Building Our Home

It’s evening and a weekend, and so I’m alone at our property, where our Community Rebuilds home is weeks away from completion. I am making my first solo attempts at tiling. Usually when I come here to work on the house, it’s during the day and there are interns and staff here as well. Community Rebuilds seems to attract an unusually bright and conscious type of person: people with great life stories to tell, people you want to keep up with and see what they do next, people who probably have a lot more income potential that they are foregoing to do something they believe in. I like to imagine that their awesomeness is being absorbed by the straw and mud and many layers of plaster. For sure, there is a very personal touch that each worker makes. With so much of the home being done by hand, as opposed to factory made, the house is like a giant, group art project.

Owning a strawbale home has been a dream of mine for years, both for the energy efficiency and the aesthetic, and I’ve always appreciated the mission and quality construction of Community Rebuilds. And now, it’s really happening! We should be well settled in by Christmas. Even as I apply thin set and push in tiles to form the kitchen backsplash, there is still a slightly surreal feel to it all.

This is where I will cook dinner, I affirm to myself as I stand next to the countertops by the empty space where the stove will go. Over there is where the big table will be, where we will sit together most days for meals, do homework and art and little projects, and have conversations with family and friends.

IMG_8287.JPGI go outside to inspect the newly applied exterior paint, a darker brown that contrasts well with the white borders on the windows and sliding glass door. My two kids, Cyrus and Veda, who are four and seven years old respectively, call it “our chocolate house”. They aren’t the only ones to notice the color’s resemblance to a dessert; several interns remarked on its chocolaty appearance the day the paint went on.

This is what the kids will picture when they think of home. This is where we will come at the end of each day, our safe little haven from the rest of the world. It’s where we will mark the kids’ height on the wall, and hang old family photographs and those that have yet to be taken. It’s where we will cook and sweep and fold laundry and do all the other every-day tasks. It’s where my little ones will grow up, and it occurs to me that it might even be where I grow old. I imagine the property in thirty years, the house surrounded not by bare dirt but by mature trees that I will remember planting as saplings; I picture the garden area bursting with harvest. Right now, the rock border for the garden is about halfway done, and the weeds are being smothered with cardboard and straw and leaves, so as to be ready for planting in the spring. When the weather warms, we will also plant fruit trees, and at next summer’s end, we will gather the harvest from the garden, enjoy much of it fresh and preserve some for the winter. I’ve always wanted to have a garden, and for the children to grow up with that experience.

IMG_8286.JPGWe will always be grateful to Community Rebuilds. For us, it’s not just affordable, naturally-built housing; it’s our family home.

Heila ErshadiFall 2015 Homeowner

One Response to “Building Our Home”
  1. Toni Turner says:

    Dear Heila,
    my daughter is the woman in the photograph, most likely with your daughter. What a pleasure it is to read your piece on how you value to work the interns put in. From one mother to another I think you have articulated beautifully the value of a home, the value of giving and what so many people search for but do not recognise when its right in front of them.
    kindest thoughts to you and your family from Toni in London.

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