Building an Earth-Sheltered Home: Part IV

Constructing kitchen cabinets.


| May/June 1984


Is it possible to achieve food and energy independence on one acre? Well, with imagination, hard work, and the right one acre, we think it can be done . . . and that's what this project is all about. Of course, providing most of the basic needs for four people from such a small piece of ground is a tall order. Still, we think it's a goal worth pursuing, and we're hoping that in this series of articles about our low-cost homestead we'll be able to help some of you in your struggles to increase your self-reliance . . . by doing some of the experimenting for you. 

In previous installments, we discussed our initial plans for the earth-sheltered home project (Part I), the construction of the building's shell (Part II), and its waterproofing and insulation . . . as well as some special energy-related "extras" (Part III). This time, we'll concentrate on the interior, specifically the fine cabinetry which complements our home's kitchen.

Until you've actually built, or been involved in "costing out", a residence, it's hard to comprehend how much cash it actually takes to finish the heart of a home. Yet in dealing with a dwelling as personal as our earth-sheltered home (and who'd deny that any owner-built home absorbs some of the character of its creator?), we felt it would be almost sinful to skimp on the soul-pleasing amenities, even when faced with a very stringent budget.

We also believe (and we're confident that this opinion would be shared by many owners-to be) that the kitchen area serves as a significant focal point for our home's entire communal zone . . . not just in that it's traditionally a place where the family gathers informally, but because—considering the openness of our dwelling's design—its use as such is more a matter of fact than choice.

Given these circumstances, it wasn't too difficult to justify the expenditure of time, in lieu of monetary resources, required to handcraft the kitchen cabinets you see in the Image Gallery. Believe it or not, much of the foundation material that went into the cupboards could be termed junk, with the remainder being dressed from rough lumber or, in the case of the surface laminate, purchased outright.

On the other hand, please note that we're not about to suggest that a novice woodworker with a minimally equipped shop could easily duplicate the caliber of craftsmanship revealed in these furnishings. So, in an effort to accommodate the beginner on a budget, we've come up with an alternative cabinet plan. Though not quite as pleasing to the eye as the former design, it is a whole lot easier and less time-consuming to build yet results in a serviceable and attractive fixture.





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265