Happy, simply home NZ – Booking Process

This info is permanently on the pages menu (https://happysimply.wordpress.com/booking-process-nz/) but thought it would be good to give it a push through the blog posts as well…

This is the booking process for a night or two in the Happy, simply home in Paekakariki, Aotearoa New Zealand. It is also the same premise and model I am to have for the Happy, simply home being built soon in Aldinga, South Australia… Hope you get to have a night in the Happy, simply home soon!

Below is the simple two step booking process for the Happy, simply home in Paekakariki, Aotearoa New Zealand. There are also a few notes about what there is and what to expect in the way of amenities (or lovely lack of!). Hope to see many people get to experience the Happy, simply life! Note. stays are for max two nights unless negotiated as we want lots of people to have a Happy, simply experience, cheers!

Kia Ora and welcome for your stay in the Paekakariki Happy, simply home!

This home was built in two weeks by a group of wonderful volunteers in Feb 2013. It is one component of Happy, simply – a sustainable lifestyle model and education project (blog)

The Happy, simply home is on a beautiful person’s front lawn – Justine. She has very graciously allowed me (us) to have the home here and we should give her the same respect, kindness and hospitality with our stay here (drop her some chocolate or wine if you want!).

Please see below a few features to take note of, then once inside the Happy, simply home be sure to make yourself at home (esta casa es para todos casa – this home is everyone’s home) and feel free to use things but leave them when you go or maybe replace things you might have used for the next person. Also make sure you have a look at the green folders with info on the building of the home and the features and pictures! Take a look at the clip of the Happy, simply build from last year and then book below! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl8safGwXhQ

Happy, simply home booking process:

1). Check the Happy, simply calendar for the date/s you want: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=happysimplyhome%40gmail.com&ctz=Pacific/Auckland 

2). Email happysimplyhome@gmail.com to request the dates you want to stay and we will put them in the calendar and get back to you to confirm

Enjoy your taste of the Happy, simply life and please leave a note in the guest book and a koha (donation) would be appreciated to go into maintenance, gardens, gas for the cooker, replace solar batteries and improvements.

Happy, simply,            d’Arcy.

Odds and ends to take note of: (note these are not the full details as we will send all details in a personal email when a booking request comes through)

– Contacts

  • d’Arcy – usually overseas working in remote areas in aid and development and never too far away from email –  happysimplyhome@gmail.com or if he is in NZ: 022 410 8988
  • Nicola – usually in Wellington and is the occasional caretaker (omit)
  • Justine – who’s property it is  (omit)

– Keys

  • (omit)
  • Green key: catflap door (upper lock not handle lock), purple key: large sliding door, other two keys: bike locks

–  Toilet

  • The composting toilet is not yet ready for use, we hope to build a small shelter on the back deck with extra door into the home but alas not yet! Take on the project maybe?
  • Until it is ready you have two options for number 2’s (faecal matter [poo {shit}]):

o   Public toilets – park a few blocks to the right towards the beach and soccer ground; either end of Wellington road (road Happy, simply is on) – left, until the main road (Beach Rd) on the corner on the right hand side; or – right, go all the way to the end to Queen Elizabeth park or opposite the holiday park;

o   Compost toilet at the back of Justine’s car shed in emergencies;

  • As for number 1’s (urine [wee {piss}]) you can do in the blue pee pot inside but make sure you dilute with lots of water and spread out in the garden where there is lots of carbon (leaves, vegetation, not the lawn)
  • Remember over a billion people don’t have access to a toilet and shitting into drinking water is a pretty crazy concept, hope to have the compost loo ready soon!

– Water

  • The blue rainwater tank is clean and beautiful rain water. I also put a little waterguard solution in once every 6 months just in case but it is much cleaner and better for you (and the environment) than tap or bottled water.
  • Feel free to put bubbles in your water with soda machine!
  • If you happen to run out of water (why?) there is a tap near the footpath with safe water but there shouldn’t be any need for it unless there is a long drought or overuse!

– Solar / electrics

  • It is only one smallish 95W solar panel on the top feeding onto a series of 7amp batteries in the home (stats for the solar nerds).
  • There is a converter so one power point can be used and two USB chargers and a car socket charger

o   Only use electrical items that draw less than 100w (basically simple electronics – phones, laptops, etc but nothing that produces heat.

o   LED lights will keep you going all night and a torch or something might be needed for the loft

o   Best to charge laptops and things during the day when charge is the highest, trying to charge laptops at night can draw on the limited amount in batteries

o   The green indicator lights will be 5 when the sun is out and at full charge, it will drop to 3 lights quite quickly but don’t worry you still have enough light for probably the entire night!

o   It will then slowly drop to 2 and one and eventually red-ish colour which means you are on your last legs

o   If it runs out then light a candle and enjoy the atmosphere!

