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Our 100% DIY Hand-Built , Debt-Free, Off-Grid Shelter:

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I have been a Hometalk fan for several years and always follow other people's DIY projects. Then I realized I have a massive DIY project of my own, and entered a competition sponsored by a WONDERFUL store in Truckee, CA, called High Camp Home. (www.highcamphome.com). We won the DIY Contest and everything escalated from there. We initially had to find some land, and came across high-elevation farmland in South West Colorado. Starting off in a TENT, we spent the next few years building a shelter from five 40 foot shipping containers, which my husband reinforced with beams and then buried to keep them cool in Summer and warm in Winter. We got a well operating for water as a first action.
The first shipping container was transformed into a bedroom:
The next shipping container was turned into a kitchen and pantry.
We built a small bathroom with a sink area. The materials are salvaged wood, My husband had no building experience whatsoever and did all the work solo. I cooked on this old wood stove I found in an antique store in Cortez, Colorado.
We started off with an outhouse which I mosaiced and called "The Throne"
Our library is in a long hallway that was built between 2 shipping containers, all of which are buried under 18 inches of earth.
We then decided we needed a space that was open to the sunlight, so built a post and beam great-room with a kitchen. It is a work in progress. All the furniture was found at junk stores, off Craigslist and from Habitat from Humanity. We could not spend thousands of dollars on windows and doors, so all those, too, are off Craigslist, yard sales and Habitiat
My beautiful coffee table cost me $4 - a pallet salvaged from Ace Hardware and 4 wheels from a salvage depot. The hassock was a give-away and I covered it with coffee sacks.
We also built a rock garden from field stones and grow our own vegetables. Our power comes from the sun via a solar panel.
This entire project is proof that anyone's dream can come true. My husband is 74 - I am 65. We just decided one day to leave the city and start over. We wanted a self-sufficient life and a great place for our 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
You can see more at our Pinterest Boards https://www.pinterest.com/freeeaglesllc/free-eagles-ranch/ We also have a website: http://www.freeeaglesranch.com and a Blog blog.freeeaglesranch.com We would love to help Hometalk readers and will answer any questions you have about self-sufficient living

To see more: http://blog.freeeaglesranch.com/off-the-grid-shelter-construction/

  • Hannah V
    Hannah V Brooklyn, NY
    on Oct 30, 2015

    Oh. my. GOODNESS. You are living my dream and actually made it happen! I don't think there are enough words in my vocabulary to explain how truly incredible this is. Congratulations on an outstanding success with this project! <333

    • Jessica Byrnes
      Jessica Byrnes Dove Creek, CO
      on Oct 30, 2015

      @Hannah V Thank you Hannah! You always have a place to come visit in South West Colorado. We are really Hill-Billies but we like it.

  • Esmee Shunikian
    Esmee Shunikian Alexandria, VA
    on Oct 30, 2015

    I awesome! Good luck!

  • Epettis61
    Epettis61
    on Oct 30, 2015

    Wow! I am so impressed!

  • Jessica Byrnes
    Jessica Byrnes Dove Creek, CO
    on Oct 30, 2015

    Thank you!

  • Bill Robinson
    Bill Robinson Apalachicola, FL
    on Oct 30, 2015

    From a long time carpenter, handyman, inventor and free spirit: Great job you two. We are a little more compact in a 36foot 5th wheel RV. I have 5different locations around this wonderful, beautiful country where I store tools and material. So I'm always ready to build something somewhere. A Aut

    • Bill Robinson
      Bill Robinson Apalachicola, FL
      on Oct 31, 2015

      Good thinking. We also spend winters in Apalachicola. We used to have a house there. 2 grandkids still there. Going to travel some this year. Late winter to early spring. Colorado is on the list. Brother just recently moved there.

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