'lifer' home, one that i can live in until i die, not some 'starter home' (man, i hate even the idea of that) that i'll have to sell a few years down the road to get the next bigger better place.
My dream house has a large common room, which would contain kitchen, dining and living rooms combined. It will run partly on wood heat. it will have 3 bedrooms, and the bathroom will have a tub big enough for me to actually enjoy (i'm 5'10", and conventional tubs are just a pain in the..... back. i can't even imagine how really tall people could stand them!)
My dream house would also have a large cellar/cold storage space, and a Meadery (translate that as essentially a cool storage room with lots of wine racks) It will have as few stairs as possible (because i know my hips and knees are going to get worse over time, not better!) It will also be located on a minimum of 20 acres, as i hope to eventually become as self-sufficient as possible, including meat sources. it will also have a multipurpose library/craftroom/games room (hubby and i are readers, and we have a fair number of hobbies)
-greater energy efficiency for heating (like having geothermal heat, without the pump, pipes or fans)
-low maintenance, due to extra-sturdy materials used in original construction (like stone and concrete)
-long lifespan of the house, again b/c of the sturdier materials
Other cool reasons to have one include: greater fire resistance, amazing sound-proofing, more easily defensible against zombie attacks, and the possibility of building in hidden rooms and escape tunnels (i've always love the idea of hidden stuff in houses!)
also of consideration is the fact that a bermed home should work as well here, in a zone 2b/3a climate as it does in warmer ones, unlike a lot of other green building techniques (i'm thinking about adobe, cob, straw bales etc) which just don't seem to perform efficiently enough when it's -40 with windchill.
with all the available technologies for solar energy, drainage, and skylights, i think a house like this would not only be 'doable' but in fact probably darn comfortable to live in!
some links to info on bermed or other underground housing:
http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/earthshelter/how.htm answers lots of questions about different methods
http://www.lifeunplugged.net/greenbuilding/earth-berm-and-earth-sheltered-home.aspx has lots of alternative living information
http://everything2.com/title/Building+an+underground+house a rough-and-ready how-to
i am fortunate to have come from a family of handy guys, so when i finally get to the point of owning a chunk of earth, i think between them and my friends and i, we can do a substantial amount of the construction work ourselves, saving a HUGE chunk on costs. However, this is still just a dream. Gotta get myself back out into the country, and start looking for some good (read cheap) land.