It's been a long time in the planning stages; for the past 13 years, we've been looking at ways to build the most affordable housing possible, due to that ever present spoke in the wheel, finances.
See more here about construction costs.
The property we own (or rather, co-own along with the bank) is 25 acres of extremely rugged terrain.
Most of it is sheer granite cliffs, thick brush and lots of Douglas Fir trees. In the past, it was logged; the first time around 1930, and then again in the '70's. The first logging show was totally unconcerned with any ecological damage, and ran skid lines up vertically to drag the logs down. This created a lot of places for landslides to form, and rocks to roll down.
The second time it was logged, there seems to be a little more thought put into it, and the skidder trails are switch backs, and tend to follow contours a lot better. This prevents the kind of damage that the first pillaging created.
The ground itself, especially in the narrow ribbon of fairly flat land at the base of the huge rock outcropping is left by glaciers; mixed boulders ranging in size from pebbles to the size and weight of a small elephant.
Intermixed with this is a variety of different kinds of soil; some is clay like, and compacts into the consistency of cement. Other areas have more of a sand like appearance, probably wherever there was a stream.
The property is sloped to the south; although not a consideration at the time the land was purchased, this is the perfect place to build a passive solar home.
Several years ago, on June 21, the summer solstice, right at noon, I placed two stakes to show the direction of the sun. This has guided the plans for the house, because to have a good shot at heating your home using passive solar, it has to be aimed in the right direction so it gets the most heat possible hitting the floor of the house to warm it.
The plans and designs for our house have evolved from scratchy notes on scraps of paper, to a more professional plan using a CAD program which has been turned into PDF files.
Sometimes, more complex isn't better. Ideas flow best when it's all allowed to just evolve organically, and there is a lot to be said for more research. I think 13 years is long enough to think about it; now it's time to act.
As it happens, we never built in that site. It was too far from existing electricity and septic systems. So, the decision was made to build our tiny house lower down on the hillside; right where the ugly old mobile home was sitting.
There's nothing wrong with this site, except for the lack of full sun, that is filtered by the large trees to the south, so solar exposure (for solar power, and passive solar) is not possible here.