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One Woman’s Path to Freedom with an Earthbag Tiny House

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This earthbag tiny house story is a guest post by Atulya K. Bingham – share yours

My name is Atulya K. Bingham. I never thought I’d build my own house. I hadn’t so much as considered it. As far as I knew, I didn’t particularly even like building. I’d never so much as banged in a nail.

Then one night it became clear. As a rain-laden gust of wind lifted the back of my tent clean off the platform, I realized I was going to have to make a home. If I didn’t, either I’d be washed off the Turkish mountain I was camped on, or dragged back to the dreaded day job.

As pools of water collected at the bottom of my sleeping bag, the decision was forged. A friend of mine a few hours along the Turkish coast had built some earthbag bungalows. He’d said the process was straight forward.

There were only two problems: I had just $6000 left in my account, and a month before deep winter set in. After a couple of days of online research, I took a deep breath and embarked on what became the earthbag adventure. It was an endeavor that by its completion had taken me to places I had no idea I could go, and brought in all kinds of on-lookers, doubters, helpers, and life-savers.

Today I’m sitting inside that beautiful handcrafted home. It’s small, 6 meters diameter, but it feels like a palace to me. Not one drop of cement was used and it is 100 percent solar powered. A house isn’t simply a shelter. It’s a life. My home has enabled me to leave behind a world of mind-numbing work and unhealthy lifestyle choices and has given me the chance to live my dream of becoming an author. Please enjoy, learn more and re-share below. Thank you!

One Woman’s Path to Freedom with an Earthbag Tiny House


Images © The Mud Home

mud-house-002 mud-house-003 mud-house-004 mud-house-005 mud-house-006 mud-house-007 mud-house-008

Images © The Mud Home

For anyone interested in earthbag building, you can pick up a free earthbag building PDF from my site www.themudhome.com. I’ve also written my story (Mud Ball) in the hope it inspires others. Honestly, if I can build a house, who can’t?

Our big thanks to Atulya for sharing with us!

You can send this tiny house story to your friends for free using the social media and e-mail share buttons below. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this tiny house story you’ll absolutely LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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Andrea is a contributor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the Tiny House Newsletter! She has a passion for sharing tiny and small house stories and introducing you to new people, ideas, and homes.
{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Bill Brickus
    July 28, 2015, 5:53 pm

    Beautiful. That’s the style I want to build. How hard was it to get your plans stamped? If that’s even a requirement where you live. That’s my problem now. I have property and building plans. I plan on building in Arizona. But I can’t find a reasonably priced structural engineer. The red tape seems to be tougher than the actual build, for me. I already bought enough bags for structure that I want to build. Your story is great. Thank you for sharing. And I hope you are successful on your dreams of writing. I write too, but I write music and I also want to build a studio out of earthbags. 2 tiny, off grid structures. Thanks again.

    • Kandy
      July 28, 2015, 10:26 pm

      I am interested in knowing what county in Az with which you are having permit issues. Did you have an owner builder opt-out option available and decide not to use it? I will be building in Cochise County and using the opt-out option so I find your experience concerning. I appreciate the info.

      • Bill Brickus
        July 28, 2015, 11:47 pm

        I have a property in Cochise county and one in Mohave county. I was planning on building in Mohave county. And I am doing the owner builder option. My property in Cochise county is outside of Pearce. I have been looking into both though, which ever is the most painless. I was told that I have to have engineer stamped plans because earthbags are considered an alternative building method. I found that even handmade adobe block needs to be third party inspected. If I can build in Cochise county, that’s my preference.

        • Kandy
          July 29, 2015, 12:18 am

          Pleased to meet you, neighbor (if you build in Cochise). I will be just outside of the town of McNeal. I was considering earth bag as an infill insulation and a natural mortar. Just about the same thing but maybe it is how you word it. If I cant do natural mortar on the outside, maybe I can still use it on the inside. I love this look too.
          Good luck with your adventure.

        • John Brennan
          July 29, 2015, 12:34 am

          It is interesting that AZ, with all of the adobe, has issues with earthbag houses. Go figure.

