Wednesday, 14 July 2010

How to build a House for Free

How this all started!

The Lucky 7
Three years ago, I came into the possession of a wonderful old boat called the Lucky 7. Everything important to do with her seem to happen on the 14th.(7x2=14) I lived on that boat for over a year and loved the experience. Unfortunately, there was too much rot in the wood for me to repair her back to her former glory and in the end she was demolished for scrap. I was heartbroken as she was my first home of my own and I had finally been able to experience my dream of living on the water.

As much as I loved that boat ( and she was seriously cute), I had always lamented the lack of space. I am fairly good at living in small spaces but was really missing having appliances like a washer/dryer, a full size fridge and a room for all my tools and craft supplies. Ideally I would have preferred to live in a float home and had the boat for excursions and holidays.

Well today (being the 14th day of the 7th month) my dreams are about to become a reality! I have been sitting on this news since June 21st, as I didn't want to jinx anything and I am about to explode with excitement. I am finally getting my dream home..... a beautiful huge floating building that has enough room for all of my needs.

 It has been a month fraught with anxiety and stress as I tried to pull things together to make this happen. The house ( well really its a huge workshop that I will be converting into a house) is 60 km away in a town called Mission. I have to arrange for a tugboat to bring her down to Vancouver where she will be moored for the time being. This is not the ideal time of year to be doing this as the freshet is running strong right now( freshet is the runoff from melting snow in the mountains, this increases the flow of the river dramatically and makes things much harder to control).

 Of course the tides have not been cooperating at all lately. The marina I will be moored at, needs to do a lot of rearranging of docks and vessels to make room for me and high tide is needed to accomplish this. Unfortunately all the high tides have been at 2 am or some such thing and during the daytime the tides are staying very low. This has slowed things down a lot. The tugboat also needed some work done to the prop before going out and they couldn't get space to work on it until today. Once the prop has been repaired, they will be going back to the marina to move a few vessels around and then tonight or tomorrow morning, they will be going up river to pick up the" Ark" as it is affectionately known. My stomach has been in knots for the last month and I can't wait until she is home and in her berth safe and sound.

Seven years ago, one of my teachers had us do an exercise where we were to draw a picture of anything we wanted that exemplified our hopes and dreams for the future. My drawing was of me and my cat on a houseboat with an attached float that carried a greenhouse. Now my dream is finally manifesting itself. I never lost sight of my goal, I hoped and prayed for it constantly. I wanted a place big enough to work out of, entertain in and be creative in. My ultimate goal is to make the place completely off the grid by producing my own power, having a water desalinator and installing composting toilets. I will eventually get a floating greenhouse together so I can produce some food for myself.

The most amazing thing is, I am creating a home for free in the most expensive city in Canada. How is that possible you ask? Well we live in such an affluent society, that people are throwing away/giving away everything and anything, including homes. Seriously, in the last year I have seen several homes for free on craigslist. You just need to pay for moving them. This was a free floating building that a friend had acquired. They weren't able to make the payments on their moorage, so I paid off their debt in exchange for the house. ( A HUGE thanks and hugs to my Dad and friend Daryl who lent me the money to do this)

 I had a vision of what I wanted in my dream home and while holding that vision, I have been scouring the free section on craigslist everyday for the last year searching for the things I wanted. I am lucky foresighted enough to own a cargo van, I rented a 40 foot container for a storage locker and have been filling it full with all my finds. I had found pretty much everything I needed to create a home except for the material for the actual structure itself. Now that I have that, I am good to go. I have all the appliances, fixtures, flooring, cupboards ,windows, doors, etc, etc that I need to finish it to suit me and my needs. I saved everything I could from the boat demolition so there will be many aspects of the Lucky 7 incorporated into the house as well.

 I will have many years of stuff to blog about as I go about doing all my renovations and finally getting my life out of storage so I can show you all my treasures. If you don't hear much from me in the next few weeks, it's because I will be busy moving and starting some Reno's so I have the basics in place, like somewhere to cook, sleep and wash up. Stay tuned for the adventures of the Eclectic Ark!

                                                      HOME SWEET HOME!!

So focus on your dreams, let the universe know exactly and specifically what you need/want, don't get too attached to what that looks like, and act like it is already your reality,because dreams CAN come true! I'm a dreamer and look what I manifested!

Read my page The Ark to learn the history of my home and to see some pictures of the interior before the reno's get started.

What do your dreams look like. Have you been able to manifest them?

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Thanks, your awesome,


  1. Oh, my gosh!!! This is so fabulous! I am so happy for you (: You sound like a woman after my own heart! Your journey is so inspiring and I can't wait to see the progress on this lovely “new” cottage.

    I too have day getting out of this city apartment, owning a cottage, going off-grid and living a self-sustaining lifestyle in my little neck of the woods. Your post has encouraged me to keep that vision...pressing on as I hold tight to my dreams (:


  2. Congratualtions! I absolutely LOVE your new home and hope you will keep us posted.


  3. Love it when dreams come true! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new home.

  4. What an awesome story! I am so very happy for you! Can't wait to read more of your story!


  5. I am just so happy for you!! I can't wait to see your progress and eventually have a visit with you :)

    Love you lots

  6. What is that Star Trek quote? "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!" So glad for you, many good wishes winging your way as you make this all YOURS!

  7. OMG!!
    I will stay posted! I want to see all that you do with your new home!!

    Congrats to you!!!

  8. I loved every word of that post! I just came over from somewhat simple and I have to say that is one of the most inspirational posts I've seen in a long time. Holding fast to your dreams is a good mantra for all of us... I am signing up as a follower so that I don't miss out on the updates of your new home! Theresa

  9. what a lovely personal story to share!
    come crafting with us, we're on your side ofthe world, by the water, that is.

  10. Fantastic post.
    My first visit to your blog.
    May you have many wonderful memories in your new home.

  11. Wow! WOW! WWWWOOOOOW!!!!! what an oportunity!so much potential, just love the kitchen sink (read kitchen units) and what you have done to it looks great,classic and very collectable, Value addition is what its all about these days, particularily if it cost very little initially. I built several of my homes ( and refurb boats) and there are times when you wish that you had done things differently but you live with that. It`s nearly always a compromise on many things availability of funds, equipment, material,even bartered help and "Craig list" seems a great way to aquire some of those. Very best of luck! keep your spirits up, it will be a long haul and up hill for most of the way (which I am sure you already know) but the basics are good and it floats. so you are 30% of the way. you have 10% of the materials and the rest is just time and expertese. "Job done" Cant wait to see the finished item! take great care of your back ( they say you are as old as your back) don`t go the route of "fusion" unless its all thats left for you, big hugs from the UK!

  12. Ah my dream has always been to live as simply as possible leaving 'no' footprint .. I just purchased a little RV with 2 wooden sheds and 1 metal one ! The shed in the back has a dirt floor..what a wonderful place to finally build my own potting shed. The other wooden one has a beautiful windowed door on it, my first thought was a 'poetry shed'. There is a long deck at the back of the house which I cannot wait to convert into an sun bathing area overlooking the huge wooded back yard ! I'm going to convert the covered 'carport' area into a plant filled screened room.
    Oh the dreams I've had that have been crushed ... do I DARE ?? dream again ?? Seems I am slowly believing in those 'dreams' once again !
    Can't wait to read and see the 'progress' of yours !!
    PS I purchased the 'exact' sink that was on a porch, all I had to do was to approach the owner of the home and ask her if she would be so kind as to sell it to me ! It went in an old home that I paid $6,000 for in 93 !


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment, Rhianna

The Eclectic Ark