The chaos of modern life can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe that's why so many of us feel this pull to minimize our lives and break out of the rat race. These next five homes-from hobbit holes to earthships-really get my creative wheels turning!
1. Kristie Wolfe's "Hobbit Inn"
"Little boxes on the hillside..." pops into my mind every time I pass a new housing development. I don't foresee us living in the suburbs at any point, BUT I could see us living IN the hillside-like literally, beneath the ground.
I found Kristie Wolfe through a friend who also loves the idea of alternative build styles. Wolfe created this hobbit hole in Washington and rents it out on HERE on Airbnb. It's built into the mountainside near the Colombia River Gorge and is complete with a cozy fireplace.
Wolfe also built a treehouse in Hawaii that is just as dreamy. She bought the land for $8,000 and completed the build for $3,000...that's insane. It's also complete with a hanging bed made from a trampoline. Now that's a DIY hack I'll have to try!
2. Foster Huntington's "Cinder Cone"
Aaaand cue the jaws dropping to the floor.
This stunning build is also right off the Columbia River Gorge, but on the Oregon side.
(Take this as a sign to visit the northwest, you won't regret it!)
Huntington was actually a vanlifer as well for three years as a social media consultant for Patagonia before deciding to build this one-of-a-kind treehouse. He uses the building on the left as his workspace and calls it "The Studio." The taller treehouse is "The Octagon," which he uses as his bedroom.
Huntington built an outdoor wood-fueled hot tub to enjoy and hired contractors to build a skate bowl at the base of the property.
Huntington wrote The Cinder Cone and Home is Where You Park It...and though I promote minimalism, I think these two books would be awesome coffee table reads for any off-grid enthusiast.
3. Zac & Katie's "Den For Our Cubs"
Zac and Katie Ruiz along with their two boys Fox and Grizzly built a tent, or square yurt, on a riverfront property in New Mexico.
The build took two weeks and cost $4500. Zac built the interior himself with salvaged barn wood. His full-time job is making creative lighting for their company MOONSTONEFOX, so their lighting is rad. You'll want to check out their blog HERE for some serious tiny home decor inspiration.
My favorite part of the whole build is the creative way they decided to use polycarbonate sheets and French doors to let natural light into their home. Seriously, I've never wanted to live in a tent so badly in all my life.
4. Lisa Starr's "Dome Home"
Drum medicine woman, Lisa Starr, built an earthbag dome home in Joshua Tree in accordance with Iranian architect Nader Khalili's superadobe methology. Khalili believed that every man and woman has a right to build a shelter for themselves and their communities.
This 1360 square foot home has 18 inch thick walls made of 15 percent cement and 85 percent earth. Starr says she sourced 75 percent of the materials from her own land. The dome home keeps cool in the summers and warm in the winters.
I love the endless design possibilities that dome homes provide. They use such simple construction and are extremely sustainable.
The way Starr created a multi-pod design with distinct areas to live, sleep and cook is also super intriguing. The sleeping pods are designed to inspire visitors to enjoy the outdoors, which is easy to do with communal firepits and an outdoor kitchen!
You can even book a room HERE on Airbnb!
5. Mike Reynolds' "Earthships"
When we were in Taos, New Mexico, several people told us to check out Earthships. This autonomous house company is the creation of Mike Reynolds.
These are off-grid solar heated buildings that recycle water and use upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires. If there is one thing we are not short of, it's used tires. THIS is an incredible way to recycle them.
There are about 2,000 homes worldwide that range in price from $25,000 to $1.5 million.
My favorite part about this company, besides the incredible homes they help create, is that they organize sustainable development and poverty relief projects all over the world. They take action on teaching others eco-construction techniques and how to create self-sufficient housing and off-grid systems.
Earthships offers a 3-week internship program in Taos as well as a youth academy for 16-20 year olds. The youth academy is July 2-20 and you can apply HERE.
Unconventional homes make me feel excited like a kid anticipating to build a house out of Legos!
There are endless ways you can create a home to be uniquely your own.
What are some of your favorite off-grid homes? We would love to hear your thoughts!
About the author
Ashley Alyssa Fite is a digital nomad, spokesmodel and full-time vanlifer. Her Fite Travels van conversion was featured on HGTV's Tiny House, Big Living. She is a social media influencer who has a passion to help others dream BIG.