Tiny House: Innermost House: An Off-Grid Cabin in California

| 1/16/2012 10:59:30 AM

Diana and Michael Anthony Lorence have been living in tiny houses for almost three decades. Motivated by their desire for a simple life that left them open to pursue inquiry and the highest truth, the couple has furnished, remodeled or built more than 20 tiny houses in the past 30 years. For the past seven of those, the Lorences have lived in the Innermost House, a 144-square-foot, unelectrified cabin in the coastal mountains of Northern California that epitomizes simple living.

Innermost House off-grid cabin 

Situated with a hill to its back, the home faces south. An open porch, sparsely furnished with two chairs, shields the front door. Inside, the tiny home is separated into five rooms. On the home’s east side, an 11-by-7-foot living room with a 12-foot-high ceiling features only a stone fireplace with a generous hearth, a wall of books, and two low chairs, facing each other so as to facilitate conversation. The west side of the home is divided into three rooms—a kitchen, study and bathroom—each measuring 5-by-3 feet. A sleeping loft, accessible by a wooden ladder in the living room, tops the three west rooms.

Innermost House living room aerial 

Innermost House living room 

Designed by Michael, the Innermost House was built using post-and-beam construction. The inside walls are finished with plain white lime plaster, while the outside walls are covered in redwood boards naturally resistant to rot, fire and insects. The Innermost House isn’t just off-grid; it’s completely unpowered. Having neither electricity nor an alternative power source draws the focus of the home toward the fire, which in the absence of an oven, refrigerator, hot water heater, electric lighting and heating provides for most of the couple’s needs. Diana warms water for bathing, and cooks the couple’s meals (in one cast-iron pot), over the fire. After the sun goes down, Diana and Michael supplement light from the fire with beeswax candles. Local orchard prunings that would otherwise be burned as waste provide the fuel for the fire.

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