– Cooking

  • There is a gas bottle and stove under a bucket under the outdoor kitchen wooden thingy, just light a match turn the knob and you are cooking with gas!

o   It is safe to use inside but do it on a piece of carpet or slate

o   If you run out of gas you can get more at the Paekakariki general store – $5 but it will take a day

o   If you have used the burner then please leave some koha for the gas

  • There is also a small alcohol burner (you can also use methalyted spirits), just be very careful not to knock over this stove or you will have a fire to deal with

– Heating

  • There is no heating currently in the home – due to insulation, the home stays a few degrees warmer than outside and if very cold boil some water, have something to eat and do some push ups 🙂
  • There is a thick down duvet so it’s toasty at night and extra blankets in the couch/bed

– Showering

  • There are a couple of pallets at the back of the home – that is the showering area
  • There is a solar shower (black bag with hose on the end) fill it about half full put in the sun and have a shower just after the hottest part of the day

o   Use a hook to hang the solar shower bag from the window seal of the highest window then put the hose into the hook near the wire hanger, turn on and you will get a shower effect! It will be fresh no matter what but invigorating and I personally enjoy it. When it is cold out go for a walk, run, ride get a sweat up and then take a shower and cool off!

  • Alternatively: go and ask at the caravan park for a shower and they may get you to pay a few dollars; heat up some water and bucket shower; go to Paraparaumu to the pool for a swim and a hot shower; or swim in the ocean – I think it counts as a bath!

– Food waste, Worms and Chooks

  • There is a tiny worm farm under the house – give them coffee and simple food scraps – no citrus, onion, meet, diary or bread, those and lots of food scraps can go to Justine’s chooks – down near the shed.

– Bicycles

  • There are (usually) two bicycles available if you are keen for a ride. I love and use them a lot so please look after them but still ride them as hard as you like!
  • I’m 6ft1” (183cm) and they both fit me but can be lowered to fit shorter people and youth as well
  • There is some bike stuff in the bottom self on the tall shelves in the home – pump, repair kit, spare tube, chain oil (you only need a little)
  • The bikes get used by the community from time to time so there is no guarantee that one, both or any will be there but they are usually there – just ask in your request
  • Use the locks and there are keys with the home keys

– Garden

  • There are two gardens: one in front of the sliding door and another up by the footpath
  • Depending on season, who has been there, who has time, etc there is often a lovely little vegetable garden and some flowers
  • Help yourself to what the garden has to offer – herbs, tomatoes, silverbeat, beans, whatever, but leave some for the next person
  • Please give it love and attention if you want and add any veges, flowers, herbs, etc – flowers really brighten up the place and it’s a nice thing to pass onto future visitors

– Mozzies

  • There are heaps when it is warm and a few when its cold – please be careful of the mozzie net above the bed as it is hooked onto some tiny hooks on the ceiling and can tear easily
  • There is a citronella candle (in a blue bowl) good to burn for an hour at dusk when they come in hungry

Lots of maps in the desk as well as books, reading, card game, atlas, snakes & ladders, etc…

Please feel free to make little adaptations and smart ideas – we love it when we see little touches that make a difference. If you have a bigger idea that would be great too, just check with us first… Above all enjoy your stay and I hope there are some ideas you take with you!?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


A day in the life in the Happy, simply home…

This is a little out-dated and I am drawing on my wonderful memories of only having lived in my home Happy, simply home for two weeks before having to leave…

I hope this gives a bit of an idea just amazingly happy and simple a typical day is in the Happy, simply. – lifestyle model and education project! For me at least!

