Off the Grid (112)

Scott Holmen's 14′ × 14′ Post-and-Beam Cabin

…I have worked as a forester since the mid-1970s and have lived in places that had specialized structures with limited functions, a cookhouse for cooking and eating, a bathhouse for showers and clothes washing, and a smaller structure (cabin or tent frame) to sleep in. Not much of a stretch to think I could do that again. I always wanted a large outside space which would stay dry. So I ended up with a 16´ × 16´ covered deck in front of the cabin. This had an added advantage because it gave me a large, dry, flat building area. Since it does rain a bit around here, that was a huge plus.

The cabin’s concept was to build modular log walls, and then assemble them in a post-and-beam framework. The log walls use ¾˝ thick, 3˝ wide plywood splines to attach them to the posts. The modules are built on a jig, and are then either stored somewhere until it is time to build or are then rebuilt on the foundation.

I’m just a retro-grouch at heart. Old school, wood and steel, no electricity, and a bit of skill beats power tools any day. I like my electric hand planers for smoothing wall timbers, love my chainsaw for cutting the big stuff — but for a simple bevel on a board (or 70 boards), I like the sound of a quiet hand plane that is older than my grandkids, older than my kids, older than me, maybe older than my father, and just like the ones my grand­father used to use.
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Off-Grid Homestead in Missouri



Doug and Stacy are living the pioneer lifestyle in the 21st century. After quitting their high-stress city lives they moved onto a property in rural Missouri where they could be debt free and construct a beautiful little pioneer style homestead. Today, they raise animals, grow most of their own food and live simply on the land.

The homestead is centered around a beautiful 600 sq. ft. (55 m2) log cabin which was built by Doug. When he began this massive DIY project he had absolutely no building experience but figured that if the pioneers could do it then so could he! Since then, he has been adding additional out-buildings to their off-the-grid homestead including an outdoor kitchen, and his new project (still under construction) which is a root cellar.

Doug and Stacy’s cabin is simply beautiful with gorgeous wood and rustic features everywhere you look. Here, the couple live with no electricity and no refrigerator. Rainwater is collected and is gravity fed to the cabin. Stepping inside this tiny house feels almost as though you have travelled back in time. Still, it’s warm and cozy and provides this couple with a beautiful place to call home.

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Houseboat Island Living



Mark has lived a very unique life, sailing and traveling around the world working as a professional mime and clown. Now, in his retirement he is living the island lifestyle on an incredible off-the-grid houseboat where he is able to enjoy life and spend his days looking out over the ocean.

Mark’s houseboat is a member of a houseboat community which is made up of 8 floating homes which are situated on an island off the coast of New Zealand. This community is made up of a variety of beautiful, small, off-grid, tiny houseboats, all with their unique and individual charms. The community has existed in this area since the 70’s.

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Electrician Builds Off-Grid Van to Surf the World

Imagine waking up each day in a stunning new location, stepping outside your home, grabbing your surf board and hitting the waves. Kiwi electrician Johnny Johnston is living that dream, traveling and working all over New Zealand while hunting down the countries best surfing locations all in his converted van.

Johnny’s van is completely self contained, with toilet, kitchen, living area, bed and of course stunning and ever changing views. As an electrician he has installed an impressive solar system in the van to keep his adventures powered up and to help make his van home regardless of where it’s parked up…

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Off-Grid Cabin in Paradise



Hidden away deep in the Baton Valley, nestled amongst the imposing mountain ranges of the Kahurangi National Park is a tiny, off-the-grid cabin which looks as though it could have sat there for hundreds of years.

Named the Honeywell hut, a tribute to its builder Jack Honeywell, this historic-looking cabin is the pride and joy of its owners Richard and Fiona, who constructed this unique getaway as an escape for themselves, as well as to help provide additional accomodation for their horse trekking business…

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The Sugar Shack by Bill Castle

The entire structure is built with salvaged material.

…The theme of our eco-resort has always been Adirondack Style, which translates to “built with time and no money.” Our resort is surrounded 56,000 acres of New York State Forest lands and each year we renew our contract with the state to harvest “dead and down trees.” It’s like building structures in the middle of Mother Nature’s lumberyard.

The newest edition is The Sugar Shack, nestled in the wilderness, but with homey conveniences. The floor plan is 12′ × 16′, and includes a bedroom/living room, kitchenette, gravity-fed spring shower, composting toilet, and a cozy fireplace…

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The Thomas J. Nugget Westfalia

The VW Westfalia is an iconic vehicle, and to me, Thomas J. Nugget, or Nuggs for short, is my symbol of freedom. Nuggs is a 1989 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van.

He is in incredible condition and is equipped with a 2,200 cc, 2.2L Subaru engine, built-in propane tank, two-burner stove top, thermostat-controlled furnace, a 12-gallon water tank, sink, roof-mounted solar panel, a refrigerator/freezer, two full-size beds, a swing-out table, and lots of storage…

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Boathouse Built by Dean Ellis

This is a graceful little steel-framed boathouse that Dean built on the beach. Posts are 4″-5″ square steel, 8′ on center. The steel purlins are 2½″ steel tubes. The 1″×6″ sheathing is welded to the steel purlins with nails. Photo by @lloyd.kahn

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Casting Call: DIY Network Looking for Off-Grid Home Builder

We just received this email.

Greetings, My name is Gwendolyn Nix and I’m a casting producer with Warm Springs Productions (www.warmsprings.tv) and the DIY network. I’m currently casting the third season of DIY’s show “Building Off the Grid.” I’m reaching out to you to see if you or anyone you know would be interested in this opportunity.

We’re looking throughout the United States for folks who will soon be building an off-grid dwelling (i.e., starting within in the next few months). We cannot consider homes that are already underway.

All types of structures can be considered i.e., straw bale, earthship, tiny homes, yurts, container homes, earth-sheltered, log, stick-built, or whatever else your imagination comes up with! If you’re chosen for this project there is generous pay involved.

If you’re interested, please reach me at the contact information that follows my signature via either email or phone.

Please note, in order to be considered for the show, the home must be built on the land where it will ultimately exist (as opposed to being built in a warehouse and then transported to the land)

Here is a sneak peek link to the show: www.diynetwork.com/… Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
–Gwendolyn Nix, Casting Producer & Social Media Manager
Warm Springs Productions
Cell: 406-214-6405
Email: gnnix@warmsprings.tv
Available 9am-5pm Mountain Standard Time

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Day Three on the Lost Coast

At end of trip. Note driftwood trekking poles.

Set out at 8 AM after breakfast of granola with hot water and my last hard-boiled egg. Had to cross creek and I wasn’t about to try balancing on slippery log with heavy pack.

My technique: take off shoes, tie laces together, hang around neck, go barefoot across creek with my 2 bespoke driftwood hiking poles, v. carefully; slipping would be a disaster. Got across, dried feet, rebooted, was on my way.

Felt great — it was lucky that the fast-moving hiker the night before had told me how to get up on bluff trail; otherwise would not have seen it and struggled through beach boulders and deep sand.

Whoo! Walking on a trail was a cinch, and this one was lined with flowers. Fortified with almonds, chocolate, and 14-grams-of-protein Power Bar, numerous water stops, I made it through the 2nd high tide zone.

What I learned to do was rest before flat-lining. I stopped for 15 or so minutes, 4-5 times, resting near a creek and once, lying in the shade in a driftwood shack, to regain strength and then pushed on. I ended up walking for 8½ hours until pretty near exhausted, reached Shelter Cove around 5 PM.

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