Happy, Simply SA – Floor Plan & 2.0!

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So this is a rough sketch (actually second version after the first one being really rough) on the floor plan and dimensions for the Happy, simply home in SA or almost can be seen as Happy, simply home 2.0!

This is based on the experience of the first Happy, simply home in Aotearoa New Zealand where I have been currently living for the past 5 weeks and also what it lacks. Another consideration isn’t the cold like in NZ but the heat so extra awnings, verandas and shelter needed…

I’m no designer and I love the input of designers and those who can use space creatively so I am, looking forward to a couple of architects and designers being involved in the build. However the trouble with the nature of this project is that the design will be secondary to the materials we are able to source that are left over from build sites etc…

You may notice a few things different from the NZ home or missing from this design:

  • Kitchen – I don’t really have one or want one, I like a basin outside and then cook inside as needed, this also avoids plumbing needed and keeps things more organic for waste and simpler
  • No loft like the home in NZ – I love my loft in the NZ home but it adds a lot of extra height, materials, expertise and time. I feel I can get away with a decent bunk bed and use the space underneath for storage or a desk
  • An extra door leading to a toilet and shower – this doesn’t exist in the current Happy, simply home and it should. For me I love showering outside with the solar shower even on a chilly day but not everyone wants to and especially poop in a bucket and take it outside to the compost heap – a shame we mentally struggle with this one when every other animal does crap in a bowl with water it can drink!
  • Bike storage! – I don’t have many materials objects but I have a bike and cherish it enough for it to be out of the element, hence a bike shed on the back deck

As someone who has no building or designing experience or even interest I love that I get to put a simple idea on paper like a 10 year old and dream of my perfect space. I look forward to the input of others in the project and I’m not really bound by any of my ideas as it is a community project and this project will take a community to build the home!

Input, suggestions, questions, comments or concerns welcome!

And a few recent pics of the inside of the Happy, simply home in New Zealand (I should have cleaned a bit first!)

Happy, simply Collaborations & Passivhaus

The Happy, simply home project is attracting some great people who do great things… We have a wonderful core team who will be there every day of the build  – thank you Lindsay, Sam, Beau, Charlie and sure to be a couple more, as well as a bunch of keen and enthusiastic volunteers from day to day.

Next week is the designing phase (not me!) and then we will have a bit of a blue print to build from but very flexible and dependent on what materials become available.

Speaking of available materials I want to share with you a wonderful company and product who will donate their revolutionary building wrapping material…

Picture taken from http://www.laros.com.au/

Picture taken from http://www.laros.com.au/

Passivhaus is about providing healthy low-E buildings for a comfortable healthy living.
It’s core principals rest on (i) true air-tightness (to achieve real energy efficiency and manage dew-point challenges), (ii) seamless insulation (without thermal bridges and proper fenestration, eg. triple-glazing with compression seals only), (iii) external solar heat gain control (blinds to keep the sun out before it hits the glazing, etc.), and (iv) energy recovery ventilation (for when the climate is too adverse to have windows and/or doors open).

This is a huge attribute to the Happy, simply home. In New Zealand their sister company Pro Clima provided us a similar product for the home there. It has added such a quality to the home in temperature, moisture and comfort. I don’t know much about housing but I know these materials make a huge difference especially in cold wet climates like New Zealand and hot dry climates like Adelaide, Australia.

To read more on the technology of this building wrap please see the links below and the websites of Laros and Pro Clima – huge thank you to both of them and even more so for the information, education and inspiration for others which is what Happy, simply is all about!

I’m sure there will be many others to collaborate with for mutual benefit!


LAROS-EcoLibriumMagazine-PassivhausFeatureArticle-Feb13 LAROS-MechanicalVentilationHR-ReNewMagazine-Issue127-CParry-Apr14


One other link you might like to check out is the Honda building in the UK – thanks to Make Wealth History: http://makewealthhistory.org/2014/04/25/building-of-the-week-hondas-smart-home/

Aldinga Arts EcoVillage – Home to Happy, simply SA

Aldinga is about 40km south of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia.

