In the late seventies after a failed attempt to live out of a VW microbus, my Dad had the bright, romantic idea to drop the nomad lifestyle, move to the country, and live off the land. So he did the only sensible thing a twenty-something in that time period could think of, he bought a lone chicken coop on a couple of acres and decided to make it his home. So began years of trials and tribulations that are a prominent part of my family's folklore: a lost cow, brush fires, a roof-climbing goat named Jemima and the transformation of that chicken coop into a modest passive solar home worthy of his back to the land dream.
Like many similar utopian visions of that time, the romance inevitably wore off, practicality set in and we became city dwellers once again, but my Dad still shakes his head and says "I'm so glad I did that." I can't help but feel the same nostalgic romantic feeling from time to time myself. Should we drop everything and head for simple country life?? Could we cut it out in rural life? Scratch that. We'd probably go crazy, but it's fun to think about the possibilities.
While I try to dig up the few photos that were taken of my Dad's own chicken coop transformation, I thought I would share three amazing books that inspired him to take that plunge (and has got me thinking rustic myself). All Their Own, The Craftsman Builder, and Woodstock Handmade Houses
Below are some pic excerpts of some of the exteriors. Interiors (my fav) in part deux.
More scans on Flickr.
I'm just blown away by the creativity, thoughtfulness and resourcefulness that went into these homes. They were built over time and evolved organically with limited resources, but ultimate freedom...it's authentic rustic charm...not the kind you read about in real estate listings...it's genuine character. Geodesic dome on top of a cedar-shaked double-wide character!
(abv) Love the gesture of this structure's roof line...it was actually architect designed and built as his personal hippie home.
The above is built partially into the ground for heating/cooling. The slanted roof runs to the ground to head off the north winds another passive solar feature and one my Dad used on the chicken coop to ward off the Michigan winter winds.
Not exactly sure what's happening here, but I think this is his artist studio/workshop. I could definitely work there!
Ok check out Flickr and stay tuned for Part Two.