A Low Impact Woodland Home

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Meet Simon, Jasmine, Cosmo and Elfie. They look a little tall to be Hobbits, right? This Welsh family found a unique solution to the high-cost of housing while also indulging their desire to live closer to nature by building a small eco-home into a hillside. It took them a few months, a few thousand dollars, and a tolerance of mud and slugs.

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Often when we feature incredible spaces created by parents, one or both of them turn out to be trained as architects or designers, but dad, Simon Dale, is just a regular guy. This kind of building is accessible to anyone. My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self belief and perseverence and a mate or two to give a lift now and again.

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Some of the eco features include:


  • a skylight to let in natural light

  • solar panels to fuel lights and electronics like a cd player and computer

  • a refrigerator cooled by air coming underground through the foundation

  • water supplied by gravity from a nearby spring

  • collection of roof water for use in the garden

  • a compost toilet



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See more photos and read more about the house and the building process at Simon Dale's website. What's next for this family? They're participants in the Lammas project - along with eight other families, they'll be swinging their hammers again to create Wales' first self-built eco-village.

Photos: A Low Impact Woodland Home

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Family, Healthy Living

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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