Simple Solar Homesteading

I’ve written about this Simple Solar Homestead before but LaMar has made some improvements to his website including the addition of videos and photos of cabins built from the plans in his book. His book is called Simple Solar Homesteading and its 196 pages and costs $19.95. He also sells a $5 ebook called Off-Grid Solar Power.

The  structure of the 14′ by 14′ cabin below can be built for about $2,000 in materials. His book is packed with all sorts of ways to live off-the-grid on a low budget. Back in 2008 I bought an earlier version of this book (as an ebook) and was amazed with all the information inside. It’s exciting to see LaMar expanding his online content and offering and update to his already amazing book.

Visit Simple Solar Homesteading

Photo credit to LaMar Alexander.

Update: The day after I posted this LaMar posted this great little video slide show of how this little cabin was built.

12 thoughts on “Simple Solar Homesteading

  1. Storm says:

    Unfortunately Lamar’s book was barely short of a complete waste when it was $5, now that he has increased the cost, the value of the content has decreased exponentially.

    To make matters worse he is quite simply dishonest in his claims as to the cost of his uninspired shack. He claims a total cost of $2000, but that does not include anything other than the shell, and that not even weather-tight. That means no electrical, no plumbing, no interior, no windows, no doors, nothing at all other than the most basic shell. That would be understandable if he was clear about this, but for those not paying close attention, and not privy to some of the revelations he has made on his yahoo list, it would appear that he is trying to simply pull the wool over the eyes of hopeful would be tiny home owners.

    The other plans in his book are even less useful. His “composting toilet” is nothing of the sort. Instead he ignores the toilet part entirely, and suggests digging a pit to empty the waste into, a pit lined with thin plastic and inaccessible for clean out. Oh sure he put a plexiglass top on the pit, but that is hardly worth the price of the book..

    Sadly Lamar is one of those charlatans who can only give the tiny house and homesteading movement a bad name.

    • Michael Janzen says:

      Hi Storm,

      I’ve not seen the newest print book but thought the previous $5 ebook was totally worth the cost of a cheap lunch, in my humble opinion. It’s no encyclopedia but has a lot of good ideas and a nice way to begin digging into the complex topic of homesteading on the cheap.

      I never got the impressions that LaMar said the $2,000 was for the complete house. In fact I thought he made it clear that it was for the shell… as I did in this post. I also checked out LaMar’s homesteading Yahoo Group and saw some recent posts on the Small House Society where he lists what he includes in his $2,000 estimate. Here are links to those groups where you can find more about this topic. But both groups require that you join since they are moderated to reduce spam.


  2. David Chase says:

    I recently read the earlier version of the ebook through a friend. I found it pretty well done and intended for someone without much building experience. Would I do some of it differently? Sure, but I already do that sort of thing. For a quick way to get in the dry on the cheap, It’s great. His projects are also explained very well, better than in other sources I’ve read. I liked it and look forward to being able to get his new version.

  3. Craig Moorhouse says:

    I agree with Michael and David
    This book has a lot of good ideas and works great for the avid I can read this book and add my own ideas or build things as is. The solar cloths drier is “brilliant” If I build it ( and most likely will) i will build it with my own building style but the idea wouldn’t have gotten into my brain if I didn’t shell out the 5buck and is worth many time the price that I paid for the solar cloths drier idea alone.
    $2000 to shell a house this size – my goodness, that’s less money than if you were to go to your local “Build-all” to buy a 6’x8′ garden shed. I don’t want to be argumentative but I would highly urge anyone with better ideas to write them out and offer them for sell at the same price.

  4. Brent says:

    I am pretty new to all this but what I have found is that one can only give estimates, depending on where you live prices vary.

    I have not read the book so I cannot make any comments on that but what I have found – when researching alternative energy sources – is that when people are trying to “get off the grid”, and informing others about it, there will always be those, with other intentions, who try to refute their efforts and scare people away. And it appears that the same principle crops up with sites like this. Personally I think Lemar appears to be honest in his approach, has built a brilliant little house and is well worth getting some advice from.

    I live in Argentina and constructed a house, in my in-laws back garden, out of plastic bottles filled with earth a year and a half ago. 3m x 6m – bedroom/kitchen-living/bathroom – cost me less that 2000 pesos (about 500 dollars). Unfortunately, due to complete lack of any building experience what so ever I have, admittedly, made many mistakes. I have recently purchased a small plot and Lemar, as well as many others that I see on this site, is an inspiration to just keep trying, learn from others and learn from our mistakes, if what you really want – is to be free.

    Many thanks to all. God Bless.

  5. lynn says:

    the video is awesome!

    i think i’d wanna substitute something more woody and less toxic for all that chipboard on the floors, walls, roof…though i understand that keeps the cost down.

    did i say i loved the video?!

    love it!

  6. mark says:

    Heres the materials copied from lamars book:
    6 deck blocks @ 4.50 = $27
    3 concrete blocks @ $3 = $9
    1 center pole girder $7
    total = $43
    14 2x6x14s @ $7.50 = $105
    6 4×8 t+g sheets @ $15 = $90
    3 rolls R19 insulation @ $24.00 = $72 (optional)
    total = $267
    4 4×4 corner posts @ $10 = $40
    65 2x4x8s @ $3.50 = $230
    8 rolls R19 insulation @ $24 = $192
    14 4×8 T111 siding @ $15 = $210
    14 4×8 drywall @ $12 = $168
    total = $840
    10 2x6x14s @ $7.50 = $75
    6 4×8 5/8 wafer board @ $12 = $72
    total = $147
    24 2x6x10 rafters @ $5 = $120
    10 4×8 5/8 wafer board @ $12 = $120
    2 rolls roofing felt @ $15 = $30
    6 squares tamko shingles @ $49 = $294
    4 rolls R19 insulation @ $24 = $96
    total = $656
    screws and assorted metal hangers $40
    Grand total = $ 1997.00

    • Brenda Buster says:

      I took this and got the prices for this and it is a little higher now but still not bad for a house. My husband and I are thinking about building this soon and maybe adding a few feet to it. Love the ideal of living off grid also and living off the land. Can’t wait to get started.

  7. Brenda says:

    I thought the information was great. I, like many others, am putting together my plan to live self sufficient in my own tiny home. I have no real experience in building such a house but have toyed with the idea for years. Lemar explained every detail I needed except one of which I’m still perplexed about. When using the concrete blocks to build the floor on, do you need to have those setting in some kind of concrete poured to the frost line? I would be worried that over time that the earth will cause the house to become un-level if those concrete blocks are not setting on something more stable than just on the ground. Other than that I was impressed.

  8. Travis Walker says:

    This is a really great idea. I have yet to read the book though. But I would really love to try this out and make my own. This will be a good start to self-sufficient living.

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