Six people in a four bedroom share house can be pretty full on living for those of us from small families. It was with this in mind that Sarah and I began considering how we were going to last the next couple of years before I finished uni.
A couple of options existed;
- seek out a house to buy, somewhere in Bendigo (where we were living at the time).
- find a block of land somewhere with thoughts of maybe someday producing a three dimensional dwelling.
After some consideration, we decided a slab of earth may be the way to go. The plan was that in the meantime, we would be able to ‘escape’ to ‘the block’ during breaks and have our own little place.
The big question was where? Somewhere within commuting distance to Melbourne was required, along with proximity to a regional centre and enough buffer space so we did not have to worry about noise and neighbours.
We searched around Victoria and eventually found a wonderful little spot around 25km SW of Ballarat. 5 acres of natural bushland with one side adjoining State Forest, in an area with enough rainfall to be self sufficient.
With the foundation in place, the next step was to decide what to create. Time to call in friends and relatives! (a catchcry that is to be repeated frequently). Sarah’s family friend, Architect, Ross Henry, came and visited the site and spent time chatting with us about possibilities. We also began reading and talking with people (another continuous theme).
The decision was made: start with a shed/studio and follow in the future with a possible house. We still do not need to ‘settle down’ anywhere special a this stage, so having a small base to come back to if we decide to live in the Sahara for a year, would be wonderful.
Ross came up with plans for a 7 x 5m shed based on one that Sarah’s family had built some years previous. We also asked Ross to add on an extra 5m metre carport area making the roofline 12 x 5m in total. Our list of requirements for the shed were minimal:
- passive solar design,
- somewhere to use as a creative space in the future,
- an area to use for power generation (solar panels to be fitted to the roof and a battery area to be housed as part of the carport space)
The plans were simple (designed for first time owner builders), “post and beam(Method of construction using vertical members [posts] to support load-bearing horizontal members [beams].)”:http://www.claimrep.com/constTerms_P.htm#Post, mud brick. We chose to go with mud brick after much thought and research. It provides all that we require for know and can be clad in the future to offer better insulation if needed.
Away we go…!