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Well I hope you are sitting down ... the Shouse is FINISHED!
Yes, just yesterday we declared it complete and moved out of Hobohome and into the Shouse. (No Hobohome is NOT for sale and NO we have not finished traveling:-).
It seems to have taken a lot longer than we anticipated and at times been very frustrating, but we are very happy with the results. We are both quite proud of what we have been able to achieve with very little money and lots of hard work.
Just to recap the story of the Shouse ... in 2008 we purchased a block of land near Mount Perry (about 100km from Bundaberg). It was fairly cheap and had lots of water (in the form of two springs and a creek) and situated in a really nice quiet location. We parked Hobohome on the property for a couple of months until an inspector from the local council came and told us that we could not "live" in a motorhome on the property (we had no intention of doing that) - at that point we got the hump and left!
In 2011 we returned to the property with the intention and the plans to build the Shouse ... a shed house.
We are forever grateful for the help we received from our good friends John and Glenda in getting the kitset shed erected, we could not have done it without their help. By August of 2012 the Shouse was complete to lockup and the house side was finished ... well ... just enough to get the sign-off from the local council ... we headed off in Hobohome again (for a rest)!
In June of 2014 we returned to Mount Perry again, this time with the plan to finish the Shouse completely. Well the plan was not only to finish it, but to build some new parts as well. We built a mezzanine floor over part of the workshop area and a large covered deck on the house side of the shed. We tiled the deck and the inside of the house and fitted a new bathroom, built-in wardrobes and a new kitchen. I should mention that this was all done on the tiniest of budgets ... 95% of the work was carried out by us. We sunk a bore and installed a solar pump that supplies all the water we need. We designed and built a large(ish) solar power system (again on a shoe-string budget).
One of our major obstacles we faced was the distance to a major town. This greatly increased costs and forced us to undertake most of the work ourselves, transport costs were high and trades people just did not want to come out here and if they did, they wanted to finance their next overseas holiday in doing so.
The design concept from day one was always self-sufficiency wherever possible. We have strived at each stage of the project to produce a result that has a minimum environmental impact, is low maintenance, able to be secured, monitored and maintained remotely (we still plan to travel in Hobohome) and lastly is affordable.
To help achieve our goal of sustainable living and self sufficiency, the Shouse is fitted with a custom designed off-grid solar electrical system that supplies 100% of our power requirements (at least so far), an evacuated tube solar hot water system that provides all of our hot water and our 50+ tree orchard, while still quite young, is now supplying us with lots of fresh fruit. Tracey's veggie garden takes care of her non-carnivorous food requirements (unfortunately, most of my food requirements are carnivorous in nature - I need to plant a steak tree).
As many people know, I'm a bit of a technology nut (Tracey would use the word "geek"), to this end the Shouse has been fitted with quite a lot of fairly unique technical gadgetry - most of it was designed and built from scratch. I plan to write a separate article on the "Shouse Tech" for those who are interested - but let me just touch on the design goals for the "Shouse Tech" :
The heart of the system (or perhaps more accurately "hearts") is a number of Arduino Mega micro controllers. These are assisted by a system that manages and records security video from more than 10 cameras (again accessible from anywhere) and a very unique monitored security system that reacts to movement not only inside, but also outside the building.
The net result is a system that allows us to view, manage and maintain almost every aspect of the property from anywhere with an internet connection. While in the short trips we have done away from the property to date, these systems have performed well, the real test will be when we go away again for months or years.
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