In 2010 a family of four sold their charming little condo in the increasingly fashionable neighborhood of University Heights. With the money they bought a stripped out house in East San Diego previously owned by human smugglers. Their goal was a radical change in lifestyle that would allow DIY Makerism, self reliance, alternative technology, permaculture, and urban homesteading into their lives in ways their HOA would have never allowed. The ideas that lead them to take this plunge came from the steampunk movement as it was during a brief shining period when art and philosophy seemed at least as important as brass, and great essays, speeches, and letters were written. These days they don't worry so much about what people call "steampunk." They call what they're doing the Greyshade Estate.
Comments are welcome but please read our policy.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Full Steam Ahead
We have been so busy working that we haven't had time to post about working. We want to move... NOW! We started sleeping at the Estate regularly in late January. We reasoned that we would get more done faster if we didn't have to make time just to be there. Mind you this is not the same as moving in. Our household was skeletal.Our kitchen consisted of a mini fridge, a microwave and a one burner camp stove on a crate. The master bedroom was furnished with a four inch thick foam matress laid across a saw horse table. The children had it better as we have a second set of bunk beds. We often tucked the kids in bed and stayed up until the wee hours scraping walls. The picture at the top shows the massive paint blister Mrs Greyshade scraped away on the north wall of our living room. That job alone took days, but by living on site we managed to get the bedroom, hallway and bathroom stripped and repainted in a month. (Pictures to follow) Then we put everything in the garage in order to sand repair and refinish the floors.
As primitive as our living conditions were it was still a joy to live for a while in a place of our own. We've been living with a relative with no formal agreement regarding rent. Some urban housing authorities consider people in this position "homeless." While we are clearly better off than people who sleep on the streets, it has been tough emotionally. We have now been "homeless" for a year. Packing up our bits a pieces of furniture and "moving out" again was painful. It is only by chanting in my head "the floors are the last step, the floors are the last step," that I could bring myself to do it. We have learned to live without a proper kitchen, so we have decided to save the rebuild for after we move. Just having a stove and refridgerator will seem like a luxury. We can live with this and many other inconveniences. We just want to come home once and for all.