Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Taking Arms Against Gravity

There's more than one reason I reacted strongly to the Hummer of a House guest essay on Via Negativa. For almost a hundred years, our house and its successive human occupants have prevailed in the twin battles against entropy and gravity. We always understood that gravity and entropy would eventually win out, but recent developments have left us suspecting that this was not such a distant reality as we had assumed.

Our thoughts have turned from "repair and remodel" to "build from scratch." Because the Internet hosts a wealth of "how-to" information on subjects ranging from Linux to knitting, I thought I'd check out "do-it-yourself" resources on home building. Most of what I found was advertising. Still, there are always a few interesting links.

  • Building a Home in Hundreds of Not So Easy Steps. (Winner of my "Truth in Titling A Web Site" Award). This is the story of a very small, very interesting house designed and built by the owner.
  • Make Your Own House. There's a little bit of information about many different things, from why it makes financial sense to build your own modest house, to how to lay floors and build stairs.
  • You Can Build Your Own Home: I Did and So Can You! When this guy says "build your own home" he means hire a bunch of different contractors to do different jobs. Most "build it yourself" Websites are aimed at people who will not be laying block or raising their own roofs. I found this site useful because it has information on buying construction materials.

These links are mostly "theory" as opposed to "practice" house building. They offer interesting reads, but limited practical advice.

  • Living Small--an article about a man who lives in a 100-square foot house. It's an interesting reflection on how much space a person needs, but not terribly helpful in a practical sense.
  • The Small House Society: a cooperatively managed organization dedicated to the promotion of smaller housing alternatives which can be more affordable and ecological. Lots of links, many of them to commercial but "ecologically sound" products.
  • Low Impact Living. This site is all about buying new stuff, although it is environmentally friendly stuff.
  • Building A Log Cabin. This is an interesting blog, but these people are actually taking pictures while some guys they hired build their (huge, fancy) log cabin.

1 comment:

Shellmo said...

Hi Rebecca,
Actually our log cabin isn't so large (just about 1300 SF)and not so fancy in our minds (the kitchen cupboards are being built out of tongue & groove wood and we will be making our own dining table.)We're actually fans of the same do-it-yourselfers that you are and we look forward to learning those skills in the future.
Despite your 'sting', I look forward to your future blog posts.
All the best,