Happy, simply Open Day Sunday 22 June

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Building update. Today saw a ceiling painted, raised bed reinforced and put in, front deck extended, inside of two walls clad – one in plasterboard the other in red cedar tongue and groove and we learnt about how to not make a box for solar batteries!

But this blog is for you to mark in your diaries next Sunday 22 June when the Happy, simply SA will have it’s home warming day / open day / thank you supporters day / happy, simply day!


Come and see what it might be like for someone to live happily, simply, healthy, with a little more sustainability, self-sufficiently, debt-free, with lots of friends, connected to people and planet, active citizenship and lots of community participation and MORE!

Once properly finished in the near future the home will be available for people to stay a night or two to have a taste of the happy simple life.

It has been a wonderful community project where people have given so much in the way of time, materials, working, sharing, food, etc…

Sums it all up!

Sums it all up!

Sunday will be a wonderful celebration to take note of what has happened in the past month and share with others why living in a small but happy place can be a ‘rich’ thing to do – where less is more and just enough is plenty!

Hope to see you there for a look and a chat!

Happy, simply

Happy, simply


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/

100_1455 (12b)

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…

Design Finalised – Let’s Start Building!!!

It is the final countdown (till the beginning). We start building tomorrow and I now only need to find a location, materials and people and we are good to go! Actually it is not that bad but it is going to be a busy afternoon – where I can’t be writing blogs!

For now I just want to show the NEW and probably / almost / kind-of / final design for the Happy, simply. lifestyle on wheels…



Actually the roof will also be a deck for living on in the sun (eventually with garden and solar)

Actually the roof will also be a deck for living on in the sun (eventually with garden and solar)

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

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

View from the right and the outside deck which will be foldable and can be used as kitchen, water capture and BBQ!

View from the right and the outside deck which will be foldable and can be used as kitchen, water capture and BBQ!


Come see the model in action and learn how to build a simple / sustainable / self-sufficient home!

Hi all and wonderful to be in touch with a new look Happy, simply building workshop!

The project had a bit of a set back when the Holiday Park had to pull out the day before building was due to begin (see blog) but as is the way it was a wonderful blessing in disguise. Since then the ideas have flowed and we have adapted the building component and workshop of the project for the better.

hs trailer backThe 10m2 home will now be build on a boat trailer making it more movable and free to share the ideas and as was first hoped the building workshop will be FREE (Koha appreciated). Importantly we want anyone who is interested to come and take a look and see how this project aims to not be built in the community but WITH the community.

Thank you to many who have already support this project and hope to see a lot of buzz and interaction throughout!

See more details on the updated workshop below.

Un updated design but will now be on a boat trailer rather than with the cement footings as shown here...

Un updated design but will now be on a boat trailer rather than with the footings as shown here…

—  (You can also see the information online at the Chalkle site: http://www.meetup.com/sixdegrees/events/103206782/)

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

Come see the model in action and learn how to build a simple / sustainable / self-sufficient home! 16-25 February, Paekakariki.

Intro – some context and what am I doing…
I am building a 10m2 house on a trailer! This is one of many components to live happy, simply. The 10m2 house is being built on a boat trailer and will featuring mostly reused/recycled materials, renewable energy, water capture, bio-compostable toilet, garden and more…

Come join in building a happy, simple, sustainable, self-sufficient home and lifestyle model! Or you can just come and see what is all about…

This home is a part of Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project. The Happy, simply project is dedicated to education, learning and inclusiveness where the process is just as important as the end product, so I want to give others the opportunity to participate, learn and do, just as I will be!

This part is a building workshop, a component of the lifestyle model display and education project.

Logistics, dates, times and other info

  • Free free free – come in and join in! If you want to do the building side of things RSVP or just come by for a look at how one person can live Happy, simply.
  • This process will start Saturday 16 Feb and go through till Monday 25 Feb but people can join up for just the weekend / both weekends or weekdays. Days are 9am-5pm
  • Location is in Paekakariki (40km north of Wellington on the Kapiti Coast) we will be constructing around the place but the majority will be at the Paekakariki Holiday Park – 180 Wellington Rd – (beautiful by the sea!) map http://goo.gl/maps/A9nc9
  • Food and accommodation is not provided, however the Paekakariki Holiday Park is great and cheap ($15/person camping) or I might have accom for those coming for the whole workshop
  • RSVP: if you are interested in doing the whole build Feb 16-25, weekdays, weekends or one off days let me know: d’Arcy 022 381 0732, lunny06@yahoo.com.au

What people will learn / do / observe / contribute
Keywords and interests here are: building, design, architecture, sustainability, simplicity, community, self-sufficiency and where less is more and just enough is plenty!

