So me and my wife are in the process of looking for our little slice of heaven to call our own and to build a Light straw clay and cob house for ourselves. The problem, which seems from reading to be similar to a lot of folks starting out, is those methods take a lot of time. And to properly site everything and plan it out, one needs to spend time on their land living. Also money is always needed, and its really hard to save when half your paycheck goes to rent every month.
So i've seen various ideas for "temporary" living accommodations that people have used such as RVs, yurts and such. We are in climate 4C, so I'm taking our very moist winters into account.
I really want to avoid building a house of traditional materials, before I build my house. It seems wasteful, and against the whole idea we've got going.
What ideas have you guys tried that might work for a family of 3 that needs to live for a year or two on their land, in an unfortunately coded area?
I have no idea of what a 4C climate is, but in Australia a method of getting started that works here is a tin shed.
Yes, we build a lot with steel cladding and steel frames, with some insulation and a good fire they can be very comfortable and practical to live in, whilst building the main house.
The shed could become a garage etc after you move into the big house.
Not knowing where you are, there may be a traditional build using timber, which could serve the same task perfectly and then revert to a different use later.
John Daley Bendigo, Australia
The Enemy of progress is the hope of a perfect plan
You can ask the county building departments where you are looking, what their building codes are for putting a storage garage on the property, for "storing" a RV for example. Some counties allow a mobile home or travel trailer, if you have an approved waste disposal system installed. So perhaps you have septic installed if a composting toilet isn't allowed, and buy a used RV to live in while you build. Then once you have something built you can resell the RV, usually for a similar price as it cost you.
The big question is what the county allows you to do, as well as any code, covenants, restrictions (CCRs) a property might have that restrict what you can build. If a stick framed house with light straw or cob infill would work, you might be permitted to build a "stick frame with earthen infill" structure, if the timber is supporting the roof.
Jay C Davey wrote:I have no idea of what a 4C climate is
West coast, like Washington or British Columbia.
Both Mark and John's suggestions are good.
For anyone starting out that doesn't have building or homesteading skills, the RV is likely the better choice as it's still like living in a modern home. It tends to take more of an investment though.
If you want to try building a shed to live in, I'd suggest adding a small glass house attachment on the south side. The attachment helps create additional space to utilize while giving you the materials to use for a greenhouse later on.
Codes will be problematic, so I'd look for examples of people who have already had to find ways to deal with them in your area and copy what they do.
"Our ability to change the face of the earth increases at a faster rate than our ability to foresee the consequences of that change"
- L.Charles Birch