We moved to Greenwood, Arkansas about 30 years ago. We wanted to build an earth-sheltered, bermed home with a Southern exposure, built right into the hillside, open to the south to take advantage of passive solar heat. My husband traveled around most every day after work, trying to find our land. He finally found this land, a parcel of about 8 acres on top of a ridge line.
When he first showed it to me, it was about 104 degrees F. There was no way up to the top of the ridge line, except for walking, which we did, through fairly dense, very rocky land. When we got to the top, I was gasping for air. Of course, we didn’t think of bringing water with us. I thought my husband had lost his mind. I could see very little difference between what we had seen at the road in front of the place and the top of the hill, where he proposed we build our home. I would eat my words when the bulldozers cleared the land for our home. My husband had much more vision than I.
We had FHA approved plans for a two-story dome into the hill-side, with a tunnel that led to a one-story dome completely underground. The top of the dome would be above ground, covered almost completely with grass, which we would mow. The south exposure would be open, looking out into the valley. It would be super efficient, cost little to cool or heat. We were really excited. After talking to everyone who built homes anywhere around here, we finally had to give up our idea. No one would seriously talk to us, and they all priced the home so high we couldn’t afford it, and THEN added a rock clause to the top of that – basically saying the estimate on the house didn’t mean anything. We started over, looking at the insides of houses, looking for the features we wanted, and built the house that fit our needs the best.
We had to BLAST for our basement, our septic system, and the pool we wanted, but never actually built. The rock clause was necessary.
I don’t really know how far we can see from our deck. I know we can watch the seasons change in the valley, watch the storms roll in, enjoy all the different colors, and even firework displays of our neighbors in the valley, pretending we own all we can see.
We’ve built our own little world here, and have already enjoyed it for 30 years. We feel we’re just getting started.