We built a cordwood house with our own hands on our 16 acre off-grid property! This is how we got here, how we built it, and our home specifications.
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 a house considering this is the only one we’ve ever built.
That said, we’ve had lots of practice on our other houses over the years. We also seek out real experts who can advise us every step of the way.
Pole frame on concrete piers
Insulated concrete slab within the concrete piers
3 bed/2 bath
Approximately 1190 square feet
2 beds and baths on first floor, loft bedroom on second floor
Passive solar design
Off grid solar power (6 panels at 190 watts each, 500 aH battery bank at 24 volts, and a 4000 watt MagnaSine inverter)
Water via cistern (rainwater catchment, water hauling if necessary)
Heating from wood stove and from radiant heat in the concrete slab
Here is an example shot of a cordwood wall during construction:
We have a slab foundation with in-floor radiant heat. The house itself utilizes some passive solar principles. This includes having large windows on the south side, fewer on the east and west, and almost none on the north side.
There are two bedrooms and bathrooms on the main level with a loft (future bedroom, play area, study, etc.) overlooking the vaulted living room.
Our house is OFF THE GRID, meaning we use solar panels to generate our electricity and have a cistern for water. Part of this is a need to be sustainable. Another part of this is how utterly expensive it would be to supply power and water to our property.
Just getting those two utilities to the house would cost well over $20,000, not to mention then having the “privilege” of paying a utility bill forever. No thanks!
There will be a detached garage built separately, but the design of the house reflects several years of determining what design factors we liked in all of our houses through the years. We have a deep desire to have less STUFF and to live SMALLER.
Our home design was created by a designer who specializes in cordwood construction and who has decades of experience in the field. I’m not currently sure if he wants people just throwing his information around, so if you are interested in learning more about our architect, please contact me!
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