What is this blog about?
This blog is about my process to design, build, and then live in a tiny home inside a greenhouse. Private homes inside a greenhouse that are lived in full-time are still fairly rare in the world. To the best of my research I found only a handful – Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, and Germany. There was also a temporary prototype project at a university. Although it was lived in for a couple years, it was not a private residence; it was not built by an individual who had to navigate the design, permitting, and construction processes. I have not found any of these types of homes in the United States.
A home totally enclosed by a greenhouse is different from a couple homes I found where the greenhouse itself is the shell of the house – there isn’t a house enclosed by the greenhouse. These stories were presented more from the ‘cool design’ perspective rather than the ‘how livable is this’ perspective. I couldn’t find stories about how it is to live in these homes over a length of time or whether they are still lived in at all.
How is this site different? What will you find here that you won’t find elsewhere?
I first heard about this style of home about 2018 or 2019 from a video by Kirsten Dirksen and was hooked. From there I scoured the internet for, but did not find, more detailed information about designing and building a house within a greenhouse, such as:
- elements of design that may be different from a standard house,
- tips for sizing the greenhouse relative to the house, and
- tips for siting the greenhouse on the land and siting the house within the greenhouse.
I was hoping for a better idea of the design process and day-to-day life inside the greenhouse before committing myself to the time, effort, and expense of building something this unique. I wanted more in-depth, first-person stories from the leaders of this style – the people who are already living this way. While there are now multiple interviews with the family in Sweden, and individual interviews with others, these are third-person telling, at a single moment in time, after the home is complete and has been lived in it for some time.
No one has published their detailed experience, from concept through multiple growing seasons, that would help guide me during my process. The intent of this blog is to provide that info for those who are anywhere on the spectrum from just curious to seriously considering this style of home.
Why a tiny home inside a greenhouse?
I’ve lived in some unusual abodes that brought home how intimately our emotional, mental, and physical health are connected to where and how we live. So as I approached retirement I put serious consideration into what environment would support a mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy lifestyle for as many years as possible. This home style will support a healthy lifestyle through daily connecting with the ‘outdoors’, by swimming in the lap pool, by working in the garden year-round, by being able to walk barefoot, by having a comfortable place to entertain family and friends, or just meditating on the flight of a butterfly or bee. I’ll be able to watch the deer roam through my property without the stress of shooing them away from the vegetable garden.
What is my background?
My background is mainly in software development and as a lawyer and accountant. While I’ve never worked in any aspect of the residential building trades, I probably have more hands on construction experience than your average middle-aged gal. I’ve participated in the design of 2 of my former homes and have hands-on experience with most tasks to build a home. I worked on multiple Habitat for Humanity houses and remodeled a couple of my previous homes. I’ve brought one nearly condemned house back from the dead. On my former houses I’ve jacked up corners where the posts had rotted, framed and hung new windows and doors, replaced lap siding, built base cabinets, hung and finished drywall, and more.
After taking a short sabbatical, however, I’m back to working full-time so I’ve hired an architect and builder for this project and I will not be so hands-on with this construction. My efforts will go toward documenting the process.
What are my future plans?
The goal is to be able to move into the new house by fall but timing is very unpredictable in the building industry due to permit delays (due to county folks working from home) and from material supply-chain delays. My building permit application was submitted in January 2021 with no word almost four months later. In a pre-Covid year I would have had my permit 2 months ago. My goal is to post here at least once per week until construction starts and then to also publish progress videos on my YouTube channel once or twice per week.
I’m happy to answer questions. Please submit them to comments, below!
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