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!

Happy, simply home SA – FYI Volunteers!

An email to the people who have already put up their hand to help out or who might be keen to help out!

I am sad to be back in Australia after 5 weeks living in the wonderful Happy, simply home in Aotearoa New Zealand, but happy to be building another one in Australia!.

Here is the big update for the Happy, simply home on how the building schedule will look (more or probably – less)!

The essential idea of Happy, simply is not necessarily the end product but the process it is built so please see the schedule as a rough guide and an atmosphere of learning and sharing. This is not a professional workshop but more a chance for everyone to have a go and build a home together (with a few wise and experienced hands about the place).

Your efforts are going to be greatly appreciated and I can guarantee your learning and happiness will match your help and more! Plus once finished the Happy, simply home is open for all to experience a night or two in happy, simplicity!

See below for more details! Also keep in touch on the blog: https://happysimply.wordpress.com, the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/ and the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/382302941912081/

Cheers, d’Arcy. (Beau, Lindsay, Sam, Charlie and more!)

So here is the nitty gritty of the building component of the Happy, simply home in South Australia. However I do have to point out that the nature of a community project like this will mean materials will vary, plans will change and the outline below will probably not be exact to the day. But no matter what we will have some kind of home built by 8 June!

See below for timeline, logistics, skills you will acquire and more… and please keep in touch with the blog the Happy, simply Facebook page, share this with others who might be keen to join in on the Happy, simply Facebookevent page and see the short youtube clip from last year’s Happy, simply building project in Aotearoa New Zealand : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl8safGwXhQ

What people will learn! An outline of what people will learn and what they walk away with. What can they expect?

Keywords and interests here are: building, design, architecture, sustainability, simplicity, community, self-sufficiency and where less is more and just enough is plenty!

But really this is a building and design project to learn why and how to design and build a house in the most simple step-by-step way with maximum sustainability.

Proposed Schedule Day by Day Outline of the Build (subject to change)

Day / Date Build Stage Description
Fri 16 May Meeting Get together the core team to thoroughly plot out the course for the build and get it happening! All invited – just let me know so I can pass on details
Fri 16 May – Fri 23 May Sourcing materials It will be an action packed week sourcing all the materials for the build! Help here is greatly appreciated…
Tues – Fri20 – 23 May Caravan Deconstruction We are building on an old caravan trailer but at the moment there is still an old caravan on the trailer! We need to get it off, salvage as much as we can and prep the trailer to be the platform for the Happy, simply home!Keep in mind school students are involved on Tues & Wed
Sat / Sun24 / 25 May Start Building! Days 1 & 2 Starting from scratch – site prep, set-up platform on trailer for homeStart plotting frames, doors, windows and roof
Mon – Fri26 – 30 May Skeleton Finish framing, stand framing and join, weather-tight, insulate & prepare for cladding. Keep in mind school students are involved on Tues & Wed
Sat / Sun – 31 May / 1 June Big Build This is crunch time to get as much done with lots of folks on a fun w/end!Finishing jobs from weekdays, prepping cladding and solar, lots of little projects and tasks to keep everyone busy
Mon – Fri2 – 6 June Finishing dwelling Filling in all the bits – inside lining, interior aspects, outside additions, solar, eaves, decks, all structural work mostly completed. Keep in mind school students are involved on Tues & Wed
Sat / Sun7 / 8 June Outer & final touches Very important weekend to get a good idea of all the work involved.Outside and finishing touches – attach & adjust. Hook up solar, water capture, eaves, compost toilet, interior planning
Mon / Thurs9 / 12 June Final bit & clean up Last remaining touches (if any – I’m hoping not), the clean up and last polish! Painting, interior sourcing and designing, the little touches
Fri 13 June Happy, simply home PARTY Come see the final product, cheers to all involved and a community celebration!

Logistics: Date, times, location, etc

  • Location: Aldinga Arts Eco Village, Aldinga (40km south of Adelaide), South Australia map: https://goo.gl/maps/jlRvp
  • When: Anytime from planning this Friday 16 May to party 13 June (with the major building period 24 May – 8 June)
  • Days are 9am-5pm as much as possible
  • Cost is free, thanks to generous builders and carpenters and donation might be welcome to them if you feel you want to…
  • Food – we will try and get donated food as much as possible but please be self-sufficient as well
  • Accommodation: we have a few spots for longer-term volunteers at homes and caravans in the Village – so let us know if you need, spots for camping, a few spots away from the build site in Willunga and surrounds, and local caravan park, etc…

What you need to bring

  • Gloves, hat, covered shoes, eye and ear protection if you have them
  • Warm clothes if cold; suncream if hot! Lots of layers to transition from cool mornings to warm afternoons
  • You will need any tools you might have access to (plus makes you look legitimate) – hammer, powered tools like a powered drill, etc
  • Fun and learning attitude! – Happy, Simply.

Learning and Skills You are Sure to Gain:

Depending a little on which stage of the build you choose (or ALL of it!) you will learn/do:

  • Tiny house: Pros and cons of a small dwelling
  • Passive design concepts: how to get a better energy efficient dwelling
  • Choosing the right spot and orientation
  • Starting from scratch: adjusting design according to recycled materials available
  • ‘Set-out’ of the dwelling: Obtain reference point, boundary lines, site levels and understand ground conditions
  • Learn basic timber-framing: measure, cut, squareness, level, bracing, fixing, etc.
  • How to erect a wooden structure
  • Install openings in walls (windows and doors) and seal the joints
  • Third Skin: How to achieve a breathable, insulated and waterproof dwelling
  • Install your own solar system and water collection
  • Handy tricks for DIY – like stair making, eaves, toilet and shower shelter, bike shed, etc

Then you’ll be ready to build your own Happy, simply lifestyle model and 10m2 studio!

