Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
The Small Home, Big Decisions series follows Jennifer and her husband, Tyler, as they build a self-reliant homestead on a piece of country property in northeastern Kansas. The series will delve into questions that arise during their building process and the decisions they make along the way. The posts are a work in progress, written as their home-building adventure unfolds.
We realized that we haven’t posted images from our home construction for a few weeks now, so we wanted to take this post to do just that.
In the photo below, you can see the house front, fully framed and house-wrapped, and with our double-pane windows installed. The house wrap and the high-quality windows will help form a strong barrier to keep our home more efficient to heat and cool.
The next image shows the beginning of our electric wiring being installed. This view is from the main room looking into our master bedroom. We were able to salvage the can lights you see installed from another construction site, which means we’ll save enough money to spring for LED trim kits. LED can lights use 1/6 the energy used by standard can lights, making the investment environmentally worthwhile (not to mention the meaningful savings on our monthly electric bill). Plus, they last a lot longer. A special feature we’ve installed is an outdoor floodlight switch near where our bed will sit, so we can light up the outdoors when we hear something go bump in the night. This will be especially helpful when we have a garden put in and animals to watch over.
Next up is an example of how the cabinetmaker has marked the floors where cabinets are to be installed. These markings detail the size and any special features of the cabinets so the electrician and others know where to install light switches, outlets, air ducts, etc. The photo below shows the markings for the part of our kitchen cabinet that will sit near our refrigerator in the kitchen.
Lastly, we have a photo that shows one of the most exciting features of the house. Our contractor has framed our future basement root cellar (following these plans from Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man). The ducts in the background will vent warm air outside and allow cool air to come in, so the room, which will be insulated from the rest of the basement, will remain at Earth temperature. Food storage and cheese curing just got a whole lot more convenient.
Since these photos were taken, the front porch has been framed and the siding has been put up around the entire house. The next step is to blow-in foam insulation, which is the topic of our next post.
Photos by Jennifer Kongs.
Jennifer Kongs is the Managing Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. When she’s not working at the magazine, she’s likely in her garden, on the local running trails or in her kitchen instead. You can connect directly with Jennifer and Tyler by leaving a comment below!