Many moons ago, about 20 years ago I think, some people got together and decided they wanted to zone a small area so people with environmentally conscious ideologies and actions could have small blocks with modest houses in an place with few roads, more open spaces and a space for more community connection.

Aldinga Arts EcoVillage (AAEV) is the product of this and I can only imagine the amount of paperwork and convincing needed to get it through council laws…!

For a much better description and the ethos of AAEV you are best to see their website which mentions the “village is an intentional community based around the principles of permaculture, with a focus on arts and the environment.

I have spent a lot of time in the Aldinga area over the years but had never heard of AAEV (maybe because I didn’t live in Adelaide for the past 14 years) and only heard about it for the first time last year. I couldn’t believe a space like this existed where it was a drawcard for people who sought after connection to people and planet – especially where I had been brought up in relatively conservative Adelaide.

AAEV is hosting the building of the Happy, simply home and there could not be a better spot where collaboration will result in mutual benefit. The Happy, simply outlook to life where ‘less is more’ and ‘just enough is plenty’ fits in very well to the atmosphere and peace of AAEV.

AAEV firstly listened to the Happy, simply idea, they then shared it with their community and I was lucky to find Beau who wanted to take the idea further. AAEV will not only host the build of the project but also some of the volunteers! AAEV has already offered so much in the way of people keen to help out with – building, tools, food, sharing the idea and more.

The beautiful thing of this partnership is that once built the Happy, simply home will be available for anyone and everyone to use and have a taste of the Happy, simply life.

I am looking forward to interacting with the community and the community interacting with the home – watching it grow from an old caravan into a home with cooperation, interaction, experiences and memories. It won’t just be a home it will be a part of everyone who interacts with it and watches it grow providing an affinity and relationship with it that will last forever…

This sounds a little strange to have a relationship with a home but that is what happens when you have the smallest input or interaction with something – this is one of the things I have learnt from the developing world. They have a relationship with everything around them because more often than not they have had to be a part of it to make it happen as nothing usually falls into their lap from their government or others.

Taken from Laneways Learning

Taken from Laneways Learning

Happy, simply is very much a community project and not just about building a home. I am very excited to be doing this community project in the Aldinga Arts EcoVillage community…

Check out their website and all the ideas and practicalities behind AAEV: http://www.aaev.net/

Be sure to come and interact with the Happy, simply build 24 May – 8 June and take a look and experience around the village as well!

Happy, simply South Australia – Birth & Builder

Is Easter a celebration to be thankful? If it’s not it doesn’t matter because I am full of gratitude and a lot to be thankful for.

Happy, simply South Australia has a builder! Charlie Carpenter is our builder, a wonderful retired builder who is keen to share his skills, experiences and knowledge and I definitely know anyone who is involved in this project will be better for it.

RainbowThe place we found Charlie was at the Aldinga Arts and Eco Village (AAEV) which isn’t that surprising and keep an eye on the next blog that explains the magic and common sense that is AAEV – and also the home for the Happy, simply SA home!

But first let me take you back to the birth of Happy, simply South Australia…

I had just returned from New Zealand having completed a Happy, simply home in the small community of Paekakariki. I kind of looked at maybe seeing if there were others interested in the concept in my hometown of Adelaide. Eventually someone told me about the Aldinga Arts and Eco Village and sure enough having spoken to a few people there some interest was raised. At that stage we didn’t put anything into plan as I was keen just to hand over the concept for others to use, and I headed off to Africa to do some work with UNICEF for the rest of the year.

However not long after I had lobbed in Uganda a resident of AAEV got in touch with me. Beau had missed out on hearing about Happy, simply while I was in Australia but he enthusiastically emailed me to get some ideas. I passed over the concept and all the info (as I do for anyone) and wished him luck with making his own Happy, simply home at the village. Unfortunately not long after Beau was diagnosed with bowel cancer, he’s under 40 years old, so the Happy, simply idea was put well off the back burner.

