Design simondalehome500

Published on December 1st, 2008 | by Susan Kraemer

537

Hand-Build an Earth Sheltered House For $5,000

Cash, that most basic element of our economy, can be in abysmally short supply for new young families scraping by on marginal jobs.

Sustainable housebuilding may not be foremost in their minds.

But one young couple in Wales managing on an annual income of just $10,000 went ahead and built their own cheap home anyway, sustainably, mostly out of materials from “a rubbish pile somewhere.”

They had wanted to spend as much time as possible at home while their two children were young. Their nearby woodlands ecological management work would have been impractical if they were paying a mortgage.

So they enlisted some help from family, and sometimes just from people passing by, and from any of their friends who stopped by to visit:


The result was their very low impact homemade house. A hand built unique setting for a charmed life for their two young toddlers. I’ll bet they’ll remember this first home for the rest of their lives.


Four months of hard work and they were all 4 moved in and cozy.

Total expenditure? $5,000. Tools? A chisel, a chainsaw and a hammer. Building expertise? Simon Dale says:

“My experience is only having a go at one similar house 2yrs before and a bit of mucking around in-between. This kind of building is accessible to anyone. My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self belief and perseverance and a mate or two to give a lift now and again.”


Sustainable design and construction:

  1. Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
  2. Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
  3. Frame constructed of fallen trees from surrounding woodland
  4. Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally very easy to do
  5. Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
  6. Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
  7. Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture compared to cement
  8. Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
  9. Other items were reclaimed from “a rubbish pile somewhere”: windows, wiring, plumbing

(Maybe there should be a new LEED rating just for building so inexpensively: Sustainable Financing. This is one mortgage bill that’s not going to be haunting their mum and dad for years.) Inside there’s a wood-burner for heating – waste wood in the old-growth forest is locally plentiful.To get the most of the heat, the flue goes through a big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly releases the warmth.


There are just a couple of solar panels – just enough for for lighting, music and computing. It’s a simple life. A skylight in the roof lets in enough natural feeling light, and water is fed by gravity downhill from a nearby spring. There’s a compost toilet. Roof water collects in a pond for gardening

Says Simon: “Our house is unusual but the aesthetic appeals to lots of people and perhaps touches something innate in us that evolved in forests.

Want to try making one too? Simon will show you how or check out other green homes for more ideas and inspiration like this post on building a cob house.

Images: www.SimonDale.net

Related stories:
Berkeley’s Homeless Build Paleolithic Barbecue Pit
Earthsheltered Home Construction Work Exchange
Wildfire-Proof Prefab Camp Closes Up When You’re Gone
Hard Lessons in Sustainable Living




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  • http://www.all4data.com A4D

    Where in heavens name do we find the free property to build on?

  • http://www.all4data.com A4D

    Where in heavens name do we find the free property to build on?

  • Uncle B

    Very informative article, will help many in North America survive during the great republican depression and beyond, to a sustainable lifestyle in the new “American Dream” now evolving in the tent cities in the south and among the folks living in cars and vans on the streets. We left self-sufficient farms, gave our land away as worthless, slaved in the factories, and are about to repeat the cycle in reverse! Little land is left, but modern technologies will be exploited to the fullest in our struggle to survive against Mao’s slave workforce and the uber-class rich folk. Thank You for this blueprint to create real value from the land. We need it more than ever now, as even our own kind devour us whole!

  • Uncle B

    Very informative article, will help many in North America survive during the great republican depression and beyond, to a sustainable lifestyle in the new “American Dream” now evolving in the tent cities in the south and among the folks living in cars and vans on the streets. We left self-sufficient farms, gave our land away as worthless, slaved in the factories, and are about to repeat the cycle in reverse! Little land is left, but modern technologies will be exploited to the fullest in our struggle to survive against Mao’s slave workforce and the uber-class rich folk. Thank You for this blueprint to create real value from the land. We need it more than ever now, as even our own kind devour us whole!

  • Sara

    Reminds me of Lord of the Rings. I love it. It’s so beautiful and quaint.

  • Sara

    Reminds me of Lord of the Rings. I love it. It’s so beautiful and quaint.

  • Douglas Barnes

    Part II of the story would unfortunately be “How to tear down the structure when the building inspectors order you to get rid of it.”

  • Douglas Barnes

    Part II of the story would unfortunately be “How to tear down the structure when the building inspectors order you to get rid of it.”

  • http://medicaladvancements.googlepages.com/wellnesshome Cindy

    I think this is so fascinating. It is like Hobbitville, a place you could go to forget about all the troubles of the world. I love the concept.

  • http://medicaladvancements.googlepages.com/wellnesshome Cindy

    I think this is so fascinating. It is like Hobbitville, a place you could go to forget about all the troubles of the world. I love the concept.

  • John Bianchini

    Great house! Great focus! Great article pointing-out “sustainable financing” – this is probably the most honest and simple example I have seen of people doing something like this, and I’ve looked for years. In the US, even green building contractors speculate to say no house can be built for less than $100,000. I know that is not true. Self-built and community built homes can be built for $10,000 at 1000sq ft. using conventional material, which don’t look good anyway.
    Bravo! We need more examples like this.

  • John Bianchini

    Great house! Great focus! Great article pointing-out “sustainable financing” – this is probably the most honest and simple example I have seen of people doing something like this, and I’ve looked for years. In the US, even green building contractors speculate to say no house can be built for less than $100,000. I know that is not true. Self-built and community built homes can be built for $10,000 at 1000sq ft. using conventional material, which don’t look good anyway.
    Bravo! We need more examples like this.

  • http://windingcreekcircle.com/2008/09/17/appreciate/ aidan

    Cool! thumbs up!

  • http://windingcreekcircle.com/2008/09/17/appreciate/ aidan

    Cool! thumbs up!

  • Bazm

    Would be interesting to design a similar dwelling that could stand up to our climate here in Canada. Then there is the building codes and inspectors to appease. I would be willing to work on a marketable design if you wish.

  • Bazm

    Would be interesting to design a similar dwelling that could stand up to our climate here in Canada. Then there is the building codes and inspectors to appease. I would be willing to work on a marketable design if you wish.

  • Marlene Anunson

    We 1970’s “Self-Sufficiency on 5 Acres or Less” folk say, “Carry On”.

  • Marlene Anunson

    We 1970’s “Self-Sufficiency on 5 Acres or Less” folk say, “Carry On”.

  • http://www.simplyforties.com SimplyForties

    This is just about the neatest little hobbit house ever! I’m so impressed. What a resourceful couple.

  • http://www.simplyforties.com SimplyForties

    This is just about the neatest little hobbit house ever! I’m so impressed. What a resourceful couple.

  • http://www.webhyper.com Patrick

    Probably good for retirement…

  • http://www.webhyper.com Patrick

    Probably good for retirement…

  • kc

    You call it ecologically safe but you seem to have chopped down a lot of trees. We would be chopping down even more jungles for this.

  • kc

    You call it ecologically safe but you seem to have chopped down a lot of trees. We would be chopping down even more jungles for this.

  • http://www.mandinam.co.uk marcus

    Go build. The more of us who do will compound, and confuse the Authorities, who should be encouraging this sort of “home”. What else is the land for, not food that’s for sure.

  • http://www.mandinam.co.uk marcus

    Go build. The more of us who do will compound, and confuse the Authorities, who should be encouraging this sort of “home”. What else is the land for, not food that’s for sure.

  • Yeah…

    Nice.. but where’s the toilet… being one with nature is nice and all, shitting in the bushes is not.

    Also no shower… or running water… no sewer… hm…

  • Yeah…

    Nice.. but where’s the toilet… being one with nature is nice and all, shitting in the bushes is not.

    Also no shower… or running water… no sewer… hm…

  • http://www.babeled.com Man Overboard

    Upon completion, immediately invite Bilbo and Frodo over for dinner.

  • http://www.babeled.com Man Overboard

    Upon completion, immediately invite Bilbo and Frodo over for dinner.

  • http://www.talking-trash.comorwww.ourgreenstreetsblog.com GRileyMeyers

    Great piece. The world needs to see more about options and solutions like this.

  • http://www.talking-trash.comorwww.ourgreenstreetsblog.com GRileyMeyers

    Great piece. The world needs to see more about options and solutions like this.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Thanks John, I too am most intrigued by the “sustainable financing” aspect of the project.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Thanks John, I too am most intrigued by the “sustainable financing” aspect of the project.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    KC – he says they have downed trees in the forest that thye are supposed to “clear” (send to landfill). So he is not chopping down the trees.

    yeah – He said there is a composting toilet, which is pretty eco friendly – it’s nuts that we waste fresh water sending valuable nitrogen (pee) to pollute rivers.

    It does have running water diverted from a stream further up the hill it is tucked into.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    KC – he says they have downed trees in the forest that thye are supposed to “clear” (send to landfill). So he is not chopping down the trees.

    yeah – He said there is a composting toilet, which is pretty eco friendly – it’s nuts that we waste fresh water sending valuable nitrogen (pee) to pollute rivers.

    It does have running water diverted from a stream further up the hill it is tucked into.

  • cole

    I live in two Yurts. I have done since 2004. This could be my winter quarters, great idea!
    Get me at hob34itt@gmail.com, if you want to know more about Yurts.

  • cole

    I live in two Yurts. I have done since 2004. This could be my winter quarters, great idea!
    Get me at hob34itt@gmail.com, if you want to know more about Yurts.

  • jake3988

    A building inspector would have to inspect it if you intended to sell it to someone else, but building it and living in it yourself seems pretty straightforward, I think. You can’t really sue yourself if it collapses during a thunderstorm or earthquake :)

  • jake3988

    A building inspector would have to inspect it if you intended to sell it to someone else, but building it and living in it yourself seems pretty straightforward, I think. You can’t really sue yourself if it collapses during a thunderstorm or earthquake :)

  • Pingback: Hand-Build an Earth Sheltered House For $5,000 - EcoRenovator()

  • oscarb63

    Uncle B is a frelling moron

  • oscarb63

    Uncle B is a frelling moron

  • http://loudfusion.com RainMan

    Since America is not a free country, you will be asked to bring this house down. Best thing to do is to take your idea to a remote piece of land by the beach somewhere in South America and build it there.

    I wouldn’t mind building or living in one of these myself. Get away from everything, grow my own food for a while. That’s living.

  • http://loudfusion.com RainMan

    Since America is not a free country, you will be asked to bring this house down. Best thing to do is to take your idea to a remote piece of land by the beach somewhere in South America and build it there.

    I wouldn’t mind building or living in one of these myself. Get away from everything, grow my own food for a while. That’s living.

  • AbbeS.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    It is a shame that in this day and age we are surrounded with “green” options that are trying to make our current consuming, technological lives sustainable. However, a sustainable life, to me, is going back to our roots. Live off the land, live simply, and live in harmony with the natural circle of life. Thank you for setting an example that society ought to follow in order to save us from this environmental crisis!

    Cheers!

  • AbbeS.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    It is a shame that in this day and age we are surrounded with “green” options that are trying to make our current consuming, technological lives sustainable. However, a sustainable life, to me, is going back to our roots. Live off the land, live simply, and live in harmony with the natural circle of life. Thank you for setting an example that society ought to follow in order to save us from this environmental crisis!

    Cheers!

  • Maya

    Well…looks fascinating. What does Dad do for a living? How is it he has so much time, and where did the LONG trees come from to sustain the weight of the house..? NO..please do not tell me that he cut down trees…! LOL..yes he did. And burns them also. Did he reforest as he cut? Does he have an emission scrubber for his chiminy…?

    Nice concept. I suggest we all go out and try it and see how far we gt befor the neighbors complain and the building department orders a cease on it(providing we already OWN the land).

    Or not.

    Made for interesting reading though, and was great ‘mental floss’.

  • Maya

    Well…looks fascinating. What does Dad do for a living? How is it he has so much time, and where did the LONG trees come from to sustain the weight of the house..? NO..please do not tell me that he cut down trees…! LOL..yes he did. And burns them also. Did he reforest as he cut? Does he have an emission scrubber for his chiminy…?

    Nice concept. I suggest we all go out and try it and see how far we gt befor the neighbors complain and the building department orders a cease on it(providing we already OWN the land).

    Or not.

    Made for interesting reading though, and was great ‘mental floss’.

  • http://blog.2kad.net Paul

    Lovely. Probably the first environmentally friendly house that has appealed to me. I’m guessing the building one twice as big wouldn’t cost all that much more. All I need is some suitable land first (and planning permission!)

  • http://blog.2kad.net Paul

    Lovely. Probably the first environmentally friendly house that has appealed to me. I’m guessing the building one twice as big wouldn’t cost all that much more. All I need is some suitable land first (and planning permission!)

  • Kel

    How would this house avoid being eaten by termites within a year?

    Seriously, I like the idea, but there needs to be some long-lasting way to keep the wood from being in contact with the damp soil or else it will deteriorate in a short time.

  • Kel

    How would this house avoid being eaten by termites within a year?

    Seriously, I like the idea, but there needs to be some long-lasting way to keep the wood from being in contact with the damp soil or else it will deteriorate in a short time.

  • jeunesse

    every day and with growing sincerity i say to my husband that i want to go live in a cave. the way of the world makes me want to wrap my arms around my young daughter and take her away to a world with simple pleasures. i want to be surrounded with nature and dig in my own garden. this could be my last computer experience, this message, and i would happily walk away to live as you are. it’s amazing what you’ve done. an absolute inspiration!

  • jeunesse

    every day and with growing sincerity i say to my husband that i want to go live in a cave. the way of the world makes me want to wrap my arms around my young daughter and take her away to a world with simple pleasures. i want to be surrounded with nature and dig in my own garden. this could be my last computer experience, this message, and i would happily walk away to live as you are. it’s amazing what you’ve done. an absolute inspiration!

  • person

    Wow this looks exactly like a hobbit house. You might as well get a door w/ a handle in the middle

    This would not be practical in Michigan (where I’m from) due to the harshly cold winter. But its still an interesting concept.

  • person

    Wow this looks exactly like a hobbit house. You might as well get a door w/ a handle in the middle

    This would not be practical in Michigan (where I’m from) due to the harshly cold winter. But its still an interesting concept.

  • http://ashleymcfarland.com/blog Ashley

    A dream of a house–especially for a young couple’s first home! I’m so impressed with what they were able to do!

  • http://ashleymcfarland.com/blog Ashley

    A dream of a house–especially for a young couple’s first home! I’m so impressed with what they were able to do!

