Happy simply home Needs a little happy simply help to complete

A post here from my Happy, simply home ally in South Australia, Beau. He is keen to finish off the home in Aldinga so people can start staying there as there is a lot of interest around for people to experience the Happy, simply home and lifestyle. Please have a read and if there is anything or anyway you might be able to help that would be greatly appreciated by myself, Beau and anyone wanted to taste the Happy, simply home and lifestyle… Thanks Beau! Also see a little excerpt on Free Money Day that Beau and others partook in on Sustainable House Day…

Sustainable House Day

Sunday 14 September was Sustainable House Day (http://sustainablehouseday.com/).  It’s a national event where homeowners open their doors to the public to showcase the sustainable features of their homes.
The Aldinga Arts EcoVillage had 5 homes open, as well as one tiny, happy, simple home 🙂  We estimate that between 150-200 people visited the village.  It was a great opportunity to get exposure for the project and promote the Happy, simply lifestyle model.  A big thanks to Sam for helping out on the day.  His beautiful, hand carved spoons added a lovely touch to the home, which you can check out here:
sams spoons
Although I was excited to be sharing the project with people, I felt a little sad to have to keep repeating the line, “When the home is officially completed….” almost 3 months after we ‘finished’ the build.  Unfortunately I have been in and out of hospital in the past few months and not had the motivation or health to push things forward.  This combined with d’Arcy being overseas has meant that things have stalled and we are unable to open the home to the public.  I also want the volunteers who worked on the build to be able to spend a night in the home – something I remember many people looking forward to, particularly the Heathfield students.
So I’m calling on everyone out there reading this post to please consider if you can help us get the home to final completion.
The main tasks we need are:
  • Repair / replacement of the front door that smashed.  It’s an odd shape and new glass will be very expensive, so we’re considering perspex, a new door or glass replacement.  If you know of someone who has the skills and / or materials to fix the door, please email happysimplyhome(at)gmail.com – all suggestions and assistance welcome.
  • We may also need a blind / screen for this door come Summer, again suggestions and materials welcome.
  • Electrical work – we need to connect the solar panels to the battery system and then connect the lights.
  • A gas bottle for the outdoor stove
  • Installation of fly screen on the western window
  • Disassembly and disposal of a workbench that has an asbestos top
  • Installation of skirting and architrave
Please help to bring this project to a stage where it can be shared.  The construction was a wonderful education project but the happy, simply home can’t really be appreciated until the guest book has a lot more names in it.
I hope to hear from lots of you in the near future.
sustainability house day
Free Money Day
Monday 15 September is Free Money Day – an international event where people give money away to strangers on the street because sharing is fun and to perhaps engage in conversations about money and what it means to us.
We decided to celebrate a day early and incorporate Free Money Day into Sustainable House Day.  We offered people two, one dollar coins.  It was an interesting experience and a little weird.  I found most people were quite taken aback by the concept and felt very awkward accepting money.  Many wouldn’t accept it at all or offered to donate it back, some even wanted to contribute their own money to the pot.  I was left wondering if free hugs or free muffins would have been met with the less resistance.
Amongst the looks of confusion and scepticism, we did manage to have a few genuinely interesting conversations and brought about quite a few smiles.  About three people accepted the offering with gratitude and nothing more was said – my favourite response of all.  We began the day with $180 and only managed to give away $60.  Who would have thought giving away money would be so difficult?  Thanks to Amy for contributing to the pot and helping out on the day. 
I spent most of the day thinking about how $2 seems such a frivolous amount of money in our society.  Meanwhile, there are billions of people in the world relying on that amount to live each day.  To experience a glimpse of what that might be like, challenge yourself to Live Below the Line. https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/ 
free money day
Editor note: I can vouch for both of these programs as I have helped design and participated in them often – great perspective and experience makers – Have a go!

Back to the Build (tomorrow)!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi Folks and a Happy, simply happy day to you all!

We are back building again tomorrow. I have to say we are still struggling to find all the bits and pieces but at least know where we can buy them as we need them… so still keep an eye out for materials – see below but in particular plywood sheets, insulation and roof rafters.

Building will now be everyday till completion (hopefully June 9!). Tomorrow and for a couple of days will be putting the wall frames together and then we move into wrapping the building with our amazing gor-tex like wrap from Laros. From there is it a matter of outside cladding, roofing, windows, doors, insulation, inside cladding, solar and more…!

A reminder of important info for volunteering:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Start time 9am at Clematis Walk at the Aldinga Arts EcoVillage (AAEV) https://goo.gl/maps/3c3rk
  • Days are usually 9-4
  • We have an empty house in Willunga for people to stay (with electricity and water) just need to bring your camping gear (bedding) with you and let me know if you are staying so I can keep track of how many
  • We have heaps of soup and bread for lunch each day (vegetarian) but bring other food if you need/want and snacks and stuff if you need/want
  • Bring tools with you if you have them
  • Bring gloves, safety glasses, ear protection, closed shoes, suncream, etc with you if you have them – shoes and gloves as a minimum
  • Call out if you need a lift from Adelaide and see if others can answer your call

Let me know if you still have any more questions and keep up to date with the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/ and/or blog https://happysimply.wordpress.com and did you see the youtube clips Mike has been putting up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iik0JVCIK3o

Take a look at the wish list below and get in touch if you need more info or have any questions!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking forward to seeing you there tomorrow and beyond!