This first step of building the 10m2 home is a great opportunity to learn about design, building, simplicity, sustainability and self-sufficiency. Specific to the build part you will learn/do:

  • Getting started: design explanation and setting out design
  • Planning and sourcing materials
  • Erecting timber-framed structure: wall, floor, roof and mezzanine framing
  • Floor, windows and doors set-up
  • Roof: roof underlay, roof cladding and drainage
  • Walls: wall underlay, wall cladding and flashings
  • Insulation: floor, walls and ceiling
  • Set up rainwater capture and reuse system, alternative power systems
  • Internal lining and finishing: wall linings, wooden floor installation, painting and polish
  • If we still have time and enough people: attached eave and deck and stairs and cabinetry

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

Learning and Skills Throughout:

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
  • Sketch a sustainable transportable home regarding dweller’s needs, location and building regulations and codes
  • 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
  • Carry out step-by-step edible garden on roof
  • Third Skin: How to achieve a breathable, insulated and waterproof dwelling
  • Install your own solar system and water collection
  • Handy tricks for DIY

Really we can accommodate anyone in building skills from first picking up a hammer to just about to build your own place on your own!

What people need to bring

  • Gloves, hat and covered shoes
  • Warm clothes if cold; suncream and bathers for swim at the beach after work if hot; and insect repellent for the sand flies if they make a visit
  • Bonus will be any tools you might have access to – hammer, powered tools like a powered drill, etc (plus makes you look legitimate)
  • Fun and learning attitude! – Happy, Simply.

Cost and how to book
These workshops are FREE (Koha appreciated) – so please RSVP to me and indicate which day/s you will attend.

What / who is Happy, simply and relevant background
I had the idea and pushed to make it a reality but I have very little building and less design experience so luckily I have teamed up with SHAC – Sustainable Habitat Challenge http://www.shac.org.nz/ and sourced two amazing designers and builders from Spain – Mireia and Javi, who are running the workshop aspect of the build while I manage and pretend to know what’s happening!

Happy, simply comes from my 12 years and 58 countries of learning and experiencing that taught me less can be more (when you get to choose it) and by day I work as an educator and advocate in the aid and development sector.

For me this project and these workshops are about how I can implement the learning I have received from my experiences with the world’s poorest and apply them in the developed world, where we can choose sustainability, self-sufficiency and simplicity and be richer for it.

Check out the blog for more – https://happysimply.wordpress.com/ and contact me: d’Arcy, 022 381 0732, lunny06@yahoo.com.au

Happy, simply. poster

Support and a little wish list…

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

  • Space for doing the building – all transportable on a trailer
  • Building materials – anything from: large 4m support beams, cladding, big glass sliding door windows (ranch doors), wall insulation, solar panels
  • Community support, interest, contribution and affinity. We want to to not be in the community but WITH the community!

Happy, simply takes a wonderful new turn…

All things conspire to inspire is something to keep in mind.

Since Waitangi Day on Wednesday 6 Feb it has felt like 4 years not 4 days.

Things really came to the pointy end and stress was about as high as I have ever experienced. Friday I was up writing emails and organising logistics till 2am and then at 8am I received a call saying that the location I had planned to build and live for Happy, simply was no longer available… My first reaction was relief. Relief that this project had all got too difficult, ambitious and stressful and thank god I can now call it off.

I then enrolled in an emotional rollercoaster for the day – dragging the two amazing wonderful Spanish designers and builders along with me. Luckily by evening, after speaking to my mum and taking a walk I was thinking about a new direction for Happy, simply and in the end it was a new direction to do what was originally planned – to keep things happy and simple!

So today with renewed energy, perspectives and emotions I sat with Mireia and Javi, the designers and builders, and plotted out what could be possible in the next 15 days to build a dwelling that fits in with the Happy, simply philosophy. We looked at many options and then we spied a 6m long trailer and boat going cheap on Trade Me (NZ equivalent of eBay). The idea to build a house on a trailer as was once dreamed of early in the plans become a bit more real.boat & trailer

A phone call, car trip and inspection revealed this dream has a reality.

This trailer will be a house!

This trailer will be a house!

John sold us his 6m trailer (that did have a huge 18ft wooden boat on it and was only extra $100 – but no thanks) which now made a house on a trailer not possible but absolute! He also threw in 11 sheets of gyprock, 3 pallets, rope, bicycle, bicycle electric generator (to power my home!), his best wishes and incredible amount of generosity.

Javi and I drove the trailer up to Paekakariki and Happy, simply dwelling mach 2.0 is alive and will continue…!