  • Tom Collier

    Absoubtly inspired, The building is beautiful, your bravery and commitment is truly comendable, everybody talks about these ideas but so few take action. Seeing this has set fire to my dreams and ambition, and even if I never really do it, even if the realities of a compost toilet and going without are far less than enjoyable in the wet grey winter, you have stired my soul and warmed my outlook on life, however little, to know that this can be done and is being done is inspirational.

    I have 2 friends who are dead set on building an earth dweling very similar construction to this one, they’re just getting money together and searching (long term ambition). I’ll send them this link.

    Does anyone know where I can find more technical advice and suggestions on building earth dwellings?

  • Tom Collier

    Absoubtly inspired, The building is beautiful, your bravery and commitment is truly comendable, everybody talks about these ideas but so few take action. Seeing this has set fire to my dreams and ambition, and even if I never really do it, even if the realities of a compost toilet and going without are far less than enjoyable in the wet grey winter, you have stired my soul and warmed my outlook on life, however little, to know that this can be done and is being done is inspirational.

    I have 2 friends who are dead set on building an earth dweling very similar construction to this one, they’re just getting money together and searching (long term ambition). I’ll send them this link.

    Does anyone know where I can find more technical advice and suggestions on building earth dwellings?

  • Amanda Simmonds

    What a beautiful house, and how lucky are you to be living in it!! I think this is an inspirational website and am so pleased to have “stumbled” upon it…thank you and good luck

  • Amanda Simmonds

    What a beautiful house, and how lucky are you to be living in it!! I think this is an inspirational website and am so pleased to have “stumbled” upon it…thank you and good luck

  • Brandon M. Sergent

    You better own land in the middle of nowhere for this, if I tried this in my town I’d have the city inspecting my colon within 24 hours.

    They tell me how tall to let my grass get in this town and I’m doubting I’m alone on that.

  • Brandon M. Sergent

    You better own land in the middle of nowhere for this, if I tried this in my town I’d have the city inspecting my colon within 24 hours.

    They tell me how tall to let my grass get in this town and I’m doubting I’m alone on that.

  • BDL

    Great house! Good article.

    I wonder if Uncle B is a dope smoking old hippy with no money.

  • BDL

    Great house! Good article.

    I wonder if Uncle B is a dope smoking old hippy with no money.

  • Tracy

    I am so glad cool people still exist. :)

  • Tracy

    I am so glad cool people still exist. :)

  • Naomi

    Terrific little house. And what an ingenious couple. Did they mention whether they had to buy the land. Great way to get out of a huge mortgage.

  • Naomi

    Terrific little house. And what an ingenious couple. Did they mention whether they had to buy the land. Great way to get out of a huge mortgage.

  • April

    I like it, I just need to know what to do with the building inspectors, can U tell me whether or not they will harass me in the country? I know they would in the city.

  • April

    I like it, I just need to know what to do with the building inspectors, can U tell me whether or not they will harass me in the country? I know they would in the city.

  • frodo

    Bagend! I’m home!

  • frodo

    Bagend! I’m home!

  • house

    How in the hell do you get your interwebnets out in the middle of BFE?

  • house

    How in the hell do you get your interwebnets out in the middle of BFE?

  • Bob

    I WANT ONE TOO!

  • Bob

    I WANT ONE TOO!

  • colin

    I.
    Want.
    To.
    Live.
    there.
    very much so
    that house is epic win

  • colin

    I.
    Want.
    To.
    Live.
    there.
    very much so
    that house is epic win

  • elissa

    why don’t you just move to middle earth! then you could just buy a hobbit house!

  • elissa

    why don’t you just move to middle earth! then you could just buy a hobbit house!

  • http://www.brandtag.co.za Grant

    an absolutely brilliant concept and one that could work very well here in South Africa, with the cost of housing being what it is and the availability of natural resources this could be come a very sustainable way of living

  • http://www.brandtag.co.za Grant

    an absolutely brilliant concept and one that could work very well here in South Africa, with the cost of housing being what it is and the availability of natural resources this could be come a very sustainable way of living

  • http://www.pelapapas.com.mx Pelapapas

    Fantastic!

  • http://www.pelapapas.com.mx Pelapapas

    Fantastic!

  • http://vanceromance.com VanceRomance

    So I looked at this and had one thought. Where do they go to the bathroom? Cool house.

  • http://vanceromance.com VanceRomance

    So I looked at this and had one thought. Where do they go to the bathroom? Cool house.

  • aranders

    I bet the termites will love it too!

  • aranders

    I bet the termites will love it too!

  • adonnajane

    Beautiful, “as it should be”. Thank you!!

  • adonnajane

    Beautiful, “as it should be”. Thank you!!

  • http://planetchange.y2u.co.uk/ icarus

    Going off the grid has always been one of my dreams. Do they have a spare room ?

  • http://planetchange.y2u.co.uk/ icarus

    Going off the grid has always been one of my dreams. Do they have a spare room ?

  • Brock

    It’s Franklin’s house! :D

  • Brock

    It’s Franklin’s house! :D

  • PJ

    Your house is awesome! It reminds me of a “hobbit house”. What I wouldn’t give to have a house like that. Your children will look up to you for the rest of their lives- how cool to have parents that are so resourceful! Keep up the great work and keep those recycling ideas going!!

  • PJ

    Your house is awesome! It reminds me of a “hobbit house”. What I wouldn’t give to have a house like that. Your children will look up to you for the rest of their lives- how cool to have parents that are so resourceful! Keep up the great work and keep those recycling ideas going!!

  • http://www.brandywineclassifieds.com RAS1643

    It reminds me about the houses in Asia made by bamboos. Nice and cool on summer time.

  • http://www.brandywineclassifieds.com RAS1643

    It reminds me about the houses in Asia made by bamboos. Nice and cool on summer time.

  • http://www.enlightenedcapitalism.blogspot.com David Frayne

    I had a house to rent in Atlanta and placed an ad for an organic gardener, to see if I could get one as a tenant. A couple days later Keith shows up on his bicycle, and he builds a little bungalow in my backyard for $6, that was the cost of the hinges, everything else was discarded materials. But Keith is a master furniture builder, so the place looks like something you’d see in a frontier museum.

    You could build 10 houses for free out of the dumpster from one LEED certified building! And if you are well behaved and make yourself an asset to the community, millions of people will let you live off the grid for free on their land. I offered Keith a wood burning stove but he preferred the simplicity of blankets (he grew up in Vermont, and says Atlanta doesn’t get cold even in winter).

  • http://www.enlightenedcapitalism.blogspot.com David Frayne

    I had a house to rent in Atlanta and placed an ad for an organic gardener, to see if I could get one as a tenant. A couple days later Keith shows up on his bicycle, and he builds a little bungalow in my backyard for $6, that was the cost of the hinges, everything else was discarded materials. But Keith is a master furniture builder, so the place looks like something you’d see in a frontier museum.

    You could build 10 houses for free out of the dumpster from one LEED certified building! And if you are well behaved and make yourself an asset to the community, millions of people will let you live off the grid for free on their land. I offered Keith a wood burning stove but he preferred the simplicity of blankets (he grew up in Vermont, and says Atlanta doesn’t get cold even in winter).

  • smirk182

    bravo!! resourceful, and beautifully done. the future is held in the creative thinkers that are living, out of the box.thank you for sharing.

  • smirk182

    bravo!! resourceful, and beautifully done. the future is held in the creative thinkers that are living, out of the box.thank you for sharing.

  • Andrew

    How many are prepared for the lifestyle that living like this will entail.
    No electricity or running water.No plumbing. Compost toilet. Try waking up in the cold and making meals like that for a while. Also remember all the work required to collect and cut the wood to feed the fire. This is a nice dream but a very impractical way to bring children up.

  • Andrew

    How many are prepared for the lifestyle that living like this will entail.
    No electricity or running water.No plumbing. Compost toilet. Try waking up in the cold and making meals like that for a while. Also remember all the work required to collect and cut the wood to feed the fire. This is a nice dream but a very impractical way to bring children up.

  • Tim

    How much for the land? Or are you “feeling sorry” for those of us who cannot afford the land the awesomeness it was built on. Get off your “I’m rich but don’t wanna be” ass and try to contribute something to society for a change.

    Get off your self and wake up to the world,
    The Rest of Of!

  • Tim

    How much for the land? Or are you “feeling sorry” for those of us who cannot afford the land the awesomeness it was built on. Get off your “I’m rich but don’t wanna be” ass and try to contribute something to society for a change.

    Get off your self and wake up to the world,
    The Rest of Of!

  • http://nmwoodworks.com/life Bill in Detroit

    I want one.

    If I had my druthers, this is exactly the sort of house I would live in.

    Really.

    I hope that the young couple know some Jedi hand tricks for when the building inspectors come around. Around here, even once the issue of siting is dealt with, the issue of permits is usually fatal to such a project. Oh, you can build in such a site … but you have to build a more or less conventional house with a ‘real’ roof and, rather than counting the earth berm as structural support, it would be counted as lateral load.

    My heart goes out to these kids … and I envy them deeply.

  • http://nmwoodworks.com/life Bill in Detroit

    I want one.

    If I had my druthers, this is exactly the sort of house I would live in.

    Really.

    I hope that the young couple know some Jedi hand tricks for when the building inspectors come around. Around here, even once the issue of siting is dealt with, the issue of permits is usually fatal to such a project. Oh, you can build in such a site … but you have to build a more or less conventional house with a ‘real’ roof and, rather than counting the earth berm as structural support, it would be counted as lateral load.

    My heart goes out to these kids … and I envy them deeply.

  • Lloyd G.

    Nice idea, but give it a couple of years and the structure will fail.

    P.S.: I hope you don’t mind mildew.

  • Lloyd G.

    Nice idea, but give it a couple of years and the structure will fail.

    P.S.: I hope you don’t mind mildew.

  • cowmaster22

    cool!!

  • cowmaster22

    cool!!

  • http://stores.ebay.com/goldenhourfossilandmineral alan

    More than cool

  • http://stores.ebay.com/goldenhourfossilandmineral alan

    More than cool

  • Dr. Browne

    StumbleUpon needs an I LOVE IT button.
    As for those whining about cutting down trees, This couple used far less trees than it would to produce lumber for a conventional home. As for those looking for resources, Try Mother Earth News, and the Fire Fox series of books.

  • Dr. Browne

    StumbleUpon needs an I LOVE IT button.
    As for those whining about cutting down trees, This couple used far less trees than it would to produce lumber for a conventional home. As for those looking for resources, Try Mother Earth News, and the Fire Fox series of books.

  • Thor

    Aesthetically awesome, but how did it get past the building regs – oh, I see…
    I’d be a little concerned about sleeping in it for long periods:-
    1. Wet soil will weigh a ton, and seems to be supported by timber of unknown structural qualities.
    2. The sheet of perspex wont do much to stop the earth bank if it decides to collapse.
    But full marks for the visual impact.

  • Thor

    Aesthetically awesome, but how did it get past the building regs – oh, I see…
    I’d be a little concerned about sleeping in it for long periods:-
    1. Wet soil will weigh a ton, and seems to be supported by timber of unknown structural qualities.
    2. The sheet of perspex wont do much to stop the earth bank if it decides to collapse.
    But full marks for the visual impact.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47046386275 Baba

    Well I am trying to build a house for free. I love your house plan and am very inspired by it. Many thanks

    See http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47046386275 for my site

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47046386275 Baba

    Well I am trying to build a house for free. I love your house plan and am very inspired by it. Many thanks

    See http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47046386275 for my site

  • anarkissed

    Here in North America the govt would come take your babies from you for living in an “unfit” home and push your work over with a bulldozer.
    Bet the mice like this house too. Sure is pretty though. I do wish we had the choice to try innovative builds like this.

  • anarkissed

    Here in North America the govt would come take your babies from you for living in an “unfit” home and push your work over with a bulldozer.
    Bet the mice like this house too. Sure is pretty though. I do wish we had the choice to try innovative builds like this.

  • sage

    it looks so fake like nothing iv ever seen.
    its so pritty and i would so live there!

  • sage

    it looks so fake like nothing iv ever seen.
    its so pritty and i would so live there!

  • Jim McClarin

    About 30 years ago there was a book titled (I think) “The $20 Underground House Book” detailing how a young single Idaho man of very modest means constructed an earth-sheltered house using logs, salvaged materials, and even a bucket full of bent nails that he bought at a flea market and straightened. He used plastic sheeting on roof, walls and floor, covering the floor plastic with discarded carpet. He prospered, perhaps from sale of the book, and next authored one on how to build a more expensive UG house that a woman might actually want to move into. I think that one was a $100 house.

    Well, you know how women are. Seemed like no time at all before she made him build a respectable UG house: $500!!

  • Jim McClarin

    About 30 years ago there was a book titled (I think) “The $20 Underground House Book” detailing how a young single Idaho man of very modest means constructed an earth-sheltered house using logs, salvaged materials, and even a bucket full of bent nails that he bought at a flea market and straightened. He used plastic sheeting on roof, walls and floor, covering the floor plastic with discarded carpet. He prospered, perhaps from sale of the book, and next authored one on how to build a more expensive UG house that a woman might actually want to move into. I think that one was a $100 house.

    Well, you know how women are. Seemed like no time at all before she made him build a respectable UG house: $500!!

  • http://blog.styleestate.com Ryan

    Wow I friggin LOVE it. His very own Hobbit dwelling. That is sooo cool.

  • http://blog.styleestate.com Ryan

    Wow I friggin LOVE it. His very own Hobbit dwelling. That is sooo cool.

  • Anthony

    Not only are the motivations admirable, but the building itself. Its aesthetically pleasing.

  • Anthony

    Not only are the motivations admirable, but the building itself. Its aesthetically pleasing.

  • Noel

    An impressive work, beautiful to behold.
    Unfortunately there appear to be too many structural deficiencies to list. I’m afraid moisture will destroy it in short order. Plastic sheeting is totally inadequate to protect it. It will be wet, maybe flooded then moldy, soon the inadequate wood joints and foundation will rot and it will collapse. Luckily it will be uninhabitable long before then. Improve the structural design and drainage; with layers and levels of moisture protection. You won’t waste so much effort. Perhaps think of building an upside down boat or pool. Never forget both the roof and drainage must have long term dependability.

