DIY





A Debt Free Home from Salvaged Material (and Trial and Error)


| 9/5/2017 1:26:00 PM



 

The following is an excerpt from Builders of the Pacific Coast (Shelter Publications, 2008) by long-time MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributor Lloyd Kahn. A continuation of Kahn's journeys into the creative processes of owner-built homes — their innovative techniques, use of sustainable materials, and essential dedication to the natural elements surrounding their designs — Builders of the Pacific Coast explores the aesthetics and techniques of three master builders in California, Washington state, and the rugged terrain of British Columbia.

Alan Beckwith is a carpenter, gardener, farmer, jeweler, and hunter. In 1980, he bought 40 acres in the coastal California hills, and built a homestead in a valley, the house on the banks of a year-round creek. It’s at the end of a long dirt road.

Alan did everything himself: carpentry, plumbing, wiring (solar electricity and hydro), and developed his own water supply. He drives a tractor, maintains several miles of roads, makes beer and wine, and raises pigs and ducks. A lot of people have started homesteads since the 1960s, but seldom have they got as far along as this.



Basically, Everything was Done with No Money

It’s a homemade, home-crafted house with gardens and animals all blending together to create a working entity, a self-created place to not just survive, but thrive. Alan’s not only a good carpenter (he does remodeling and finish work for others), he’s a jeweler, making exquisite gold earrings and other pieces that he sells at Christmas fairs and as special orders.



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