Anyone who has ever bought a home knows how truly expensive it can be. Even after spending tens of thousands of dollars in property costs, you still need to pay mortgage fees, real estate agent commission, and other closing costs.
One young couple managed to bypass all these costs of buying a home and instead build one in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California for just $10,000.
The couple got creative with their home’s minimalist look and design, using car tires to reinforce the found-wood walls and colored glass bottles to make stained-glass windows.
As an architecture student, Taylor Bode wanted to put the skills he had learned to the test by designing his own home. His wife Steph, a yoga instructor and preschool teacher, was willing to help him out in any way she could.
“Steph and I were 25 years old and fantasized about experiencing a simpler life – the whole Walden Pond, slowing down and reconnecting with nature idea,” Taylor said.
“We also believed in the potential of a minimalist, self-sufficient, environmentally conscious approach to architecture and lifestyle, particularly as a solution for low-cost housing in critically impoverished parts of the world,” he continued. “So on the one hand, we built the house to chase an idealistic dream of our own, and on the other hand, we built it to set an example for how others might carve out a higher degree of comfort and autonomy for themselves.”
Thanks to their careful planning, the couple was able to build their home for just $10,000!
“We had observed the cavalier attitude with which unwanted things were so routinely sent away to landfills, and we chose to re-imagine those discarded items as useful building components, rather than as junk,” Taylor said. “Car tires became reinforced by rammed earth bricks. Bottles became stained glass compositions. Old barn wood was reused for interior finishes. We applied that philosophy and construction method to our own circumstances and to our own site. We also kept costs down by doing all of the work ourselves, with some monumental assistance from friends and volunteers.”
Taylor and Steph are now living off the grid at their home, where they use solar, and wind power and have a sewage treatment system. They are totally self-sufficient and do not need the county to provide them with anything.
“In a world where we often struggle to see beyond the screen of our smartphone or tablet, living in an Earthship-style house offers a constant reminder that land and nature is our life-supporting community, one in which we are privileged to be a part of,” Taylor said.
We applaud this couple for getting creative to build their own house for so little money!
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