  • Noel

    An impressive work, beautiful to behold.
    Unfortunately there appear to be too many structural deficiencies to list. I’m afraid moisture will destroy it in short order. Plastic sheeting is totally inadequate to protect it. It will be wet, maybe flooded then moldy, soon the inadequate wood joints and foundation will rot and it will collapse. Luckily it will be uninhabitable long before then. Improve the structural design and drainage; with layers and levels of moisture protection. You won’t waste so much effort. Perhaps think of building an upside down boat or pool. Never forget both the roof and drainage must have long term dependability.

  • http://bankonchocolate.com louise burns

    This home is so AWESOME. It actually brings a feeling of tranquility to look at it. Maybe its from my childhood memory’s of staying in a log cabin in New Hampshire.

  • http://bankonchocolate.com louise burns

    This home is so AWESOME. It actually brings a feeling of tranquility to look at it. Maybe its from my childhood memory’s of staying in a log cabin in New Hampshire.

  • Kathleen

    A couple of people have made comments indicating that they don’t think this house will last very long. I can’t find a date on their website ( http://www.simondale.net/house/gallery.htm ), but I think it was at least two years ago that I first saw pictures of this house, so it’s been around for a little while, at least, and evidently is still standing. There is quite a bit of information on their website.

    The book that was mentioned above is The $50 and Up Underground House Book, by Mike Oehler, and he has a website, also. I have the book, and hope to use it someday.

  • Kathleen

    A couple of people have made comments indicating that they don’t think this house will last very long. I can’t find a date on their website ( http://www.simondale.net/house/gallery.htm ), but I think it was at least two years ago that I first saw pictures of this house, so it’s been around for a little while, at least, and evidently is still standing. There is quite a bit of information on their website.

    The book that was mentioned above is The $50 and Up Underground House Book, by Mike Oehler, and he has a website, also. I have the book, and hope to use it someday.

  • http://na Jeff Kendrick

    I want one, but larger. I’m going to build a homestead (bought the land) and I’m so inspired I may shuck my current plans and try to build a similar home. He said he would advise us.

    He seems to be so happy and fulfilled; unlike so many of the cynical, bitter people who have commented on the article. The level of frustration and meanness is disturbing. I wouldn’t want to live next to some of you.

    Life, like a homestead, can be good if we accomplish a little bit at a time. I encourage you to look at yourself. It seems that you are afraid to fail, so you do nothing but grow bitter and frustrated, both of which are choices – your choices.

    Shut up, get mad at yourself and do whatever it takes to homestead. You’ll have failures like most of the homestead authors we read today. They are still learning because they are not afraid to fail. Are you afraid to fail? Are you your own worst enemy?

    Homestead. Do it! Work your butt off, then sit down and rest and look at what all you’ve accomplished. Then hopefully you’ll provide articles to help others, and you’ll be happy and fulfilled.

  • Sandra

    There is no such thing as “waste wood” in a true old growth forest. Dead, decaying wood and fallen trees are an essential part of a healthy forest, and a micro ecosystem for all types of insects, fungi, and small animals. I don’t think taking wood from there, if it truly is an old growth forest which I doubt (the only one left in western europe is poland), is very sustainable!

  • Sandra

    There is no such thing as “waste wood” in a true old growth forest. Dead, decaying wood and fallen trees are an essential part of a healthy forest, and a micro ecosystem for all types of insects, fungi, and small animals. I don’t think taking wood from there, if it truly is an old growth forest which I doubt (the only one left in western europe is poland), is very sustainable!

  • Christy

    Like everyone else, I think it is fantastic looking, speaks wonderfully of an independent spirit and excellent work ethic…etc.

    BUT:
    1. This sort of structure will only work in very limited climates. For those not in his sort of ideal location, look at their website for other styles in other locations.
    2. Because the structural integrity of this entire building is based on freeform logs or trees that were tested or even fully debarked to look for flaws, it is very suspect for long term inhabitation. Very suspect.
    3. The termites are gonna have a field day.
    4. The mice are gonna have a field day.
    5. The molds and mildews are gonna have a field day.
    6. It can’t be insured nor can his contents be insured or the lives of those inside be insured since it isn’t a qualified permitted building.
    7. His location may allow the building of something like this without permits, but most of North America wouldn’t let this be built and certainly would be sending child protective services to interview anyone who let small children in it. Sad, but true.

    But yes, it is gorgeous and I agree, it would be wonderful if it worked for more than a few years. I give it a 6 year life potential before the repairs become untenable.

  • Christy

    Like everyone else, I think it is fantastic looking, speaks wonderfully of an independent spirit and excellent work ethic…etc.

    BUT:
    1. This sort of structure will only work in very limited climates. For those not in his sort of ideal location, look at their website for other styles in other locations.
    2. Because the structural integrity of this entire building is based on freeform logs or trees that were tested or even fully debarked to look for flaws, it is very suspect for long term inhabitation. Very suspect.
    3. The termites are gonna have a field day.
    4. The mice are gonna have a field day.
    5. The molds and mildews are gonna have a field day.
    6. It can’t be insured nor can his contents be insured or the lives of those inside be insured since it isn’t a qualified permitted building.
    7. His location may allow the building of something like this without permits, but most of North America wouldn’t let this be built and certainly would be sending child protective services to interview anyone who let small children in it. Sad, but true.

    But yes, it is gorgeous and I agree, it would be wonderful if it worked for more than a few years. I give it a 6 year life potential before the repairs become untenable.

  • http://markpknowles.com/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000-dollar-bank-bailouts-your-government-thinks-you-are-stupid/ Your Government thinks you are

    Excellent article. I always knew the Welsh were the most inventive people on the planet :)

  • http://markpknowles.com/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000-dollar-bank-bailouts-your-government-thinks-you-are-stupid/ Your Government thinks you are stupid

    Excellent article. I always knew the Welsh were the most inventive people on the planet :)

  • http://www.theoldmanandthemonkey.synthasite.com,www.tostadaspeaks.blogspot.com George Polley

    Utterly fascinating! A home for hobbits and other folks who want some fascination in their lives. Can I have one?

    George Polley
    Sapporo, Japan

  • http://www.cid4houses.com Cid Young – Moss Beach, CA

    Cool! I wonder…is it damp to live in? How is the ventilation?

    I oove the roof design.

    -Cid

  • http://www.cid4houses.com Cid Young – Moss Beach, CA

    Cool! I wonder…is it damp to live in? How is the ventilation?

    I oove the roof design.

    -Cid

  • http://www.TheBloggerWorld.com Adde

    This is really nice. I never thought of houses like this. Thanxx for sharing, i really liked it.

  • http://www.TheBloggerWorld.com Adde

    This is really nice. I never thought of houses like this. Thanxx for sharing, i really liked it.

  • http://none Pauli Taipalus

    This dwelling certainly looks great and kudos on the
    ingenuity and perseverance.However a house build like
    this one is likely to have unsolvable problems with mold.

  • ELKE

    i’d like to take a vacation there. what a cool idea to build that home. congrats!!!!

  • ELKE

    i’d like to take a vacation there. what a cool idea to build that home. congrats!!!!

  • jack mcginnis

    Iwould love to do something like this but unfortunatly in the US there are zoning laws, building codes, code enforcement etc. This house would be condemned unless built where no one wants to live. It could not get a mortgage so it couldn’t be sold and I know of no place where an electric company would supply it without an occupancy permit. I could move to Wales. hmmm there’s a thought.

  • jack mcginnis

    Iwould love to do something like this but unfortunatly in the US there are zoning laws, building codes, code enforcement etc. This house would be condemned unless built where no one wants to live. It could not get a mortgage so it couldn’t be sold and I know of no place where an electric company would supply it without an occupancy permit. I could move to Wales. hmmm there’s a thought.

  • Jasper Bakyayita

    We have to continue with creative and sustainable living.Prolonged dialogue on issues of poverty,housing, and employment will be the center piece of a NEW WORLD.We are living in a wasteful culture.We can recycle more of the materials we dump in the landfills.

  • Jasper Bakyayita

    We have to continue with creative and sustainable living.Prolonged dialogue on issues of poverty,housing, and employment will be the center piece of a NEW WORLD.We are living in a wasteful culture.We can recycle more of the materials we dump in the landfills.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Actually, it turns out there are people trying this kind of handmade building in America…I’m writing about a couple here in the US, for my next story here.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    Actually, it turns out there are people trying this kind of handmade building in America…I’m writing about a couple here in the US, for my next story here.

  • sean

    excellent article, and good point about the free land…

  • sean

    excellent article, and good point about the free land…

  • http://www.immobiliari.tv john

    if you can post some videos made during house building
    would be fantastic and would answer to lots of questions! ;)
    do we need construction permit for something like this?

  • http://www.immobiliari.tv john

    if you can post some videos made during house building
    would be fantastic and would answer to lots of questions! ;)
    do we need construction permit for something like this?

  • JW

    This is kind of scary, think about the musty smells, over time the soil, moisture would rot the structure. I can imagine mold might be a problem as well.
    Interesting, but gross at the same time.

  • JW

    This is kind of scary, think about the musty smells, over time the soil, moisture would rot the structure. I can imagine mold might be a problem as well.
    Interesting, but gross at the same time.

  • http://kiwikibbutz.com Raymond Brightwell

    After spending $100,000.00 to build a copy of a another single bedroom flat finished just last year because in 12 short months they changed the regulations so much this fantastic building technology is just what this country needs. And what is this country? New Zealand of course. Home of Hobbitville!! How ironic!

  • http://kiwikibbutz.com Raymond Brightwell

    After spending $100,000.00 to build a copy of a another single bedroom flat finished just last year because in 12 short months they changed the regulations so much this fantastic building technology is just what this country needs. And what is this country? New Zealand of course. Home of Hobbitville!! How ironic!

  • Taryn

    I want to be one of the toddlers…

  • Taryn

    I want to be one of the toddlers…

  • http://www.basketmonkey.com Beth

    I love this house! It dispels the myth that a lot of people have about sustainable housing. It can be very affordable with some creativity and hard work

  • http://www.basketmonkey.com Beth

    I love this house! It dispels the myth that a lot of people have about sustainable housing. It can be very affordable with some creativity and hard work

  • Danielle Bayliss

    its so clever, its soo pretty, if someone asked me if i would like to live there… YES !!!

  • Danielle Bayliss

    its so clever, its soo pretty, if someone asked me if i would like to live there… YES !!!

  • RJ

    Sweet idea. I think I will do a camp someday just like this. I wish I had thought of this before I purchased my house 2 months ago.

  • RJ

    Sweet idea. I think I will do a camp someday just like this. I wish I had thought of this before I purchased my house 2 months ago.

  • Wendy

    It looks like Bilbo Baggins house in Lord of the Rings.

  • Wendy

    It looks like Bilbo Baggins house in Lord of the Rings.

  • http://fdhawley-ebook-resale.com Frank

    This is a really cool idea. I have to admit that I have thought of building such a house. I only wish that I would have gone ahead and built one. Instead I let my friends opinion that I was nuts in the head stop me.
    Way to go,, I can only envy you.

  • http://fdhawley-ebook-resale.com Frank

    This is a really cool idea. I have to admit that I have thought of building such a house. I only wish that I would have gone ahead and built one. Instead I let my friends opinion that I was nuts in the head stop me.
    Way to go,, I can only envy you.

  • http://www.darcysbotanicals.etsy.com Lysandra

    This is sooooo neat. Where can we build more?

  • http://www.darcysbotanicals.etsy.com Lysandra

    This is sooooo neat. Where can we build more?

  • http://www.mydreammeanings.com Dream Meanings

    That’s awesome. Spreading the joy the hobbit living to all the apartment dwellers.

  • http://www.mydreammeanings.com Dream Meanings

    That’s awesome. Spreading the joy the hobbit living to all the apartment dwellers.

  • Craig

    That is an interesting article, it would be great to be able to live off the land.

  • Craig

    That is an interesting article, it would be great to be able to live off the land.

  • http://www.urbansurvivalists.com crackgerbal

    wow! I never thought building your own home could be that cheap. Although, I would have to say that permitting that would be horrible where I live!

  • http://www.urbansurvivalists.com crackgerbal

    wow! I never thought building your own home could be that cheap. Although, I would have to say that permitting that would be horrible where I live!

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  • Daniel

    This is a superb idea, in tune with ideas from many other brilliant people, some being proponents for sustainability, professors at universities.

    SOURCES OF INFO on rammed earth building techniques:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rammed_earth

    See the book: Earth-Sheltered Houses (by Rob Roy, 2006), a practical guide for those who want to build at moderate cost.

    EARTH BAG CONSTRUCTION: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes/2005-12-01/Earthbag-Construction.aspx

    See the book: Earthbag Building, by Kaki Hunter (2004).

  • Daniel

    This is a superb idea, in tune with ideas from many other brilliant people, some being proponents for sustainability, professors at universities.

    SOURCES OF INFO on rammed earth building techniques:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rammed_earth

    See the book: Earth-Sheltered Houses (by Rob Roy, 2006), a practical guide for those who want to build at moderate cost.

    EARTH BAG CONSTRUCTION: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes/2005-12-01/Earthbag-Construction.aspx

    See the book: Earthbag Building, by Kaki Hunter (2004).

  • Ruth

    Where can I find out about doing a dyo course in earth covered housing? I read an article in a magazine that mentioned that these courses were available in New Zealand.

  • Ruth

    Where can I find out about doing a dyo course in earth covered housing? I read an article in a magazine that mentioned that these courses were available in New Zealand.

  • http://www.webdesign-studio.biz/html/free.html Rob Wallace

    Now this is what the country needs. Wonderful flowing design.

  • http://www.webdesign-studio.biz/html/free.html Rob Wallace

    Now this is what the country needs. Wonderful flowing design.

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  • spoimePem

    Matisse painted the nude when a sculpture he was working on shattered.

  • spoimePem

    Matisse painted the nude when a sculpture he was working on shattered.

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  • anton

    It *is* pretty cool, but it scares me just looking at it (contractor). I don’t know how they do things in Wales, but this would never pass plan-check in California…even in the ‘out-back’, you need a county building permit here.

  • anton

    It *is* pretty cool, but it scares me just looking at it (contractor). I don’t know how they do things in Wales, but this would never pass plan-check in California…even in the ‘out-back’, you need a county building permit here.

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  • Yuri

    It’s too bad that you cannot do this in most parts of America. You would not pass building codes and they would not let you do this. That is for certain. I’m a builder and I know how hard it is dealing with different bureaucracies, for zoning and building. It’s really too bad the strong arm of the government has too have such a tight noose around our neck.

  • Yuri

    It’s too bad that you cannot do this in most parts of America. You would not pass building codes and they would not let you do this. That is for certain. I’m a builder and I know how hard it is dealing with different bureaucracies, for zoning and building. It’s really too bad the strong arm of the government has too have such a tight noose around our neck.

