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Home Forums General Discussion Home/Land near Traverse City MI Re: Home/Land near Traverse City MI


I would have bought new windows rather than recycled dual panes that were already 25 years old. I paid $250 for 6-46″ x 80.25″ tempered, and new they went for $360 each. However, a couple years ago I replaced one for $500 installed. I installed the original ones with a strong man to help on a labor trade. I found out that windows usually lose their seal after 30 years, and a couple more are showing inside drip/haze marking.

Another thing is that I would have built less interior gardens and one more U module to lower the humidity and moderate the temperature more. The interior winter humidity caused mold that had to be cleaned then painted with higher buck mold resistant paint.

The rainwater catchment and compost toilet work well. The slipform garden walls and floor were a time and money saver. Tomatoes turn it into a jungle at times, and squash plants come out and down to the floor, so I’m glad the mass wall is back 3.5′. The vent’s push up 1×2 with holes for the 5/16″ bolt out of a double block under the drywall, needs a new set of longer screws to hold the hinge to 1×2 better and I need to put in a new bit to hold it because the 5/16″ eventually broke. It is of a different design than the books and is not a skylight that would lose heat.

The solar electric works great, and my Marshall 15 watt Mini Stack is loud and sounds great. Upkeep is it needs sweeping and venting when possible.

I had followed my dad’s advice and never had a mortgage over 1/4 my income. The mortgage on this place was less than half its value, and the savings from no electric bills added up. The lower mortgage through sweat equity was easier to also save enough money to pay it off in 2006. Growing food helped save, too.

I still have to pay property tax and insurance, around $800/year. Propane and wood for supplemental heat, hot water, refrigerator, and stove run another $1200 per year and rising. Renting a house would cost around $11K + per year more.

This is relatively luxury living, rather than little scrap cabins or shipping containers with exposed OSB. This is beautiful, and we have satellite TV with an LCD 32″ screen, and all the comforts of a regular Santa Fe/ Mountain Cabin custom home built with professionalism, hard work, pride, and artistry. Along with low carbon footprint ecology.