Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Exploring Alternative Homes

My favorite home styles are alternative.  Every time I daydream about building a home I think about a Tiny home, a hobbit style house, straw bale, and cob style, and earth ships (rammed earth homes) and rustic cabins.  While building this dream house I think it would be a neat experience to live in either a tipi or a yurt.  They could later be used as a guest house or craft house, canning kitchen etc.   I love the earthy close to nature feel and the sense of light in these homes.  They have a really organic feel that I crave.

I don't think at this stage of our lives it is physically possible to live in a drastically smaller house.  Some days I feel like we need to live in a much bigger house with a bathroom for everybody and plenty of running room!!!  Realistically, it is for very good reasons that I am drawn to small houses.  To me they are cozy and peaceful.  We are a family of four and currently live in a 1500 sq. ft house.  This is smaller than the typical American home but it works well for us.  I like a cozy space.  We have only lived in one home larger than this and the rest  have been smaller.  Admittedly giving up the second bathroom and larger family room was difficult but we managed just fine and I think if the space was organized differently we could live in an even smaller space than this.  As I reduce the extra's we have around our home and need less things, I feel like at some point living in a small house will be possible.   The less possessions we own, the easier it would be to live in any house that we choose!  We are only limited by the stuff we have when it comes to home size.  Building a home with a smaller footprint costs less to build, less for upkeep, and less utility costs.  I would love to live off grid and the system required for a small house and the amount of energy required to run a household would be less than that of a large home.  I don't want all of our money going to our home.  I have done this and it is not worth it.    I don't want to be tied to a mortgage.  I would instead, love to travel and see the wonderful things that are out there in this big beautiful world.  There are so many sites to see, cultures to experience, and life to be lived. Life is very short.  Spending time with my family and friends is more important to me.  Discovering new things and understanding others enriches our lives.  If you have other goals besides a large home, then you can spend your money on other things that enrich your life.  Another great reason to build or buy small.  Realizing financial freedom!

Many times when building alternative housing you must pay cash because an alternative style home is too much of a liability for a  bank.  Some banks will lend but the lending ratio is not the same as a traditional home.  For me, that is ok though, if you are building small you will not need a large amount of money like a large home and you will know when you start that you are building what you own!  How nice to know before you begin construction that your home is already paid for.

Either way, no matter where we live I would like to reduce what we have to necessities with a few creature comforts thrown in.  Some days I feel like we have a house full of creature comforts and a few necessities thrown in.  I do firmly believe your home should be comfortable and relaxing.  For us, our home is our haven and I want it to feel as such.   Owning only essentials and fewer creature comforts would however, leave your options wide open.   Some people feel great comfort in having one of everything.  I find comfort in the less is more approach. 

Below are a few websites and book references that I really enjoy when thinking about the kinds of spaces I would CHOOSE to live in.  We live here because we need to.  When one day we have more options in our selection I daydream about these:  Enjoy :)

Tiny House Talk website about Tiny Houses

Tumbleweed Houses website  (We built a two story playhouse almost exact in size as the tumbleweed houses and at this time don't think a family of four would fit!!! However, an empty nest couple of two might :)

Colorado Yurt Company website

Nomadic Tipi Makers website

Tiny House Blog  blog

Being Somewhere .net website/blog

The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes by Athena and Bill Steen book (LOVE this book, the home I love the most is on page 88)

The Natural House by Daniel D. Chiras book ( lots of practical information for building your own natural home)

1 comment:

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

Your post Amy made me think of a trip we took a few years ago to San Francisco where we stayed in a houseboat community in Sausalito. I had no idea such things existed and we had so much fun watching up and down the piers looking at the amazing variations of houseboats. It added so much to our trip!