  • Rusty

    The young man’s genius. In a “Simple Simon” sort of way.
    Who cares about building inspectors! As long as the structure is on your own land, that land is not within city/town limits, it doesn’t have poured concrete over the building code limitations, it isn’t grid-tied to any public utilities, and you are not building it to sell on the real-estate market as a house of any sorts, there is absolutely “NOTHING” the local bi-law enforcement agents can say or do!
    The codes were put in place for a very good reason. To provide proper protection to the occupants/owners of their investments for a set period of time(as well as many other significant reasons).
    I applaud these people & all others wishing to “finally” take matters into their own hands and do what has now become “absolutely” necessary to survive the, not coming, but now “here & present dangers” of what we have all done to our global home.
    If any government agencies attempted to remove me from a shelter I had hand-built for the benefit of my own family, on my own land, well…. It would not be very nice of them. Would it now?
    Bravo Simon

  • Rusty

    The young man’s genius. In a “Simple Simon” sort of way.
    Who cares about building inspectors! As long as the structure is on your own land, that land is not within city/town limits, it doesn’t have poured concrete over the building code limitations, it isn’t grid-tied to any public utilities, and you are not building it to sell on the real-estate market as a house of any sorts, there is absolutely “NOTHING” the local bi-law enforcement agents can say or do!
    The codes were put in place for a very good reason. To provide proper protection to the occupants/owners of their investments for a set period of time(as well as many other significant reasons).
    I applaud these people & all others wishing to “finally” take matters into their own hands and do what has now become “absolutely” necessary to survive the, not coming, but now “here & present dangers” of what we have all done to our global home.
    If any government agencies attempted to remove me from a shelter I had hand-built for the benefit of my own family, on my own land, well…. It would not be very nice of them. Would it now?
    Bravo Simon

  • branko

    BRAVO! I LIKE IT

  • branko

    BRAVO! I LIKE IT

  • http://www.dragonflyhill.org Steve Travis

    Very cool house. We are spending quit a bit more on our earth sheltered house but also building it ourselves.

  • http://www.dragonflyhill.org Steve Travis

    Very cool house. We are spending quit a bit more on our earth sheltered house but also building it ourselves.

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  • http://www.greenworldtree.com Wade Werner

    This is totally awesome. What fun it would be to build a home like this and then live so creatively. Thanks so much for thinking outside the box and coming up with such a green idea/project.

  • http://www.greenworldtree.com Wade Werner

    This is totally awesome. What fun it would be to build a home like this and then live so creatively. Thanks so much for thinking outside the box and coming up with such a green idea/project.

  • Linda Murphree

    I love the idea of this. I agree with Jeunesse completely. People need to get back to their roots and enjoy nature instead of all of this technology crap.

  • Linda Murphree

    I love the idea of this. I agree with Jeunesse completely. People need to get back to their roots and enjoy nature instead of all of this technology crap.

  • Ashley

    Its nice, and a good idea, but would it pass inspection? Unfortunately, not likely. And how would you get an address?

  • Ashley

    Its nice, and a good idea, but would it pass inspection? Unfortunately, not likely. And how would you get an address?

  • http://blog.builddirect.com/greenbuilding Rob J

    Incredible! I do think that the issue of land is an issue and the sourcing of nearby water sources. It seemed to work out for Simon and his family. But, so much of the surrounding resources have been made unusable, that it seems to me to be an impractical solution on a larger scale. Still, what a result they’ve achieved. I wish them all the best in their new home!

  • http://blog.builddirect.com/greenbuilding Rob J

    Incredible! I do think that the issue of land is an issue and the sourcing of nearby water sources. It seemed to work out for Simon and his family. But, so much of the surrounding resources have been made unusable, that it seems to me to be an impractical solution on a larger scale. Still, what a result they’ve achieved. I wish them all the best in their new home!

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  • WayneN

    This could be a great way to express real earth-centerd, back to the God type of thinking, never mind huge energy savings! (How simply do many people in Haiti live, for example, anyway?!)

  • WayneN

    This could be a great way to express real earth-centerd, back to the God type of thinking, never mind huge energy savings! (How simply do many people in Haiti live, for example, anyway?!)

  • egoiste

    bravo !!!!!!!

  • egoiste

    bravo !!!!!!!

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  • ian xuereb

    i am really happy to see this beautyfull simple envormental house ,the stile is great cos is unique the material used is pure nature the site is blessed with good energy and this project in my eye is amazing …..
    very good i wish i was there to help ……
    beautiful house for real people with positive light

  • ian xuereb

    i am really happy to see this beautyfull simple envormental house ,the stile is great cos is unique the material used is pure nature the site is blessed with good energy and this project in my eye is amazing …..
    very good i wish i was there to help ……
    beautiful house for real people with positive light

  • Erin

    I sooooo want to live here!!! :c)

  • Erin

    I sooooo want to live here!!! :c)

  • Derek

    What a beautiful house, pity it will likely come crashing down on them during a bad earthquake.

    There appears to be little in the way of shear strength, and using nails into green wood instead of screws or spikes is asking for trouble as the wood dries out.

    The straw bale in-fills don’t appear to be pinned, so they could break away from the wall during an earthquake.

    No structural engineer in the USA would ever sign that house off for habitation because it isn’t a safe structure anyplace that earthquakes occur.

    Sure is a nice looking/feeling house though.

  • Derek

    What a beautiful house, pity it will likely come crashing down on them during a bad earthquake.

    There appears to be little in the way of shear strength, and using nails into green wood instead of screws or spikes is asking for trouble as the wood dries out.

    The straw bale in-fills don’t appear to be pinned, so they could break away from the wall during an earthquake.

    No structural engineer in the USA would ever sign that house off for habitation because it isn’t a safe structure anyplace that earthquakes occur.

    Sure is a nice looking/feeling house though.

  • placebo

    How I wanted to be part of a such a cute couple when I was younger! How gratifying to live right smack inside one’s own, scrumptious, home-made architectural mini-feast that one is empowered to doctor up anyhow and anytime. I still hope to live like this someday… I’m envious but also inspired.

  • placebo

    How I wanted to be part of a such a cute couple when I was younger! How gratifying to live right smack inside one’s own, scrumptious, home-made architectural mini-feast that one is empowered to doctor up anyhow and anytime. I still hope to live like this someday… I’m envious but also inspired.

  • Benjamin Koshkin

    The house looks like it came out of the Hobbit.

    Benjamin Koshkin

  • Benjamin Koshkin

    The house looks like it came out of the Hobbit.

    Benjamin Koshkin

  • http://samaraadventures.com Kosta

    hi
    I live in Costa Rica and have a lot that is pefect
    for your idea.And I am verry series . The website
    helps but maybe some more help would be helpfull.
    than you in addvance…..good idea
    Kosta

  • http://samaraadventures.com Kosta

    hi
    I live in Costa Rica and have a lot that is pefect
    for your idea.And I am verry series . The website
    helps but maybe some more help would be helpfull.
    than you in addvance…..good idea
    Kosta

  • Eric T

    America is a free country, but unthinking people react to regulations and laws that are in place to assure safety like teenagers to rules made by parents. That's foolish and childish. Electric codes assure you don't burn down the house, and so forth. There are ways to make such a house safe and pass SAFETY inspection. Duh.

  • Eric T

    America is a free country, but unthinking people react to regulations and laws that are in place to assure safety like teenagers to rules made by parents. That's foolish and childish. Electric codes assure you don't burn down the house, and so forth. There are ways to make such a house safe and pass SAFETY inspection. Duh.

  • http://www.focusonrecovery.net Travis @

    In the county where we reside, it would take yrs for the planning commission to approve such construction. And the cost of engining would be astronomical. Therefore, must be done without authorization, under the cover of darkness and far away from nosey neighbors.

    However, with the controlled demolition of the world's economy taking place our county officials are now far and few between, but must respond to any complaints received by "concerned neighbors".

    I just hope there are none of those in the neighborhood we relocate to ^_^

  • http://www.focusonrecovery.net Travis @

    In the county where we reside, it would take yrs for the planning commission to approve such construction. And the cost of engining would be astronomical. Therefore, must be done without authorization, under the cover of darkness and far away from nosey neighbors.

    However, with the controlled demolition of the world's economy taking place our county officials are now far and few between, but must respond to any complaints received by "concerned neighbors".

    I just hope there are none of those in the neighborhood we relocate to ^_^

  • Charles

    I believe that Montana still offers free homesteading.
    http://findforms.com/single_form.php/form/25670/D

  • Charles

    I believe that Montana still offers free homesteading.
    http://findforms.com/single_form.php/form/25670/D

  • NETYN

    I own my land free and clear. My land is Allodial. I own it superior to all others. The state does not own my land. The County does not own my land. The federal Government does not own my land. Therefore, I have no hesitation to build a Hobbit House. I ask no one for permission and I grant NO ONE REPRESENTATIVE of a Collective the rights of passage on to my land! There is no compelling state interest as my land is NOT PUBLIC LAND, and my safety is of no concern of the COLLECTIVE.

  • NETYN

    I own my land free and clear. My land is Allodial. I own it superior to all others. The state does not own my land. The County does not own my land. The federal Government does not own my land. Therefore, I have no hesitation to build a Hobbit House. I ask no one for permission and I grant NO ONE REPRESENTATIVE of a Collective the rights of passage on to my land! There is no compelling state interest as my land is NOT PUBLIC LAND, and my safety is of no concern of the COLLECTIVE.

  • http://Web Ed St. Pierre

    This is why there are no Hobbits left.

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  • http://Web Kat

    i wonder if there are people considering or already doing this in oregon, usa. the landscape and natural resources seem very similar, and many people here seem into farming/gardening and eco friendly things…

  • http://www.google.com/search?sclient=psy&hl=en&site=&source=hp&q=Influencing+Others+to+Have+a+High+EQ&btnG=Search how to have high eq

    Couldn´t be written any kind of better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about that. I can forward that article to him. Very sure he can possess a nice read. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://Web neal oplinger

    The house in question was not built in the USA but rather wales and if you had read the article carefully you would know that and they used fallen woood from the forest not green wood so nails rather than screws probably would be ok. Many homes that were built out of mud and straw survive for centuries yet no usa engineer would sign off on them as being habital, your thinking is to self centered and your vision is narrow, I hope you are not in a leadership position in your community!

  • http://Web Aria

    Depends on where you are. Some places I’ve lived ban even a tarp-covering for your own driveway if it’s not meant to be temporary. The supposed-reasoning is that it can blow away and cause damage if not built to certain codes. Apparently if you put it up for two days it’s not going to be any risk, but if you put it up for six months, damage will happen. Nuts.

    But there are states that don’t have any building permit requirements at all.

  • http://Web John

    What an incredible house! You’ve done an amazing job and definitely built a legacy for you children.

    Well done!

  • http://www.make-sustainable-choices.com Mary

    These little cute thing they’ve built is really great! Amazing I would say. Problem is they won’t let you built that kind of stuff in populated areas, I am sure. It won’t “fit” withing the general architecture of the city/village or I don’t know what – but I am sure “they” won’t authorize it.

    I’d love to have one cute cottage like that somewhere in the country side, just to “recharge batteries” from time to time , you know …

    http://goo.gl/cL4S5

  • http://Web chris

    Why do you need an address?

  • http://Web Nick Schefter

    I would love to live there! Having said that, where in the devoloped world including Wales can you build a residence without approved plans and a building permit from the local municipality ( which is where exactly )?

    This structure would need to seriously bend a large number of Building Code items to pass here in Ontario, Canada.

    I still like it however….

  • Ron

    Agreed…

  • http://Web Iestyn

    I like your words dear fellow. I should like to post them on a sign outside of my own parcel of land on a large sign.

  • http://Web thinley

    So beautiful!

  • http://Web Abby D

    If it’s on your own property, a lot of places don’t require it meet code until it’s time to sell the property. The address is to the property, not to the actual building (think about a house on a large piece of land out on a rural country road. The mail box is at the end of the driveway).

  • http://Web Christen

    Wow, that was harsh! Just because he doesn’t agree doesn’t make him selfish. What does being a leader have to do with his comment. I thought it was a beautiful house as well, but I have to agree. It doesn’t seem very sturdy and it probably wouldn’t pass inspection if it was in the USA.

  • http://Web Stephanie Mills

    Hello there. I enjoyed looking at the images of this gouse, but where is the bathromm. are there any images of that and where it is in relation to the rest of the house?
    Thanks
    Stef

  • http://Web Jennifer

    This house is so cool. It looks like a hobit house. I want one.

  • http://Web chris whitecloud

    I love your way of thinking and would be interested in trying your concept of a living house here in Hawaii. Please keep in touch.
    Cheers,
    Chris

  • http://Web L.Pint

    You Sir are the one with a narrow vision if you cannot accept an opposing opinion!

    It’s great that they were able to make their own house and that they are able to live this green lifestyle. But sadly it is not practical or worthwhile for everyone everywhere.
    Where I live this would never be permitted, the gov’t wouldn’t allow me to squat in a forest full time amongst all the building code violations.

  • http://Web Caterina

    Want to make mine

  • http://Web Kris Bibby

    Having lived in the UK for a time I never would have thought that you could live the way you are without cutting through masses of red tape, building up a huge file of ‘consents’ and jumping through lots of council hoops. You’ve given your young family a wonderful gift – good luck to you all!

  • http://www.thesilentmind.org.uk Larry

    In the UK you can set up a Post Box, where the mail goes to the local post office to be picked up from there.

  • http://www.thesilentmind.org.uk Larry

    Wales isn’t renowned for earthquakes. Also green wood when jointed well, will warp into a tighter structural unit as it seasons – hence all the cute angles that Elizabethan wooden structures have.

  • http://Web Jeff

    so do I, I wonder how it would stand up in the tropics (COsta Rica) my biggest concern is lets say, I prefer to let bugs, ants, spiders, etc in habit any place else except where i live…. but im looking for alternate forms and cheaper forms of housing :)

  • http://Web James

    Your land may not be public land and safety not the concern of the collective,but your impact on your neighbours and the environment is.

