Home WORLD Family’s Self-Build Private Ecovillage With Free Materials

Family’s Self-Build Private Ecovillage With Free Materials


They built their dream home out of trash and salvage, but it took 16 years to put it together by hand. Steel beams from a dismantled Lockheed factory frame the main structure; old surfboards from Patagonia are insulation; dozens of pieces of marble form a countertop; and broken concrete has become stairs and pathways.

source.image: Kirsten Dirksen

The family of four began living in a trailer on the land until they had at a small room ready for a bunkbed and the kids. Each additional room was built as an individual unit so slowly a compound of rooms began to grow. Next came an office for Janine who worked from home in sales. And finally the main room, a near polygon, was finished with 10 foot ceilings, an open kitchen/living room, and a lofted bedroom.

After two wells went dry the family begin living off rainwater. All the rooftops collect rain which is then pumped up the mountain into holding tanks. Cameron laid tubing all the way up to mountainside so that there would be sufficient drop and pressure to power fire sprinklers.


They use a double barrel composting toilet, which takes about two years to fill up after which it sits for 2 1/2 years to remove any pathogens. Cameron built a solar-powered hot tub out of an industrial mixing bowl and holding tanks across the property for rainwater one of which became a skate park. There is plenty of water for their indoor and outdoor showers and outdoor bathtub, as well as to water their fruit orchard.