A Lookout Tower-Home

Reader Contribution by Jessica Kellner
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This week, I am digging into the archives, revisiting all the amazing homes we’ve featured in the past 10-plus years of Natural Home & Garden. I chose one that’s special to me: the first home feature I ever worked on as a Natural Home & Garden staff member when we obtained the magazine from its former publisher in 2005.

It’s a coincidence that this was the house in my first issue, because it’s right up my alley. I love the 1940s park ranger feeling the tower-home evokes, and the views from this place are absolutely incredible. It’s made of reclaimed materials, a fascination of mine that spawned my recent book, Housing Reclaimed. But what I love most about this house isn’t its hefty list of green features and its fantastic design. It’s the way this home weaves in and out of the life of its owner, Glenda Kaser Alm (who wrote the article).  

One of my favorite things about the homes we choose for the magazine and featured in my book is that they aren’t just possessions of the homeowner — they’re active participants in the homeowner’s life. For Glenda, this house was the fulfillment of a dream. She told her dad she’d own a fire lookout tower-house when she was a young girl, and she made good on the promise to herself 50 years later. And Glenda’s son, an architect, drew the initial sketches for her. The home ties Glenda to her past, to her father and her son. 

Modeled after historic structures in her area, the house also ties Glenda to the region where she lives. The impeccable views ensure she’s connected with the cycles of nature in the surrounding forest. And the house weaves in and out of her present and future, too. Glenda met her long-term partner, Dick, while working on the house (Dick owns the solar shop where Glenda bought the system that powers the house). In my mind, when a home ties you to your past and to the earth and ushers you into a wonderful new future, it is a home worth living in