We’re Mark and Emily!
We’ve been married for 14 years, together for 20, and have a little boy who is the light of our lives. By day, we’re professional musicians and educators. By night, we’re a bunch of composting, gardening, zero-waste, homeschooling, off-grid hippies. We weren’t exactly trying to be this way — it just sort of happened! We evolved into this lifestyle and want to share our know-how with you.
Would you believe it if I said we met in Kindergarten? We went to the same school from Kindergarten through high school and always sort of knew each other, but got to know each other better in our freshmen year of high school marching band. At the end of our freshman year, we started dating. We had NO idea the adventure that was ahead of us!
20 years later we’ve been through one tiny apartment, 2 rental houses, 1 house we owned, and now we have our dream: an off-grid home we built by hand on 16 acres of beautiful trees, fields, and sunshine.
How We Got To Our Homestead
In March 2015, we sold our 3 bed/2 bath mid-century ranch in the suburbs to buy 16+ acres of raw land filled with gorgeous trees, fields, and hills.
The Start of a Dream
Rural living is nothing new to us. We both had fairly rural upbringings and learned to love everything that comes with it. When we went off to college, we both chose the same university for the same two reasons: our degree program was top-notch, and the area surrounding it was absolutely gorgeous.
It was where we started growing as a married couple and further entrenched in us the need to be away from a big city and to live a simple life.
After graduating from college, we found jobs back home but unfortunately didn’t find ourselves living a quiet country life. We rented a cute little blue house…on a busy part of the main road through town next to noisy neighbors and a major interstate highway.
Then we bought a house…in a typical subdivision full of noisy neighbors, reckless drivers, and again just a step away from a busy route and an even bigger interstate highway.
WE WANTED TO GET BACK TO THE COUNTRY AND LIVE A SIMPLER LIFE.
Taking a Leap of Faith
So after years and years of research and planning, we took a huge risk and bet everything on our ability to build a house with our own hands on our own land. We won’t pretend to know everything about building houses considering this is the only one we’ve ever built.
That said, we’ve had lots of practice in our other houses over the years. We also made sure to seek out advice from real experts in every part of the build. Doing so helped us build a house that, according to our building inspector and professional contacts, far exceeds building code standards.
We built a cordwood home with our own hands. Learn more about the project here.
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