On 15 Jun 2008
I've already found the land!
5 acres looking over the Pacific from the Santa Monica mountains, with a peek-a-boo view of the San Fernando valley. I'm just waiting for the price to come down, to make it affordable to build from scratch.
No easement, but I'd need to put in 500 ft of road. Dirt will do.
As for the house itself.. I'm really intrigued by strawbale.
L.A county recently rescinded its stupid 'alternative building materials' prohibition, so it would finally be possible to build with strawbale, at about the same time and cost of 'conventional' materials.
It would be small - under 2000 sq ft. Although with a well-designed living area (kitchen, living room, dining room) and small bedrooms (3) it might well end up around 1600 sq ft - its only for 2 humans, after all. Lots of outside space, like covered patios, to sit under and use as outside rooms.
Small efficient bathrooms (only need 2 at the most) .
Floors of bamboo (cork in the kitchen), counters made from cycled glass and concrete, and white goods of appropriate size for 2 people and with good energy star ratings. Skylights throughout to let in natural light and reduce costs.
And the full monty of 'green' - totally solar powered, maybe with a small windmill in the yard for external energy needs.
There'll have to be a septic tank, but I do believe that some companies have found beneficial bateria that will do a lot of the work in breaking down human waste.
I don't know if there's any water on the plot, but if it did, I'd have a well built.
In any case, there would be a seperate 'grey water' tank for irrigation etc....
No lawn - or maybe just enough to lie down on, or wiggle your toes in - all the rest would be planted with native coastal plants irrigated with a drip feed system and heavily mulched.
I'd also have a decent sized vegetable plot, plus maybe some fruiting trees on the parts of the lot not set aside as house-and-yard. I'd be interested in either growing walnuts (an old staple here in L.A before the increase of population) or almonds
No need for a pool or hot-tub, as the ocean is just down the hill.
And all within a 10-mile commuting distance to Santa Monica.
Now, if only I had the faintest idea of how hard it is to build from scratch... ;-)