Sunday, August 29, 2010

choosing the site

Let's go back to the beginning.... when we sold our house in September 2009 and started an intensive search for our acreage.  Truthfully the search had been going on for a few years already by my mls-obsessed husband.  The advantage of all his weekend and evening searching was that he was really educated about what was available, and was well aware how few acreages had been listed recently.  We spent eight months looking at listings online, and every chance we could, we would drive to another part of the valley with a stack of printouts and prices.  We hadn't spent this much drive time together in years, and we got to see parts of the valley we hadn't seen before.  Many thanks to our parents for watching the wee ones while we road tripped. The couple of times the four of us went it was less than fun.  Much less.

It felt like we looked at every acreage in our price range between Lumby and Osoyoos.  Those we could find, that is... we discovered that directions to rural properties are poorly marked and often inaccurate.  Many a wild goose chase was had.  Thanks to our realtor who answered some confused phone calls from us while driving around on dirt roads(dave goertz -

We seriously contemplated a twenty-eight acre parcel in Lavington for a while.  It was a great price, but it had a creek and we had doubts about managing the challenges that entailed.  In the end we found our 10 Acres for a much higher price than we thought we wanted to pay, but the bonus is we get a lake view and we are close to our family and work.  The land is thinned and has a large relatively level area at the top.  Oh yeah, and it has a southern exposure... which is critical to our building concept and surprisingly difficult to find.  So since this is a long-term investment for us, we decided to sacrifice on the house size to get the land we fell in love with.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


the happy couple
Snacking on the foundation walls...

Are we crazy?  Moving out to the country to keep chickens and grow veggies, with no furnace or air conditioning?  Sounds perfect to me...I'm Mika, and this blog is a record of my family's journey building a green home in the Okanagan.  You'll get to know us better as we go along, but for now here's a little bit about us...

I am a full-time mom, part-time designer and the chief researcher for our little project. My wonderful husband Greg, besides contracting our home, is a respected local mason (Remco Stucco and Stone),  and the proud daddy of our two lovely munchkins.   Little girl is 4, little boy is 2 and they can't wait to move out to "the forest"!  (That may have more to do with the promise of dogs and chickens than the house... but I'm not complaining...)

We have had this dream of a healthy sustainable home on some acreage for years.  Ask any of our friends or family... they've all heard about it.  Years of planning, and wishing, and moving around town into homes we had built in order to save up for the property we had always wanted.  We are so excited to finally be starting this project, and so I am recording this here for extended family and friends (and whoever else might be interested!) as well as to catalogue and record all of the wonderful trades and suppliers that help us along the way.

All that said, I suppose I should add a disclaimer that says that Greg and I are NOT experts at building green... just a couple of landowners who are muddling through our version of a sustainable house.  We are making our best efforts to keep the carbon footprint low, use as many local materials as possible, create a non-toxic environment, and require minimal energy resources to maintain when complete.  All this for a reasonable price, in a relatively short time frame... too much to ask?  We sure hope not....