I've more-or-less-recently gotten into my head the stupidly over-ambitious idea of moving over the sea to the northern countries, buying some tools and wooded land, and building up a house to live in. This is, of course, complete madness for me, considering I've never so much as chopped firewood by hand, but I'm more than willing to joust at this particular windmill with what little experience and capital I do have. With this idea in mind, I've begun doing a mountain of research both online (a good part of it here) and in books about traditional (pre-petroleum or pre-industrial) and natural building methods, materials, and styles, and found it both humbling and heartening. I'm by no means done with my research, but I thought it best to talk directly with people who have similar (if more conventionally-minded) interests going forward.
Having written this post so far as more a declaration of intent than an actual question, I'd say I'm looking for general advice on where I should be focusing my research and plans to. I will, however, warn you that I'm much less inclined to what the flow of capital and the state call practicality than to what gravity, heat, wind, and water do regardless of approval. It is not by dollars and decrees that a house stands, it is by work and nature, and I plan to do many times more work than I have ever done to make this happen.
Hi Gerlach, welcome to permies!
A number of people have done what you are proposing and written about it, so finding some of those would probably be a good idea. You will need some way to eat and pay for basic necessities even if you build your own house in the wild, so you need to think about how you are going to manage that.
There are many ways to build a handcrafted house, so you will need to narrow the focus to get detailed advice. One easy way to get started when you move to a piece of land would be like this: Kolarbyn Ecolodge. That would give you a safe place while you work on a whole house. You could build a small rocket mass heater into it and stay comfortable through the first winter no matter what.
A good inspirational guide, even though he is in subtropical Australia rather than northern Europe, is Primitive Technology on youtube. He makes and builds things by hand with absolutely minimal tools. Some of it translates to any climate.
Glenn Herbert wrote:You will need some way to eat and pay for basic necessities even if you build your own house in the wild, so you need to think about how you are going to manage that.
True, and one of the many things I'm planning (and budgeting) around. I'll more than likely be spending a while living a more conventional life in the country I move to (solidifying knowledge of the language, getting citizenship, padding my savings, etc.) while building up more knowledge, skills, and tools. I'm also not going it wholly alone, so being able to build and being able to eat won't be quite mutually exclusive.
Glenn Herbert wrote:There are many ways to build a handcrafted house, so you will need to narrow the focus to get detailed advice.
I have some leanings, mostly to green, round-wood timber framing, undressed or lightly-dressed stone masonry, straw bale/strawcob, and sod roofing, but I've tried not to marry myself to any particular idea, since the land I end up on and what's around it have the last word. My main concerns are around heating, insulation, and thermal mass, since there seem to be disagreements between several camps on... everything to do with those.
Glenn Herbert wrote:One easy way to get started when you move to a piece of land would be like this: Kolarbyn Ecolodge. That would give you a safe place while you work on a whole house. You could build a small rocket mass heater into it and stay comfortable through the first winter no matter what.
Thanks! Always looking for examples, especially in the same or similar climates as Scandinavia's.
Hi, Quick search shows the Scandinavia's weather is generally in the low 20F. in the winter. Some parts get a lot of rain.
When building my home I had to decide which material is the most impermeable and practical to put on the outside skin of the house for the weather conditions. Wind,rain,snow,sun,cloudy days,earthquakes, tornados... Then heating sources are determined by the foot print and layout of the home. ie. 1 room or more. Every decision I made about the house affected other things that can and will require extensive changes.
Straw bale is a very good insulator, but checking with locals where you plan to build is probably the most important thing you can do. I have found in my area people who have come up with cost effective ideas that are not general practice in the industry.
Do I heat with wood, coal, natural gas, propane? The fuel limits the choices of heating appliance. Chimney, wood stove, RMH, batch box, etc...
Good luck with your search.
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