Guest Post by Michael Mckenna
Zen House… I often hear that term about my little houses; breathe out, open your eyes, feel that feeling…Peace, soft edges, captivating small views of an otherwise big picture, a house that fits the land, and you, and, ahhhhh, tells you, you are home.
Not modern, but not old-fashioned. I think my houses sum up what most of us are looking for: to be comfortable in our skin.
I am a great fan of Christopher Alexander and his book, Pattern Language.
He reminds us to think of the smallest detail: where to put the light switch, what is the most comfortable height for the kitchen counter, details that eventually make my houses as unique, as comfortable, and as “just right” as your favorite slippers.
Pictured is Josefina’s House, a minimalist Artist, who gathers inspiration from nature, and transforms it into large art forms for public places. She lives and makes art in a 600 square foot house.
I am a stone mason by trade, and I chose to build a Styrofoam core house, a house that is extremely well-insulated: its 4” thick insulation is rated at R7 per inch, so R28 on 4”. I plaster 2” of concrete over wire mesh on each side, making a sturdy, resilient house. With a coat of paint periodically, this house is virtually maintenance free. No CFC off gassing, quiet, draft free. I felt the huge energy savings over its lifetime would dwarf the energy used to make the Styrofoam.
The technology I am using was first developed in Italy 60 years ago and has stood the test of time.
Hand-fabricated from the hand-rubbed plaster to the custom-built cabinets, the house looks, and feels – and is – organic.
Thanks for reminding me about the bedroom, Carrie!
I also offer an easy-to-build kit for this house, for the adventurous plasterers!
The average kit price:
FOB Laredo, Texas is $25,000 USD.
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