Hello and welcome back to my MBAWYAO Series! For those who are just tuning in, this is a series where I go through tings that are important to me and I MANIFEST them. However, I take the word “manifest” with a huge pinch of salt. In fact, I’m not using the word “manifest” in its strict meaning (“the ability to convert the energy of our thoughts into a newly materialized form”). I’m using it as a way to find out what I want out of life.You can read episodes one and two here.
Today I want to focus on my ideal home. This is something that’s always been very dear to me. I love decorating and making a space mine. When I was a kid, while all my girlfriends were planning their dream wedding, I was planning my dream house. And in this particular case, I mean literally planning: I would draw the actual blueprint of each room, measure the layout, decorate the walls with pictures and plants and imagine the colours of the walls and what kind of furniture would go where. As a teenager, I’ve moved my room around countless times (as far as the original configuration allowed me). Every time I am in someone else’s house, I always imagine what kind of makeover I would give it to bring the place more in line with my own taste.
I’ve lived in a lot of houses. Eleven, to be precise (twelve if we count the van). All these houses I’ve been renting (except the van), and if you are anything like me you’ll be familiar with the frustration of not being able to move things around the way you’d want to, or repaint the walls, get a nicer sofa, and just in general not being able to find a way around all those obligations that your contract entails. Of course, none of the above applies once you get our own house. Back in London, buying a house was one of our main priorities. Unfortunately, unless you already own a country, good luck trying to approach the merciless world of real estate.
Since we move to New Zealand our priorities shifted, and recently we have preferred to invest our money in travelling and experiences rather than a mortgage. But the idea of building my own house, something I’ve always wanted to do, never really left my mind, and for a long time now I’ve been looking into tiny living. When I discovered the movement I thought that was exactly what I wanted: it’s affordable, sustainable, adaptable, and from all those YouTube videos it looks like anybody can do it. I’ve possibly watched every single tiny house video out there and I am proud to say that I now know everything from timber structures to energy-efficient fridges, from grey water systems to fibreglass insulation. However, I’ve recently decided that a tiny house in its strict sense is probably not going to work for me (and for Giac and his 316519492 musical instruments). I have been downsizing for who knows how long, and I finally got to a point where I’m satisfied with my possessions. However, I don’t think I’d be able to fit all my belonging into a tiny house, and for the time being I’m not ready to downsize even more.
So the first requirement for my dream house is that is has to be slightly bigger than an average tiny house. It also has to be:
- Energy efficient - I’m not sure I’m ok with the idea of being 100% off grid (my main issue is the compostable toilet), but I definitely want the option to be there;
- Self sufficient - I’m talking solar panels, wood burner, veggie garden etc;
- Made of reclaimed materials - Ideally, I don’t want to buy anything new in the making of my house. I’d love it if everything came from op shops, friends and family, or the side of the road;
- Cosy - Not tiny, but it has to have that homey feeling. I’m thinking lots of wood, lots of books, lots of blankets and cushions;
- Big enough for me to have my own space - I currently have my own corner and I’m looking forward to having a whole room for myself where I can make art, pile up my books, hang my own posters, write and do my own shit;
- Not cluttered - I don’t want any shit I don’t need in it, and I also want to love everything my house contains;
- Easy to clean - As in, no stairs. I hate cleaning stairs.
I also have a colour scheme in mind: I really like white wooden cupboards with dark wood tops for the bathroom, lighter wood in the rest of the house, probably white tiles and wooden countertops in the kitchen. I also envision lots of plants (this entails that I also miraculously lear how to keep plants alive): I love the contrast between the forest green of hanging plants and the dark wood of the furniture.
My final request is to have a window above the sink. This is probably the only thing that has never changed in 30 years of me planning my dream house. I want to be able to do the dishes with a view.
I came to the conclusion that an Earthship would be my best bet. According to the guy who came up with the design, Earthships are actually the top solution in terms of sustainability - plus let’s be real, they are freaking stunning. (And mainly single-story.) They are primarily built in the Southwest of the U.S., so I guess you’ll now where to find me.