Green Home/Studio Space

So, I live and work in a ‘green’, semi sustainable workshop space that was a shell of a buliding in which I built water systems, heat, and toliet/shower…..

The place is a ‘workshop’ basically, a commercial space that I use for my art/music studio and to live in. The place is in rural Colorado, no address (not on the city’s map), it was a shell building, a large garage basically…the house/studio is heated with a west bay door that opens to a homeade acrylic glass window that in the morning let’s the east sun in for heat, there is also 3 large south facing windows for all day passive solar heat, the ‘running water’ is all carried in (usage is around 5 gallons per day or less) and the sink is made from a water container with a spigot attached (properly) with hose clamps and gasket.

I fill the sink with water as needed but it runs on gravity, the toilet is a composting toilet inspired by the humanure compost toilet system, so I use either peat moss or good pine sawdust for cover material, I also have another toilet just for urine (number 1), the shower is a little less luxurious and is a large plastic basin that I use either a hung solar shower or water jugs with holes drilled in them. I have a small copper quartz heater for at night mostly and a wood stove for heat, the studio is about 1000 sq ft (so not exactly tiny), (but not a large ‘house’ either).

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Joseph’s Gypsy Wagons

Joseph Crowell has been building buses and vans for many years, but was recently inspired to build his first gypsy wagon by Sunny Baba, an activist and spiritualist who has built dozens of gypsy wagons.

Cargotecture by HyBrid Architecture

Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park, Calif. was held at the beginning of June, and one of the stars of the show was the cargotecture c-series Sunset Idea House by HyBrid Architecture. The c-series represents a group of pre-designed, factory built units made from recycled cargo containers that can be combined or customized as desired by the owner.

Hybrid coined the term cargotecture to describe any structure built partially or entirely from recycled cargo containers. The c-series consists of five models ranging in price from $29,500 to $189,500. The home featured at the Sunset show was the c192 nomad which costs $59,500.

The prices of the c-series include:

  • Recycled ISO cargo container with new paint
  • Soy based spray foam insulation
  • Aluminum clad wood windows and doors (one 10 feet long opening and one side door)
  • Bamboo finish floor
  • 5/8 inch drywall ceiling and walls
  • Panelized wet room bath with redwood decking.
  • Duravit bath fixtures
  • IKEA cabinets and kitchen fixtures and lighting
  • Summit appliances
  • 30 gallon electric water heater (gas if available on site)
  • Convectair Apero heat
  • Factory plans, State L&I permits and inspections

Green and off-grid options are offered including solar panels, composting toilets and “green machine” sewage treatment and roofwater harvesting.

All the models are insulated about 15 percent above IBC and UBC building codes in the floors, walls and roofs. The building can be placed in cold climates as well as moderate to hot climates. The recycled plastic and soy sprayed-in insulation creates R24 walls, R44 ceilings, and R32 floors. The roofs can handle 60psf snow loads.

The HyBrid homes are shipped complete. A local contractor will need to be arranged for electrical and sewage hook-ups as well as foundation work. In many jurisdictions, if your project is less than 200sf there is no permitting process required. HyBrid has completed residential and commercial cargotecture projects in California, Oregon and Washington and has designed over 20 projects on 5 continents. They will ship their cargotecture homes worldwide.

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Shipping Container Guest House

Poteet Architects in San Antonio, Texas recently constructed this shipping container house for a local client to use as a tiny guest house in her artist community. The plan is to also use it as a summer house, an art house and for entertaining. The owner enjoys the shipping container house for its uncluttered, sunlit appeal and the wonderful blue color.

The shipping container was chosen specifically for its bright color. Shipping containers are a readily available resource for building because they are usually abandoned by shipping companies. The architects mounted the container on recycled telephone poles, and the floor and walls were covered with bamboo. Sliding doors, windows, heating, air conditioning and an 8 foot by 4 foot bathroom with a composting toilet and red sheet metal walls were also added. A garden storage room was also added at the end of the container, which retains its original access doors. A patio with a cantilevered overhang was added to the front of the house and a rooftop garden with a drip system was installed by Madrone Landscape Architecture.

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Creative Houses from Reclaimed Stuff

In this funny and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive. Dan Phillips is a designer and builder in Huntsville, Texas. … Read more

A Reclaimed, Recycled, Passive solar, Tiny house on wheels

Recently I showed you Jenine and Amy’s Open House and also a couple of posts about the construction of Jenine’s home and one on their new modern home. Good News! Jenine and Amy found a buyer for their new home and Jenine is off to New York for a semester of art school and sculpturing.

Jenine let me know about these three great video interviews she had with a website called and I wanted you to see them and share them with your friends. They speak for themselves so spend a few minutes and watch them today.

Jenine Alexander built her own home using reclaimed materials she found at the dump or off craigslist. Total cost: the price of a used trailer and some fasteners.

Her tiny home on wheels was such a success she decided to build a second one, this time for sale, with fellow tradeswoman Amy Hutto.

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Findhorn Whiskey Barrel House

The Findhorn Foundation near Forres in Scotland is a spiritual community, organic farm international center for holistic education. It is known around the globe for its sustainable living, ultra small carbon footprint and its legendary vegetable gardens. It is also known for its eco-village and within that village, several round houses made out of recycled whiskey barrels.

The cluster of whiskey barrel dwellings overlook organic vegetable gardens, dancing wind turbines and the sandy dunes of the North Sea’s Moray Firth. More than 40 houses of ecological design can be found at the Findhorn eco-village including a guest lodge and youth building with turf roofs, straw bale houses and earthships using recycled car tires. Near the entrance to the village is an old tin caravan bearing the Gaelic name Tír Tairngire (in English, “the promised land”).

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Timeless Sculptures House

This tiny house in Carson City, Nev. caught my attention this fall, not only because of the great style, trim and paint job, but also because it was nestled among giant carvings of eagles, Native Americans and other larger-than-life figures.


Roger Cole, a retired local builder and furniture maker, designed and built this tiny house for wood sculptor Matthew Welter. Matthew wanted something functional, a garden shack that he could use as an information booth for his business, Timeless Sculptures. It contains a computer to show photos of his sculptures, banners and brochures.

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Tiny Green Cabins

Inspired by David Thoreau and energized by the opportunity to live a more sustainable and simple life, Jim Wilkins of St. Paul, Minnesota, has designed and built several tiny green cabins available for sale. Each of these cabins have been developed to be multi-purpose, eco-friendly, transportable and stylish. Tiny Green … Read more