…I wanted to share with you and your readers some photos of the hand-built house I recently finished. (Prior to this I had only built some crummy plywood furniture and a couple of sheds.) As with so many of us who read your blog, the design of this house was definitely inspired by Shelter books. When making design decisions I often looked in Builders of the Pacific Coast and asked myself which choice would result in something that felt like it could be in your book – I love the feel of those homes.
A few things that are unique about my house:
– It’s solar-powered
– The vertical redwood on the outside (and interior wainscoting) is from a really lucky find: I was able to buy a few hundred square feet of redwood T+G from a friend’s landlord that had been sitting unused in a barn in Fort Bragg for 30 years!
– The tiny wood stove is called “The Hobbit” and it’s from England and it’s awesome.
– The house is insulated with discarded sheep’s wool.
– I’m 6’6″ and the house is big enough for me! (I can stand under the loft and sit up tall in the loft)
For those that are curious, the whole thing took me about 10 months. I did most of the building myself – but early on I decided that while my pride wanted to be able to say “I did it all myself”, that was actually a recipe for loneliness. So I begged and traded for as much help as possible, and was blessed to know incredibly skilled people who sped up my learning curve immensely. In order to feel any degree of confidence that my house wouldn’t fall apart, my contractor friend’s advice made all the difference. Tony sacrificed his back-health to get the four walls up, and freely offered consultations on everything from solar to framing to, well, everything. I would have imploded or gotten totally stuck on the electric and the plumbing, without help from Jim and Michael. Bruce and Duncan shared tons of amazing cabinetry and furniture-making wisdom, as well as the use of some pretty deluxe tools. And four amazing angels shared with me their beautiful property on which to build my house, and gave me a room to stay in until my house was liveable.
Okay – thanks for your books and your blog – I really appreciate all the design inspiration as well as getting to know you and hear your stories. I especially like the little snippets of beautiful moments you feel and encounter on your local beach and forest walks.
– Colin (Carpenter)