Building codes for new home construction can be as thick as a dictionary. Getting a loan for a home is a painful experience.
Solution? Bypass both like Derek Diedricksen by going small. FairCompanies.com, a website community that provides access to tools about sustainable culture, calls Diedricksen a micro builder. Diedricksen calls himself "bizarre-chitect or lark-chitect." FairCompanies reports:
"There's almost this whole outlaw aspect of it. I've kind of been a little anti-authoritarian most of my life playing in punk bands and what-not and a lot of the housing codes and rules to me, while some of them make good sense, a lot of them are just ridiculous and very antiquated.”
Diedricksen boasts five micro-buildings on his property, to which many building codes don't apply, that he constructed on a "micro-budget":
His Gottagiddaway a.k.a. “$100 homeless hut” was built for about that (or perhaps as high as $110). His 32-square-foot micro-office [...] was built for $80 from barn sale/ barn demo materials.
His materials are salvaged from old buildings, lumber mills, recycyling and the dump. His windows are made from old office water coolers, soda bottles, pickle jars and even a washing machine window (a side from the same machine has become one if his drop-down tables).
One discarded cedar lounge chair inspired an entire cabin. The Hickshaw- a “rickshaw for hicks”- has the same dimensions as the chair (2 1/2 feet wide by 6 1/2 feet deep) and can be rolled by one person.
None of Diedricksen’s backyard creations are lived in full-time though he has camped in at least a few of them, uses them for a bit of shedworking for writing his blog and reserves the right to send unwanted guests in that direction.
Watch Diedricksen's story:
Diedricksen said he grew up in a modest-sized home and hopes that his mini-homes will hope show people that extreme downsizing is doable:
“Why waste most of your life paying for a house you're never going to be in because you're out working 80 hours a week to afford it, but you're working so many extra hours for this huge house that you need to heat, you need to furnish, you need to maintain, you need to clean. The bigger the house, the more of your short and finite life you're using up to make those ends meet when you don't really need a house like that.”
This 16-year-old did the same thing, building a small mobile home -- no mortgage attached:
Diedricken not only builds small spaces for clients but he self-published a book Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts, which has sold 3,000 copies and is anticipating a second edition next year. He is apart of the Small Home Movement.