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March 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm #37049
This is NOT my home. I found it online while dreaming of going OTG, and since I can’t afford to move right now (imprisoned by a mortgage) I thought I’d pass it along to like-minded people. It seems ideal for an OTG setting. Berm home w/wood heat as backup, 3+ acres, food storage, etc. Man, I wish I could buy this and upgrade it with an attached greenhouse, solar, etc. But, well, that whole money thing.
It’s near Traverse City Michigan (my ideal location). Hope someone can snag it. They’re asking $79,900, but I’m sure you could get a better deal.
So here you go…March 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm #42476
I like your handle!! Earthship Dream. That is what I had from the time I went to the public library and picked out the Solar Living Source Book and Earthship I, as my fact books to go with my escapist westerns. That was 1993. The dream persisted in knowing housing and the way people lived was mostly wrong. I studied more books, and ended up overnight renting the first one built in the mid ’80s. We liked it. I bought the land and started working on this place in ’97, on weekends and after work, with my little boy and wife as helpers. By 2000 the dream was complete.
Keep on dreaming those Earthship dreams, and you will find a way to make it real.April 2, 2012 at 6:25 pm #42519
Thank you for the hopeful reply. I have two little boys (2 & 4yo) and what you described IS my dream. Though it sounds like you didn’t have to deal with an underwater mortgage, having started in 93; it’s great to know of others with the same aspirations that were able to make it happen!
Once our kids are big enough to travel better we plan on renting one in NM to see if we really like it. Can’t imagine we won’t. I bought and have been studying those Earthship books for a couple years now. I’ve probably seen every picture and video on the internet as well. haha
If you don’t mind I’ve been DYING to ask someone that actually lives in one…from an earthship owners standpoint, what would you have done differently, and what worked well? How’s the upkeep? Any words of wisdom?
Take careApril 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm #42523
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.August 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm #42841
Wow, thank you for the detailed response. Your house sounds nice. Would love to see some pictures if you have any posted somewhere.
And a HUGE congratulations on paying it off!! That has to feel amazing.
The humidity issue w/large indoor garden is especially helpful as we were planning to make it as big as possible. (Wife has a serious green thumb) Can you tell me how many sq ft of garden you have, as well as sq ft inside the house? …so I can figure out what ratio will mean too much humidity. I was hoping to (eventually) mimic the double greenhouse idea they have on the Phoenix for maximum food production.
Also great to know about the windows. I’ve read that’s one of the larger investments, and have decided to go all out on the roof and windows.
The wife and I are a very skilled in cutting costs and DIY, so we’ll definitely take your advice on the sweat equity. Plus we won’t have much to work with when the time comes, after wall street shrunk my 401k and walked away with bonuses. But I won’t go there
Thanks again, and sorry it’s taken me so long to notice your reply. Hope you see this.August 9, 2012 at 12:06 am #42843
The thread this link was in went off the page because of some spammers.
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