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You can have my house.

November 11, 2010

You can have my house, if you want the payments. I’d rather build my own.

My friend Ken posted a link to an earth shelter built for less than $5000.  I’d like to do something similar.

I know a guy who’d rather be crazy and homeless than normal and employed. True, he has a few screws loose, but in one state of lucidity he was heard to say, “I did what they told me. I got a job, a house, and a girlfriend. Then one day I realized how much I hated my job, which I was only doing to pay for the house I hated living in. So I quit, and left.”

It’s not that I hate living in a house. I like to be as comfortable as the next guy. But there are a few things I’d like to change. 1) I want the satisfaction of designing and building my own home. 2) It should be made out of more natural materials and be built energy efficiently. 3) I’d like to bring the outside in.

Let me explain number 3. First, picture the inside of a typical new house. Flat painted walls. Fiberboard trim. Carpets, linoleum, Formica. Bright incandescent lights and window blinds. It’s about as unnatural as a  cave can get. Of course there are ways to spruce it up – plants, tile, hardwoods, skylights – but there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a box made of highly processed materials. No connection to nature.

Now imagine a floor of stone tile (warm, because there’s radiant heating), stucco walls interspersed with rough-cut timber posts, an open beam ceiling, and huge south facing windows letting in so much heat you don’t have to light the fire but three times a year. Imagine tomatoes growing all winter in the windowsill.

I would welcome the limits of an alternative energy system. From where I’m sitting I can count 9 light bulbs burning, and I’m the only person awake! Why do we use so much power? Because we can. Why do I stay up so late at night? Because I can. Getting on the rhythm of solar power is also aligning yourself closer to the cycle of nature.

Let me know if you need a place to live; my landlord will be selling this box in the spring. It’s quite nice, really. There’s a way to keep things hot and a way to keep things cold. Right under the bathroom is another one. Most of the yard is concrete: low maintenance. And nature is just two blocks away…

It might cost you an arm and a leg, but that won’t become apparent for another five or ten years worth of mortgage payments.


From → Rants

One Comment
  1. Dan permalink

    Bo, you would have loved our house that we had here in Eugene for a few years (before we sold it to move back to Maui only to be denied by the economic crash). Straw bale walls with hand troweled plaster interior (with some really cool built in shelves and display nooks), solar heated radiant concrete floors (with artsy tile inlays all over the place), wide open vaulted ceiling in the living room with large timber beams connected with handcrafted wrought iron details, large south facing windows and a variety of reused materials. It was a great place. Remind me to show you some photos sometime. I wish we never sold it.

    Now we rent a little box built of processed materials with low ceilings and carpet (yuck). But it’s all good because it’s still my home when my family is all in it with me. It could be anything really as long as I have them. I think you know what I mean. Shoots brah, love this blog. Aloha!

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