  • A lovely wake up to the sounds of birds near the open window just a metre from my face and snug and cosy in the loft of the Happy, simply home.
  • A quick organisation of clothes from the loft on the rail hung from the ceiling and down the ladder into the rest of my lovely homeIMG_1099kapiti observer inside next to stairs
  • I would usually kick off a day with a walk, run or ride to get the blood moving and to be out in the day and see what the world is up to – fortunately from the Happy, simply home I have an array of choices of beach, mountain bike trails, hills and trail runsPaekakariki vista
  • Brekky is a simple pleasure and usually I don’t bother with cooking anything so a gathering of water from my water tank and a simple brekky of fruit and cereal
  • Time to work which is often a combination of emails, writing blogs, preparing presentation and running campaigns on social justice topics and issues with the Global Poverty Project and currently The End of Polio campaignkapiti observer working at desk
  • My work space is sufficient with a fold out desk, warm by 10am from direct sunlight and with a view of the outside and street  to keep me sufficiently distracted! IMG_1104
  • Lunch moves me to the other side of the home to the other desk in the room to prepare breads, spreads, crackers or whatever is floating about. Often I will sit in the door space or the front deck to eat and observe what might be happening in that little window on the world that dayIMG_1107Happy, simply. home
  • Clean up is easy with my kitchen on the front deck – water tank, a tub and drying rack – nothing fancy and where just enough is plenty
  • Afternoon might be some work, play, catch ups, etc in the home or community
  • By late arvo I usually look to head out again for a ride, swim (if warm enough) or long walk to try and catch an incredible Paekakariki sunset – my favourite free gift everyday!IMG_1076
  • Sufficiently warm from some activity I have a solar water shower off the back corner of the house and feel all sparkly and clean
  • As evening comes in I switch to solar powered LED lights, solar radio and prepare dinner on a camping stovesimple solar light
  • The night has me, reading, writing, thinking, talking and often walking just before bed to take in the day and often beautiful night sky and stars
  • Use of the compost toilet, teeth brush and up the ladder to the loft for a spot of reading before closing my eyes with a smile on my face in a home that was built by strangers who became friends and care about the world enough to volunteer and learn together to create the Happy, simply home

I know this is all a bit pathetic and ideological and it is a combo of most days…

The practical functions of the day are pretty simple with basic needs and therefore basic resources and surroundings.

I’m sure there would be a lot of questions ‘what about…?’ But really life can be as simple as you make it and often is for me in the context of a day like this, it is. I didn’t stumble into a lifestyle like this automatically or easily it has taken a lot of learning, conscious planning and deliberate decisions and actions but it is a very rich and fulfilling way of life – for me 🙂

Happy, simply.



First happy, simply customer

The first guest has stayed a night at the Happy, Simply home!

Their email to me was so uplifting and fantastic that I had to share it with you (with her permission). It also made me feel almost relieved, that someone is receiving hospitality and I have something to do with it as I have lived off others hospitality for so many years!

I think the email also captures some of the essence what I hoped and dreamed of for the Happy, simply project. That is for others to receive some learning, perspectives and qualities of simplicity! In this case it is more of reaffirmation of simplicity that it is OK especially in the very different world we live in and are surrounded by.

The email is a lovely mix of things that need attention in the home and what good it passes on to others!

Hi d’Arcy

Thoughts. Feeling pretty privileged to be the first guest to stay in the Happy, simply home.

Just to let you know I got on well at Happy, simply. The biggest mission is the fetching of water back and forth as the rainwater collection isn’t in the best condition. And for one of the female species, taking a shower was going to be a challenge but I managed on my last day 😀

(Editor note: the only shower at the moment is a camping solar shower of putting water in a black plastic bag with a hose at the bottom of it)

I showered after being truly challenged with my run up Paekakariki’s amazing escarpment track. Partway through, as I wasn’t expecting to do a big run, I got hungry… My early detour took me on a sheer cliffhanging experience! So certainly I would go back and do that track armed with more fuel for my body!

Anyway, a tip for women who are booking next – bring togs 😀 You should have seen how I strategically set up the camp shower. Ingenuity born out of the necessity for a good wash up!

Also, just so you know, a couple came all the way from Tangimoana (that’s like a few hours drive north of here up the coast) with your news article in hand, and grandson on tow on my last morning there. They share a few acres of land with caravans on them at the mo and looking to build a dwelling as simply as possible. I showed them around, talked to them and gave them the sample of the proclima product and a brochure so I think they learnt something 😀

But I digress…

My thoughts were on the frugality of living. For most this is usually born out of lack of necessities in life, hardship or perhaps plain miserliness. Much of the developed world anyway are used to material comforts and modern gadgets that deal with household chores, but being a low-tech user, I felt very much at home.

Only now can I claim my frugality out loud – thanks to this project of yours. It is absolutely acceptable to be absolutely low-tech.

So personally for me I take this away from my couple nights at Happy, simply – it’s OK to live simply…

Thanks, d’Arcy, I enjoyed being at Happy, simply. Take care and congrats on the home.