  • http://Web JOHN

    WOW Simon this is simply outstanding…… Stuff of fairy tales.
    You have not just created a beutiful home, You have inspired many people to give this or something similar a go…….. Thank you for giving us this gift in such difficult times.
    May You and your family be blessed. THANK YOU,

  • http://Web ROBERT

    THE VA WON’T GIVE DISABLED VETS CERTAIN BENEFITS THAT THEY PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR WITHOUT AN ADDRESS. EXAMPLE = OXYGEN

  • http://Web wildflower

    wow…. i thought living ina teepee would be great… just imagine if we could build this type of dwelling, there would be less homeless, we would have more money (no morgage), the banks wouldnt be able to control us as people, laws laws and more regulations.. wot we sacrifice for safety.. morgage, rates and time away from family cause you have to work 1 or 2 jobs.. enjoy your home…but i want one of those…

  • http://Web Shannon

    Beautiful, I dream of building something like this someday. What a magical place for your children to grow up in :)

  • http://Web Claire

    There is a country that chops up all its plastic waste with concrete and uses it to build houses. Why can’t we do something similar in Australia? Too many regulations. In USA someone built his house out of used tyres.

  • http://Web Tammy

    This is fabulously fabulous! I would build one.

  • http://www.hawkcircle.com Rick

    I would have taken the bark off of the wood that is used for the frame, because we have various beetles and bugs that love to chew up the wood under the cover of the bark. Removing the bark and the inner cambium makes this much more long lasting and keeps those critters out. They will eat all of that hard work up in a few years and cause a lot of problems.

    This is a nice project, though, and I hope it works out. I build timber framed cabins, barns and houses and they are much more traditional, using hand tools, etc, but also allow people to increase their home value and resale, etc. but they are more expensive to build!

    Nice article and pics….

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  • http://Web Hanna

    HAHA. You must not live in Oregon if you think it would be possible to do it here. The land might be perfect, but the draconian government here is so overly concerned for your “welfare” that they would never approve such a structure to live in. No doubt you would be fined heftily if you tried to do it in snyway.

  • http://Web Kelly

    Lucky not in Australia bull shit laws would make you pull it down. BUT HAY I LOVE IT.

  • http://Web The Police

    That’s nice, sir.

    *draws gun*

    Now, we’re going to have to ask you to leave. You have violated zoning laws, and have been ordered to leave this house. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way.

    *shoots you*

    I wish you hadn’t resisted, citizen. The law is the law.

  • http://Web Mark

    5 grand is not going to get you the land to build it on, or the labour to build it with. Good luck building this house or living like these people do for 5 grand. Aside from which, I have it on good authority that they have another house and this is more of a holiday home.

  • http://Web al

    Hey, congratulations to the couple who built that house!!! People in states would never be able to afford to build that house no matter how big of a necessity it is for them. Say you have $5K, well, after all these govenment mumbo-jumbo, you’ll probably be spending 10x that amount. Think about structural safety requirements they would burden you. Since these are out-of-the-ordinary built structures, these builders are thrown into the limelite and who would expect if the city would ask for other rediculous requirements like pest control or in summertime when those green grass would turn brown, the city might ask them to trim it because they will be a fire hazzard. Its all because the weird house is under a microscope. American culture would never allow that (unless you have money, of course). We like our poor to stay poor and the rich be richer. The middle class, well, they are trained to mimic the rich. Try to build one…America will treat you an outcast.

  • http://Web kelley

    this is exactly what i want to create and not just for myself, but where is it possible to do such? as a citizen of the usa? i have seen so many problems for folks who didnt get permits. people had to actually tear their work down… the mud women or mud girls in canada are doing this but is it legal? for me it always comes back to how to make it be cheap and legal. and what was the cost of the land?

  • http://www.massageclips.com James Friesen

    I totally love it! What a great back to nature feel it has, and a sense of “protection” by mother earth. I look at it and it feels alive with joy and happiness. Lets all tear down our “normal” houses and build one of these! I’ll start first!

  • http://Web avigail avramovich

    This is beautiful.
    makes u want to be a hobbit.
    i want this kind of a home too
    thank u for sharing

  • http://Web Ilex

    Very cool looking house. Genius ideas.
    Just wondering, how were the logs and scrap wood treated to prevent natural rotting/disintegration?

  • http://web.me.com/hermetictao/Site/Welcome.html Dean Scarpinato

    This is another brilliant example of permaculture and sustainability in the upcoming/present state of the collapse of the corporate banking system. Hats off to you and to all who are willing to live by the Spirit. Dean Scarpinato

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  • http://Web Earthchick

    Would LOVE to do this but here in the facist country usa I really don’t think it’s possible. We r a country that’s a controlling, greedy prison, but w/o bars. Just covert sqeezing control. If I’m wrong, plz someone tell me where it’s possible to do this and me and hubs are there!

  • http://Web Martin Giles

    This looks great.

    I wonder about the solar panels providing ‘just enough for for lighting, music and computing’. Photo Voltaic panels are still very expensive – was their cost included in the £5,000 total price? What about the land they built on?

    I suppose they’re heating water with the wood burner. It’s primitive, but not badly so.

    I need to know more! (And I’m glad I stumbled on this site).

  • http://Web Lauren

    This reminds me of the hobbits’ houses in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Ring’s trilogy. Looks cozy and your kids are going to have stories to tell when they’re older. Creativity and sustainability are well and truly thriving.
    Love and Light

  • http://Web Phillippe

    Canada..um….er….Mexico….um…er….eh….France…not there either? O.K. you tell me the other country where you can do it.

  • http://Web John

    Love the concept, not so sure about the execution. Hopefully it adheres to local building requirements, or is an acceptable alternative

    Building codes are not draconian or arbitrary, they’re MINIMUM STANDARDS.

  • wayne

    i would be more worried about the compost toilet it would have to keep ecoli from starting and the wood should be pretreated so as not to rot but other than that i would love a hobbit house.

  • http://www.wildwalks-southwest.co.uk Rachel

    Love it!
    How did it work re. planning permission? Genuinely interested in doing it in the UK. Rachel x

  • http://Web denise bishop

    Love this,I want one. It is the way I would love to build my home, if I were younger… I had a 1500 sq. ft. solar-passive home, my heating and cooling bills were never above 40.00 a month, I wonder what there’s will be, I suspect a hobbit of a price.

  • http://Web finn wayman

    Beautiful! Any suggestions for making a fantasy home in a tropical setting?

  • http://Web Kate Graham

    Im pretty sure there are problems with damp..
    and.. who among you have used a compost loo..?
    Lovely place for a weekend or retreat but are you seriously going to live ther..?
    lets see where you cook.. shower.. etc..

  • http://Web Able Freeman

    Bull they cannot adjust fast enough for the changing building technology. They work out to be an amazing impediment to people building low cost housing. In most cases code works out to be a job program for overpriced licensed trades people. I have repaired the work of licensed electricians and plumbers on occasion. Your claim to minimum standards is as bogus as the federal reserve is to protect the value of the US dollar! Sorry if you remain deluded.

  • http://Web Merlin

    You must live in the city in the states then. I live in the rural & have actually started one of these after buying 5 acres for $3500 becasue of the location…nice & secluded area. There are very few restrictions in the midwest rural areas in the states. I would like to know about bathroom facilities or did you use an outhouse like I’m going to do, following alot of the Almish trends.

  • http://www.stateofthecity.ca Brian

    Um, cute. But my first reaction is, what about building codes?

  • http://The-Missing-Piece.com Rick

    Very cool. Well done sir!

  • http://Web Tim Jephcott

    If only Local regulatory bodies could see the advantages, if not the beauty, of enviro’ housing. Perhaps one day, when….

  • USAsucks

    Thank you Earthchick, my sentiment EXACTLY. As a matter of fact, I haven’t read anything more sane in a long time. I hate the USA and I cannot wait to leave; just stuck due to custody issues for another 10 years. This is a totally fascist country; you have no rights unless you can afford unaffordable lawyers and the exploitation going on in the workplace is medieval. In regards to alternative structures: I tried to purchase an earthship last year but due to the new lending regulations the seller could not get an appraisal on it because it was considered “too alternative” or “the structure is not on the electric grid” (duh it’s off the grid and that is the whole point). I say nevermind. I’ll bide my time in this hell hole of a country; the glorified prison that it is, until I can leave and go home. No I am not from the USA; I am proud to say I am NOT a citizen and will never be.
    Good luck to anyone who is stuck here and trying to live an alternative lifestyle! More power to you!

  • http://Web Beatriz

    I just love this initiative…. It is amazing what creativity can do…
    We have to promote this kind of susteinable living..
    Great!!!!

  • http://Web Pat

    You need to leave this “facist country usa”. You really hate it here and shouldn’t have to be here. LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!!!

  • http://Web Beth

    Oregon

  • http://reikifriendship.com Alexander Gottwald

    Hi, this just too cool … looks like Bilbo’s home in Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” movie… I bet it’s a blast, living in there… thanks so much 4 sharing!
    Love from Uruguay,
    Alex

  • http://reikifriendship.com Alexander Gottwald

    Hi, this is just too cool … looks like Bilbo’s home in Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” movie… I bet it’s a blast, living in there… thanks so much 4 sharing!
    Love from Uruguay,
    Alex

  • http://Web usa

    Take your sorry ass out of here, USA doesn,t need an ungrateful punk like yourself living here!

  • http://Web Dirtywork

    Pat, how’s it feel being a Sheep?

  • http://Web Lee

    Earthchick (and anyone else who thinks we’re living in a fascist country): don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. We don’t need your kind here.

  • http://Web Andrea kapalin

    LOVE ur homes

  • http://Web PJ

    The land in Wales would cost about $200,000
    It doesn’t have planning permission.
    It hasn’t passed building regulations.
    If the local council notices, it will be knocked down.

    This is a totally illegal house in the UK, our regulations are far stricter than the USA.

  • http://Web laura

    to anyone who says “Love it or Leave it,” I would like to remind you that there is a third option: FIX IT. you don’t have to accept the way things are in the US, or in any country. Our forefathers didn’t. in fact, they started a revolution to change this country, to make it their own. anyone who says “love it or leave it” is blind. you think you are patriotic, but you’re just hitting the feeder bar to get another pellet.

  • Sue Wolfsong

    This place is adorable! It looks like a Hobbit house. What a great place to raise children!

  • http://Web Kim

    Absolutely love it!!! Well done!! :D

  • http://younglivingcircleblog.com Evelyn Vincent

    I’ve taken cob building classes before and HIGHLY recommend learning how to build these amazing homes. Each one is a unique work of art, great for those who are creative and want to express themselves.

    I also plan on building a hybrid cob/earthbag house in the near future. I recommend that more people do this and live more simply – it feels so good!

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  • http://Web Mauibrad

    Looks like a hobbit home.

  • http://Web Name (required)

    I have built many alternitive houses in UK and USA i just dont tell any one. also if you are far enough off the grid they dont see you. I also know that in Texas there used to be an alternitive comunity that the got grants to build every kind of house as long as every one was different so there was benders yurts earth houses etc – part of the deal was that once a month it was open house so any one could come and see what is possable – it was a great idea – i passed on the idea to some in in UK and they did it there [without the grants] but were eventually closed down because of drugs..
    I am american – dont chose to live ther – but as i travel a lot i see the world government is really all one and what you hate there is the same every where some places a little more or less – in Indonesia its the worst but you can pay a corrupt official and build anything you want… at some level its all corruption.

  • http://Web lnp

    check out dan and lynne price, in joseph oregon…. check out Moonlight Chronicles, it is possible to live this way…. it is the only way to live!! there are several articles and photos about The Hobbit Hole, see flickr and hoboartist or hobogirl

  • http://Web Donna

    I am using a small solar array and 2 marine batteries for a small structure on our lake land. As it is considered “mobile” we do not have to get anyone’s permission. The total cost of the solar electric system was $300.00 and runs everything we need it for, hot water, music, lights, cell phone and laptop charging, and a fan. It will even power an RV air conditioner if we needed it. I got most of the items at Harbor tools. A composting toilet is allowed, but an outhouse is not. I would love to put up the hobbit type house there also, either attached or as a guest house. Building a conventional home there is not allowed as it is in the flood plain. Be creative and learn what is allowed in your county or country. Yurts and teepees are ok also as they are mobile.

  • http://Web js

    love it or leave it, huh? so to you that must mean: everything here is perfect and there’s no need to change anything – no one is allowed to criticize? we can still think something is bad but recognize it’s the least bad option.

  • http://Web Abdullah Butler

    Your right, the same bull shit laws apply in Egypt too, governments dont want people to have low cost self built houses, it dosnt tie them into the ‘work ethic’ of having to spend your life working to pay for over expensive housing and their bloody taxes, freedom of speech thats fine no problem ….economic freedom..No way

  • http://Web Dominik

    Thats grave. Have you please more photo of each phase building the house? How exactly you made the roof, foor and wall.
    Thank you Dominik

  • http://Web Jon

    Critics, ease up. Yes, it is completely doable. My father-in-law built a house with exactly this concept. He budgeted $8K originally but the county codes wouldn’t allow him to run electricity with straw walls, roof and floor so he made some adjustments but it is a beautiful home. He kept the straw floor and compost roof. My experience is that if you are prepared to stay off the grid then you can do it for 5K or maybe less. I hope to do it, meself, soon.

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  • http://Web Kenneth

    Building codes do not have to be adhered to if you have no mortgage for the bank to approve. You also can’t have electrical hook-up or a septic system. From the article, they use solar panels and a composting loo, so they are in the clear. I’m assuming they don’t have insurance on the house either, which would be the smarter way to go.

  • http://Web HartmanFTW

    I’m sorry dude, but that house looks like it’s been hijacked from the teletubbies.

  • http://Web fran

    tried to post my email to the site and it kept saying invalid.

  • http://Web nmchick

    Sierra County New Mexico USA currently has no building regulations if you are not in a city limits. Pretty nice weather two lakes Rio Grande River. Most expensive thing for raw land would be drilling well for water.

  • http://Web Destiny

    Doesn’t mean she doesn’t love this country. Though it’s hard to love it as is; currently.
    Corporations run everything for the most part. The America our founding fathers wanted for us, is not what we have become.
    I don’t like it either, but I am going to “be the change I wish to see in the world”
    America will go to great places. Though it’s real hard to see it in that kind of light right now.
    I think it’s kind of pig headed to tell someone to leave because of an observation stated. Good thing it’s America. With free speech and all..

  • http://Web Destiny

    Is this in response to Earthchick? What makes you say Oregon? I am so crazily curious; that is where we want to move to!

