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earthship

Planning my Dream House

For the last few years, I’ve thought about building a house from the ground up for my next home. I’m fascinated by homes that are off-the-grid, net positive, earthships, and tiny homes. I continue to strive to be a minimalist, and I’d like to have a low or zero waste lifestyle. A home should be in harmony with its surroundings and not a structure or a lifestyle that simply takes from the planet without giving anything back.

I would love to work with a minimalist architect who could design a space based on my actual needs now, and what I would likely need in the future. The idea of designing house around your lifestyle instead of fits your needs “well enough” intrigues and frightens me. The scary part is letting go of what I’ve been socialized to think a home needs and instead focus on what I need.

Recently, I saw a 13-part series called Building Green that followed the building of a green home from nothing. It inspired me to begin to think about my dream home in concrete terms. So far, I want a house with:

I want to watch the stars while laying in bed.
“meteo (missed focus)” by Kim MyoungSung from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Straw bale construction for the exterior walls covered in lime and earthen plaster and a steel frame – I know it sounds crazy, but it makes sense from a cost perspective, it’s great insulation, and it’s nearly fireproof. (I want a house where you rarely need to turn on the heat or air conditioning.)

Blue jean insulation for the interior walls. It’s made from recycled materials.

Lots of windows for natural light. I’d rather open a window than turn on a light. I suspect the house will need a wrap-around porch to let light in but keep harsh sun out.

Single story. I’m not climbing stairs.

Cement floors with radiant floor heating.

Skylight or windows in the bedroom that let me see the stars when I’m in bed and blackout curtains for when I want total darkness.

Whiteboard paint on the walls at least in my office.

Built-in bike and skateboard racks on the wall or ceiling.

Washer and dryer that are big enough to wash a king-size comforter.

Solar panels on the roof. Cheers to California for making these mandatory on all new homes.

Gray water system that uses the water from the sinks and showers and uses it to water the plants and a water collection system for collecting rain from the roof when it rains.

Compost pile in the backyard.

Doggy door leading to the backyard.

Outdoor shower in the backyard (with a bamboo privacy screen). It will be handy when the dog needs a bath, and it sounds like a wonderful way to start the day.

Edible landscaping. I have a dream of growing my own fruit, vegetables, and herbs in the backyard. If I’m super lucky, I’ll have a neighbor with backyard chickens and I can exchange produce for eggs with them.

In thinking about my dream life in my dream house, I think I might want 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (with showers, not tubs), 1 office (maybe 2), and an open kitchen/dining/living room area.

For now, this is an evolving dream. The short-term goal is to pay off my condo completely and then save up to pay for my dream home in cash and move in debt free.