In February this year I returned to Adelaide to visit family for a couple days and went and met with Beau as we had kept in email contact. After finally meeting and in that conversation we decided we would hold a community get together and see what interest there was and if we could get a Happy, simply build off the ground.

I was still a little at arm’s-length and happy to hand it over to someone to do for themselves but at that community meeting people were enthusiastic and I started to get a good vision and practical plan of a Happy, simply home in my hometown just 10km from where my mother and some other family live.

Sharing the Happy, simply idea with a group at Laneways Learning in Melbourne

Sharing the Happy, simply idea with a group at Laneways Learning in Melbourne

That meeting was about a month ago and since then we now have!

  • A caravan to use the base for building
  • A builder – Charlie Carpenter!
  • A few materials that are increasing each day
  • A band of core volunteers who will be there each day of the build
  • A bunch of interest from a number of other volunteers
  • A school keen to be a part of the deconstruction of the caravan and build
  • A few designers and architects wanting to add their skills
  • A wonderful location with wonderful people at the Aldinga Arts and Eco Village (AAEV) and let me tell you all about them in my next blog…
  • An incredible man who has a lovely wife, young daughter, fortnightly chemo treatments and is the absolute driving force behind the project – Beau!

Basically we are good to go for Happy, simply South Australia! Just have to wait till May 15 to kick it all off with the official build period being 24 May – 8 June.

Be sure to join in or keep in touch on the blog and Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/ or the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/382302941912081/

List of needs, wants & benefits for Happy, Simply South Australia

What a week for Happy, simply in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia…

Firstly I have been living in my Happy, simply home in Paekakariki, NZ with such purpose, joy and fulfilment I can’t tell you how wonderful it is living off the grid (but still going to the library to use internet and work each day :).

Secondly the Happy, simply build being planned for Adelaide is taking some major steps forward:

  • We have been given an old caravan off freecycle to use as the base of our home! Thank you so much Stacey and we will be sure to give it new life!
  • The Heathfield HS is very keen to join us 3-4 days a week, one week before the build for the demolition of the caravan then the following two weeks so they can have a hands-on practical build for their students to learn. This is just what Happy, simply was designed for – education! Thanks Kieran.
  • We have one full-time volunteer, Sam, keen to join in for the full experience for him to add his skills as a furniture maker and for him to gain invaluable building skills
  • Another almost full-time volunteer, Lindsay, will join in and add her organisation skills and many years experience of building background sets in the opera!
  • We have a Happy, simply SA Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/ and also a Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/382302941912081/ if people want to connect on FB

This is a wonderful mix of people, skills, experience and ideologies – just what the project needs.

However in this blog I want to set out a bit of a wish list so people can see what is needed to build a home made from as many left over bits and pieces as possible. If you think you might have any of these things or someone who would like to be the head builder please contact me on happysimplyhome@gmail.com

Looking forward to another week of wonderful surprises, people and building community!

See below these lists for the details of the build and the benefits of people being involved…

Ideally the people we are essentially looking for…

  • A lead builder – doesn’t have to be certified but does need to know how to build a home and share their skills with others. The payoff is being a part of an interesting sustainability project and for only 16 days (24 May – 8 June) and maybe a week before. Also there will be a lot of attention from this and media and might lead to other people requesting their own small homes – as was the case in NZ last year
  • Volunteers – especially students, retired folks or people passionate about sustainability and/or building
    • Designer / Architect if anyone is keen
    • Skilled tradespeople – carpenters, handypeople, people with a bit of experience
    • Volunteers totally new to building and keen to participate and learn new skills (ideally 10-15 on weekends and around 5 on weekdays)
    • Someone to maybe document the build as we had last year – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl8safGwXhQ really adding to the education and outreach of the program

