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

Posts tagged ““small house living” “tiny house” “do it yourself cabin”

a new. day. has. come

I’ve not been posting much over the past several months, mostly for 3 reasons.

1. it’s all quiet on my land and there’s not much to talk about (true) and

2. my life is so glamorous and busy that I barely have time to write out a grocery list (false)

3. I’ve been scouring the country in search of a better place to live than California (also true, see my posts from June 2012)

so I headed East…


too muggy.

Further East…


too dangerous.

Even further East…


umm, no.

So then I went South…


too depressing.

and further South…


too wet.

Finally I went to Arizona…


Now that feels ’bout right!

I cracked open my piggy bank and bought a small house at the edge of the sprawl outside Phoenix!


This is the view out my front door!

The new casita is still technically a small house at 750 sq feet (not a tiny one tho). It has 2 bedrooms, 1 good-sized bath with double shower, laundry room, open kitchen/dining/living room, a nice large patio, and plenty of open spaces, desert critters and the cutest old wild west town a mile down the road!  It’s only 25 minutes from Downtown Scottsdale and the Phoenix airport AND, it cost me less than the down payment on a tiny 1 bedroom ghetto apartment in a bad part of Los Angeles!

What to do with my mountain and my tiny cabin? What about my career, spent basking in the glamour of Hollywood? What about my friends, family and everything else?

Hell, I don’t know. I do know a few things though…

1. California is a financial and social train wreck and getting worse. It’s not a place I want to (or can afford to) retire.

2. I love the desert and the scrappy people of  Phoenix and I LOVE my new little casita!

3. As a working freelance Hollywood creative professional, 90% of my work in the last 3 years has been OUT of California so realistically I could live anywhere near an airport.

4. It’s a 6 1/2 hour drive from Hollywood to my new casita, 8 hours to my mountain and my little car gets 40 mpg.

I am now splitting my time between my mountain, the new desert casita, my apartment in LA, and my work on the road so…


I’m pretty sure I’ll work all this out, I’m a smart guy.    Maybe now I’ll be a happy guy too?


All quiet on the Western front

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, all is good, weather is hot, work is slow, cows and I are lazy, not much else to report.


Tri-tip and Sirloin are fine, London Broil has been visiting her mother in the next county (I assume) and Lil’ Sirloin spends most of his time with the hoodlums down by the creek.


The woodpecker has moved on finally, the disco mylar strips and attack spikes have managed to put a wrench in his gears so he’s off destroying someone else’s cabin.

Eventually I’ll do something and write about it, but just not today!

The lazy hazy crazy days of summer keep a rollin’ on


Anybody wanna be my neighbor?!


There is a small plot of land for sale, not too far from my place, and I wanted to let y’all know about it! Small plots near me are rare, small ones for sale even rarer, and this one is a beauty. It’s almost a full acre, with plenty of oak and pine trees, a small wooded hill, and a good wooded flat area. It is one of a group of 1/4 to 1 acres plots that were originally carved out to be a housing developement back in the 1930s. I looked at it last week and someone could bulldoze a driveway right off the main road and put up a cabin with relative ease.

There is a power pole with electric and telephone service on the property line, so you could plug into the grid with a building permit. There’s also a well on the property line that belongs to a neighbor. It may be possible to negotiate a share agreement so as not to dig a separate well.

The asking price is $15,000, the general going rate for about an acre in the area. FYI, Vacant land is usually not mortgage-able, the buyer must pay cash or have the seller finance it with 50% down.

It is located about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Hollywood, North of Los Angeles County. If anyone is seriously interested, email me privately at and I can get you more info.

On a personal note, please don’t email me just to get details for curiosity’s sake, only if you are seriously looking to buy. I don’t want to overwhelm the real estate lady with questions, I’ve met her in town and she’s very nice!

me and my big mouth

cabin close

A few weeks ago I was asked, by a very nice girl, if I would want to participate in a tiny house lecture/Q&A in Los Angeles. Being the publicity houndwhore that I am, I agreed.

With that in mind, if anyone in the Los Angeles area is not too drunk at 1pm this Sunday March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day for those of you in Rio Linda), come on down to Atwater Village, have a cup of coffee, and watch me make a fool out of myself for 45 mins! (you’ll have to buy your own coffee though). I’ll talk about my process, my cabin, and if I don’t get too nervous and wet my pants, I’ll answer questions about everything tiny house.