Oh pix of me at Happy Simply attached…Happy simply happy customer

Happy, simply. build – the video!

Great to see the blog featured on the Tiny House Blog here – http://tinyhouseblog.com/tiny-house-concept/happy-simply-a-lifestyle-model-and-education-project/ and the hundreds of folks from around the world who have had a look at Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project.

But today’s blog here is with huge thanks to Dave T who not only was there volunteering with the building of the Happy, simply home but also filming throughout to produce the wonderful time-lapse shots and putting it all together in a great professional video…

Go to the link here to see on youtube:

Happy, simply.


Hopefully this give you all a bit of a visual and conceptual idea of how one person can live happy, simply. The model is there and idea free to spread...

Hopefully this give you all a bit of a visual and conceptual idea of how one person can live happy, simply. The model is there and idea free to spread…

Tiny House Blog for the US

I’m lucky enough to have been asked to submit a blog for the hugely popular Tiny House Blog http://tinyhouseblog.com/ Here is my summary for them of the project and wonder of it all!

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

Debt free – healthy, happy and with lots of friends. Where the best things in life are not things, where less is more and where just enough is plenty!

happysimply banner pic

The lifestyle model includes:

  • Sustainable living – shelter, food, water, energy, transport, waste, environment
  • Community participation – volunteering, active citizenship
  • Education – learning, simple sustainable choices, self-sufficiency and rich experiences

A model for life and an educational project to learn from with information and inspiration.HS components and animations

Of most interest to the Tiny House community and this website will be the Happy, simply home – a 10m2 house built by a group of volunteers using mainly reused, recycled or left-over materials in two weeks for under $8000 NZ ($6700USD).

To live simply is the ultimate sophistication and luckily I have been fortunate to live and learn from the world’s poorest who, unfortunately don’t get to choose simplicity but are masters of living simply and being more connected to their families, communities and the environment around them.

Simplicity has so many amazing benefits to the individual, the people around them, the environment and towards a more just and connected global community. This was the starting point that I wanted to have a home that implemented these ideologies in a tangible way through a dwelling to live in and be an active part of a community.

In the almost 60 countries I have been fortunate to experience on top of my native home of Australia I stumbled upon a town named Paekakariki (where the girls are cheeky – as the local rhyme goes) and fell in love with the surrounds of beach and mountains and also the community – a small but distinct community that cared about where they lived and those who lived within it. That was this time last year. I then had to leave for the remainder of the year and arrived back in late January to set up the Happy, simply project and in particular the home.

I first held a community meeting to share my idea and listen to the community and to try and find a place, a team of volunteers and learn of the materials and resources available. From that first meeting I had enough to put plans into action and have a Spanish couple create the first designs.

final look

labelled Structure Drawing - prop 2.3 text

View from the left the side where the sleeping loft will be!

View from the left the side where the sleeping loft will be!

After many changes in venues, materials, people and of course plans we had decided to build a 10m2 home on an old boat trailer which meant it could be moved easily – due to my nomadic ways and avoid a couple of council regulations like a having a toilet.

On February 16 we started the building with a group of around 10 volunteers, two builders, a designer and not much else!

IMG_0820In an incredible two weeks of stress, joy, mistakes, creativity and everything else possible we had a completed home ready to live in with loft, decks and a whole lot of learning, laughter and love poured into the foundation and structure of the Happy, simply home.

online article photo I can now live almost completely self-sufficient with:

  • Solar power to run some lights and charge a laptop
  • Water capture for drinking, cooking and cleaning
  • Passive lighting and heating
  • Bio-compostable toilet
  • Worm farm
  • Cycling for transport – and public transport if further afield and
  • Well connected with the community around me who saw the birth and raising of the Happy, simply home

The building process was truly amazing with so much to learn for the participants and so much interaction with the community and others so they now have a point of reference to the home – ‘I saw it when it was just a boat trailer’ or I remember seeing it when the door arrived with a catflap’, etc… and they also have an affinity with it and feel connected to the home – just wonderful!

Read more on each day of the build on the blog: https://happysimply.wordpress.com/

sharing ideas and learningSo in all it was not such a simple experience in building your own home on an old and wonky trailer with left-over wonky wood but it was certainly a rich experience that now gives me the opportunity to live my ultimate dream of being happy, simply; and it also now allows me, as an educator, to share this experience and model with others so they can adopt one or more of the components into their lives for more happiness, simplicity, self-sufficiency, sustainability and of course happiness!wedding!


Happy, simply.





