• Paul Coleman

Introduction To Our Home

The House: Before Adding The Turf Wall Facing

We began building our home in 2010. In 2011 we moved in.

The house is not large, 4.6 meters x 3.6 meters, but we have a big front window with a very big view overlooking the confluence of the two rivers all the way down the valley to Melimoyu volcano, and this gives us a sense of great space.

Downstairs we have a very comfortable futon, large enough to sleep three people, which it has done on occasion, and a small kitchen with plenty of cupboards and shelf's for herbs and spices and books. There is a small ladder that leads to our loft and that is where we sleep. 

Additions To The House:

This a screenshot from a recent television program that featured our life in La Junta. The Sunroom, Kitchen, Conservatory and Greenhouse were added to the house from 2011 to 2016 and are described below.

The Sun Room

When we moved in it was winter and very quickly we noticed that when we opened the door to go out we would often be met by a howling wind, or freezing rain. The temperature in the house would drop and we'd need more firewood. So, we built a small Sunroom with earthbag walls, plenty of windows and a transparent roof where we could remove our boots and wet clothes in comfort and enter the house without causing the indoor temperature to drop. The transparent roof and the windows provide lots of light and extra warmth. During the winter and spring we use the Sunroom as a plant nursery.

The Outdoor Kitchen

In December 2014 we began receiving people from an international program of volunteers willing to learn from, and help, with our gardening and building projects. Feeding volunteers from the tiny kitchen in our home was not practical. So we decided to build an outdoor kitchen and dining area which we connected to the Sunroom and later to the greenhouse which we had built a few years before.

The kitchen, which also serves as a pantry and seed storage area, does not have a transparent roof and stays cool during the summer, while the dining are which is now connected to the conservatory is flooded with light.

The Conservatory/Plant Nursery

The conservatory/plant nursery completed in April 2015 when it connected the greenhouse to the kitchen, Sunroom and house. It is basically a much larger version of the Sunroom, with light flooding in through the windows and transparent roof. It is where we nurture seeds into plants, dry firewood, store garden tools and hold workshops.

It is a bright and spacious place to work, summer or winter and this is where we welcome visitors into our home. People enjoy the day light that floods in and it's always a pleasure watching their reaction when they notice that the greenhouse is attached, full of flowers and overflowing with herbs and vegetables.

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse is built in the same way as the conservatory, with earthbag walls to gather the heat of the day, and a transparent roof, with transparent sides that can be raised in the summer to allow cool air to flow in.

The design of the greenhouse enables us to grow a wide variety of herbs and vegetables all year round, including things that cannot otherwise be grown in our region. Every year we increase our variety of seeds, experiment and expand our edible nutrient base. When we have success we pass what we can onto to our friends and neighbours so they too can add to the biodiversity of La Junta and Aysen.

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