When someone says “we’re building our dream home,” they typically mean hiring an architect and a team of builders to design and build the project. For Chris Martin of Bloomington, Indiana, that meant building thoughtfully and mindfully over the course of 26 years.
Martin began his project in the late 1980s, using equipment that he purchased and doing all of the work himself. Although it only took three or four years to get the house to 90 percent livable, he has spent nearly three decades making the home into a fairytale house in the woods.
The entryway of the home is built around a discarded church window that Martin found and fell in love with. He used other unconventional materials in the house, like salvaged lumber, borax insulation, and plaster instead of drywall to finish the interior walls. He even used a solar-powered kiln to dry his own lumber.
The interior of the home is remarkably bright and full of character. The family was able to slowly and carefully build a home that reflected their own personal tastes and values without adhering to anyone else’s timeline. The outside of the home is similarly quirky and full of personal touches.
Nine tons of locally sourced limestone cover the home’s exterior – limestone that Martin cut and installed himself. He even created his own special tool for tuckpointing the limestone, which makes for an exceptionally unique and beautiful home. According to Mr. Martin, building your own home is the way to keep from building a house that isn’t too big for your needs – when you know exactly how much work goes into building every inch of the house, you tend to be more mindful.