Hybrid Natural Home in Colorado Highlands built by Brett LeCompte

My home, which I built in 
2003–04, is a hybrid design. 
The north, east, and west wall are straw bale, while the south wall is adobe and glass. The upper story is framed with 2˝ × 8˝ rough-sawn local Ponderosa Pine, furred out to about 9½˝ to accommodate a heavy coat of cellulose insulation, which also fills the roof cavity. Downstairs, there are earthen plasters inside and outside, while upstairs is sheathed in local, rough-sawn pine board and batten.

Drywall walls upstairs are finished in earthen plasters, which ties the two levels together. A central woodstove heats the home, which is off the grid. I tried to use materials mostly from my county in southwest Colorado. Ceilings are tongue-and-groove aspen sawn in a mill six miles away. The frame is local Ponderosa pine, including a third of them milled from my property. I did my own bathroom and kitchen ­cabinetry. Downstairs floors are earthen (two thirds) and tile (one third). There are lots of porches for protection of my earthen walls during a Colorado winter. One unique feature is a 10-inch lizard (painted blue) that runs up the staircase on an interior adobe wall. I named her Noelle when I finished shaping her one Christmas afternoon. I share the house with my wife Shaine, kids Rosie and Fielder, and dog Ella…

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The Flying Tortoise

“The Flying Tortoise is a 1977 KD Bedford bus built in New Zealand by Hawke Coach Builders.  Originally it was used in forestry areas to carry work gangs to remote bush sites, built high off the ground and with a short wheelbase for tight turning, there’s hardly a hill it can’t climb, and with its off-road tires, it’s almost a ‘Go Anywhere Vehicle.’”

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Barn in Oregon Framed with 1″ Lumber

I’ve been going through old photos lately. I shot photos of this beautiful barn in 2014. I posted it back then, but I think it’s worth looking at it again, in more detail. Here’s what I wrote:

There are buildings that have — for lack of a better word — a sweetness to them. Like this barn, like a small abandoned cottage in an English field I once found, slowly disintegrating back into the soil from which all its materials came. Inside, I could feel the lives that had been lived there. Or the buildings of master carpenter Lloyd House. It happens most frequently in barns, where practicality and experience create form with function. Architecture without architects.

The unique feature here is that the roof’s curve is achieved by building the rafters out of 1″ material. 1 × 12s laminated together (I believe 4 of them) to achieve the simplest of laminated trusses. The barn is 24′ wide, 32′ long, 26′ to the ridge. Thanks to Mackenzie Strawn for measuring it; he also wrote: “I have a carpentry manual from the 1930’s with a short section on the Gothic arch barns, they suggest making the roof radius ¾ of the width.”

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Ziggy and April's Timber Frame and Straw Bale Home in Missouri

…After ten days of the Straw Bale Workshop (and yet more punishing heat), we built the walls of our new home, installed all the windows and doors, and began the natural clay and lime plaster finishes on the walls.

Amazingly, we were able to live in the house by winter of that same year. Granted the house was not complete, but we had a dry, warm place to rest in before the next year’s work started. A year or so later the house was completed.

Building our straw bale house challenged us in many unexpected ways. Just as we had taken a bare piece of ground and utterly transformed it, the straw bale house itself changed us in ways we could never imagine…

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Kahn Family Kitchen

My book Driftwood Shacks is just about to go to the printers in Hong Kong, and now I’m starting to assemble the next one: Handmade: The Half-Acre Homestead, which covers 50+ years of building, gardening, cooking, foraging, fixing, and other aspects of creating our own shelter and food. In coming months, I’ll put up preview photos from this book.

This is our kitchen. The stainless steel sink was $100 at a salvage lumberyard. A key feature is that the sideboards drain into the sink. Most kitchen sinks have a rim around the edge, and the sideboards do not drain into the sink.

The dish rack at the right was designed and built by Lew Lewandowski about 20 years ago; after the plates and saucers and glasses are washed and rinsed, they are put in the rack to dry — and they stay there.

@lloyd.kahn

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Lodge in Allegany Mountains in New York

Log home built by Bill Castle near Belmont in the Allegany Mountains, New York. Bill, a good friend, who unfortunately left this earth a few years back, was a phenomenal builder. He created a resort he called Pollywog Hollér and was one of the three featured builders in our book Homework.

The resort is still going strong. Here’s what it says on their website:

“Named for the serenade of frogs that fills the evening air, Pollywogg Holler is a great camp-style eco-resort in New York’s Southern Tier. The genius of nature and man are showcased in a setting of spectacular beauty, Adirondack-style craftsmanship, solar electricity, and gravity fed spring water. Explore available lodging and book your stay now.”

www.pollywoggholler.com

Post from www.lloydkahn.com

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Off-Grid Homestead in Missouri



Doug and Stacy are living the pioneer lifestyle in the 21st century. After quitting their high-stress city lives they moved onto a property in rural Missouri where they could be debt free and construct a beautiful little pioneer style homestead. Today, they raise animals, grow most of their own food and live simply on the land.

The homestead is centered around a beautiful 600 sq. ft. (55 m2) log cabin which was built by Doug. When he began this massive DIY project he had absolutely no building experience but figured that if the pioneers could do it then so could he! Since then, he has been adding additional out-buildings to their off-the-grid homestead including an outdoor kitchen, and his new project (still under construction) which is a root cellar.

Doug and Stacy’s cabin is simply beautiful with gorgeous wood and rustic features everywhere you look. Here, the couple live with no electricity and no refrigerator. Rainwater is collected and is gravity fed to the cabin. Stepping inside this tiny house feels almost as though you have travelled back in time. Still, it’s warm and cozy and provides this couple with a beautiful place to call home.

Read More …

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Paul and Melissa’s Homemade Vardo

For maximum space versatility, the shelves and seats can be folded up and fastened out-of-the-way, and the massive drawers and cupboards under the bed provide ample storage. We have no running water or electricity, but plenty of comfort and convenience with the propane cooktop, large bay window, and skylight that lets us see the stars at night.

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