Pass the Olives

Jumbled Opinions on Living, Democracy, and Making Things

Category: Stories: Personal & Community

Understanding Construction Is Comforting

Some days just begin themselves. Today Elon Musk inspired my daughter to look up the Boxabl homes because he is living in one (probably only a few hours a week but still). She emailed me to see if I had heard of them. A Boxabl is a prefabricated 375 SF finished house that costs under $50,000, is shipped folded flat, and then unfolded and installed in less than an hour […]

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Affordable City Living in a 72 SF Apartment

Via Hendrix was 21, fresh out of college, and had found a starter job. Unlike her friends who had scattered to the outer boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, she wanted to live in the absolute center of New York City. There are several neighborhoods that one person or another would consider the true dead center of New York City but Greenwich Village or more commonly the West Village or just […]

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Man Digs Home in Mountain

Man Digs Home in Mountain and is proof again that spending a Saturday morning browsing YouTube videos can be relaxing, exciting, and rewarding. After watching “Mr. Tiger Builds Cave House,” I truly believe that I could build such a house—if I had a mountain. A 15-minute well-edited video of Mr. Tiger with all manner of electric tools (where is his energy source?) carving a home out of the side of […]

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Converting a School Bus: A Home for $9,000

  Since the first version of this post on converting a school bus was written in 2013f, Hank Butitta’s school bus has become a popular culture icon worldwide, a TedX talk, and all the other accoutrement of memes. In architecture school I was tired of drawing buildings that would never exist, for clients that were imaginary, and with details I didn’t fully understand. I prefer to work with my hands, […]

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My Grandmother’s House

My grandmother’s house was a white frame cottage, very neat and tidy, on the corner of two unpaved roads and with an outhouse in the backyard next to an apple tree. A rusted barrel was used to burn trash. The neighborhood smelled of burning coal all winter. To the west were acres of cornfields; to the east a block of 12 identical houses, six on each side of the street. […]

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What is Cohousing? The Elevator Speech

Rains Cohen is a Cohousing Coach who lives in Berkeley Cohousing in California. He is asked about cohousing numerous times a day, partly because he wears a pin that says, “Ask Me About Cohousing,” and partly because he is often in an elevator. Here is his unique solution from 2010 to the question, “What is Cohousing.” Add one line for every floor of your elevator trip, and follow the interest of the […]

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Houseboats and Floating Cohousing

When researching the Tiny House villages I tripped over some references to houseboats and the communities that form around marinas. Some have lived in a houseboat community for years. Floating, mobile communities I was struck a number of years ago by the stories of friends who were living on their sailboat. They had sold their condo and taken off for parts to be determined. My own idea of living on […]

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Tiny House Villages in Seattle

This entry is based on an article by Sharon Lee, Director of the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which owns and manages more than 2,200 units of affordable housing in and around Seattle WA. In “Tiny House Villages in Seattle: An Efficient Response to Our Homelessness Crisis” Sharon presented the “lessons learned” in the tiny house villages program in the first three years. The article was published in ShelterForce: the […]

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