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What color is your parachute? I’ve heard that question asked and I wondered, what difference does the COLOR make if you are jumping out of an airplane? You just care about the function of said parachute. A better question might be, what kind of off grid cabin do you want to live in? Now that is something we can all understand. What do you want to make your home out of? Wood, stone, concrete, cob, earth, metal, a combination of these materials? Maybe it’s not even a cabin but something more exotic…

PB has been searching out other people who are building their own castles, not big massive castles of old, but smallish ones that one person or a few people can build by themselves. Our place, we lovingly refer to as the sky castle, started out as a one room (two story) building, but as time has gone by, PB has molded it into a castle looking structure. Here is our place and some other castle style buildings.


Another cabin style is the traditional log cabin look, it’s appealing to many because it has such history, I think back to the TV show that inspired me to want to live off grid, Grizzly Adams, it was based on a true story, Adams built a small log cabin and lived in it, that looked like the place for me. Here are some pictures of traditional log cabins.


Some people don’t want a cabin as much as they want a more organic looking and feeling underground home. Underground homes are harder to build because they take much more planning, but once built, they are very energy efficient. These structures work better if you have a hill or mountain side on your property. You can also berm your home by building on a flat surface then piling dirt/soil on the sides. Here are some pictures of some underground homes.

Speaking of organic, there is always the cob home. Cob is made of mud (clay), straw and other organic materials that can be sculpted into just about any shape you would want. I have seen some very interesting cob buildings, sometimes even creating some of the furniture out of cob, benches, beds and such. Here are some pictures of some cob structures.


How about stone? Many places in the world have an abundance of stone, and properly utilized it makes a great building material.

Concrete, it can look very modern, or it could look more organic, it can also look cold and imposing, it just depends on what you are looking for. One thing you can say about a concrete structure, it will not burn down. The facade on my sky castle is made of poured soilcrete (concrete made with portland cement, local soil and sand/gravel).

Metal? Glass? I like the one on the high deck, it seems to be well protected. Of course you can always use steel for the frame and use another material for the shell.

How about the shape? There are also domes, some domes are monolithic, usually made from some sort of membrane that is inflated and sprayed with foam and shotcrete (a form of concrete). Some are geodesic, made from geometrically formed pieces of wood that are pieced together to form a dome.

There is also the quonset hut, though that isn’t as popular as it used to be, that shape, like the dome, is very strong and can hold up to high winds. Some of them are recycled from previous uses, such as military buildings and such.

You can also recycle other structures and turn them into a home. One that comes to mind is the old barn that is converted into a home. Or the grain silos, I’ve seen some very interesting homes made from grain silos. There are also shipping container homes.

What about you? What would your dream home be? What would it look like? What would it be made of? Do you like the modern or traditional look?



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