How To Build A $1,000 Eco-Home In Just 100 Hours!

By Sophie McAdam

South African furniture designer Ryan Frank has built up an impressive portfolio in the past ten years, with sustainability the keyword for many of his creations. From farmhouse tables to computer accessories, lamps and shelves, Ryan’s designs have been featured in articles around the world. He now has studios in London and Barcelona, but despite his success, Ryan prefers a simple life. In the video below from he shows us around his home – an impressive ‘temporary structure’ he made on a plot of land in Spain.

Ryan was looking for a blueprint for an eco-home that would be classed as temporary: meaning no cement, stone or other masonry, and raised slightly off the ground. After considering yurts and domes, he settled on a design that would cost him 1000 euros ($1112), and require just 100 hours of work. Often called a ‘boathouse’ or ‘gothic arch’ structure, it was originally developed by a boat builder. The home is a wooden structure, covered by sheep wool and topped with canvas. In winter, a wood-burning stove keeps the house cozy and warm, and in summer opening the window and door provide an air tunnel to keep the home cool.

Ryan lives in the house full-time with his girlfriend, although they use a separate camper as a kitchen, as well as a separate composting toilet and outdoor shower. He’s also designed a funky planter: a recycled plastic tube is filled with earth and topped by a plant-pot which drip-feeds into the tube, allowing for plants to sprout from the holes he drilled.

Ryan doesn’t give us the exact details on how to find and build the particular prototype shown in the video, but if you are interested, a wide variety of cost-effective, open source ecohomes are available to browse on WikiHouse. They include some very similar designs, plus lots more inspiration for the amateur builder. Alternatively, our recent post on ‘Greenhouses of the future’ gives more details on a start-up offering step-by-step instructions on how to build your own ecohome, at a ridiculously low price.

This article (How To Build A €1000 Eco-Home In Just 100 Hours!) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

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