February 10, 2009

Oh how I would love to build my own house…

I’m sure it’s a dream many of us have but I’ve been collecting books and ideas for years.  I’m still reconciling the eco side of things but the  financial resources and a location need to be taken care of first anyways.  In my minds eye the land is a partly forested infill lot in a community that feels right.

Having lived in a few smaller towns and now suburbia, I know how important being able to walk to the store, the post office and work are to me.  I also like trees but want enough sun to grow a garden and not need to use lights if I’m inside on a sunny day.  When we were on the coast a few trips back we spied what we call the “yam”.  It had everything going for it expect the proximity to town but it was encouraging to see that there are others that are thinking along the same lines as us.  There’s still more room than we would need but I like that the main living spaces are upstairs and filled with windows and all sorts of fun angles from the roof line.  Now if I’d only taken my own photos of the inside so I could share!


I also can’t help but confess that I really like Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed Houses, especially little ones that go on wheels, like the weebee.  Kind of like a VW van but a little more permanent.  I don’t think we’re likely to go quite that small anytime soon but something like the B-53 just might work.  I’ve played with this plan a bunch of times, trying to find a way to make the kitchen booth more open so the space would work for sewing as well but haven’t quite figured it out yet.  I like that Jay’s plans aren’t filled with unused space and the living area in this house is pretty close to what we make regular use of in our current house – even the 2 floors part.

My main reservations (apart from being in a place to build a house we won’t have to leave) are architectural features or lack thereof.  When (if?) we build I would want to make sure that the house was designed to allow natural light to infiltrate in all the right places and that it felt like home.  I’ve picked up some great inspiration from the designs by Ross Chapin Architects but of course they would be much more complicated to design and construct.  One of my favourite snapshots is this:

That small window on the left and the skylight bring light, but not so much that the room is constantly flooded in light.  A wood stove is a must and I like that the bookshelves (also very important) create part of the frame for the room so the ceiling doesn’t feel strangely high.

Anyways, I’m just rambling now… I’m so glad my brain is working again after 4 days of the flu…



  1. I’ve seen that small trailer house on a show years back. All the options you link to are beautiful examples of small living. You would have loved the “Kiwi Cottage” for sale here in Nanaimo recently. Affordable, stunning inside and out and only one bedroom. It was quite small. Cam and I considered the possibility of putting an upstairs (two more bedrooms) in it. It would have ended up like that gorgeous gorgeous yellow house you link to.

    Anyway, I too dream of building our own house. If we transfer, we’ll be one step closer to that dream!

  2. Nice. Yes, yes…I have a computer again.

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