when building yourself a house by hand, the tortoise wins the race

Paul has been working on the soon-to-be bedroom and has just passed the milestone of getting the roof dried in.  This is carpenter speak for “it’s okay if it rains on it now.”  It’s going to be a living roof, meaning it’s going to have plants growing up there.  I don’t know what kind yet.  Maybe strawberries.

Here he is, standing on high density foam stuff layer that keeps the screws that hold the plywood (underneath the black stuff) from piercing that rubbery layer he is about to spread out.  These are all technical terms, you know.

How does he know how to do all this?  I have no idea.  Probably google.

Here he is spreading out that rubbery layer that he got for a song on craigslist:

That rubber layer weighs a TON and I have no idea how he got it up there all by himself.  It involved a winch and a ladder.  And a bunch of swearing.  Anyway, that layer is impervious to UV and water and all of that, and you just put the dirt right on top of it and plant stuff in the dirt.  Cool, huh?

Anyway, he was pleased as punch to finish this step. Here he is, resting from his labors:

Building by yourself, with no budget, and no help, while holding down a full time job, is a slow process.  You eek out a bit of progress whenever you can, inching towards the finish line.  The result is a handmade building with art in all the details, plus mistakes from your learning curve, slow progress, but no mortgage.  Everything has its pros and cons.

I went up there to take these pictures and nearly had a panic attack when it was time to climb down.  I am such a pussy.  Paul, on the other hand, used to be a rock climber, so he likes to stand on the edge and dangle himself half off just to scare me.  Men.

But look at the lovely timber-frame work he’s been doing down in the actual room.  The bays with the peaks will be glass and the others will be filled in with straw-clay.  He keeps saying the kids and I will be doing that part, so clearly he is nuts.

It’s going to be beautiful.  One day.

4 thoughts on “when building yourself a house by hand, the tortoise wins the race

  1. Michele

    That is amazing. And gorgeous. I’m equal parts jealousy and admiration. Mostly admiration.

    Oh, and if you need it, I have a 3 yr. old I can hire out to help with making cob. The kid is chomping at the bit to make cob. Or super adobe. He’s not picky, and long as he gets to stomp around in goo and pack mud-like substances into the creation of a building.

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  3. Pingback: the bedroom is done! Or, what it feels like to finish building your own house, finally, after a decade of work – mayaland

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