Can a city boy build his dream homestead on a mountain, by himself and with no mortgage?

About the Author

I’m a freelance design professional in the entertainment industry, living in Los Angeles. As my career and much of my work are fleeing California for the greener pastures of anywhere else, I’ve decided to stay here in Southern California and hold the line until Hollywood comes back to life or I run completely out of money.

My Dad taught me basic construction skills and my work (while scare these days) does give me access to some pretty cool resources (like recycling yards, the best thrift stores and even movie sets destined for the landfill). Many of my friends are quite handy with CAD or power tools and they’ve been quite generous with their spare time and knowledge.

I’ve always been a pretty fearless guy and what I don’t know, I can learn!

You can EMAIL me at

20 responses

  1. chris

    I’m doing the exact same thing your doing in Southern Colorado. Got really tired of the mortgage rat race!Im building a 10×12 guest cabin first, tehn building a larger cabin to homestead on.I did a few things different than you, i have some pics if you would like to see them…?

    October 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    • Sounds awesome man, I’d love to see your pix.
      Have you thought about getting a free blog going here at wordpress, post your pics and let us know how it’s going…

      Let me know and I’ll link to it

      October 7, 2009 at 9:26 pm

  2. chris

    I will look into a blog with…I will let you know..nice work by the way!

    October 7, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  3. Good for you. I’m inspired by what you’re doing.

    November 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm

  4. I found your blog to be quite inspirational especially since I am trying to do the same thing and your information on the property aquisition process was very informative,which usually is hardly ever discussed on most topics pertaining to owner built housing.

    July 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    • thank you so much for the supportive words, I hope you find a wonderful parcel!

      July 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm

  5. Invaluable information that I really appreciate you sharing. Thanks for leading by example. I’ll be back regularly.

    December 1, 2010 at 7:42 am

  6. Jason

    Thanks for the inspiration! I tell my wife all the time “we NEED to do this”. We live in Eugene and are always camping with our kids in the summer, usually in a campground. It would be nice to have our own spot where I don’t have to hear my camp spot neighbor playing Warrants Greatest Hits cd at 12am. Again, thanks for the the inspiration and great pix! Whats the actual footprint of your foundation?


    March 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    • Hey Jason,
      Thanks for the kind words, I highly suggest buying land if you’ll use it, land prices are only going up!
      The footprint of my cabin is exactly 10′ wide x 12′ deep to the perimeter of the foundation (to stay at 120 sq’). The decks are 4′ wide but they’re free-standing and kept separate from the building.

      With my 2×4 walls, 1/2″ interior drywall and 1/2″ exterior OSB + siding, the interior dimensions work out to 9’x11′, plenty of room for a full-sized bed, and some odd furniture. A lot of folks are putting their bed up in a loft space to gain the extra floor footage, if you can swing it so there’s plenty of headroom/higher ceiling, it’s a great space saver.

      Good luck man, keep me in the loop when you do it!

      March 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm

  7. charlette

    Do you have plans for the tiny house? Love your design.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm

  8. Carey

    Thanks for blogging about your experience, especially the land aquisition. You’ve given me many good ideas for our soon to be Tiny House. We are planning on bulding our own in Central Texas. Seems a bit scary to me to think of us building our own home, but I believe it will be a great experience.

    Thanks Again!

    June 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  9. Kim

    Hi Urbanrancher, I just found your blog and love it. I am in northern CA and I am inspired! I will continue to follow your progress. Thanks!

    August 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

  10. Denise

    I so want to do this but have no idea of how to go about it. Southern Ca and it’s eating me up. Anyway urbanrancher, good for you…any land you want to lend and help with building?

    August 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm

  11. Mary

    I have been following your journey for awhile now. So glad things are working out for you. I am sure more folks would follow your path if owning a piece of land was affordable. Do you have any insights into how to find land? Is having a real estate agent working on your side the answer?

    July 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm

  12. Pix

    just stumbled serendipitously across your blog by doing a google search for images of “olympic espresso semi-transparent” as i just purchased that color similar to your oxford brown (wish i had gone lighter with the oxford brown!) to stain the pine siding of MY little house! your story is great, love the pictures and writing. keep at it!

    November 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm

  13. coffeewitholiver

    Hi, I came upon a comment you wrote over at The Tiny Life – like what I see of your blog so far! Am going to go back and see how you’ve gotten to where you are now – Love reading from the first post… gives such insight!

    Good on you, and hopefully within a few years I’ll have my own acreage paid off and Tiny Home finished!

    Take care,

    January 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    • Thaks for the kind words Parker. I suspect you will definitely have a Tiny Home soon enough!!

      February 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm

  14. Good to hear that you found a nice location outside of Phoenix. I’ve been thinking of relocating there from Colorado to escape the cold, but couldn’t decide where to live. Can you give me a better idea of where you are located? If you don’t want to publicize your location I understand, but I promise not to tell a soul. You can contact me at my email.
    Bob Larsen

    September 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm

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