Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inspiration overload!!

BEAUTIFUL natural built house at Earthaven (nice work, Steveo!)
I got lots of food for thought and inspiration last week, with both a tour of Earthaven Ecovillage and AsheVillage (the creation of Janell Kapoor of Kleiwerks in Asheville, NC). 

Super efficient earthen oven
Let’s start with AsheVillage because I’m obsessed with it.  So…basically this is the kind of place I would like to create in Austin or wherever I end up.  It is a natural building and permaculture demonstration site right in the middle of Asheville.  It is in an urban area, which makes it actually accessible to people and makes educating more and more people about the possibilities provided by natural building and permaculture a reality.  It is a collection of three adjoining residential properties right in a neighborhood that together make up an acre of land to work with.  On the front two properties are the (fairly large) houses that came with the property.  These have been lovingly redone by Janell and friends with natural plasters and finishes, vaulted and fun shaped ceilings, niches, and beautifully colored natural paints.  

Here are some photos from the front two houses (one of which is rented out as a guest house, which provides a revenue stream for the property…brilliant!):

One of the guest house bedrooms

Bright yellow walls in the dining room.  And bamboo curtain rods...I like that.

Storage niches

Then, there are the gardens and all the permaculture development of the site, which involves and extensive stormwater catchment and filtration system (under construction), an aguaponics system (where a fish pond and plant growing are linked with water and nutrients cycling through each and forming a symbiotic relationship…and you can eat the fish!!), water features, and tons of plants and herbs and flowers overflowing the property! 
More photos:

Trellis for plants to grow on, and behind it is the aguaponics cool!!

Pretty water features!

Lots of trellised tomato plants
a work in progress, but still cool!
Lastly, there is a small natural built cottage/tiny house built in the back and plans for many more, plus plans to expand their current outdoor kitchen/tool shed into a full fledged outdoor kitchen with big windows and a porch with a view.  While we were there we talked about the idea of making small living spaces that are just enough to provide a place to sleep and some personal space, but don't encourage the habit of staying inside all day in our comfortable houses and never interacting with the world.  When our houses are so large and comfortable that they become a bubble we can live in, we are never encouraged by those spaces to go outside and interact with the world outside our house.  So instead, build small and then have separate buildings for your bathroom and for your kitchen (maybe even have an outdoor kitchen or communal kitchen).  This encourages going outside and being in community with other people.  I like that way of living so much!

Little cottage in progress!

OK, now onto the Earthaven tour!  Wow, that was fun too.  They have so much going on there!!  Huge 13-sided community building built like a yurt, lots of different creative natural built houses from tiny huts to very large creations, composting toilets, wood-fired sauna, and a beautiful home built by our workshop instructor Steveo that kind of blew my mind.  So beautiful.

Here are some photos (thank to Tan for most of these!):

Wood-powered sauna

Sweetest balcony/deck I've ever seen

Community house

Community house roof: built like a yurt!
Another Earthaven house  

 Hope you were inspired too!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah whoa those were some great looking places to live. I would definitely need a bathroom near where I sleep though. I lose way too much sleep otherwise!