Footnote: I actually have to leave the Happy, simply home in a few days 😦 because of a volunteer assignment I am doing overseas till December but the Happy, simply home will be open to the community and others to experience for a night a taste of the happy, simple way of life and components until my return next near…

Happy to answer questions in the comments if you have any – thanks!

Wonderful Follow Up Article in the Kapiti Observer

Hi Folks!

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I’m going to be a little less frequent on this blog site from here on in as the Happy, simply project will now run itself while I am away till the end of the year.

On a beautiful end note for my time in Aotearoa New Zealand, this time round, a great article from journalist Randall Walker from the Kapiti Observer.

You can see the article in a number or formats:

The house that camaraderie built

The house that camaraderie built

Plus a few extra photos here Credit: Randall Walker, Kapiti Observer…

Sad to be leaving the Happy, simply home and lifestyle - but know I will be back!

Sad to be leaving the Happy, simply home and lifestyle – but know I will be back!

Paekakariki and the lifestyle model components

So I am putting together the Happy, simply handbook for people who can come and stay in the Happy, simply home after I leave in a week and a bit from now (I know only get to spend two weeks in my home before I have to leave for the rest of the year!!! Polio eradication won’t wait…).

Anyway here are a few excerpts to let people know about the Happy, simply story from a dream to idea, concept, plan, project and now a reality… Also a slideshow of the incredible Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast (map) where the Happy, simply project is in residence.

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Lifestyle ModelHS components and animations – Components


The Happy, simply home is just one part of the model. To sleep, eat and be housed in simplicity is currently seen as unique, novel or almost a gimmick. The Happy, simply home is a way of living where we don’t need everything and therefore want very little.

The home is 10m2 with a loft for sleeping which determines just enough is plenty. There is no space for extras but it is enough to be warm, dry comfortable and to carry out daily needs (the real and essential ones).

The home was made by a group of volunteers from mostly reused, recycled, leftover and donated materials. It was a community-building and learning experience where the process was just as important as the end product. There is more info on the home later.


Essentials are local, seasonal, organic, natural and where people and environment are put first ahead of profits, wants and at the expense of humans and nature.

The idea for the Happy, simply model around food is to have our own organic garden either on the roof – fed by rainwater, filtering it in the process and usable for grey-water or a simple garden(s) surrounding the home.


We actually don’t need a huge amount of water per person as I have learnt from the world’s poorest who don’t have long hot showers to ‘wake them’ up’ in the morning or make showering a habit instead of a need.

The Happy, simply model tries to be self-sufficient in water. Capturing rainwater, storing it and using it as needed. Some of the practices around this are: drinking rainwater; using water twice – once for cleaner activities like face and hand washing, washing dishes, rinsing food, etc and then again for things like watering the garden, using for cleaning floors, bicycle, etc, and diluting toothpaste and urine for better disposal; having showers as needed (when dirty or smelly); and giving water a value.


Of course we rethink, reduce, repair, reuse and recycle but this is the starting point not the end point. The other more practical components for the Happy, simply model are a bio-compostable toilet, a worm farm, composting, not having a fridge and an aim to be as waste free as possible.

Reduction in waste is an important element to a Happy, simply lifestyle. This means not having too much to begin with. Our consumption of ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ contributes a significant amount to not only our carbon foot print but also to our unhappiness as we aim to have everything, updating, keeping up with others and then being ‘happy’ – even though it never really comes. Sharing and interacting with your community is key.


Walking, running, cycling, public transport, ride sharing, hitching and other human-powered or shared forms of transport has the biggest environmental impact and clearly contributes to happiness.

A difficult aspect to undertake in transport is to give yourself time to walk, ride and take public transport. Consider transport as an important part of your life where you don’t have to save time but appreciate it and choose your favourite happiest for of transport and the more human-powered and slower the better you can appreciate your community and environment. I think this is one of the happiest components of the model.


Volunteering is a very rich thing to do. The highest quality experiences I’ve been involved in have usually been when volunteering. Think healthy, happy and with lots of friends. Volunteering maximises community participation, active citizenship and usually interaction with others and nature.

The best gift anyone can receive is the gift of giving but really it is about doing meaningful work that is just a part of being a global citizen. Volunteering can be individual / collectively, sedate / active, short / long term, local / global and a great opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and do something for someone else.

Just make sure your volunteering is needed, wanted and a help not a hindrance as not all volunteering is necessarily good. We should want to match good intentions with good outcomes.

HS components and animations