More tomorrow (after I have slept again) and a new invite to all to join in with Happy, simply. – dates, place, FREE and more!

Building Workshops Feb 8-26 for Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project.

I now have a confirmed location for Happy, simply. – a lifestyle model and education project. The Paekakariki Holiday Park! So it is now into the serious part, to the actual building of the dwelling!final look

This is a call out for those who are interested in learning and experiencing the building of a simple, self-sufficient and sustainable dwelling – see designs attached!

Numbers will need to be limited but there are many opportunities for many to be involved. We are also treating this as a learning workshop and a cost involved to help with payment of the skilled people running the workshops who are largely volunteering their expertise.

The quick details (with more details below):

Day / Date Build Stage Description Max people Cost
Sat 9 Feb Set up Getting materials and tools in place 5 Free
Sun10 Feb Pre-pre-build Setting up frames & starting from near scratch 10 $20
Mon – Fri

11 – 15 Feb

Pre-build Finish framing & maybe getting them standing 8 $70
Sat / Sun

16 / 17 Feb

Big Build This is the crunch time to get as much done with lots of people in a fun weekend.

If people want to add on Friday and/or Monday would be great and only extra $20

10 $50
Mon – Fri

18 – 22 Feb

Dwelling forming From frame to filling in all the bits 8 $70
Sat / Sun

23 / 24 Feb

Outer & final touches Outside and finishing touches

If people want to add on Friday and/or Monday would be great and only extra $20

10 $50
Mon / Tues

25 / 26 Feb

Final bit & clean up Last remaining touches, the clean up and last polish! 10-15 Free
Friday 1 Mar Party Come see the final product, cheers to all involved and a community celebration! Heaps BYO


  • Paekakariki Holiday Park (beautiful by the sea!) map http://goo.gl/maps/A9nc9
  • Lunch will be included but accommodation is not however the Holiday Park is great and cheap ($15/person) and I’ll see if some friendly folk allow camping…
  • Days are 9am-5pm as much as possible
  • Will need any tools you might have access to (plus makes you look legitimate)
  • One-off days cost $30 and if you want to do the whole build from Feb 9-26 it will be just $150 and I’ll try to find accommodation for you!

Please let me know as soon as you can and before positions fill up:

Name Contact Days / Dates You Want to Participate Q’s Notes Etc…

Link to blog for Happy, simply. https://happysimply.wordpress.com/ and ALL are welcome to come and visit the building stages and the progression of it all!

Floor Plan Drawing


Calling all builders, social justice junkies and cool community orientated folks!

Want to be a part of a fun group of people working together for a happy, simply world?

I am putting an idea into action and want involve a community to participate, learn, share and laugh along with me. From Feb 8-26 we will be making a 10m2 dwelling with Sustainable Habitat Challenge (SHAC).

This is an experiential learning opportunity / workshop on sustainable housing design, how to build a house and just generally enjoying the best simple things in life!

Please see attached Happy, simply poster and blog for the concept of what we are doing

The details for involvement are:

  • sourcing reused/recycled/leftover materials to use for the build
  • using passive energy and heat techniques for efficient and sustainable design
  • a guided step by step process putting together framing and inside infrastructure
  • reasoning and expertise on design and why the designers have chosen certain details and materials
  • implementing total solar energy systems
  • grey-water and drinking water capture and systems
  • creating a rooftop garden and filtering water for grey-water usage
  • constructing foldable eves and decking
  • making the dwelling transportable by trailer or truck
  • use of small wood burner and exhaust system for heat
  • some ideas on bio-composting toilets and their integration into the model (in the future after the council has allowed testing)
  • remaining within compliance and consent for not needed official council approval


  • This will very much be an active learning experience, a workshop for learning and practical experience in building, design and sustainability
  • Roles will vary but we will have at least one professional builder & designer on site
  • The designers have been giving building workshops in NZ for some time now and can also share their ideas on mud-brick (adobe) houses and other eco-designs

The idea is to have fun, learn, up-skill and keep it all happy, simply. Fun, games shenanigans and more guaranteed…

Please know – if you participate on top of the skills you will acquire you will:

  • Leave an amazing legacy of a lifestyle model and education project that we be celebrated and shared
  • Have a personal relationship with this building
  • Be a part of the open door / stay a night policy
  • Be changing the world in a very happy, simple way!

Also there is no funding for this project and I will be financing it all so your contributions and support will be priceless and hopefully rich for you too (experientially!).

Many Thanks



PS. ALL are welcome to visit the progression of it all! Especially from the community…inside labelled view

Structure Drawing - prop 1