        • Bevin
          August 1, 2015, 6:57 pm

          Did you try contacting Precision Structural Engineering? I’m planning on building an earthbag home soon, and was told this was the best company to get my plans stamped by, but I haven’t contacted them yet. I’m pretty sure practically every county in the US requires plans for earthbag buildings to be stamped by an engineer, but I’m kind of worried about how much this might cost. Would love to hear more about your experiences with this process as I will likely be going through it soon, as well 🙂

      • February 16, 2016, 10:31 pm

        Bill: I think we used to talk back when I was on facebook [tiny house people]. I have a trailer parked in Cochise now.LOL South of Benson. This is just the first step. I think if not the standard THOW, then earthbag is the the way to go. I like the efficiency of them plus the earth around the living space. The only downside is that it is not mobile. Did you ever get relocated out here as you wanted? If you click my name it will take you to limited videos of what I am doing and you can reach me there also. I know some areas of AZ are less strict than others.

    • July 29, 2015, 2:05 pm

      I’m in Turkey so legal procedures are different and generally a lot more fluid.

  • Cande
    July 28, 2015, 7:37 pm

    You should be so proud – love it

  • Canyon Man
    July 28, 2015, 7:45 pm

    Years ago I was building homes. I was approached by a family who wanted help building a large solar home in Arizona. I was leery of doing something of the magnitude, over 5000 square feet, when the man told me the house was designed by a university.
    I would suggest to people wanting to do something out of the box, contact, universities, colleges or even high schools about design issues. Some classes are happy to find something innovative for their area to work on.
    If they all turn you down ask why. Maybe your plan is not feasible. If you are open to suggestions they might help you find solutions to the problems with your original design or thought.

    • Deadrock
      July 28, 2015, 8:05 pm

      That’s a great idea about getting help from students looking for a building project, CM – thanks for that!

  • John Brennan
    July 28, 2015, 9:09 pm

    That is absolutely beautiful! Very well done. I love the artistic flare with the designs on the wall and on the roof. Very cool.

    Cheers, John.

    • July 29, 2015, 2:42 pm

      Thanks John, it’s a continual work in progress. I can’t leave it alone;)

  • Marsha Cowan
    July 28, 2015, 11:02 pm

    Wow! This is one of the most artistic homes I have ever seen. So beautiful and still practical. Well done!

  • Bev
    July 28, 2015, 11:15 pm

    You are an artist! Love your home. Congratulations. I am going to your site now. 🙂

  • Patty
    July 29, 2015, 1:17 am

    I love the artistry of your home. It looks so calming and cool.

  • Nanny M
    July 29, 2015, 8:43 am

    So charming!

  • July 29, 2015, 10:11 am

    Oh my! What a lovely, serene home. May you enjoy your writing career within it. And congratulations to a “non-builder” who built such a magnificent structure.

  • Susanne
    July 29, 2015, 11:02 am

    Love it! Amazing view ! Appears that she cooks outside?
    Didn’t she say winter was coming ? 🙁

    • Sparrow
      July 29, 2015, 2:06 pm

      Yeah, and I’d be worried about heavy snow on that flat roof.

    • July 29, 2015, 2:47 pm

      Actually, I became something of an outdoors nut after camping up there alone for 8 months. My outdoor kitchen and bathroom keep me on my toes as far as communing with nature goes. Yes we have hurricanes, yes we have floods, and yes it’s rather exciting trying to cook in that!

  • Karlee
    August 11, 2015, 1:52 pm

    Why a flat roof instead of doing a dome structure? I am in the thinking/planning stages of our earthbag home now. The roof is the most daunting part. It seems the domes are easy to do and less costly than a flat, wood roof. Your take on that? Do you think one can be done for under $3,000?

  • Cordelia
    August 11, 2015, 1:59 pm

    Why did you decide on a flat roof instead of a doing a dome home with the bags? I am in the planning/thinking stage of things right now, and the most daunting task seems to be the roof. I just finished reading your book straight through last night, after finishing up all of your blog posts. You are my heroine. I feel so able.

  • February 16, 2016, 10:34 pm

    That is a beautiful home. Glad you were able to build. Perfect place to write.

  • Gabrielle Charest
    February 17, 2016, 3:11 am

    Beautiful job! Your artistry makes the difference between a shelter and a home. I hope all of your dreams come true.

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