Ideally the items we are essentially looking for…

  • Long structural beams for base and flat platform on the trailer base – 5-6m long
  • Axle stands for reinforcement of load bearing for the trailer
  • Solar panel(s) (95w or more) and batteries (usually smaller security system batteries are best)
  • Insulation – ceiling, walls and floor – new ideas and prototypes encouraged or recycled or donated
  • Inside cladding – gyprock or similar
  • Outside cladding – possibly corro iron or outdoor chipboard or best is insulated corro they have these days
  • Roofing – again I think corro iron would be best, and gutters
  • Watertank – anything from 200L to 400L is good
  • Structural timber – builder leftovers or may need to get donations / buy some
  • Building wrap – breathable membrane would be best or building paper
  • Doors – 1.8m ranch slider door and two other normal doors with some glass for light
  • Windows – anything we will build around them but double glazed would be excellent and best if one large window (1mx1.5m) and a series of about 3-4 small long windows (900mmx450mm)
  • Indoor floor and ceiling – chipboard or similar
  • Paint – inside and out – eco friendly and left over if possible
  • Grout and filler for inside cladding
  • Screws, nails, nuts, bolts, etc…
  • Outdoor decks – strong and weather proof – maybe the stuff made from recycled milk containers
  • Materials for verandas and awnings – retractable awnings would be best
  • Double sized bunk bed as we probably aren’t building a loft
  • Materials for simple shelter for compost toilet
  • Compost toilet – simple duel toilet system is easiest and best – basically two buckets and two seats
  • Other things like donations of food for the volunteers and a place for them to stay…
  • And the list will grow or if you have suggestions for things you have that you think will add to the Happy, simply feel and home!

Resources and equipment we will need to borrow:

  • Car and trailer for transporting and moving materials
  • possibly a welder for reinforcing the trailer that the house is built on
  • ear covers and safety goggles
  • drills and drill bits
  • ladders (at least 3)
  • collections of hammers, saws, set squares, measuring tapes, etc
  • paint brushes, rollers, etc

What we can pay back to you!

  • Love, appreciation, good vibes, some karma and other warm-fuzzies
  • Beer / chocolate or equivalent for the big asks
  • Your name on the Happy, simply plaque of honour and appreciation – to be hung in the Happy, simply home
  • Free accommodation in the Happy, simply home once it is finished!


I will be paying for all this just from my own savings and I plan to use it for the small bits of time I am actually back in South Australia, but outside of that time (usually 11 months or more a year) the home will be available for anyone to come and experience the happy, simply life!

Basic details for the Happy, simply build:

Happy, simply – a sustainable lifestyle model and education project.

Tiny house, community living and where just enough is plenty!

The Happy, simply home – want to participate in a community building project?

We are proposing constructing a small, mobile house of approx. 10m2 that is ‘off the grid’.

The same project was done last year in Aotearoa New Zealand (see youtube clip here) with great success and we want to see if we can do something similar (and better) this time in South Australia.

  • When: Late May / early June 2014 (24 May – 8 June build time with some prep and finish before and after those dates)
  • Where: Aldinga Arts Eco Village, Aldinga (40km south of Adelaide), South Australia map: https://goo.gl/maps/jlRvp
  • How: Using volunteer labour and recycled / donated materials
  • Why: To learn, share and participate in a community project that demonstrates how people can live a happy, simple life in a sustainable self-sufficient home

If you can contribute any skills, time, materials, support, please contact us via email – happysimplyhome@gmail.com and keep up to date on the Facebook group if that is what you like: https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/ or the FB event page https://www.facebook.com/events/382302941912081/

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Living the Happy, simply life…

I have finally had the opportunity to live what was once a feeling, that turned into an idea, that turned into a concept, that turned into a poster and proposed project, which lead to an ideology of what was, for me, a happy, fulfilling, meaningful, connected and globally responsible way of life.


The plan back then was Happy, simply – a sustainable lifestyle model and education project. The components of this were a self-sufficient home off all grids (solar, water capture, compost toilet), responsible transport (walking, cycling and public transport), volunteering in the community.

