Building a Small, Low-Cost House

Learn how three homesteaders built their own small, low-cost, dome houses.


| September/October 1972


The Great State Of Maine (as they say at the political conventions) certainly ain't no slouch these days when it comes to build-yer-own, maximum value for minimum money, alternative ideas in housing. There's probably even folks up that way who'll argue that a small area—not more than six or seven miles across—around Skowhegan, in the Pine Tree State, bids fair to lead the nation in low-cost, eye-popping, do-it-yourself domiciles.

For instance, there's a feller up in that neck of the forest (Norridgewock Woods, to be exact) named Jay Hawes who lives in an eight-sided log cabin that he built almost entirely by himself.

"I was toying around with the idea of living space," Jay says. "Everything I'd ever lived in was square—square rooms, square buildings—and I thought I might feel a noticeably different psychological effect from living in a differently shaped structure. The more I read Frank Lloyd Wright's ideas on organic architecture, the more I thought that a building should fit in and contribute to its environment . . . and the more ideas I had about the kind of house I wanted to construct.

"Some of those visionary concepts were a little impractical," Hawes admits, "and I had to modify or abandon them. For example, I once had the idea that this cabin's roof should soar up to a single point like a big tree . . . but I finally discarded that notion along with the round and diamond-shaped windows I'd originally planned."

An Eight-Sided Log Cabin

As it stands, Hawes' lodge is definitely an imaginative cut above your typical log cabin. The eight-sided building is topped by a more or less A-frame roof and it's a sure bet that not another structure of the same design nestles anywhere on the face of the earth.

Jay worked nine hours a day, six days a week for two and a half months to build his new home. The walls of the lodge are constructed of 105 logs which Hawes axe-felled and notched by hand. "I really feel that I wouldn't have enjoyed raising the house nearly as much if I'd used a chainsaw to cut those pine and tamarack trees," Jay says.





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