Building our Hempcrete house
Hey, it’s Peter here. On our blog and social media channels we talk a lot about skateboarding, independent brands and small businesses we love and slow life in general but today, I would like to share with you some personal stuff.
A few years ago, we decided with my beloved Alice, that we want to buy land, somewhere in the nature, close to the mountains, quite cheaply (as we did not want to take mortgage for the next 30 years, which we knew we would both find pretty stressful). Well, we managed to save up some money, the family helped a bit and we started looking around. Unfortunately, everything we saw online was above our budget. Fortunately though, my good friends, Jacob and Magda, moved out from Cracow to the Lower Silesian village, and when we visited them for the first time we completely fell in love with the place and knew straight away that this was the place where we wanted to buy a plot. We made a tour around the area, called several people, asked a real estate agency for help, etc. I really loved the first place we saw, but almost everyone involved advised me against it. Reason? No media, access via unpaved dirt road, windy exhibition (really windy).
A year has passed on further searches. We needed to go to the first visited place twice more to make the final decision - we are buying it! October 2018, we had our 30 acres on this planet - such a great experience and great joy! Soon we ordered 3.5 tons of hemp from Piotr Jastrzębski from Podlasie Hemp but for various random reasons we could not begin the building process earlier than in August 2019, then the materials arrived and everything started.
Now, I have to mention the biggest player of all this fun, because without him my plans for low-budget building could not come true. Here comes Greg, who is also a part of our BoardThing. Luckily, he did not only have great experience and skills in construction but was also willing to get involved in the project for a bowl of rice and 200g of highest quality beef a day, (he said that he would not eat lettuce because he is not a rabbit :))
So from August to December 2019 (spending in total about 40 working days) we managed to put up the mould. I will add that I do not have experience in building houses, but some manual things were done in many temporary works in the country and in Saxony. Also we got some help from our friends, Martin and Jacob and as a result, we already have the skeleton of the building and the roof with the formwork.
Wrapping it up, if you are tempted to build a house yourself, try it, it is not a magic knowledge, and natural raw materials such as wood and hemp are a very graceful material and give a lot of fun while working.
A few digressions on the whole process:
- Unfortunately for natural construction, it is sometimes promoted by people who, in my humble opinion, are slightly too "spiritual" and often combine natural construction with activities that are not fully understood by the bigger part of society, or link with some radical ecological issues (but it is a book-size topic and for a completely separate discussion)
- Modern construction technologies are quite complicated, expensive and often incomprehensible to an average person, or at least this is how they are usually portrayed.
- Most people react to the unknown with fear, negation, such our evolutionary remains. But fortunately, when we show that something works, does not bite and does not fall apart, this approach can be changed.
There would probably be several other things to discuss, and if you only want to, I am happy to talk about it in more detail. I invite you to ask questions about the construction, I will be happy to help. In June, if the authorities allow it, we are moving on with the construction.