  • http://Web Jillian

    I think we as people should be “allowed” to do things like this. I think if more people did things like this, like building their own houses for their familys, we would feel alot happier in life and feel rewarded. Everything nowadays is about money, and things…who has the most money?…Who has the better things? If we took our time and didnt worry about those things, then started to DO things that were on the simplier side of things, but WAY more rewarding..I think people would start to feel happiness again.
    The house is BEAUTIFUL! The ONLY thing I would be a little worried about is the bugs. I would’nt want bugs to destroy something so beautiful. I would LOVE to live there! And im sure that the people who built it Love it also!…Way more then if they Just bought a house. Good work! Enjoy :)

  • http://Web Thomas Rosskopf

    Local Building Codes in California as currently written would NEVER allow anyone to live in such a structure. There is no way to verify the strength of random dimension logs as structural elements. As an engineer however, in looking at the pictures I love the design and think it’s great.

  • http://Web Sebastian

    I absolutely love it! That is a solution for people and what a dream for many of us! I am 1 of them and will build 1 soon in the future.
    all the best to all

  • Auntie Hosebag

    If you’re like me–disabled–this is all very pretty and PC, but not at all realistic. Great project for a couple of twenty-somethings with tons of time on their hands, yeah, but for the rest of the world?

  • http://www.keithcronin.net Keith Cronin

    Interesting concept!
    Wonder how it would hold up in a storm?
    If they needed more solar panels to run the home or the family wanted to get in the green business, they should checkout this- http://www.solarbusinessblueprint.com/gotprofits
    This is something we believe will revolutionize how solar is done!

  • http://Web Phil

    Well, it is a cute hobbit hole, but I worry about whether it can keep out moisture and mold, rot etc. I think you are looking at a lot of maintenance, and maybe a need to tear down and rebuild in a few years.

    And what about insulation? Will it be warm enough in the winter without lots of expense for heating?

  • http://Web Just Jack

    In California, we have a Straw bale Code as part of state law. But local zoning boards summarily deny permits for straw bale even when it’s code compliant, thus requiring the use of extremely expensive lawyers to force zoning boards to comply with the law. This process mimics feudal society and is part of the reason so many Americans are fed up with the existing system. We go and do the right thing, get laws passed to ensure we can do what’s necessary but then the owning class and their minions do whatever the hell they want and put the onus on the poor to make them comply with the law. It’s utter madness.

  • http://Web Good guy

    Hmmm. Yes, I have to agree. There must be a problem with YOU to hate it here so much. I’ve lived all over the world and the USA is the best place to live. Try living in Germany or Poland where you have to register with the police every time you want to move! Or pay some corrupt official just to get anything done. Sorry you don’t like it here, but I think it’s a personal problem, you probably won’t like it ANYWHERE!! Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way outta here!!

  • http://Web John

    I’m not deluded. I’ve been a building inspector for 15 years, and the codes do adjust for new materials. There is no code requirement for tradespeople to do the work on an owner occupied property. However, inspections of the work are necessary to ensure the safety of the occupants, and neighbors.

    I’ve also seen crap work from licensed electricians and plumbers. Again, that’s why it needs to be inspected.

    It’s been my experience that those who complain loudest about building codes are slum landlords who are more interested in exploiting the poor than in providing decent housing.

  • http://Web Rob

    Thats great! Until a deer grazes on your roof and falls on you in bed!

  • http://Web Sally

    Here in the UK even owner occupiers have to use a licensed electrician. And sadley it’s often more who you know than what you know.

  • http://Web Just Jack

    Compost “loos” (hee-hee) are actually pretty easy to use and maintain. Modern ones don’t smell and cook down the humanure to a usable addition to compost.

  • http://Web talila

    love it!

  • http://Web joe

    This is great! Its unfortunate that this has led to conversations about countries and laws. Be a pioneer and figure out how to do this no matter the regulation. This is happening so get on board neigh-sayers need not apply, or do apply and show yourself what you can accomplish :)

  • http://Web Charlie

    Ladies and gentleman, I live in a Yurt in rural western Colorado. This is possible in my county because my home is considered “movable”. This has its advantages and disadvantages. firstly, it is non-taxable because it is temporary. Secondly, it required no permits. Drawbacks to this type of shelter are it is very humble. Having no indoor plumbing or modern conveniences, one must be resilient. I find this very rewarding.

    I had a teacher growing up that had a rule in his classroom. We could express hate and discontent towards anything within our country. We could hate the government the laws the bureaucracy and the bullshit, but could not hate our country. The United States was founded with a pure spirit like of an infant child born onto this earth. That spirit remains as the root core of the American peoples beliefs. Hating America is misguided and counter productive. Instead direct that discontent, frustration, and anger towards the entity’s responsible.

  • http://Web NM Sustainable

    I live entirely off rain catchment in Nothern NM (10″ annual rainfall) in an earthen home. Passive solar design takes care of 90% of heating (and cooling too).

    Also, you can’t run from corporatism (which Mussolini called fascism). It’s everywhere. Work to shift the culture where you are.

    Take a breath, live in awareness. Leave the haters to themselves.

  • http://Web NM Sustainable

    Been doing humanure for over 6 years. No smell, no sickness, no problems. Humanurehandbook.com is a start.

  • http://Web bemused

    interesting comments on the article, thanks… oh, hang on.. no they all got on about the gud ol US of A! and they say Americans cant concentrate for more than 10mins

  • http://Web Elizabeth

    Wow… I would love to build something like that..

  • http://Web John Sanders

    Great shelter/home…Beautiful way to harmonize with the earth!!!

  • http://Web ewerb

    Well said Just Jack, thank you for the reality check. John commented above, “However, inspections of the work are necessary to ensure the safety of the occupants, and neighbors.”

    I’d advise him of his right to know that a more significant threat is a code that requires adhering to practices known to be far more long term damaging; persistent toxins, deforestation, and unsustainable energy demands. Not to mention the class defining housing affordability gap. The new deal is inspectors will provide greater value as practical assistants and consultants in creating housing — not Capt. Hindsight police, that was the old game. You know, the one that bankrupted cities with cushy retirement funds and health care in excess of most citizens not in the self serving and perpetuating Gov’t Club.

  • http://Web ewerb

    yes kelley, this WILL be doable at some point likely soon, given so many greater life safety needs than hassling Americans for permission to live lightly on the land. This lifestyle is called “indigenous”, and you history buffs out there remember Amercia’s demonstrated warm regard for Indigenous culture, aside from that unfortunate Genocide.

    Sort of like the story of the note in Navjo language left with a Lunar Rover mission, “Watch out for these people, they’ll take your land and kill you…”

  • http://Web Jon Mann

    Hey Mark, on who’s authority do you claim this is a holiday home? Easy to say, but can you back it up?
    I own forty (40) acres in Shasta County California, that I bought for $10,000 15 years ago. That’s $250 an acre! I could put up an earth sheltered home for $5,000 if I had the skills; can you? The problem is I live in America and the fascist government would make me build to their code, so some crooked contractor could hire undocumented workers to do the work, and rip me off by cutting corners, etc.

  • http://Web just saying

    …and go where? millions of people trying to get into the usa from countries stuck in the dark ages. no vote, no voice, no freedom, no jobs, no education, no opportunity, nutrition or drinking water…the list continues. you have been given the gift of the united states and have royally cocked it up. seriously, if you can’t crack it there you should book yourself a ticket onto the next spaceship leaving planet earth.

  • http://Web Arielle

    thank you for sharing your beautiful home, an inspiring creation. it’s so exciting to think of how we can achieve what ever we can envision. thank you, all the very best to you and your family and to all those who also dream, vision and create. blessings.

  • http://Web Ricky Walklett

    this is very inspirational, congratulations….
    this makes me believe that this is possible on a small budget that im sure we all have.

    im an arboriculture graduate with a keen interest in wood and wood based housing and would like to think that i could live in a house like this in the future.

    thanks for the opportunity to see this property and good luck

  • http://Web Gayle Willoughby

    It’s a Hobbit House – straight out of the Lord of the Rings! Love it…

  • http://Web FritzDaKat

    “Try living in Germany or Poland where you have to register with the police every time you want to move!”

    Oh, you must mean like how we have to register at the post office if we want to ensure delivery of our mail,,, or perhaps you meant more like how we register and update our address with the Selective Service for draft purposes right? Same B.S. just working the shellgame through different offices.

  • http://Web Disgruntled Vet

    Awwww did the nice guy hurt your feelings? Or does it sting to see the truth spoken about this country? This country DOES suck now. I gave my all to Uncle Sam when I served in the military and now as a veteran I get what? Oh, yeah, a free meal at a “ginormous” buffet restaurant. My college benefits were not enough to pay for college, heck, not even enough to feed my family while in college. Seems the only thing of value here is the almighty dollar. I would love to build a home like this, but even if materials and my own labor make it affordable, the greedy bureaucracy wants to leech money from the homeowner and then tax him to death. Here is the US of A it is all about the green, not about the red,white and blue anymore.

  • http://web Liz Messerschmied

    that reminds me of hobbit house from herr der ringe! wonderful!

  • http://Web dollie tearney

    Where in the USA can I build or have one built? This one is beautiful…but in Whales? My health insurance, after I retire in USA, won’t cover me in that country. What to do?? Thanks, dollie

  • http://Web eric

    we do not have a government,we have a foreign corporation “named” united states. per title 28 u.s. code. and you only have equitable title to the REAL ESTATE, which is everything from the land up. you do not own the LAND unless you have the land patent, which,in California,i assure you,you do not.
    i would start by getting the land patent.
    and by not doing everything a corporation tells you to, with no authority, mind you, save for the consent YOU give them.
    if you dont want the “government” to control you, stop doing what they tell you to do. they serve YOU if they are a government.
    and imposing ones will on someone without their express consent, is called tyranny and oppression.

  • http://Web Brian

    Really beautiful. A question though…how can they be sure that that roof will be supported after a few days rain make it ten times heavier?
    Fallen trees?
    Why did they fall?
    I ask because a friends dad died in exactly a building like this during a storm. Crushed under his own handiwork.He remains one of the most respected alternative builders in California.

    It’s all very nice and romantic but codes exist to protect innocents like their kids from irresponsible ignorance like this.

  • http://Web Viktoria

    I love these homes, although as I live in a new house in a city I doubt I’ll ever have one. But they’re fascinating to see. It’s so disappointing to see all the negative and hateful banter going on here though. Quite shocking. I’m British/Hungarian/American and yes, Governments do what they want and make life difficult and expensive for us all. But these homes look to me like they should be in the middle of nowhere and go under the ‘radar’. Build it or not but you should keep your nasty comments away from here.

  • http://Web Julie

    I agree,its the same in many countries!! They dont want us to be truly free and independant…Who would they get to do all the crappy little jobs then if we didnt live in FEAR…of repaying debts etc that they encouraged people to have …They want us trapped into work…to be their little worker ants ….Julie u.k.

  • http://www.cherylmillerville.com Cheryl Miller

    This is gorgeous. I’m so jealous! Speaking as an old hippie, this touches a lot of chords in me. Truly lovely and magical. I’d live in this house in a Kansas minute :) Congratulations and blessings to you and yours. Cheryl

  • http://Web ryvk

    WOW….people really don’t know ANYTHING about building codes. In the U.S.A. you CAN build this. If someone onhere says that you can’t…They know NOTHING about construction laws. Now you CAN’T build it within city limits or apply for a building permit or insure it. If you are caught you will pay a fine $25-$400…Thats IT!!! So, stop saying that the U.S.A. is sooo bad!

  • http://Canthesebebuiltatourcastle? Smith Castle

    We are building a castle in SW Virginia and were wondering if anyone would be interested in building some of the “Hobbit” looking houses on our property. We plan to have cottages for guests but these look SO amazing we would like a few of them also!

  • http://www3.sympatico.ca/fravensbergen Glenn Hodgins

    Nice house!
    I built a similar house 25 years ago near Montreal Canada. I was granted a permit because my plans described a house made of reinforced concrete. I took down 3 barns & 3 cedar corn silos & used mostly recycled materials.I built the 3 roofs covered with recycled steel from the barn roofs & basic structure for $3000.Final budget to move in was $56,000 in 1986. video here.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIPRrIM1gwI
    &

  • Ron Wilkinson

    Plastic in the roof? 6mil? It will deteriorate if exposed to weather. I’d use poly of some kind or bitumen.

  • http://Web Jim

    Look I dont know where some of you are from but in Wisconsin If I buy a piece of rural land and want to live in a tent on it I can and people do, If I want to live in a cave on it I can and people do, if I want to build a log cabin out turds I can and if it comes down and crushes me no one is legally going to come to my property and say you cant live in your turd house…they are just going to laugh at me when Im dead….there are so many alternative house around from geodesic domes,to shotcrete domes, to earth homes to cave homes, to tent homes that I wonder if you all dont live in some other country…..now in cities yes, there are building codes because no one wants my turd home to fall down and crush them while its crushing me….or my jury rigged electrical wiring to start my turd house on fire and burn down everyone elses home as well…such is living with other humans….but if you want to be a hermit and live the life of an 1800’s pioneer all by yourself where your inept building zen will only kill you no one is going to give a rats behind….but if you start a fire in the woods from your makeshift firepit, or you waste pit serves as a source of disease that contaminates a local stream, or your homemade house collapses and rolls down the side of a hill killing some campers….well someone might get a little testy…..but again there are over 250 million fellow americans living here now and we all cant just do what we want without being aware that our actions have consequenc…..if that is too much of a burden…try Alaska, there is more than enough empty space for you to carve your niche in the vilderness and not worry about impacting or even meeting a fellow human……

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  • http://www.cherylmillerville.com Cheryl Miller

    What a LOVELY home. Would love to see it in person. I bet you miss that beautiful dog!

    It’s hard for me to fathom the creativity and ingenuity that went into this project. You must be so SMART :)

  • http://Web Edward Camerlynck

    Did you easily get a permission to build this beautiful house? I’m from Belgium, where earthships are not allowed because they are not connected to power and gas distribution. Does somebody know how difficult or easy this is in other European countries especially Germany?
    Thx!

  • http://Web foggyidea

    Dang, what provoked that kind of stupid turd house rant?

  • http://Web jamie

    completely inspiring and awe provoking. thank you

  • http://Web GRAEME SUTHERLAND

    Lol that turd house guy is on Drugs…lol Anyway that house is fantastic, If I could find some land here in Scotland I would build one very similay perhaps with a watermill or wind mill for electricity although I cant help feeling it reminds me on the teletubbies house, and they seem very happy & cute!

  • http://Web Balu

    the only thing that passes inspection in the USA is Pharmaceutical drugs,. and weapons of mass destruction,. wake up people.

