Series: 13 Acres and the Internet
to the Independence Journal's semi-hidden "Exurban Living section.
The whole tehing (UrbanSurvival, IJ, and Peoplenomics) is about we call exurban living. And just what's that, you might ask? Exurban living is getting along at the edge of the Western resource-intensive lifestyle, while always realizing that the veneer of civility is only as robust our our nation's supply lines of merchandise and oil, and that at any time, any number of threats could push us who have made plans to survive into a rural lifestyle.
This site is not about "bugging out" and setting up a cache in the outback of Idaho (although we admit that's not a bad idea). It's about how anyone, regardless of their living situation, can choose to become more likely to survive than most when whatever comes next shows up in person. If we had postulated a year ago that 300,000 people would be thrust back into the stone age, as forecast by the web bot project over at www.halfpasthuman.com, we would have been labeled nut jobs for sure. But now that it has actually happened, maybe the preparedness people and back to nature types have something going for them after all, eh?
By the same token, when the recent flooding of new Orleans occurred, the inability of government to take care of everyone became abundantly clear. Thus, our philosophy of preparedness and lowered consumption.
Curiously, it's no more expensive to live responsibly than it is to live extravagantly. yes, it does take time to make your own breads and noodles, to tend your own garden, but that's good "head time" - a chance to honor tradition, savor aromas, and to weave our own textures out of the fibers life puts before us.
Elaine and George come to this project from diverse backgrounds: Elaine from the "wilds" of Arizona and George from the central city in Seattle. Each has its strong points.
Over time, we have chronicled some of the development process here in a subdirectory off the UrbanSurvival.com web site.
A fair number of people have asked us "Would you do it differently next time around? Well, if there is one, I would sure order a copy of THE $50 & UP UNDERGROUND HOUSE BOOK from Amazon since we live in East Texas which gets what in the summertime? It's said folks from East Texas end up in hell 'cause it's a break from the heat, LOL. And the humidity is lower there, to boot.
I would have put in more solar earlier and gotten the well done quicker, too, but then again, there's only so many days around the planet, huh?
We've also gotten our heads as far from conventional thinking as we can in terms of how we make things. We don't hire out much of anything. If we can't do it now, we will soon enough be experts at it. Oh, sure, mistakes are bound to be made along the way, but we've made a fair amount of porogress toward building a house that looks pretty much nondescript on the outside, yet when you walk in has instant "Wow!" factor.
So much so, that the main concept/vision of the house is turning into a sort of Dinsley World lite experienece. The rooms in the house are each being developed like 'movie sets' with one (or more) camera positions per room. In the entrance from the screen porch we have our take-off on Trader Vic's decor. The kitchen is a blend of the look and feel of PF Chang's and Behihana. The formal;; dining is more towward Chinese with art ($40 on eBay) being flown in from a gallery nears the Forbidden City in yep, China.
The San francisco room will follow - entered via a workable/passable model of a San Frnacisco Street car. The Egyptian m(guest) room is more or less done, and the guest bathroom (Mediterranian Coast is workable, but could stand a re-do as our vision has evolved.
Big challenges lay ahead in the master bath and master bedroom, one to be high culutre Europe (with a view of the woods) and the bedroom will be (if George can sell the idea) the diorama of a Caribbean beach hoiuse circa 1935 with all the colors, lighting and louvers of the time.
If you need a hand kicking your head oiut of your *ss, try a visit through the Modern History Gallery at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. You'll get a sense of how much fun it can be to mix museum dioramas into your own home. And now, thanks to the invention of the high-powered video projector (maybe you can 'borrow one' from the conference room for a weekend, eh?) even a simpltoin like George can project and roughly match paint to do pretty good work. Throw in a PowerPoint whiz and diorama builder like Rebecca Price (www.rebeccaprice.com) who translates George's wild phantasies into room entrance ideas like this one...and you get the idea how much creativity most people keep bottled up.
As much as possible, we're doing the house with recycled materials and it's a one-of-a-kind for sure. Every so often, Elaine looks at George with a remark like "Ya'll have fun, I'll just go outside and collect parking fees when you open this up for tours - which we won't, of course.
We'll answer as we can, but no promises. Much to do and we're inclined to create rather than spend a lot of time telling others how to reach out and touch their own potential to create massive cool home spaces.
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Site Philosophy: This site is designed to be a free (or low priced) clearing house for people like ourselves who believe in a lower impact lifestyle than the high energy consumption crazed world represented by television overdosed major cities. We believe in taking time for one another, time for reading, and time for thoughtfully reflecting on the beauty that nature surrounds us with.
Over time, we will be adding a small amount of advertising and we're also planning on adding discussion groups so that you can exchange information with others who are interested in what we view as a vital undertaking.
For now, this site is entirely supported by the generous folks who subscribe to our economics site www.peoplenomics.com and we hope soon, the radio stations that will carry daily UrbanSurvival Radio reports.