I have a confession to make: I really want to build a home for myself and my family. And I don’t mean I want to pick out a style from a builder’s portfolio and customize the paint schemes and flooring. I want to actually put together my abode myself.
In the years I’ve been afflicted with this desire, I’ve found a number of awesome ways to build my own house. Here are three awesome self-built house types (in order of increasing skills required).
Home-made house #1: Life in the round
Traditionally, a yurt is a circular yak-skin tent with a hole in the middle of the conical roof for the smoke of the fire to escape. Modern yurts like those sold by Pacific Yurts are circular tent-like structures with canvas-covered lattice sides, timber-framed roofs that are built on a platform to keep them off the ground. If you have a small family and don’t mind togetherness, this is probably the cheapest way to build your own permanent house. And they can be amazingly beautiful places.
Home-made house #2: Timber-framing for beginners
For those of us who use our house hard, a yurt can be a little too bare-bones. Mostly, I need more rooms. I work from home, so I need a home office. And while we’re very attached to our children, we are very happy with a bedroom that’s ours alone. As the hub of a homesteading family, a multi-room traditional home is almost a must.
If I were to buy a plot of land today and have the opportunity to build a house, I would build a First Day Cottage. These cottages use timber-framing principles but with dimensional lumber, making them cheaper and easier to build for beginners. While these built-up timbers aren’t as fashionable as traditional beams, they are beautiful in their own right. And they are perfect for hanging drying herbs from.
Home-made house #3: The woodsman’s abode
Ben Law is a woodsman and a timber-working guru who is reviving the lost art of traditional round-timber framing in England. His cruck-framed woodland cottage is an inspiration of locally-sourced, artistic construction. In Law’s view, the building style should not only be suited to the local environment, but it should also be designed around locally-available building materials.