26 February 2007

The Latest Dwell Mag

I picked up a copy of the latest issue of Dwell today. I have spent the better part of two hours going over some of the articles and ads found inside the magazine. I bought it specifically for the article on going solar.

You see, when we build in Arizona we will be completely off the grid. We are about 4 miles from the nearest "pole" and Arizona power wants $32,000 to bring one to us, and then we have the privilege of paying them monthly for their service. I don't think so. We will be using a variety of power sources. Once being a whole house generator. It will cost us about 1/3 of the cost of the pole and once it's paid for it's ours for good. It will run on propane. Then there is the solar panels and the wind turbine that will combine to provide the power we will consume.

Just a quick note to all: we are not wealthy Californians taking advantage of the real estate run up in prices. We cannot sell our home to build the Arizona house because we need somewhere to live. We will be boot strapping this venture and it will be long in coming. I only hope we can do a lot of the finish work ourselves. My wonderful sister has volunteered her husband and one son for the electrical work. The big guy was once a drywaller, so that will get done by him and sons-in-law. (yes if you're reading this, and want to come visit, you will heft a slab or two of drywall, guys) The biggest portion that we will not do is the framing and slab work. It will be something we can be proud of in the future, but we're not building a mansion by any means. We are building to meet our needs. I do not, nor have ever, needed to clean more space just so I can call it big. It will be larger than our current home, but mostly because we will be inviting all family to come stay if need be. There will be room for all of us, eventually.

So back to Dwell. It is a good magazine for information. There are many vendors in the magazine that I won't even be giving a second look. You see, I am frugal. I cannot ever see the value in paying $400 for a plastic chair designed by the next big "designer". I am perfectly happy with knock offs and pure form furniture from good sources. I am just not into "names or labels". In fact, Ikea has some of the best kitchen and bath resources around. Their bathroom designs are spot on and I love the wood counter tops they have available.

Favorite find this month in Dwell: Tex-Cote paint. It is 10 times thicker than regular house paint and can reduce the outside temperature of your home by tens of degrees. That's pretty good for desert dwellers. I would say a coat of that paint on the exterior of a home would pay for itself inside of a year. Good find.