DIY home builds are never easy, and rarely cheap, but one ambitious couple managed to create a beautiful tiny home for under $10,000. Taylor and Steph Bode from Nomadic Roots created their sustainable 560-square-foot ‘Earthship’ mainly using reclaimed and repurposed materials.
Inspired by the design principles of visionary architect Mike Reynolds and his company, Earthship Biotecture, the couple focused on creating a sustainable home that would employ passive and sustainable features to stay comfortable throughout the seasons, without air conditioning or heat sources.
Once they found the perfect lot, the couple moved into a 14′ yurt while they slowly started the building process. To begin the project, they planned the home’s perimeters to maximize its potential thermal mass. Built into a south-sloping hill, the east, west, and north walls are buried underground, insulating the home and providing stable indoor temperatures. According to the owners, “The stylistic elements were secondary to creating a functionally competent structure that was well-suited for its environment.”
To create the frame for the house, the couple cut down two young redwood trees from an adjacent grove. The siding and trim is crafted from old redwood fence boards. For the rest of the construction materials, Taylor and Steph scoured various sites to find discarded materials that could be reclaimed. They found new uses for countless thrown-away items such as automobile tires, glass bottles and aluminum cans. All of the home’s windows and doors were salvaged or found for free on Craigslist.
Although the majority of the walls are buried, the many repurposed windows help flood the interior with an abundance of natural light. The couple created an earthen floor with a mixture of sand, clay, straw and water. After laying the mixture, they finished it with a hemp oil to create a warm, soft look. The Bodes used reclaimed barn wood for the interior walls, and they made or salvaged all their furnishings.
Photography by Taylor Bode via Nomadic Roots