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Amazing Nature House Of Family Living Off The Grid

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The Hjertefølger family live in this solar geodesic dome situated on Sandhornøya island in northern Norway. The ultra-green home was designed to enable the family of six to eek out a sustainable existence despite challenging climatic conditions – they even grow most of their own food. The family of six built it themselves using various organic materials such as sand, water, and clay that “lasts forever”, and no paint required.

After constructing their cob home topped with one of Solardome’s single-glazed geodesic domes with the help of friends and neighbors, the family moved in on December 8, 2013 and so far they haven’t looked back. And with views like this, why would you? How to Live Off Grid Successfully

Inhabitat recently caught up with the Hjertefølgers, who have now lived in their home for three years, to learn about their challenges and victories.

The dome is 25ft high and has three storeys, five bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Solar panels provide power for the family of six, and the extensive garden supplies most of their food.

The family had to design their home with extreme temperatures and wind in mind. It’s impossible to grow food in the dome in winter – Hjertefølger said there are three months without sun at Nature House – but the design does enable the family to grow food five months longer than they could outside. They grow apples, cherries, plums, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, squash, and melons.

Growing their own food is just the beginning of sustainable living at Nature House. Hjertefølger said all of their grey and black water is reused for fertilizing and watering the plants they grow. The family composts food scraps. They make sure to use clean, biodegradable household products, as elements in those products could end up in the food they eat. The home will have a long lifespan too – Hjertefølger said cob “lasts forever if you keep it dry,” and as their dwelling is always covered with the glass dome, it hasn’t been worn down by weather. She also said there’s no need to paint or even maintain the cob structure’s walls.

Improvements could be made to the house, but for the most part the family seems incredibly satisfied with the design. “If we were to build a new Nature House, the ideal thing would be double glass on the green house so that we could have a tropical garden and no dripping in the winter,” said Hjertefølger. “But that is a bit unrealistic because it is very expensive with all that glass.” She also said they’d like to make a few changes to how the plant beds are set up “to get more usable space and better placement for different plants.” Overall, though, the family says they thrive inside Nature House.

Their waste water gets reused to fertilize the plants. The family also composts food scraps and use clean biodegradable household products.

“The feeling we get as we walk into this house is something different from walking in to any other house,” said Ingrid. “The atmosphere is unique. The house has a calmness; I can almost hear the stillness. It is hard to explain. But it would have been impossible getting this feeling from a house someone else has planned and built for us, or a house with corners and straight lines.”

The dome offers panoramic views of the surrounding untouched wilderness, and it also offers unobstructed views of the Northern Lights.

“The house works as we intended and planned. We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house,”said Ingrid Hjertefølger. “The process changed us, shaped us.”

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The Hjertefølger family plans to hold workshops, classes, tours and concerts at their eco-friendly nature house.

They also hope to build additional cabins for yoga retreats and summer camps.

Images courtesy of Ingrid Hjertefølger


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