Back to the basics

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful couple that lives off the grid on their small farm. Yep, you read that right…. no electric pole or even a well for backup. They rely solely on solar panels with battery storage for power and rain water storage tanks for water. They have completed the first level of their earth home and are currently working on the second level. They have designed and installed all of the solar power/water system and constructed their home all by themselves.

I can’t help but admire that pioneering spirit. It is totally inspiring to toss aside any preconceived notions about what a house has to be and how a house should operate. This couple is such a refreshing reminder that there is nothing written anywhere, that a home has to be a four bedroom, three bath, two car garage, suburbia cookie cutter nightmare of a home. Careful of the more is more trap….It will suck you in.


Because I was a DYI/design show junkie (prior to killing the cable in our house), I can see how easy it is to start to expect that the typical homeowner somehow deserves the designer show house. What does a typical middle class family really need in a home? Could they survive without a media room, glass tile backsplash, granite countertops, lofted great room, steam shower or whatever else is trending now? Isn’t the only thing we can ask and strive for is shelter, food and water? Any more than that is prideful, sinful and frivolous.


We strive to live as simply as we can and utilize the farm and its bounty for as much of our food source as possible. But I need to say right now before I go any further; I am not a composting toilet girl. In our new home, there will be washing machine, flushing toilet, a plentiful supply of hot water and a gas range in my kitchen. As romantic as a wood burning cook stove sounds, I am not going to get up at four am to make a fire so that I can scarf down some oatmeal on the way out the door, or throw a fried egg Mae Mae’s way. We are going to need some amenities over here.

Planning our dream home build is an exciting adventure but damn let’s be honest, I am exhausted and we have even started yet. For us, this home will be a commitment of a lifetime. Literally…… We aren’t going anywhere. We won’t be selling ever. Resale value is a term that has no meaning here. We anticipate the next generation of us…to take over the house one day so we need to build it once and build it right. FUNCTIONALITY and LONGEVITIY are the keys to this home. I don’t want to regret a building decision because I chose to go with something trendy that promptly went out of style the second we installed it and that never really functioned for our family anyway.

So when I am having commitment issues with floor plans and siding styles, square footage envy, and feeling pressured by trends; I need to remember we are on a mission to plan a simple, functional, long term housing solution that will last multiple generations and stand the style test of time.

That is one hell of a tall order. We must take it one step at a time……..


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