  • http://Web francis leidinger

    what about the cost of the land? article doesn’t mention if it’s their property or not? house is awesome nonetheless.

  • http://Web wonderer

    Sure seems like cheap alternative housing will be a reality for many in the near future. I wonder how much a scaled down Micheal Reynold’s type Earthship would cost. Say using polycarbonite panels to form the solarium and utilizing more recycled doors, windows etc. Thermal mass/passive solar means no furnace and zero heating bill – grow your own food – less need to work a 9-5 slave job – more time to research ways out of the matrix.

  • http://Web william Rothwell

    This has gave me so much hope in the building of my very own eco house, my inspiration is thriving from the site of your beautifully constructed home. Im 24, and im studying carpentry, id love to live such a wholesome, refreshing life like yours, in your homemade house, all the best for the future, Will

  • http://Web sean

    this sounds amazing and id love to help you out..i would def lend a hand and the knowledge i have..these could be your cottages and itd cost way less and what a better way to entertain guests…they could be energy efficent as well..let me know what you think, shoot me an email with ideas and we could figure something out. hope to hear from ya.

  • http://Web Nim

    Perhaps the reason they sound like they are in a different country is because they are. The house was built in Wales, in the UK, where there are very strict regulations on each and every aspect you mentioned. It’s not living in the 1800s either, when one has all mod cons. Duh!

  • http://progettointercultura.blogspot.com/ Anna Maria

    A wonderful idea! congratulations and best wishes!

  • http://Web Michel Henry

    Hey this is on the film set of “Lord of The Rings”, non ?!?
    Seriously great stuff – love to know how you got planning permish. though.
    Intruguing to see a fellow Montrealer did something akin just outside Montreal – I’m scooting off to his Youtube right now …

  • http://Web DK

    What is the square footage in your amazing home? Do you have interior walls set up? Would love to see your floor plan! I love it!…Wonder how it would survive in a more arid climate?

  • http://Web A-Stevenson

    Jim, the article does say the house was built by a couple in Wales, which is a foreign country if you’re in the US.

  • http://Web hanah lynn

    this is wonderful!..i have an acre of land which backs into the san bernardino national forest in southern calif… anyone interested in building a home and living in it for free?..also digging a well cause there is water there!! be in touch.. hana1111@yahoo.com

  • http://Web hanah lynn

    how about come and live on my 1 acre san bernardino land.. backyard is national forest, lakes, and build a house and dig a water well.. looking for a person who would enjoy this.. the land is waiting!!! 310 902-8261

  • http://Web dan

    i live in western mass. we really need t adress the rain and snow. how thick are the roofs?

  • http://Web Cory

    This is what I want to do as a business. Have MDI training, but have a spin on how to make a monolithic Eco-Dome (no airform). I need to build one to say I have to move forward. Got property? I have hands.. Let’s talk, will relocate.
    (254) 479-1377

  • http://Web Cory

    Im in Texas. States only.

  • http://moonmooring.wordpress.com Sarah

    This is so beautiful and Hobbit_like!

  • sylvia Efta

    I love this!

  • http://Web Cory

    I have a land owner that wants me to build. We need an investor.

  • http://Web Kim

    My folks built their log home with a single contractor and a few close friends back in the 70’s. It abutted 300 acres of orchard and made for an amazing childhood.
    But THIS place? Im in awe!!!
    I want it!
    Kudos to you all!!!!!!!!!!

    Kim

  • http://Web Mukunda

    too bad there are hardly any hills in Kansas :)

  • http://Web Lindsay

    This home is the apitmany of my dream home! My husband is a timber home/eco-friendly home builder, he builds beautiful, eloborate homes, but THIS is really all I would want or need!
    This home warmed my heart right up!
    Thank you! Thank you!
    Namaste.
    Lindsay

  • http://Web Hayla Oriel

    what an amazing eco house WOW!! would love to keep in touch with what you are doing as know other people/communities who could really benefit learning how to do this.. especially in Costa Rica where tribes are gathering..
    all the best
    Hayla

    http://www.tonysamara.org
    http://www.ourbeautifulworld.org
    http://www.heartherbs.eu

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  • http://greenbau.wordpress.com/ Greenbau

    It’s very nice, this ‘hobbit’ house has had its images around for a while. But it’s not an ‘Earth Sheltered’ house, it has a green roof . Earth sheltered means having enough earth on top – maybe three feet – to make it partially underground and tempered by the ground temperatures. This is quite correctly decoupled from the hillside, you can see how the builder used stone to lift the moisture-susceptible parts of the house off the ground and away from the damp.

  • http://Web di ginn

    This is marvellous and would be great for places such as here in New Zealand, but we have such stupid building codes it would not meet any criteria.. It would have to be ‘treated’ for borer, water proof, leak proof, air tight for energy saving, have non combustable materials or a fire wall, double glazing and so on and on on on and on….

    How great our world would be if we could live so simply and be content in that.. thanks for sharing your wonderful concept and life.

  • http://Web Maple

    I have a piece of land. It is interesting for me to build something small from cob, snowball or earth. May be not for living, just for the interest. But I can’t do it because of regulations, regulations and regulations. It is crazy. If I want to try something on MY LAND, I need to build first big house (no less then 700 sq.ft) and then any other structures. And I am not sure that they let me do that structure from cob. Any time I can expect them to come and say: “Take it out tomorrow”.
    God gave land for people, not for Government.

  • http://Soul-Improvement.com Rick

    I want one!!!!

  • http://Web Karen

    What an inspirational story! I really like the first photo of what is to become the roof. It reminds me of a hobbit house :) A house like this would fit in with mendocino county architect

  • http://Web Ian Forest

    Hanah, not sure if you know how amazing that sounds. Is the offer still available?

  • http://www.cherrywoodcustom.com Ryan Bruzan

    I shall make a plan. This is awesome. We had our first “cookie box home” (that’s just how I think they build them today) built by a large company, in a developing neighborhood. Never again; that is for certain. (Howda ya like that? Two absolutes in one sentence!)

    The only problem I see is the inability to get such a small mortgage, if that is a problem today. Read a book by Jay Shafer titled The Small House Book. Jay has included a rather insightful collection of knowledge on “The Big House” industry. (The Big House emphasis mine.) The only difference is Jay’s houses are on wheels and can be moved if desired. Check it out at http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com. I can definitely live in one, but what would be my address?!

  • http://Web joy

    have you had any trouble from social services?

  • http://Web Xeli Grana

    Great example of low budget management and the possibility of housing the homeless, in fact it is a project that could involve the community and those paying their debt back into society.I am sure many youth offending groups would benefit from this project. Learn a skill in and for humanity! It has a similarity to the CASTROS found in Spain said to have been a Celtic society way back in time, the structure and method are almost equal. I Live in London, I would trade my conventional home for one like this, fantastic.

  • http://www.logcabindirectory.com/ log home furniture

    Wow! This is so amazing! The house even it’s small is cozy. It’s very enticing and relaxing!

  • http://Web dukepoope

    Two words: Bugs and mildew

  • http://feathersfreesiasandfishingtackle.blogspot.com/ andrea of ffft

    Another article I read on this house a year ago said that this house was built on somebodies land where they essentially traded five or so years of living so that the guy would then have a guest house that was built for free. They intended to save money for that time to buy land and build again… from what I heard, they have since bought land someplace in the UK with a group and are building as a community. I also read that they called up a window company and asked if they could purchase windows cheaply that had been rejected for some reason (wrong measurements or whichever) and that is where the gorgeous windows came from. Because they built around the windows, they could use cast offs that would otherwise have cost a small fortune. Pretty smart rubbish heap :)

  • http://Web Betty Young

    I tried to subscribe to your newsletter, but it kept saying my email address was invalid…..I would really like to receive yoiur newsletters
    Thank you

  • http://Web Angela

    I want one ! It’s so beautiful and so much more natural !

  • http://Web peachy

    Why social services? Why do you think they would care? The kids will be fine and have good role models as parents, who don’t destroy the planet by the way !!

  • http://Web peachy

    Keeping it clean and enough light will keep both the bugs and mildew away.

    Anyhow, it’s life, about time we stop living in fairy tales that destroy our planet, and start living like real human beings.

    It is our way of living that is unclean.

  • http://Web Sharn

    A chisel, chainsaw and hammer only? Would have taken a while to dig out the area required in the hill with just a chisel….!

  • http://Web JoAnn Irvin

    looking for the plans for the dome in the earth for 5000. looking to build one for myself and others please send any information in pdf format and any photo s thanks ms. Irvin the one is susan kraemer design author

  • http://www.pledgingforchange.com Karen @ Pledging for Change

    Oh that’s amazing.
    There must be so many areas of land where villages with eco “hutses” like these can be built. I’m sure there is a movement somewhere??

    I’m inpsired… I bet hundreds more will be too. Well done!

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  • http://Web Jo

    Hmm, nice BUT… termites, cyclones, tropical wet season, not for the Kimberly’s mate!

  • HopeFeathers

    Very fun and interesting home. Not sure it is sustainable tho, imagine if everyone were out scavenging wood from public lands (tragedy of the commons), etc. But definitely some of these ideas could be used more widely to help people lessen their big eco footprint.

  • Karin Adamsgil

    Very ‘On the Banks of Plum Creek’
    Just like the house Laura Ingalls family lived in:

    “Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful
    Plum Creek”. At Walnut Grove MN USA

  • Veneson

    I love the design and the whole idea of using available resources from the environment. It looks like it is really affordable for those who have the time but don’t have enough cash for it. How do you preserve it from molds and termites?

  • http://www.modularhomesnetwork.com/ Manufactured Homes

    I am normally trying to find absolutely love your content. This article a great deal.

  • Andrewmcnaught223

    This is amazing. how do u stop moisture coming into the house through the walls

  • http://www.modularhomesnetwork.com/ Modular Homes

    Thanks very much for your interesting article. I have been looking for such post for a really long time.

  • Jason_parks21

    How can I achieve all of what you have, with the Allodial thing happening?

  • Ana

    I’d like to build a similar house. I have no knowledge. I have an offer though. Who ever can build s house like this for me can use it for free for holidays. It’s in Croatian island Pag.

  • Rhodri Farrer

    There are no earthquakes in Wales..

  • Maitland

    Yes, but Wales hasn’t had any meaningful seismic activity in recorded history though I grant you current global shifts means anything is possible, but I wouldn’t be losing sleep over it.

  • http://www.duilawyerspot.com/ dui lawyer

    did they live in a home like this in little house on the prairie? these things are cool, but what if u have a family?

  • Docbrotherman

    Kudos. It is too bad that more people do not understand the hidden parts and past of our legal system, and how to remove the states jurisdiction from their body and their property. It is mighty nice not to have to pay property taxes :)

  • Docbrotherman

    Jason, you must first understand why the state presumes jurisdiction over your body. There is a very enlightening “book” that will get you on the right track. Do a search for “the red amendment” by Bork. Happy hunting.

  • Uncle Danny

    Your own place for 5 grand cash money. Ain’t nuttin wrong with that!!.

    There’s an old guy near my place, moniker of Sun Ray Kelley who has built places for folks to live very low footprint house wise. Working in cob and strawbale, cedar and good vibes, radiant floor heating and the whole nine yards it’s all pretty cool. I was pals with his lil brother around 1975 back when lids were 3/4ths ounce and around 10-12 bucks. If I had my druthers I’d have an old converted schoolbus with solar and wireless and a snowbird winter route in a Prop 19 friendly state during the cold months. Can you guess why???

  • Uncle Danny

    NETYN I admire you for living as you choose as opposed to living according to the State. I heard of the Allodial Title back around 1995 when the Patriot Movement was big news. Nevada is a righteous state to lose yourself and your land legally and still LIVE FREE. There’s also a US Territory or two that compared to America makes an IDEAL home base and perhaps most importantly free men may possess arms, powder and ball.

  • Dan Boxman

    Travis go to Idaho, Wyoming or Montana if you like the northern states. There are still ways you can live free if you read between the lines. Read the works of Ragnar Benson. Buy 40 acres with state land, federal land and timber land surrounding your piece. Punch in a road, sink a well and build according to what works for you. Take folks with you that know the trades. Do not apply for permits or ask some bureaucrat permission to improve your land as you see fit. If you want to live free often you must resort to tactics of an outlaw. Jesus was a revolutionary and a carpenter. The Earth knows how things went for Him. Live free or die standing up.

  • Uncle Danny

    I also have Mikes book. He is around Bonners Ferry Idaho. He built his first below grade place in late 70s with salvaged materials and friends helping excavate. A few years later with kid and old Lady in tow he built a larger place in much the same way. His building method is one of many. Earthship and earthbermed. Cordwood and cob. Hempcrete and adobe, Quonset hut or Geodesic dome, yurts or tipis build what you know… Do not limit yourself to what The Man says you can or CANNOT do on your land. Do your thing.

    Google Backwoods Home Magazine. Their philosophy demonstrates the DIY concept. I’ve been a subscriber for 19+years and read each copy from cover to cover. They have a great staff and well researched articles. Their only shortcoming is there are only 6 issues per year. Check out their website backwoodshome.com. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  • Tim

    There are many comments here below which speak about human safety being important. It’s a bit of a joke really! Human safety? Then no nuclear power plants should be built around regions like the ring of fire. Nor should any buildings be built in any regions where there are risks of hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic irruptions and tsunami waves.

  • http://www.bes.co.uk plumbing

    What amazes me actually is the way how it was made. It was given so much attention and time. You have to build it carefully since we are talking of tree trunks here to be held together.

  • StatesideKale

    Hobbit hole!

  • plummer

    hows the plummin?

  • Faizarguiba

    Namasté!

  • Jeremynaranjo

    People brought children up in houses like this for far longer then they have in houses like we live in today. In fact more people today bring children up in houses like this or worse than in any other. We some how managed to thrive.

    As for cutting wood this structure
    will hold heat in incredibly well. You stoke the fire before bed and your good. A little uncomfortable but not bad. Give me some discomfort for freedom from banks any day.

  • Kate

    Dude, they’re in Wales.

  • http://twitter.com/Tao_of_Ray Ray

     Welcome to the Shire…

  • karin bonjour

     There are plenty of houses alike in Iceland , really beautiful and cozy . of course they have the advantage of warm water all over the island . I love the idea and also the execution . no edges . 

  • Melpom4

    For 5k, why not rebuild in 5yrs? most people pay that in mortgage for an ‘average’ 250k home in the US over 3-4mos!!! I’d gladly rebuild every 2-6yrs for 5k! The rodents, termites, et al are not exactly prevented in our highly toxic city dwellings either…. and that is with pesticides! Anyone who’s ever been in a forest or country home knows pests will have to be dealt with; use red pepper, and they be gone! Non-toxic, too!

