Jan 5, 2013

Refined Living with no Electricity: Off Grid Living Part 2

Living with no electricity may seem primitive, inconvenient, or lacking, but Michael and Diana Lorence of northern California have been living that way for years by choice. They do it with surprising style and grace, all within the confines of a 12' x 12' tiny home they call "Innermost House."  To them, their life in this tiny home without electricity or hot water is not one of deprivation, but instead it's a life of luxury.  See if you agree.

View from sleeping loft into sitting area.

Mankind has been around for about 200,000 years without electricity and the convenience it brings.  That's how we evolved.  Just as there's a current trend toward the paleo-diet consisting of whole, unprocessed, and raw foods (that is after all, what we evolved to eat), and it seems to impart substantial health benefits, maybe there will also be a movement embracing a more paleo lifestyle.  Such a lifestyle would make us more aware of the planet's daily rhythms.  That too is how we evolved, and probably what we are best suited for.  Adopting a paleo diet and a more paleo lifestyle may just be the cure for what ails us individually and our society as a whole.  Incidentally, when I say paleo lifestyle, I'm not talking about living like cave people, I'm just suggesting that perhaps cutting back on electricity,  coupled with paying attention to nature, taking long walks, and eating less processed foods is worthy of consideration.

The exterior of Innermost House.
Innermost House is 12' x 12', or 144 square feet.  It is divided into five distinct areas.  About half of the main floor area consists of a sitting area which is exquisite in its simplicity.  Two chairs face one another, bounded on one side by the fireplace (where all the cooking is done), and bookshelves on the other, all beneath a soaring cathedral ceiling.  From this space, a ladder leads to the sleeping loft.  

Sitting area in front of the wood-burning fireplace.

Sitting room showing bookshelves, ladder to sleeping loft, and reading room beyond.

Beautiful wood ceiling above sitting area and sleeping loft.
The remainder of the main level is divided into three roughly equal spaces, the kitchen, bathroom, and reading room.  There's also a covered porch, which extends the living space outdoors a bit.

Innermost House kitchen

Kitchen detail
Reading room
The kitchen serves as a place to store dry goods, wash vegetables, and keep dinnerware.  Without electricity, there can be no electric water pump, so I assume that water comes out the faucet from a well or cistern somewhere uphill from the house, creating a gravity fed kitchen sink.  All cooking and water heating takes place in the wood burning fireplace out in the sitting room.  There is no refrigerator, so all food is fresh, and there are no left-overs.

The bedroom is a simple, open sleeping loft above the three tiny rooms. It overlooks the sitting room and fireplace.  There's a clothing and linens closet at the head of the bed.

Sleeping loft and closet
As lovely as it appears to be,  I am uncomfortable with the fact that there is no escape from the sleeping loft besides down the ladder.  I think that it needs a window big enough to escape through quickly in the event of a fire.

I'm going to leave you with a few more beautiful photographs, followed by two videos about Innermost House.  Enjoy...

I'm including two videos below about Innermost House.  The first is a photo montage accompanied by harp music.  It includes most of the photos I've chosen for this post, plus many more.  Choose the full screen option to fully appreciate it.  The second video includes Diana Lorence going about her normal activities in the home.  It provides a glimpse of what living day to day in this wonderful tiny home would be like.  Each video runs about seven minutes.



Click here to see part 1 of my off-grid living series, Off-Grid Lighting.

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  1. I think she has since moved out.. into a small place in another city. the smallest house available. not sure the reasons... but turned off the electric and made it bare bones, too. I read that the other day on a tiny house blog site. can't remember which one.

  2. I didn't know that, but I know they have a history of having moved a lot. They were in this place more than seven years though.