Happy, simply


The Wish List! As at Wednesday 28 May

Need Have Wish list







3@2700x90x45 (got them I think)

7@2400x90x45 (got them I think)









2@2100x90x45 (got them I think)


16@2400×120 or greater x35 or greater


9 – 16@2400×120 (or greater) x 35 (or greater) (need)

Roof battens



6@4800x70x35 (or 45) (need)

Lintels – Think if needed can use random lengths of 120×35
Noggins – Not sure if what is left to be enough. But if not we need 13.2m of 90×45  

13.2m of 90×45 (got them I think)

Ply bracing



OR 14@2400x1200x5-11


2@2400x1200x5-11mm (need)

8@2700x1200x5-11mm (don’t think they exist in 2700 so extra 12@2400)

Ply ceiling



4@2400x1200x5-11mm (need)

External battens

22@2700 70×35

10@2400 70X35


22@2700 70×35 or smaller section (need)

10@2400 70X35 or smaller section (need)

Insulation Floor only Need for walls and ceiling (need)

14 L / U shape brackets



14 L shape brackets or U shaped brackets 100mmx50mm (need)

Bolts (galvanized)



46 washers

None (need)



Bolts and washers mush suit brackets

Bugle screws

Box 100@100mm

None Bugle screws (need)

Box 100@100mm

3x bugle driver bits None 3x bugle driver bits (need)
Big box 30mm galvanized clouts None Box 30mm galvanized clouts (need)
3x roofing screw driver bits None 3x roofing screw driver bits (need)
Big box of 90mm galv nails None Big box of 90mm galv nails (need)

Nuts, Bolts and Extra

  • Grey calking for corrugated iron around windows and doors
  • Whirlybird to extract hot air from roof
  • A single window that can open, dimensions 200mm x 600-800mm (or something similar) basically a longish horizontal window, again we will try and find second hand
  • 4 x axle stands 1500kg or above and best if second hand
  • Solar adaptor and converter
  • Solar batteries – 7amp closed cell batteries
  • Masks
  • Disposable suits for insulation
  • Chalk line and some chalk for chalk lines
  • Some more drills
  • Hand saws
  • Squares for drawing 90 degree angles
  • Misc drill bits
  • Spanners/ shifter for bolts
  • Straight edge 3m long

Day 2 – Trailer passes bill of good health

Unfortunately the Heathfield High boys on this day weren’t able to push the caravan off its base and other such slightly dramatic jobs but they again did a top job of getting in and doing what was needed in preparing the trailer for construction to start on the weekend.

02 pre build day 2

02 pre build day 2 (3)Groups of students worked on a variety of jobs. One group pulled apart the shell of the caravan stripping the metal from the vynal and styrofome cladding – which gives me hope that whatever we build will be stronger than that! Another group set about framing windows and the last group were on trailer detail of getting all the dirt and muck off the trailer and then applying antirust paint.

02 pre build day 2 (1)

We turned the trailer over onto its back to have a good look over it and also had a visit from an engineer who gave the trailer a general all clear which was a big relief. With the trailer on its back we gave it a good scratching on a few rust spots as well.

By the end of the day we also had a few frames measured and put together for the outside shelter for the toilet that will go on the back deck.

Again see the time-lapse of the day below and starting Saturday 24 May(tomorrow) we will have our band of building volunteers preparing the dance floor and start the building up!


Come join us for a look or get involved and see the Facebook page for more detail: https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/

Day 1 of Demolition!

Enjoy the wonderful videoing and editing skills of Mike for the video of day 1 of deconstruction!

Yesterday marked the first day of the Happy, simply project in Aldinga, South Australia after the successful community Happy, simply build in Aotearoa New Zealand last year.

01 pre build day 1 (2)The day was known as D-Day or demolition (the caravan) day. Luckily we had a keen troop of 15 year 10 students from Heathfield High School to come and assist with the deconstruction!

01 pre build day 1 (1)The students lead by builder Phil and teacher Kieran had the boys deconstructing intricately at first bolt by bolt and eventually by sledgehammer.

Luckily key volunteer Lindsay had safety signage up on the site and adding her keen and careful eye on proceeding with the sledgehammer, except for accidentally tapping the ball of the ankle of the builder with the sledgehammer.

The aim of the day was to get the tin shirt off the caravan leaving the trailer exposed as the base for the Happy, simply home – as you will see it was mission complete with the next day being a day of preparing the trailer for getting a building onto of the old caravan frame.01 pre build day 1 (4)

But as was the case of the Happy, simply home in NZ the best part of the day were people coming together, sharing skills, knowledge, laughter and community which is the main aim of the Happy, simply project along with a small self-sufficient home.

Enjoy the wonderful videoing and editing skills of Mike for the video of day 1!

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!