A Handmade, Debt-Free Home

Blend vision, patience and perseverance and you can build a handmade, debt-free dream home.



Timber House
Steve and Mary Maxwell’s hand-crafted wraparound porch.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Handmade Home
Steve and Mary Maxwell built their Victorian-style handcrafted house for an out-of-pocket cost of $35 per square foot. Their family of six resides comfortably on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Debt-Free Home
The 48-inch-wide outside entrance allows produce, firewood and large tools to be carried in and out of the lower level with ease.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Cathedral Ceiling
An open cathedral ceiling exposes the pine beams and brings light into the living area.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Insulated Door
The author’s son, Joseph, welcomes you inside through the three-layer, insulated "warm door."
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Hand-Carved Designs
Hand-carved designs incorporated throughout the Maxwell house add visual interest, character and value.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Fireplace
Combustion gases allow the masonry heater to accumulate heat and slowly transfer it to the house.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Custom Window
"We aimed to design and build a place of beauty, peace and permanence."
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Skylight
Solatube tubular skylights add natural light to the kitchen.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Home Heating
Combustion gases allow the masonry heater to accumulate heat and slowly transfer it to the house.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
DIY House
Steve and Mary Maxwell built their Victorian-style handcrafted house for an out-of-pocket cost of $35 per square foot. Their family of six resides comfortably on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada.
Photo by LEN CHURCHILL
Dream Home
Katherine Maxwell enjoys a sunny spot in a hammock on the wrap-around veranda.
Photo by STEVE MAXWELL
Dream Home Illustration
Steve and Mary Maxwell built their Victorian-style handcrafted house for an out-of-pocket cost of $35 per square foot. Their family of six resides comfortably on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada.
Photo by LEN CHURCHILL
Steve Maxwell
Contributing editor Steve Maxwell writes many of our "Do It Yourself" articles, such as "Build this Cozy Cabin" and "A Blueprint for Better Building." You can read all Steve’s previous Mother Earth News articles by searching for his name.
Photo by ROGER YIP











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