Contacts: d’Arcy https://happysimply.wordpress.com/

And finally…

Support and a little wish list…

We are looking for the following if possible to help the project along:

  • Materials! I will send a list of specifics but in particular at the moment we are looking for: plywood sheets, internal cladding (gyprock, etc), structural beams, structural timber and screws
  • Food – anyone who might want to help in making and donating food to volunteers or leftovers from bakeries, cafes, restaurants, etc
  • Media outreach – papers, radio, online, etc…
  • Sharing the project with others so they can come and have a look and interaction with the concept and reality – community groups, schools, anyone!

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/

Happy, simply home #2 – South Australia…!

HSposter_animationThe Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project looks like it might be building another Happy, simply home!
This time in Aldinga, South Australia (just near Adelaide)…
And so this is what we are proposing for a Happy, simply home in South Australia – please get in touch if you want to be a part of making this happen!
Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project. 
Tiny house, community living and where just enough is plenty!

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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’.
A similar project was done last year in Aotearoa New Zealand 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 (approx. 2 weeks total build time) Major build is 24 May – 8 June with prep and finish before and after those dates
  • Where: Aldinga Arts Eco Village 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/
Ideally what we need…
  • Builders – especially students, retired or passionate sustainable builders and one major builder who can share and teach others
  • Designer / Architect
  • Skilled tradespeople
  • Volunteers keen to participate and learn new skills
  • Car trailer / boat trailer / tandem trailer or similar
  • Left over building materials – windows, doors, timber, cladding, insulation, building paper, etc…
For now we would love to see a show of interest to get off the ground and see if we can make it a reality.
To learn more about this project, please see the project in Paekakariki from Feb 2013  and be sure to see the YouTube Video of the Happy, simply build in NZ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl8safGwXhQ
Be sure to pass onto others so we can get a couple of builders and make this fun, educational and inspirational home a reality!
Many Thanks
Beau and d’Arcy.
Happy, simply home

Divorce the Supermarket

I believe for a Happy, simply society and planet the less (or none) we buy from a big supermarket the better…

80c applesThis is a thought that has been kicking around in my head for a while and then a great blog (not mine) finally got me to put them on the page. Have a look at the blog I am referring to here from 1 Million Women:  http://www.1millionwomen.com.au/2014/01/14/how-to-break-up-with-the-supermarket/

I have been thinking about this a lot while in Africa, especially while I was in Kampala, Uganda and saw huge supermarkets popping up all over town to the reverence and joy of the locals feeling like they were seeing ‘development’.

My point is to not to stop this development as that is not really my role to decide what is best for the people of Uganda and I know a giant supermarket represents easier and more variety in their shopping and hence diet and lives. BUT I am more concerned about the huge impacts big supermarkets have on society.

100_1093All of the giant supermarkets growing in Africa are from Kenya, South Africa, USA, UK, etc and even the African owned companies will not be investing back into the local economy like a small permanent resident retailer will.

In summary my concerns for big supermarkets and benefits of local stores:

  Big Supermarket Local Store
Profits Generally go to a fat man in another community/country Generally goes back into the local community
Community Deterioration of community connectedness – the person serving you at the supermarket is likely to not be from your local community A local store is often where they also live and you often know them or they know you from a young age or for many years
Social interaction You are less likely to have a chat with a random checkout person who is often under pressure with a line up behind You are far more likely to have an extended chat with your local store on the local politics, weather, etc
Jobs- less jobs Less livelihoods and economic sustainability for people in the community as you need less people per customer in a supermarket More impact on others and their community when the jobs are directly supporting a family
Jobs – less money Supermarket jobs are usually poorly paid and often for younger folks More money reaches the owner, their family and their community
Energy and environment Big supermarkets use far more energy and less locally sourced products A local store will sell less variety but more seasonal and local
Source of products Supermarkets will usually buy from the cheapest internationally. Less middlemen and less local Local stores will usually buy from the cheapest locally. More middlemen and more local
Enjoyment The shopping experience at a supermarket is far more inhuman, individual and sterile A local store you are interacting with people, family, community and your environment so much more
Local stores in amongst the community in Maputo, Mozambique

Local stores in amongst the community in Maputo, Mozambique

Basically I believe big supermarkets are a cancer on society and this is proven in a country like Australia where big supermarkets replaced speciality stores. These stores were often owned by local families and injecting the money back into their, and your, local community through their own pockets.

The chance of this model of the local community circle being complete is virtually impossible with big supermarkets as the money that goes to the grand executive of the big supermarket is very unlikely to be spending their money in your local community…

I also believe there has been a degradation of society where supermarkets now reign. There is less contact, communication and care in the community compared with where smaller local retailers are still the norm.

It is very difficult and not really my place to stand in the way of big supermarkets in a place like Uganda, other than sharing with them the traps a country like Australia has experienced with advent of supermarkets becoming common place.

On a positive note what I (and maybe others) can do is support local stores and divorce ourselves from the supermarket! Again refer to the 1 Million Women blog to see some tips on how to do this! http://www.1millionwomen.com.au/2014/01/14/how-to-break-up-with-the-supermarket/