Buck initially designed the home on the back of an envelope, and then spent over two years collecting local materials that he foraged or salvaged himself. The floorboards were from a neighbor’s derelict boat, while the glass for the windows was salvaged from a scrapped truck. Even the straw used to thatch the rooftop was collected from fields in the surrounding area.
The house has no electricity and no running water, but a nearby creek provides an ample source of fresh water. Buck keeps the house warm with a woodstove, which provides more than enough to heat the house thanks to its insulated cob walls. An artfully crafted spherical pile of stacked wood outside provides fuel for the stove, a chicken coop offers up free food, while a nearby well serves as a refrigerator. And no house would be complete without a composting toilet—this sits in a separate outhouse.
Buck wanted to set an example for others, and only had to pay the $250 when he ran out of straw and nails during construction. As he puts it: “A house doesn’t have to cost the earth, you only need the earth to build it. I wanted to show that houses don’t have to cost anything. We live in a society where we spend our lives paying our mortgages, which many people don’t enjoy.”
Images by Michael Buck