From the idea to the poster I then threw it out into the world to see what response or interest might find it. I was lucky to interact and follow up with a range of different people to learn and share with. The tipping point to reality came when Tim from Sustainable HAbitat Challenge (SHAC) put me in touch with a Spanish couple who are designers and builders. They loved the idea and so we set about how would be build the home component of the Happy, simply lifestyle model and education project.front page photo

Currently living the Happy, simply home that was built by Javi, Mireia, myself and a myriad of wonderful volunteers still has me both perplexed and humbled by how we made it come together and all the generosity needed and given.IMG_1202

The Happy, simply home was built by a community and supported by so many and in a rainless February last year. By March the purple 10m2 self-sufficient home was completed. house on the moveAt that time I was incredibly relieved and stressed by the whole process, it is not easy to be constantly vulnerable asking everyone for everything so I didn’t really have the opportunity to live the essence of the Happy, simply lifestyle before I took off back to Australia to see the newborn donor child I helped my friend have.

After a month in Australia in April last year I took off again for 6 months working with UNICEF in Uganda followed by some travel, volunteering and learning in southern Africa for a month and a half. I managed three days back in my hometown of Adelaide before going on a 5-week global awareness presentation tour of SE Asia. Finally at the end of this (not that I wasn’t loving every minute of it) I had a couple more weeks in Adelaide and Melbourne before I made it back to the Happy, simply home in Paekakariki, Aotearoa New Zealand on April the 1st one since I had left!

My first night in the Happy, simply home was surreal, I couldn’t believe I was staying in a place that housed so many memories, emotions, generosity and more – the smile was plastered on my face all evening and night.100_1455 (12b)

Now almost two weeks on from that arrival I have settled into the Happy, simply lifestyle. I spend a couple days a week in Wellington doing some volunteering and then come 45km back up the coast to Paekakariki to live happily and simply in just the way I like it. I walk, I ride, I meet with people, I volunteer (mainly online setting up various programs and thinking of more) but I live in the most idealistic purposeful way I can imagine.

I use less than 10l of water a day, I have enough power from my small 95w solar panel to charge my laptop daily, I compost my waste and my recreation is spending time with others, spending time with nature or writing blogs about how lucky I am I get to live life in exactly the way I have been envisioning for the past 2-3 years.

The photos will show that it looks like a cool little house but to me it means so much more it is Happy, simply – a sustainable lifestyle model and education project to me and hopefully others.

I sort of said never again after building this place here last year but I suppose like running a marathon or child birth the bad aspects fade and the good aspect rise to the top so I will be building another Happy, simply home in Aldinga, South Australia next month with a new community, band of volunteers and learning to be had! https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/?fref=ts

I hope others have the chance to find their own Happy, simply as I know I certainly have.

The Happy, simply SA home timeline

I can’t begin to express in words what it is like to be back in my Happy, simply home we built in Aotearoa New Zealand this time last year…

It has been a year since I left it and I really couldn’t believe the emotions and feelings I had upon seeing the home again the other day and then spending the night in a home that I helped build with a great bunch of people. The atmosphere and energy of memories, laughs, highlights and challenges overcome was just incredible. I will be living in it for the next 6 weeks!!!

I am so looking forward to doing another one of these Happy, simply homes at the Aldinga Arts and Eco Village (AAEV) in South Australia in mid May.

However to get to that point I also remember the amount of organising and collaboration that is needed.

Below is a general timeline of what is needed to pull off a fully self-sufficient, sustainable and simplistic home by June 8. As you will see the big ask at the moment is for a builder, a designer and one or two other slightly experienced builders. Best will be retired builders, apprentices or those who build and are keen on a little 16 day project looking at simplicity and sustainability – please get in touch if that is you or you know someone who that might be → happysimplyhome@gmail.com

Proposed timetable from here to build date and beyond with the actually building dates being 24 May – 8 June with a week before of prep and a week after of finish…

