Mother Earth Living


A Lookout Above: A Cozy, Solar-Powered Home in Oregon

Despite the complexity of the design, this homeowner finally gets her sustainable watchtower-inspired home.



Photo By Susan Seubert
In Central Oregon’s high desert, with sweeping mountain views, the Solar Lookout home is designed after 1930s-era fire lookout towers. Built of 75 percent recycled woods and powered by solar energy, it stands as a model of creative design and sustainability.
Photo By Susan Seubert
Photo By Susan Seubert
A cozy living room corner is the perfect spot for viewing wildlife or a starry desert sky. Dick built four studio couches that pull out for extra sleeping space and provide seventy-six cubic feet of storage.
Photo By Susan Seubert
In the kitchen, a shorter chest-style refrigerator, painted to match the cabinets, allows 360-degree views of the Cascade and Ochoco Mountains. The countertops are milled from a large Douglas fir log washed up on the shore of Whidbey Island.
Photo By Susan Seubert
The low, southern sun warms the living/kitchen area on the upper floor in winter. A thirty-inch roof overhang minimizes summer’s heat. Wood for the floor and beams are from a dismantled naval base; the walls were fashioned from old Sonoma Valley pickling vats.
Photo By Susan Seubert
Concentration on cooking is often interrupted by a passing golden eagle or bluebird. Binoculars and a bird book are always nearby.
Photo By Susan Seubert
The home is a place of simplicity and celebration, where the outside and inside are one—a place to discover passion, playfulness, and laughter.
Photo By Susan Seubert
Level Three
Level One
Level Two
A 1930s sink from a second-hand store and a claw-foot tub (purportedly from a local brothel) furnish the middle-floor bathroom.
Photo By Susan Seubert
Stairs from the lower power room, made from recycled Douglas fir, invite a healthy climb up through the Solar Lookout.
Photo By Susan Seubert
A workbench with natural and discarded items invites playful creativity—perhaps a parody of the house itself.
Photo by Susan Seubert
Most mornings begin with coffee in the middle-floor bed where Glenda and Dick can watch dawn light up the mountains and birds arrive at the feeder. Dick built the queen-size bed on a box with drawers for ten cubic feet of storage. The beams, floor, and wallboards are recycled wood. The built-in, multi-shelved headboard and window casings come from a local pine mill’s over-runs.
Photo By Susan Seubert











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