Guess what! We were expecting to wait until mid-April 2023 before hearing about approval of our 501(c)3 application and it came in the mail this week. We have no idea why it was fast-tracked, other than that the world is ready for this idea and the wind is at our backs.
We have be VERY busy working on a prototype design for a cob tiny house for a Sensitive person. Every step of this design and execution was governed by the extreme chemical sensitivity of the person who will live in the house. She muscle-tested the caulking to approve which ones we could use.
This little 240 square foot beauty was built of cob (which is a type of adobe administered in “loaves” of earth) using the pristine earth located in her clean, high desert location. The plaster is a mix of clean sand, slaked lime and screened earth. The roof structure is all metal. Standing seam roof on steel 2 x 6s with seven inches of rockwool insulation, two inches of XPS foam board, then a metal ceiling. There are large overhangs on the west for an outdoor kitchen and on the north for storage. The front of this house features a passive solar trombe wall that will generate heat, and an outdoor-loaded custom woodstove that will heat both rooms.
This prototype was completed in 2 months and came in under $60K. Want one?
One of the coolest features of this building project has been the high-vibe worksite culture. The builders cultivate an atmosphere of respect, learning and dignity in their communications. It is expressly conveyed that THIS culture is regenerative, not extractive. We design for wholeness. We understand the gift of interconnectivity. The biome protects us and we protect it and each other. The highest values expressed are integrity, unity and collaboration.
These houses are designed to last hundreds of years and are 99% biodegradable. In contrast, our city has created a new “affordable housing” initiative with manufactured homes (single and double-wide trailers) that are toxic, designed to last no more than 30 years and start at $225,000. We must do better.
We want to streamline the process of building these earthen tiny homes; Each step as a hand’s-on module in our school to develop the skills necessary to create small, safe, affordable homes. Imagine 4 house designs that are mastered and honed for efficient, streamlined production by a cadre of student builders. The byproduct of the school is HOMES! Homes the students can then buy and live in. And with the stability that comes from owning a safe, affordable home, they can go build their mom a home. Or their chemical-sensitive friend. I know 25 people who need one of these homes right now.
For me, this has been an “Ikigai” project. I lived in Japan for 2 years in my twenties. I recently was reminded of the Japanese concept of Ikigai.
After 6 years of intermittent homelessness due to extreme environmental sensitivities myself, after having two friends die from this illness in the last two years and watching many more sensitive friends get overwhelmed with unstable housing by truculent landlords and random exposures, I find within myself a very deep well of commitment to creating safe housing like this. I also experience a level of joy that I didn’t expect. This is FUN, but also one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The feeling of helping sensitive people find safe housing is my Ikigai.