Mark and Chera rescued and renovated an old cabin and transformed it into an epic off-grid home for their family of 5. The catch? There’s no road to get there, so they had to figure out how to do absolutely everything by boat and barge: transporting building materials, equipment, belongings, workers, as well as commuting to and from town for school and work.
They were limited in how much they could modify the existing cabin, so to make space for the kids’ bedrooms, they attached a yurt to the house with a mudroom. For heat, they have a wood stove in the house, a pellet stove in the yurt (to keep a constant temperature for the kids), and backup wall-mount propane heaters for really cold days, or times when they’re away from the house during winter (to prevent pipes from freezing). Since propane has to be delivered on a barge, it’s really expensive so they try to limit their propane use as much as possible.
For electricity, they have 3 systems. First, a solar power system with 18 panels and a large battery bank which works great in the summer even though they’re surrounded by mountains. But during the colder, rainier months, the system doesn’t keep everything running so they installed a hydro turbine which creates electricity using water pressure from a creek up the hill, and this provides 24 hour electricity for most of the year. As a backup to these two systems, they have a propane generator but they try not to use it unless they need to.
The kids still attend school in town, and Mark and Chera have flexible jobs so they can work in town or from home as needed. They have 2 enclosed boats with GPS and heat for the 20 minute commute back and forth to town.