We own a one level ranch home on a cement slab. I used to get so down on myself when I compared the size of my home to the size of everyone else’s. If someone had a bigger house than me I felt like mine was not good enough and would think so negatively towards the place we called home which impacted the rest of my life.
Since researching and getting on the self-sustain-train my perspective has done a complete 180. I am now seeing positives to my current lifestyle. My carbon footprint is much smaller than it would be if I lived in that huge home I used to envy. My bills are lower. My mortgage is lower and that gives me opportunity to save and put my money and time into creating the self sustainable home of my dreams.
In the few years we have been in this place, we have really turned it into a cozy home. People come into this house and they don’t want to leave. That is what a home is all about. It is not the size of the home that matters but rather the energy and memories you create within it.
That being said we DID need more space. We were eating at a small counter (after you read this post check out my DIY counter-top paint video here) rather than a table and with all the baking that goes on in my house we had to expand.
We took out a home equity line of credit and got to work. The pictures show the process of building our 12×16 foot addition with a large closet built out for a laundry room or pantry. We did not do a slab for the foundation but rather cement footings. You can see the black footing bases that get put down in the ground and then a heavy duty cylindrical tube of cardboard fits into the footings (see slideshow). The concrete gets poured into the tubes and spreads into the footing base and voila you have the core of your foundation.
We decided to do a cathedral ceiling since we don’t have that kind of height anywhere else in the house. It is really going to open up the spaceand make it feel so much roomier.
Now, this addition is not that big but because we strategically planned the placement of this addition it is going to feel very large when it is done. We have big plans for the inside as well but we will have to recover a bit financially from this before we can tackle our other ideas I am sure! When it is all said and done I will give the grand total for the project cost since I think that is information that is helpful to people looking into a project like this.
Aside from the addition we have been clearing our land and tearing up the terrain to create a landscape that can be used for multiple purposes. Our land was mainly tall pines and overgrown brush surrounding a little yard. Then we found out that we had a lot more land than we thought! Although we cut down a large number of trees, we are re-purposing them and creating a beautiful plank fence that will surround the property in a very unique rustic style which I cannot wait to share with you!
We are conscious that our landscaping and clearing will disrupt mother nature and the animals, however in order to create a self-sustaining homestead with room for farm animals, bees and gardens we needed to make these changes. We will be building a bird sanctuary and have been creating new habitats for the animals with the stumps we have left from our tree work.
I will be sharing all about what we have endured while clearing our own land and what the process has been like. However we are not done so it may be a bit! Stay tuned.
Check out this slideshow!
Wrapping up the exterior!
Until next time!