The Off-Grid Cottage: Foundation and Framing

Our Solar Home: Foundation and Framing

Once Joe and I had somewhat of a road cleared and decided where our home would be located, our next step was pouring footers for the pier and beam foundation and framing the house. We contemplated doing the work ourselves, but with only the weekends to work on it, we decided to have someone frame the home for us (we did everything else on the home ourselves). Our carpenter completed the foundation and framing much faster than we could have; this left me time to determine what features would be inside-such as choosing flooring, ordering ship lap, kitchen cabinetry, bathroom design, lighting, etc. and Joe time to plan the solar carport, solar panels, power and water building, decide on the water harvesting installation, among many other decisions.

Pier and beam foundation for our Solar Cottage

Pier and beam foundation for our Solar Cottage

Pier and Beam foundation-footers being poured

Pier and Beam foundation-footers being poured

Very few people, if any, live off the grid (year around) in the Texas Hill Country. Joe was designing a system so we could do just that.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, there are a lot more things to consider when living off the grid: orientation of the solar panels, where to place the battery storage, where to place the rainwater tank, how to plumb for grey water, where to place the propane tank, how could we best utilize the prevailing winds and views, what type of appliances would work best, how much electricity would we need to generate. All these decisions and more took a lot of time, research, and serious lifestyle considerations.

It was fun and exciting visiting the site each day. We did help with some of the building during this time, such as installing the two large double doors off the back porch, the battens on the exterior of the house, the three large cedar beams crossing the kitchen/living room space, and eventually the 8’ wide stairs off the back porch.

Walls going up

Walls going up

Hill Country Views!

Hill Country Views!

When designing an off-grid home, the layout of the home is very important. Air flow/heating circulation throughout the house is very important because of system requirements for heating and cooling. Window placement is another important consideration for optimal lighting, maximizing the breeze when the windows are open, enjoying the beautiful views from all directions, and creating a feeling of spaciousness and openness in a small area.

Height adds a feeling of more space!

Height adds a feeling of more space!

Board and batten soon to go on the solar cottage!

Board and batten soon to go on the solar cottage!

Two double doors add more light to the interior and makes the porch more accessible when entertaining.

Two double doors add more light to the interior and makes the porch more accessible when entertaining.

We eventually have two sets of stairs. Joe adds the larger 8’ wide set after the house is complete (just one of the project we decided to do ourselves).

We eventually have two sets of stairs. Joe adds the larger 8’ wide set after the house is complete (just one of the project we decided to do ourselves).

Seeing the walls go up on our off-grid home was one of many highlights for us! Please visit our YouTube Channel here to see how it looks today! CLICK HERE!

Greetings from the Texas Hill Country!

Karin