  • http://cueva-cascada.co.uk Cueva-cascada

     Fantastic I would love to live in a home like this, similar to my cave home in Spain but no walls to paint every year!! well done and best wishes with the new home.

  • Ace_dro1

    Live free standing, or be a slave on your knees.

  • Oakfeathers

     Love this. Thank you for all the info. Here in States, there are so many building laws, not sure whether it would be possible on my wilderness land or not..may look into it. Have looked at Navajo hogans and straw bale homes before, and this has some elements of both. We have no dirt hills though only rocky ground. But lots of trees. Oh the wheels are turning… =)

  • earthman

    I too Love this house for all the reason mentioned below. It will be lucky to last 10 years, also due to the issues mentioned by some below. Moisture and decaying wood will be it’s undoing. But due to its light and small nature the dwelling posses little risk to anyone. It is unlikely to fall down in one big BANG either. So 10 years for 5.000 Pounds. I think that is a very good deal!!!

  • Richard

    I am amazed and impressed at your expertise, may the home you have built bring you and your loved ones lifetime of happiness, security and safety.
    I urge everyone interested in this home to research ‘Earthships’.
    The Earthship team have been in Haiti rebuilding eco-homes after the terrible tidal wave disaster.

  • Hannelore Devlin

    Beautiful! Love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1077481816 Joe Prager

    If you want to build something like this, make sure a large window faces south for solar warmth and thermal transfer.  Proper ventilation is also essential in damp climates, otherwise, mold and mildew will be a big problem.  Mold can make you really sick, so a good design should take this into consideration.

  • Joyfulnoisefour

     Right, except that when you do hurt yourself or get too old to do it all, who is going to have to support you then?

  • Orangeillusions

    I grew up doing this. It was wonderful.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and it teaches kids a real work ethic, not one based on money but on actually connecting with your basic needs.  You would be amazed at how a person can find solutions to these inconveniences.  I miss it actually.  City living has made me soft. 

  • Orangeillusions

    Read: “composting toilet”.  Toilets are not hard to build, and when you make pit toilets, as long as you don’t dump chemicals in them, when you bury them they create a VERY fertile area.  I went back to a campground I spent 3 months in as a child, where we had built a pit toilet, and there were huge bushes growing where our toilet was.  There are solutions to all of these problems.  

  • Mattidred

    awesome. natural shapes formed by time. we did a roundhouse building workshop with similar materials it amazing, lots of bug hazel tied with silas cord. the structure looked great without the thatch on top.
    think they still do the courses if anyone interested.
    was. http://www.yurtsandroundhouses.co.uk and they build really nice yurts better than we had seen in England. think they were http://www.goyurting.com for those but they hired them too and one was 40ft across!
    must get gathering sticks!

  • Mattidred

    oops typo! awesome. natural shapes formed by time. we did a roundhouse building workshop with similar materials it amazing, lots of big hazel tied with silas cord. the structure looked great even withouth the thatch on top.
    think they still do the courses if anyone interested.
    was. http://www.yurtsandroundhouses.co.uk and they build really nice yurts better than we had seen in England. think they were http://www.goyurting.com for those but they hired them too and one was 40ft accross!
    must get gathering sticks!

  • Oliver

    Join us at http://facebook.com/naturalhomes where there is a lot more about this type of natural building including a profile on Simone Dale and his new home at Lammas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Join us at http://facebook.com/naturalhomes where there is a lot more about this type of natural building including a profile on Simone Dale and his new home at Lammas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

     Join us at http://facebook.com/naturalhomes where there is a lot more about this type of natural building including a profile on Simone Dale and his new home at Lammas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Join us at http://facebook.com/naturalhomes where there is a lot more about this type of natural building including a profile on Simone Dale and his new home at Lammas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Join us at http://facebook.com/naturalhomes where there is a lot more about this type of natural building including a profile on Simone Dale and his new home at Lammas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Much much more here… Join us at http://facebook.com/naturalhomes where there is a lot more about this type of natural building including a profile on Simone Dale and his new home at Lammas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

     Veneson, join us at http://facebook.com/naturalhomes where there is a lot more about this type of natural building including a profile on Simone Dale and his new home at Lammas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

     Lots of stories here Susan… http://facebook.com/naturalhomes

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Erin, you’re going to have to visit me here then http://facebook.com/naturalhomes

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Colin… come and visit us here http://facebook.com/naturalhomes 

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Quite agree G. Which is why I do this: http://facebook.com/naturalhomescome and see….

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Ha… more hobbits here: http://facebook.com/naturalhomes

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    Take a look at the reciprocal roof, including Simon’s http://naturalhomes.org/fbr.reciprocalroofs.htm

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

     He has a family, you can see it here: http://naturalhomes.org/fbr.profile.simondale

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    All the knowledge you need is here: https://www.facebook.com/naturalhomes Join us

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann

    So much more and so poetic here: https://www.facebook.com/naturalhomes

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.swann Oliver Swann
  • FreeLady

    It really is very simple to own yourself…Either continue living under the government as you know it as a slave or live free above the government  and uner God at: http://dev.republicoftheunitedstates.org/ 

  • Psaul

    Talk about down to earth reallity

  • Viltalakim

    wow,
    A fairtytale house. I would love to live in such a house!! super!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PJWP7KZU5O4FZBDTXRY2XFG2DQ Reville Saw

    Great Work People!
    Seems a lot of commenters here are more concerned about Permits than the forced slavery it takes to get started to buy into the market system. 
    So what if a house is unsaleable. Houses are for living in.
    I think too many people are sucked into the system that sees homes as investmnet collateral first , then a place to live. Its pathological!

     Composting toilets work great.

    I have friends who’ve also built their own homes very cheaply. Using more conventional materials and recycled bits and on site timbers for about AUD $2500 in todays money.

    i would happilly raise kids in this environment. And when they are pre-teens in a few years they can help mum n dad build a replacemnet home and get life experience in the process

  • http://www.facebook.com/ivanpope Ivan Pope

    No earthquakes in Wales? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8086821.stm

  • LUC

    We get snow here ..I wonder if this would work here ?

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  • http://www.destinationliving.com.au Lindon35

    That look so cool, it is certainly what I would call a custom home, although I don’t think the council would approve permits here In Australia not unless you wanted your custom home in the middle of nowhere. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Sharma/5002474 Jason Sharma

    The fact they the entire house appears to be made
    out of fallen timber is something that I can see as a cause for
    concern. If something happens so that wood weakens, the entire structure
    is going to cave in. Although wood has fairly good tensile strength, it
    performs rather badly under compression and bending stress, and is
    prone to deformation, and it can weaken ever time. I suggest at least
    having a central pillar of concrete. That house looks like a very
    dangerous place to put children in.

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  • Natural Villages

    We have various earth house projects for charitable purposes.

    Help us construct a sustainable future. This means restoring
    environments and cultures through low impact, low cost and totally
    natural sustainable community developments.

    Support our cause.

    http://www.natural-villages.org/

  • Shannon

    That’s really interesting thinking on your part since there are thousands of wattle and daub structures that have been standing for hundreds of years. I doubt very much that they have layers and layers of moisture protection. Similar inadequate wood joint construction though……

  • Debra Archibald

    I want one!

  • Mbhuggins

    creative,resourceful, just plain cool.

  • Mj

    Judge not. Not everyone has options, family or wealth.

  • Lynnewalker

    How does one find land like this for sale? It sounds great!

  • Crina

    What the hydroisolation was made from, and how? And how long is the life of such a house, meaning how often you need to repair something arround. Anyway, great job ;) I’m on my way of building one.

  • JacLynn Dabbs

    This is great! I’d love to build a home like this, perhaps on a piece of property in the woods, where we can just get away from it all!

  • Pangolin

    Use black locust for the posts and you’re termite safe for about 50 years. Very few other wood species will last. I would be very concerned about water flows down the hill also. Here in California that gets you buried under a mudslide. 

    Nonetheless it’s very pretty and some, well-considered, modification of the basic plan gets you a shelter minus a sink, toilet, bath or shower. 

  • Jim

    NO EARHQUAKES IN WALES?? rEAD THE PAPERS, BOYO!
    Dr Roger Musson, an expert from the British Geological Survey,
    revealed an earthquake measuring in the region of five on the Richter
    scale could strike and cause significant damage to towns and cities.

    His warning comes after Cardigan Bay suffered a 1.7 magnitude quake
    and Abergavenny, Aberdare and Bangor all witnessed slight tremors of
    1.6, 1.3 and 1.1 magnitudes respectively since August 22.

    He said: “On average Wales gets a magnitude three earthquake every
    three years and normally a magnitude four every 30 years. But [Wales] is
    also a bit unusual in some respects as it tends to get a four to five
    magnitude more frequently than one would expect.

    Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/09/21/wales-due-for-strong-shock-says-earthquake-expert-91466-27307376/#ixzz1g91uiAWR

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  • Froto

    LOL!!! it looks like a hobbit hole!!! i luv it!!!! soooo awsome

  • MARY

    We bought an earth ho me that wasnt finished about 10 years ago. All was well and good it does fine with saving us on the elect. and and we heat with wood. But it is always humid in here and there is always the mold issue i have to keep on that all the time. I cant grow any plants and I love my plants. There is the spider thing being in the ground. You see there are some things that you also need to look at. We have gotten older my lungs are bad, is it due to all the mold or age? I dont know. We are moving. I do have to say I did love it while we were here. We did have broncitis alot. I wouldnt trade the last few years, but now I think I would like to live in one of those “TINY HOMES” I have seen them made out of somewhere in TX. That may be what we need. We all need to do our part and I want to I just need to find what that will be in our housing needs. We all dont need to live in that big house on the hill with the 5 bed rooms. For my husband and myself we could do with a TINY HOME. Thank You for listening and Im off to findout about them. Wish me luck we close on the earth home I hope the 9th.

  • http://www.glennrileymeyers.comorhttp://www.ourgreenstreetsblog.com Glenn Meyers

    Thanks for your letter and best fortune to you and your husband.

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  • Enka

    hi Mary,
    let me give you a clue. take from one who knows first-hand, ITS THE MOLD!
    any little bit of mold in a house will make you sick because you are breathing in small particles of toxins. some are worse than others but all mold is bad!
    get out. move to a dry climate. eat organic food. try Chinese medicine quit eating cheese and other yeast/bacteria inducing foods and de-tox your body–you’ll never have bronchitis again. Forgive my bluntness, but I’m telling you for your own good.

  • Heather

    Revile Saw: The reason you see a LOT about permits is because in the USA, if a house was not constructed based on proper permits, the local (usually city or county) government evicts you from your own home, labels it condemned and takes a bulldozer to it. You don’t get your home back even if it meets code if you didn’t have the right permits in the first place. It’s not about being able to resell it. It’s about being able to live in it after you did all that work.

  • Melissa Kelly

    i would love to build something like this-i currently live with my parents, with my three boys, but we do have plenty of land and space for a home like this! i live in SE pennsylvania so we do get all of the seasons and extreme points of all…how would you recommend proper ventilation? my father is a carpenter, but i was looking into other builders that i could get help with…any help or ideas is greatly appreciated!

  • Jason

    I wish I could build a house like that in America, the problem being some idiot will drive by and feel the need to call the city or county and have inspectors come out and claim the house as unlivable b/c it doesn’t meet building codes. Mostly I would love to build my own house and not have to pay for it for the rest of my life. I’m getting rather sick of government telling me how to live my life, imagine people living in houses like this all over? Seriously the way we could all get back to understanding how we interact with the planet around us.

  • Brooke

    This is so interesting! thank you for putting it up!

  • http://www.Etsy.com/shops/ladySpiritJewelry Jadelady

    Erika, you are right on the mark with that suggestion. I have chronic lung problems from the house we bought that had mold. I now have a full blown mold allergy/sensitivity that extends to foods e don’t usually think about, but are fermented…tea, yogurt, soy sauce, terriyaki, all cheese, sour cream, cider, and so on, including pickles and vinegar. I now eat no bread because of the yeast.

  • http://greenbuildingelements.com Tina Brock

    Eminent domain can mow your house down.

  • http://greenbuildingelements.com Tina Brock

    For the good of the community, the government in Georgia would come in and make it a public bomb shelter.

  • Shasta

    Was wondering what the square footage. On one pod is before I dig any further into building one for my family.

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  • Bob Swaisgood

    I have a farm with an old barn foundation built into a hill, the barn is gone, but much of the stone foundation and the dug out bottom is present.Would a low impact home fit nicely in this type of space? Looking at the other sites and pictures it looks like it might, any feed nack would be appreciated.

  • http://www.recrops.com David Croxton

    Reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. Straw bales make wonderful walls and crops like Miscanthus can be used for lower cost.

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    I’ve been surfing online greater than three hours as of late, but I by no means discovered any attention-

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  • Brad Peceimer-Glasse

    We built a earthsheltered home using a kit from Performance building systems (www/earthshelter.com) and it’s worked great. We live in Grass Valley, California (2000″ elev.) and it was a bit of a chore to get the permits, but once we showed our building department people the pictures on the website, it was easy. The guy who ran our buidling department came out when we did she the shotcrete work and was really impressed with our project. We typically us 10-12% of the propane of our neighbors and we use minimal electricity. The annual savings on our propane is @$2,500 per year. Our costs (with us doing the work) were @$72.00 per square foot (many items were purchased on Ebay) and strength wise, it has a @78,000 pound dozer driving back and forth across the roof spreading dirt. You can see many of the construction photo’s on my facebook page.

  • http://japanchiba.blogspot.jp/ Uwe Paschen

    It does look great and it is a good idea where applicable. The trouble is that it is not engineered to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes.

  • http://chinasweat.blogspot.com China Mike

    I lived in Colorado, and have spent time around Taos, New Mexico. A good number of people in those areas have done these type of homes. What I am wondering (without Googling for an answer) is, with all that rescued wood for the roof and the wall supports, is there some natural way to treat the wood with organics that would prevent termites??? This dwelling is so lovely, but I would think it would just be termite fodder within a very short time.

  • Jasmine Rosado

    Beautiful house I want one!!!

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  • Brad Peceimer-Glasse

    Actually this structure can withstand a direct hit from a Hiroshima sized nuclear blast, so earthquakes fare not a concern…..

  • Peter

    Awesome, great job. Looks beautiful PJ from NZ

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