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Homebuilding Inspiration

by Tyler

I'm getting used to it. Chronically being on the receiving end of dubious looks, that is. Almost everyone we talk with these days seems to find our aspirations rather odd (building a house of mud, clay and straw, living in a canvas tent while we do it, eventually growing all of our own food, etc). In this day and age our ideas may seem unconventional, but we're hardly the first to conceive of them.

So far, the research process for our hand-sculpted homestead has left us with no shortage of ideas. In this entry, we've cataloged a small collection of videos showcasing non-traditional homes/homebuilders that we've found inspiring. Actually, depending on the perspective taken, one could argue these people are pursuing traditional ideas, and that our modern state of living is the aberration.

First, we have a celtic roundhouse. It was built "illegally" by Tony Wrench and Jane Faith, in Wales, on their friend's land. After the structure was discovered by the local planning committe, it took a decade of fighting before they were granted the right to continue doing what they had been all along: living in harmony with the land around them to the detriment of no-one.

Here, Austin Hay, a 16 year old from Sonoma County, California, talks about the process of building his tiny house—an imminently practical project which has the potential to preemptively save him from ever needing to make a rent or a mortgage (a.k.a. death pledge) payment.

Here, Kevin Shea (a retired NYC firefighter) talks about his wood-frame geodesic dome. He ordered the plans from the back of a Popular Science magazine!

And finally, Tara's favorite: a spectacular strawbale-and-timberframe woodland home, built by Ben Law.

In writing this entry, I am filled with a sense of déjà vu. We've been here before—preparing for a grand journey—finding ourselves inspired by those who came before us. As fulfilling as this stage of the cycle is, I look forward to the day when we've moved from reading about building our home to being completely immersed in the work/adventure of actually doing it.

10 Acres in Vermont

Land Payoff Status: 20%



    You know me, and I don't think you're kooky :) I myself have been looked upon like I have some cyclops eye on my forehead or something for having the desire to live self-sufficiently.

    :) I understand your plight! Keep it up, you will find what you want to call home. The local library has some cordwood home planning books to look at if you guys get bored ;) LOL (You probably checked them out already)
    Posted by Dave on December 16th, 2011 at 11:10 AM
    It doesn't matter what people think - all that matters is what is right for the two of you. It's not like you're building a house for someone else after all!
    Posted by Magalie on December 16th, 2011 at 11:21 AM
    Don't worry Magalie, we don't care--I was just recording that I am officially used to being looked at like a crazy person when I talk about our plans :)

    Thanks for the vote of support, though, you're absolutely right! <3
    Posted by Tyler on December 16th, 2011 at 11:23 AM
    I hope we live long enoough to see you two get your dreams. We Love You. GM & GP
    Posted by gm on December 17th, 2011 at 10:19 PM
    This is awesome! So much love to you both. Can't wait to watch this newest adventure of y'alls unfold.
    Posted by Brooke on December 18th, 2011 at 12:20 PM
    Obviously we dont think you odd. We think your both awesome!! Great videos. Thanks for sharing them. Love,love the last house.
    Posted by Natasha on December 18th, 2011 at 7:39 PM
    Long time reader, first comment!

    Tara, from reading your blog I know you understand French. Have a look at this website from a guy in Quebec:
    Posted by magictofu on December 19th, 2011 at 2:14 PM
    Mr. Shea and his geodesic house...Wow! These 2 are really ...awesome and...interesting!! ;))
    J'ai hâte de voir la suite de vos projets au 'Vert'mont, bon hiver à vous 2!
    From another fan from Quebec! Not too far from Vermont...
    Posted by David on December 24th, 2011 at 9:45 AM
    Hello! First of all, your website is very nice!
    My internet is very slow, so I could not open the contact window, so I had to send a comment to ask one thing: how did you insert your route with the "route in" and "route out" by which the routes appear? We were using google maps and tracking the whole route, but there is no space for the whole route... if it is possible, please send me an email.
    Thank you very much and congratulatins again!
    Posted by Marília on February 13th, 2012 at 7:43 AM
    Ahh once again...despite making myself wait for many months...I have reached the end of your updated sections. I can only wonder what kinds of things you two are up to, whether you have moved to Vermont or are waiting for the arrival of spring...and whether or not you have found a location for that all important septic system on your land.
    Posted by Gia Scott on February 22nd, 2012 at 10:51 PM
    So what are you guys up to now. Love to see a blog about the building of your tiny home, or whatever farm you are working on. You had such an great photo/written adventure around the world, i feel it would be just as exciting to hear about your stay-at-home adventure.
    Posted by garrett on February 25th, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Tara's grandparents have been ill the last few months, so we've been spending a lot of time with them. We're working diligently on paying off our property in Vermont at the moment. When we move out (it is looking like that will happen in 2013) we intend to resume our daily writing, documenting the process of building our homestead. If you sign up for our newsletter (the link is next to the "Post a Comment" above) we'll be sure to let you know when the project begins!
    Posted by Tyler on February 27th, 2012 at 9:51 AM