by Gabriella Morrison
Grab your favorite mug, fill it with delicious tea or coffee and enjoy this interview with Andrew Morrison (from StrawBale.com) about “Living SMALL In A big World”. Andrew covers everything from how he converted his closet into a master bedroom, to living in a 125 sqft pop up tent trailer in Baja with his 12 year old daughter and wife, to designing your home to reflect your personal connection and love with nature, to living small with a teenager, to the role of straw bale construction in the tiny house movement, and how to create your own off-grid forever home with your own two hands.
Andrew is set to launch his new book, “A Modern Look at Straw Bale Construction” on November 23, 2012. If you’d like a free chapter from his book, please click here. You’ll also have the chance to enter your name to be one of the 25 people that receives the book for free.
by Joe Zummach
Here are some pictures of my system. First, of course, are the Solar panels which consist of two 50 watt panels wired in parallel and then connected by way of charge controller to two deep cycle golf cart batteries. They use a 6 volt wired-in series to make the 12 volts that my system than runs on.
I got the panels used for fifty bucks each. The batteries cost $300, but will last at least ten years with regular maintenance. The charge controller was under a hundred dollars. The fuse box is from an auto parts store and cost $20. The fixtures are 12V halogen lights. I also have LED lights for conservation periods, such as cloudy days in winter. This, plus a small inverter for recharging my computer and small appliances, complete the system.
Bellomo Architects, in Palo Alto, wanted to design an IKEA-like house, only easier to put together. Just like the Swedish company’s famous furniture, this 150 square foot modular structure can be flat-packed and delivered in a box that is only 4x10x3 feet in size. When complete, it only weighs 3,000 lbs. and can be used as shelter after natural disasters, as a backyard studio or office, or as a tiny house.
The House Arc is made of 90 percent recyclable lightweight steel tubes and is designed to be totally off-grid. It has a solar roof and large windows to capture natural light and create a cross-breeze through its curvy shape. The shading trellis limits heat infiltration and the unit is is raised up to permit air flow beneath the framework. The entire unit has been constructed to withstand tropical winds and weather. Several units housing differing rooms can be placed together to create a larger structure. Continue Reading »
A few years ago we purchased some vacant land in northern New Mexico. We chose that area based on a number of factors. Some of those included wide-open space, abundant sunshine, affordability and artistic history (Georgia O’Keeffe lived down the road a bit). Our long term goal is to retire there and pursue a simple artistic life. One of the main reasons we chose that piece of property is its remoteness to other neighbors and the lack of congestion that comes from urban living. Urban living has a lot of advantages like electricity, water, and corner coffee shops. We plan to work around some of these conveniences using “off-grid” practices. I have enjoyed camping since I was toddler. The slower pace of life in an environment more closely linked with nature has always been a draw. Our cabin provides all of this with far more elbow room than a tent. Add in windows, a wood stove and a comfy bed and what could be better?
Site Location and Solar Power
Our parcel of land is a bit under 42 acres and nearly all the land around us is uninhabited grazing land. In fact, the people we bought our land from still graze horses and cattle on their square mile that surrounds us. I have spent enjoyable nights there listening to the baying of cattle and cry of a lonely coyote. Our decision to go “off-grid” was simple: the nearest utility pole to our cabin is nearly a mile away. We could have paid thousands of dollars to run power poles and lines to “connect” but then those “lines” would disturb our pristine views and require a monthly payment. For a fraction of that cost, we simply installed a basic PV (Photovoltaic) system. Our cabin is small at a bit under 200 sq. feet and has modest energy needs. Continue Reading »
by Glen Grassi
I just finished designing and building my first micro-home. I am a theatrical designer who has taken a detour this year to build something sustainable. It is made almost entirely out of repurposed and recycled materials.
It is 12 ft. X 7 ft. with a 3 ft. tow hitch. The interior is cedar-lined and has a wood burning stove, designer interior, stand-up shower inside the bed, lots of storage, composting toilet hidden in the chair, solar chandelier and gravity water.
It is built simply with simple parts and is easy to care for. It seats 4-6 people inside for dinner.
A wooden rod runs along one edge of the roof for hanging a designer awning. The tires are brand new and it comes with lots of safety features such as carbon monoxide detector, fire alarm, fire extinguisher, LED lights, and a machete which can be very useful outdoors. The 40 Watt portable solar panel, inverter, and lithium ion are battery all included. The door is only 19 inches wide and adds an instant charm along with the curved roof and scalloped flashing. The chimney is triple walled and the stove easily slides out for summer cooking or cleaning.
It is insulated on all 4 walls, ceiling and floor to withstand a blizzard. It is wrapped in Tyvek House Wrap for weatherproofing as well.
The shingles are rated to withstand hurricane winds. Weight- 3,300 lbs. This place is solid! And gorgeous! Ready to move in! $16,500 includes everything.
This off-the-grid cabin in Northeast Oregon, named the Signal Shed, was recently featured in Sunset Magazine, and the couple who spent two years planning and two weeks building the cabin are now offering the plans and prefab models for sale.
Mariah and Ryan Lingard fell in love with the woods and lakes of Joseph, Oregon and purchased some partially burned, partially logged land after seeing an ad in the local paper. The 100×150 foot parcel of land cost them $47,000 and is located smack dab in the middle of hiking, skiing and snowshoe territory. The couple has a full-time home in Portland, but they make the 6-hour trip to the Signal Shed about four times a year.
After two years of planning and extended weekend camping trips to their land, the couple built the 130 square foot cabin over a two week period with friends and family. The materials cost about $10,000 and the cabin features several recycled windows, IKEA cabinets and laminate flooring. They found the barn door hardware and the woodstove on Craigslist. The cabin rests on a floating pier to minimize impact on the land and cedar screens used to lock it up when Mariah and Ryan are not around. The Signal Shed has no running water, no electricity and the couple uses the woodstove for heat and some cooking. Continue Reading »