In case I suck and bore everyone to death, there’s a second lecture after mine about earth-building homes by a very cool and clever couple, it looks like they build fantastic hobbit houses from this picture on Facebook…

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 1.04.31 PM

Robert and Mireille from Earth Works Building will be speaking about the history of natural building traditions. From cob, adobe, and clay ovens, to newer methods like sandbag structures, recycle friendly earthships. Learn how surprisingly inexpensive, fireproof, and energy efficient natural building can be and the vital connection it makes in building community. 

Clearly they will be more interesting than me so this event should be well worth the drive (and if it’s not, we can always start a food fight!)

For you Face-place fluent types, there’s a interweb page about it…


Tiny House lecture

Lecture is free.
Lunch is pay-what-you-want.
Q&A to follow both presenters.


The event is being held at “Thank You For Coming” at 3416 Glendale Blvd, in Atwater Village, a short walk from either Silverlake or Glendale, I hear that the food is fantastic.

Like the cool kids always say, be there or be square!


long time no see

little sirloin

Hey y’all!

Sorry I’ve been offline for a while. Truth be told, I have very little news to report on my tiny cabin. As my sainted late Grandmother used to say “no news is good news, now go get me a beer sweetie!

All is well up on my mountain, the woodpecker and I are still playing our game of peck, destroy and repair. No signs of man-eating beasts but Tri-Tip and Sirloin had a baby! I’ve named him “lil’ Sirloin’ after his Father (see adorable picture above). The weather has been glorious, I am content, fat and resting.


I had a very busy work season and am now in full repose, gonna start on my next project as soon as the winter chill is out of the air. I promise I’ll post as I go, once I start going!

Thanks for hangin’ in with me. Go out and find someone you love, give ’em a big hug and a kiss and have a fantastic Valentine’s Day!

For now I’ll just sit here LMFAO watching Superbowl commercials, Tivo-ed hours of “Modern Family” and kitten/hedgehog videos)


oh really?


AN UPDATE to my last mobile piano post…

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d like to build a mobile recording studio with my real piano onboard. I put out a call for ideas on how to do it without trashing my beloved piano.

I’m getting LOTS (and I mean LOTS) of responses suggesting I just get an electric keyboard and save myself all the hassle.


While I DO own a fantastic Korg, it is not a piano. The sound of a live piano being played is otherworldly.  Any songwriter worth his salt needs a real stringed instrument to play. The keys push back against your fingertips and the pedals move with your feet, like Ginger Rogers dancing backward in heels. The harmonic vibration of the strings actually transcend this dimension and vibrate within other souls who are attuned to the ethers. You don’t just whack a piece of plastic, you dance through time and space with a finely tuned, precise, ivory trimmed piece of majesty!

If I wanted to make life easy, I’d never have undertaken this whole journey, remote existence and all, let alone build a home off-grid 4000 feet above the California sprawl. The idea is to overcome the bouncing trailer, the moisture, the weight, the risk and the general inconvenience.   CLICK HERE, listen to MCC for 3 minutes, then tell me I just need a Casio.

Come on kids, put your city pants back in the hamper and let’s do this!

a piano on wheels?

Wassup yos?

It’s been a fairly uneventful September, my work is very busy, the weather is great, all is well on my mountain.

Lately I’ve been dreaming of bringing my piano up into the woods with me. Not sure if I mentioned this but I was a modest songwriter/record producer for many years before I got into the tv/film business (music sorta paid for the mountain). I’ve been hankering to start recording again and would love to write music up on my mountain. My fave way to write is at the piano and I have one in my Los Angeles home.

I’m starting to design a recording studio on a trailer, kind of a single-wide trailer housing my recording gear and piano, soundproof-ed and stabilized for mobility. I could plop it down next to my wee cabin, open the french doors to the canyon and play and sing to my heart’s content (and the probable chagrin of the animals and people who share my canyon)

If anyone has any suggestions or cool ideas on how to do this without destroying my py-ano, send them over to me at I’m mostly worried about putting a very expensive studio upright (my most precious possession) onto a trailer and hauling it up to my mountain.

Shock absorbers? Hmmm…