CA artist-farmer builds $25K quiet home to savor simple life

WooNeeding a break from roommates and social work environments, L Gilbert wanted an affordable home for one in pricey California. Equally eager for construction experience, L began to build a tiny wooden home using salvaged lumber (deck, outdoor shower, furniture, doors), local cedar siding, and birch plywood interior.

After 6 months of intense work, the home was finished, costing $25,000 in materials: the savings on salvaged material were offset with splurges like a new trailer, solar panels, an efficient -burning stove, and a -end compost toilet.

To find an affordable place to park the new home, L began writing to farms in Northern California asking if someone might be interested in exchanging parking on premises for rent and some farm work. After months of waiting, a Christmas tree farm that had been ravaged by a megafire responded saying they had a spot and would only charge $300 per month rent as well as some help selling trees during the holiday season.

The parking sits surrounded by 50 acres of farm (40 acres of which were burnt by the 2018 megafire) and serves as an ideal location to retreat into quiet. “I think it’s a really interesting decision to decide to live alone,” explains L. “But for me, it was a long-term desire, it’s where I thrive the most, is to live alone. I love being around people, but I think having a space that’s my own is really important. I do a lot of work in communities, and being alone is essential to recharging. I think that’s also why I want to build this space so I would have the energy to keep doing the work that I want to do with people.”

the haze of at least one fire and now living on a property where 50,000 trees burnt in the 2018 fire, L is hyper aware of the increasing frequency of megafires in the and worries about the next one.

“I’ll always live in fear here that my home will burn down. I know that if I’m going to stay I have to develop a different relationship with fire. I’ve really been looking to indigenous leaders because they know better than any of us that fire has always been a part of this land. It actually rejuvenates the soil, it gives new life to native species. The difference is we’ve mismanaged the forests for hundreds of years. What happens then are these mega- fires, and it’s terrifying, so part of me wants to leave. I just want to take my house and leave but when I really think about where I want to be it’s here. I’m trying to figure out what that can look like in this type of climate.”

L’s Instagram @_l_gilbert_
Woodworker Dav Bell @manzanitachange_

On *faircompanies:


  1. “Fossil fuels” what a lefty mind fuck so that you’re indoctrinated into spending money on one source instead of the other. “I use solar so I’m saving the environment!” Yea you’re reflecting MORE heat back into the atmosphere so you’re really solving “”climate change”” alright huh?

    Don’t you sheep get that it’s just a profit game to sell you the “next best thing”? Do you think that little you not using a tank of gas is going to save the world? People make things more expensive and harder on themselves just to virtue signal that they’re… well, besides being a sheep, that they’re being “responsible” sitting back saying Diver City is great and have never even experienced it. Want to do something virtuous, go solve Detroit’s gang problem. I’ll even tell you how, it’s birth control.

    • @chris Go stand in a panels reflection for a day then. And if that were true, those panels would cause global cooling now wouldn’t they? But what has happened since their inception? They absorb light not heat. If it was heat that powered them they wouldn’t work in cold climates. If it was heat that powered them they’d be twice as efficient on fire or in the desert than on a mountain now wouldn’t they? Your argument works in theory.

  2. California, where you have to live in a mobile home on someone else’s property and hope it doesn’t burn down. What a utopia.

  3. I had an outdoor shower with solar heated hot water. All I did was took an old 30 gallon tank and painted it flat black ,set it up on a skid
    Not good in the winter in Indiana. But works perfectly spring and summer,fall.

  4. Amazing home built!🎉
    We truly need so few items but take all luxuries for granted!
    Beautiful tables and all reclaimed woods!
    Imagine How much materials we treat as ‘waste’ everyday!😵‍💫

  5. I really appreciate the simple, off grid, small home type of lifestyle but can’t get over the size XL smartphone in this person’s pocket. Kinda kills it.

  6. Interesting that her closet is open, in the bathroom. In the Middle Ages, clothes were hung in the room with the human waste chute. The room was called the garderobe, meaning “protect clothes” because the ammonia fumes from the chute were supposed to protect clothing from moths.

  7. Completely off fossil fuels? Does she have any idea how lithium batteries are made? How much land is ripped up and ruined by fossil fuel-using equipment during the mining of this necessary ore? How much fuel is used driving and/or shipping to a plant to refine that ore? How much fuel is used to produce the battery? How much fuel is used to get the battery to the store that sells it? But not to worry. They don’t mine lithium in Western countries; only countries occupied by brown people, so you don’t have to think about it.
    Can you tell how sick I am of hearing how “clean” their energy is? And don’t get me started on the wind turbines! People! Wake up! Those companies do not care about the damage they are doing to people living where this mineral is mined! They don’t want you to think about just how that battery shows up on the shelf in that store. They want you to believe it just grew there like a carrot. “Nothing to see here, folks.”

  8. In my country they have a saying” Better off alone than in bad company”
    Besides, it’s complete freedom not having someone constantly yapping at you or complaining.
    I cherish my loner lifestyle. It’s drama free

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