I'm playing with the idea of building my own home.

I have not picked the location yet but I think I will be good with 1 acre of land. I follow Cody Lundin and like the idea of a earth house. I'm also a fan of Japanese house designs. I will most likely end up with a dojo building, tool shed/garage, and main building -- probably earth house.

The question is: after having this basic idea how should I go about planning the building, budgeting and sourcing of material?

I would like to educate myself on the topic of sustainable living and aquaculture before I actually come up with some final decisions. I'm hoping 3 years would be enough for that.

  • Are you hoping to live alone in the house, or with a family?
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Feb 9 '13 at 7:07

Build 3 houses. It takes that long to learn enough to get it right. Live in each one for a while, so you can learn the consequences of your decisions.

Really, there's a lot to learn in designing and building a house. Anyone can learn it, but it takes time.

Start by learning conventional house construction. There's a lot of hard-learned wisdom encoded in that style of construction. A good way to learn it is to find your local Habitat for Humanity and volunteer with them.

Remember that house size is the #1 factor in the amount of energy the house will take to build and live in. If you live alone, you might tolerate a 200 sq. ft. tiny house, but if you have a family, be sure they are really in to the adventure.

  • @Mat Banik, when it comes to construction never underestimate the value of touching it with your own hands and seeing it with your own eyes. Regarding earth housing you can do a lot more research at the library than you can online. But whatever you do, get onto construction sites and tour earth houses!
    – OCDtech
    Feb 22 '13 at 20:04

(This didn't fit in a comment.)

3 years to learn about earth houses, Japanese architecture and aquaculture? Well, you better get busy. If you are planning to help build it, you should do an apprenticeship with someone designing sustainable housing, permaculture or anything related. You can learn a lot in 3 years, but you can never learn enough. There are too many factors to list, but you should probably start doing something and ask your local hardware store, carpenter, or people on this site for help, when you come across a specific problem. Try to make the place you live in now more sustainable. Sustainability is a mindset, and probably is as much an evolving process as it is a well-planned system.

Read about earth houses, Japanese architecture, aquaponics and anything else you can get your hands on. Then decide what you would like to focus on. You can't build a Japanese house underground with a river flowing through it...

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