Off the Grid (110)

Roundhouse Living in Wales

While not included in the print edition of Small Homes, this spread will be included in the ebook edition, and links to a very readable PDF.

Hi folks. I live in West Wales, UK, with my partner Faith in a roundhouse I designed and we built in 1997. It is about 85m2, (850 sq. ft.) in size. It cost £3,000 ($4,500) to make initially, and we have spent another £1000 or so on it in the 18 years we have been living here.

It is based on the type of roundwood frame and turf-roofed houses used by Celtic, Mandan, Miwok, and Pomo peoples, plus some modern things thrown in, like windscreen and double-glazed windows, wood stove, running water (hot and cold), solar PVs on the roof, and a wooden plank floor. We are off grid.

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Nomadic Photographer Lives, Works & Travels in Teardrop Trailer

So many of us perform the duties and live the lives that’s expected of us: kids that conform to the rules at home and school, or the responsible parent that works hard at a boring day job to provide for their kids. But there’s probably also many of us that harbour fantastical inklings of dropping everything to travel and to pursue our true passions. Yet, it’s likely that many of us won’t make the plunge, probably because we fear change and the prospect of the unknown.

But change — and uncertainty — can be good. For American freelance photographer Mandy Lea, change came in the guise of a teardrop trailer that she calls her home — a mobile place of belonging that she feels connected to as she travels the country, snapping incredible images of nature. For the last two years, she’s been a full-time solo “teardropper”, visiting some of the most majestic spots one could imagine.

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Couple Travels with Off-Grid School Bus



The growth of the tiny house movement in recent years has reignited interest in the idea of living a simpler lifestyle. It has also revived enthusiasm for small spaces of all kinds — a soothing antidote to the wretched excess of the McMansion era. Beyond building lovely tiny houses, some are also renovating school buses into stylish homes on wheels. It’s hardly a new thing, but one major advantage that school bus-based tiny homes have over “conventional” tiny homes is that they are much more mobile — and also much cheaper than a high-end tiny house.

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Living Off the Grid in Paradise



Warrick Mitchell lives deep in one of the world’s most remote locations: Fiordland, New Zealand. His home in the country’s oldest national park is nestled in a vast wildness accessible only by boat or airplane, a four day’s walk from the nearest road. Life in isolation can be hard, but surrounded by breathtaking, pristine natural beauty, plentiful wildlife and a small but tight-knit community that is always willing to lend a hand, Mitchell would have it no other way.

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Mike Basich's New Snowchaser

I met Mike Basich about 6 or 7 years ago when we were just starting to make Tiny Homes, I was looking for a snowboard which utilized local wood and recycled plastics, I found a company called Smokin’ Snowboards and they had a pro model for Mike Basich. I googled his name and found a blog with photos of an amazing home built off the grid in the Sierras and soon contacted him.

He became our featured builder in Tiny Homes and a friend. He is a master builder, welder, mason, photographer, legend among the snowboard community, visionary, and an all-around amazing guy.

He has purchased a new truck and is building an amazing home on wheels which has pop-out sides. Mike is featured in our next book Small Homes: The Right Size, which is due out in April 2017.


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Jan's Cabin

“As I was finishing it, nailing the last shake on the roof, a surveyor came along.” Bad news: The building was completely on his neighbors’ land. What else to do but move it? He jacked up the building, slid four logs underneath, put axle grease on them, and with a come-along, a 5-wheel block and tackle, and 1″ steel cable, skidded the building up onto the logs, onto four other logs and then onto the repositioned original logs, a distance of 70 feet onto his own property.

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Old Ambulance Converted into Home on Wheels



If you’ve ever dreamt of living the van life and traveling the world, then this is a project that you need to see. Michal and Hana (originally from the Czech Republic) arrived in New Zealand with one year to travel the country. In order to make their journey comfortable, they set about converting an old Ford Transit ambulance into a stunning home on wheels.

Outside, the camper van is certainly inconspicuous and can easily be used for stealth camping when the couple wish to sleep in more urban areas. The van is completely self-contained and certified, which means that it has the ability to legally park in a wide variety of wilderness areas throughout New Zealand.

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Off-Grid Scandinavian-Inspired Tiny Home

nesthouse-by-jonathan-avery-scotland

Vivid colors and a light-filled interior beckon tiny house aficionados to NestHouse, designed by Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland. Avery’s goal was to create a super-sustainable, super-efficient tiny home, and he succeeded with the gorgeous NestHouse. Blending retro and Scandinavian aesthetics, the tiny home boasts an off-grid option, creative storage, and even a wee bathtub.

Like many tiny home designs, NestHouse takes every opportunity to maximize space, but frequently does so in creative, unique ways. For example, the sleeping-loft ladder twists around a woodstove, saving space, and pull-out storage beneath the winding staircase ensures dwellers can make the most of the tiny house…

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