Frugal Housing Ideas
The love of my life, Bev, and I have a dream and we are currently six months into our four-year plan. In other words, by September of 2015 we plan on living on a self-sustaining educational eco-farm. I have written in detail about this dream and you can read about it at
Several factors led us to chase this dream. We have both always wanted to own a farm and whether we want to admit it or not time is running out on our lives. This falls under the category “now or never” and we choose now to mean four years when Bev’s daughter has graduated from high school and we are free to go our merry way.
We have both always dreamed of having a business that helps children and since neither of us has any faith in the educational system and yet we both believe in quality education we decided to take matters into our own hands.
In addition, we are both country people at heart and would like to live out the remainder of our days living a much simpler life with few of the conveniences of modern living, fending for ourselves and providing for ourselves.
We believe strongly in this path we have chosen and we are diligently working towards achieving our goal. We have been called silly but oh well! We have been called naïve but oh well! We have been called unrealistic but oh well. The people who have called us those things no longer have to be concerned over it because they are out of our lives and you can be safe in assuming they will not be invited to our house-warming party in 2015.
Let’s Get the Ball Rolling
Obviously we have to pay for all of this and we have begun the process of embarking on new roads of opportunity. I finished a novel six months ago; several Kindle books have been published and Bev recently finished the website for my professional writing services company.
Other plans are in the works and we feel good about the direction we are taking so far but there is still oh so much planning to do. Always in the back of our minds is what is the farm going to look like? We have a general idea of what the land and the educational eco-farm will look like but we haven’t decided yet what our actual home will look like and that is the subject of this article.
Since Bev and I are both quite committed to the philosophy that smaller is better we are looking at several alternatives for our future domicile and I thought I would give you a tour through our minds and the options we are looking at.
We were bouncing around the internet one day when we saw a story about tiny houses. Since we both think smaller is better we checked it out and came across a company called Tumbleweed Tiny Homes. You can find them at http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/. They sell homes ranging from 187 sq ft to 376 sq ft and they are adorable. Pictures of a couple of them can be seen to the right.
Does that sound ridiculous to you? The previous house I rented only had 400 sq ft and it was quite livable so I’m pretty sure Bev and I could pull it off. We may even consider building our own since Bev has two sons who are carpenters. We both love the idea of low heating costs and the ease with which we could heat the home using solar panels, or solar panels in combination with a wind turbine or two.
The costs depend, of course, on the amount we are willing to do ourselves. Most likely the total cost would be between $20,000-$35,000 for a 500 sq ft living space with the amenities we envision.
Again an internet search led us to several sites about container housing. Basically this consists of buying a used shipping container, of which there are literally thousands available for under $5,000 and then framing the inside, insulating it and adding the wiring and pipes for water and sewer. As you can see from the pictures on the right they can end up being quite comfortable and attractive.
You can read more about them at http://www.fabprefab.com/fabfiles/containerbayhome.htm.
They are also very easy to combine so that you have more living space and different architectural styles. The possibilities are practically endless depending on how many you use and how you use them to design your living space.
WHY BUILD IF ITS ALREADY THERE?
One option that is quite attractive to us is to buy property that has an existing barn on it and then remodel the barn into a living space. If we could find the perfect property that had a suitable barn and no house I have no doubt that this is the direction we would take. Barns are so large that they offer many options and as long as the foundation is sound the rest of the work involved is well within our capabilities.
COMBINATIONS ARE GOOD
We are also kicking around the idea of combining several of these ideas, possibly having a container home for guests as well as a barn and a mini home. We would love to get our kids involved, making it a family farm for the next generation, and this would give us many more options.
So What Are Our Requirements?
You may find it funny but the one thing both of us want is a wrap-around porch with part of the porch becoming a sunroom. This option would provide me with a writing studio and still leave Bev with workspace. We both love the idea of a loft which is possible with any of our options and large windows and solar panels are also on our desired list. Beyond that we are not really fussy but seriously, isn’t that what a simplified lifestyle is all about? We made the decision quite awhile ago that we did not need a lot of room nor did we want extras. We do not want possessions for the sake of having possessions and the land we live on is much more important to us than the house we live in.
Once we discussed and agreed on what was important the rest of the decisions came quite easily.
Would you consider living in any of the housing options mentioned above?
So That Is Where We Are Headed
We have a common vision and we are working towards that vision. We can clearly see what the property will look like. We can see where the animals will be and the pond; we have no problem envisioning where the crops will be grown and the different working stations that will be a part of the educational eco-farm. As I stated before, all of that is much more important to us than where we will live.
In later articles I will write about the alternative forms of energy that we plan on using, from wind power to water turbines, solar panels and more. The farm will highlight many of these as a learning tool and we will also grow lavender for our business (we already have products for sale using lavender) and other product lines we are considering.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have a partner for life who shares my vision and who wants it every bit as much as I do. I have written about making a difference in this world. Our farm will be our grand achievement in making a difference and leaving a living legacy that we can be proud of and I am completely certain that Bev and I can achieve our goal. Never underestimate the power and ability of a determined group of people; it just so happens that our group consists of Bev and I.
That’s it for now. Until next time, Bev and I are livin’ large and lovin’ life in Olympia, Washington.
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)