A humble abode is really a basic human right; namely shelter, safety and warmth. Yet many of us in the Western world are prey to the capitalist market forces trying to ensure we are good property and debt consumers, even if this means living beyond our means in negative equity and possible bankruptcy.
Perhaps there is an alternative? If there is it certainly isn’t readily showing its face.
Everything from materials, efficiency, affordability, size, location and sustainability are thrown into question.
Much of what we are working towards at Les Vignes Basses is hinged on a desire to buy, build and live sustainably, in tune with the precious entities given to us by nature. Although we could have tried to do this in the UK, our native country, the economy and house ‘market’ just didn’t allow us to plausibly buy land outright – we would have been forced to get into debt. Debt is the exact thing we are trying desperately to avoid. We love French culture and France’s general approach to most things. Also the country is truly beautiful, encapsulating all the natural elements of beauty that we love; fabulous mountain ranges, lovely coasts and stunning countryside in between. So, in 2014 we took a leap of faith and bought some land in a teeny village in the Charente, France. The plot is lovely, south-facing and gently sloping ready for all those gorgeous veggies to start growing….yummers.
Following our desire to avoid debt and achieve security in another fashion, we immediately began planning the land and designing our own abode; a straw bale house. We had considered various types of eco-build including a cob house, adobe and an earthship before settling on straw. It seemed to us to be the best choice when faced with self-building and French planning permission! Many of the posts on LesVignesBasses.org are dedicated to the build itself, and we truly welcome any questions, comments, thoughts and positive vibes about eco-building.