We had never planned to build ourselves a large home, but after roughly calculating the square footage of our future home we are looking at about 1600 square feet of living space. Going from a 41ft sailboat, and then a 23ft travel trailer, this seems quite an excessive amount of space. Eben and I have both questioned our reasoning for all this space when we are perfectly happy living in a small travel trailer! But what it comes down to is that A) we love to host. We want to have a comfortable guest room and enough living space that guests will come and stay with us for extended periods of time without feeling like they are in our way. And B) we are building this home ourselves, so outside of raw materials, a little extra space will not amount to a huge $ difference in the long run.
The home we are going to be building is planned to be a beautiful conglomeration of a few different ideas, or so we hope it turns out beautiful! It is hard to explain, so bear with me.
Our first level will be made up of a 40ft shipping container which will run along the back of the house, with a semi-circular wall jutting out from the seacan, spanning it from tip to tip. On this lower level we plan to have two bedrooms (our master and the girls room), a bathroom, a utility room (for batteries and such running our solar system and wood for the stove), and possibly a small play area. We have already purchased our shipping container and are just waiting until we have levelled the land to bring it in.
We had originally planned on doing the semi-circular wall out of packed tires, which would then be plastered. The idea, dumbed down, is that you take used car tires, pack them full of clay, stack them to the height of your wall, and then backfill/berm the outside of the wall to give it support and insulation. But after talking it over with Jair and Mel we realized that this method, although economical and very DIY, may not be our best option, given that we do not want to backfill the entire lower level of the house as we envision both the bedrooms having large windows or even private patios. This means we are back at the drawing board of what we would like this first level of our home made out of. Should we go cordwood? Should we build a regular home since Eben has framing experience? Should we go log? So many options when you are doing it yourself! We still have a lot of research to do on this subject and have not committed to anything yet.