  • When: Late May / early June 2014 (24 May – 8 June build time with some prep and finish before and after those dates)
  • Where: Aldinga Arts Eco Village, Aldinga (40km south of Adelaide), South Australia map: https://goo.gl/maps/jlRvp
  • How: Using volunteer labour and recycled / donated materials
  • Why: To learn, share and participate in a community project that demonstrates how people can live a happy, simple life in a sustainable, self-sufficient home
Now till mid April Get human resources, materials and expressions of commitment and interest – this will require to get in touch with anyone/everyone we can to see if they are up for the project
Mid to late April Lock in the project if we have the things in place we need – mostly human resources, if not we will look to a simplified version
Mid April – mid May Start to stockpile materials – especially making sure we have a trailer
2nd week of May Start to really see what we have and what we need – this needs a bunch of running around to places to get materials and adjust plans accordingly – I get back to Melb 11 May then likely Adel 14 May
19 – 23 May Get a few people together – especially the builders to have a very clear idea of what we are building and again what we have and what we need. Also prepare the trailer so it is level and ready to build on
Build Week 1: Sat 24 May – Fri 30 May Start building! As many volunteers and hands on deck as possible
Build Week 2: Sat 31 May – Sun 8 June Again all hands of deck and especially the middle weekend
9 – 15 June All the fun finishing stuff like painting, inside stuff, nicks and knacks and only needs anyone who is willing to stay around and this will likely spill over into the third week of June
15 June Little-home warming party!
From July onwards The Happy, simply home will be available to anyone and everyone who would like a taste of the Happy, simply life! Bookings 1 week maximum and done through email happysimplyhome@gmail.com

I am keeping a document of people who are keen to join in to learn, share and build so please send me an email with your name and contacts, your building experience (never before to fully qualified – all welcome!) and your availability. The more time the better for the project and also you to get the skills and see it evolve from an idea to a home in 16 days!

Hope to share this great opportunity and experience with as many of you as possible! Please share around…

Radio Interview in Aotearoa New Zealand

A little interview I did here on the radio in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand yesterday. It was a nice chat of what I do, why, when, where, etc… I think it all links nicely into my Happy, simply philospohy and turning it into reality (for me) and offering to the world as well. Have a listen if you have 5 minutes… Further Happy, simply build in Adelaide details coming up this weekend!

Living Geography with d'Arcy

I thought I would share this radio interview I did this morning in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. It is basically similar to the 100’s of conversations I am lucky to have with lots of new people in new places.

Our chat covers – travelling, volunteering, polio eradication, cycling, Africa, challenges in the world (and their solutions) and even a bit on relationships on the road… 🙂

Download it, pop it in your ears when you are out for a walk and let me know if you have any comments, questions or concerns!


I think for those who know me it will put a smile on your face and those who don’t I’m not sure what it will do but it is a nice look into the privileged and engaged life I am allowed to live…

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Tiny house for two? Yes, this dating site is real

Sorry not much to do with the Happy, simply home build in Adelaide but this worth having a look at to get an insight into the tiny house movement and culture… Also I had a radio interview on NZ radio this morning and feel free to hear about what I do, why, where, how and mentions of the Happy, simply home build up and coming in Adelaide, South Australia.
I will be on the blog very soon with some more details for next steps in the build…


Every Friday night across the country, a familiar scenario plays out: Someone listens to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” for the 14th time in a row, consumes Nutella by the fistful, and dons old sweatpants with paw prints on the butt, all while thinking, “It might be time to try to get a date.”

Why shouldn’t this be happening in a 120-square-foot cottage on wheels? Tiny house people have needs, too. And slowly, a few enterprising souls are popping out of the reclaimed woodwork to fulfill them. Enter Tiny House Dating. At long last, someone thought to outdo FarmersOnly, Purrsonals, and SaladMatch by creating a niche dating site for tiny house people. From the website’s About Me section:

We help connect people who’s [sic] values are based (at least in part) around “right-sizing” their lives. This includes We the Tiny House People (of course) and other related folks like minimalists and environmentalists…

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