Yurts, igloos and treehouses — hardly serious options for today’s homeowner, or are they? These so-called alternative dwellings have been around for centuries plus they are eco-friendly and ideal for those on a tight budget.
Forget dry wall - ice, adobe, cob and rammed earth are true environmentally friendly building materials and incredibly it’s possible to find serious guide books offering advice and tips for building everything from a traditional Mongolian yurt to a cosy underground cavern or a home high in the branches.
AbeBooks has compiled a list of the top 10 guides to building an alternative dwelling.
1. Yurts: Living in the Round
by Becky Kemery
Yurts are cheap to build and energy efficient. If the neighbours are rowdy or the view becomes boring, pack up and move the whole house to somewhere else.
2. Building an Igloo
by Ulli Steltzer
Fully biodegradable and no carbon footprint, igloos are not just for Eskimos. Plenty of ice for cocktails but warm weather clothing is essential.
4. The $50 and Up Underground House Book
by Mike Oehler
Dig this book - cut down on heating costs with perfect insulation but the lawn is on your roof in this topsy-turvy dwelling. Views are some what limited.
8. Build with Adobe: Revised and Enlarged
by Marcia Southwick
Little more than a mixture of sand, clay and water — Adobe has been around for 4,000 years. Can you see dry wall being used in 6008?
9. Building with Cob: A Step-by-Step Guide
by Adam Weismann
Another ancient building material first used a thousand years ago, cob (that’s adobe with straw) can withstand fire and earthquakes. A cob wall can be up to a yard thick — makes hanging pictures easy!
10. The Rammed Earth House
by David Easton
Sand, gravel and clay is compressed and then dried to make a material that’s basically solid rock — probably been used for thousands of years.