Tire House Tour

If we were to hang a little sign on our door, I think we’d have to say something like, “Welcome to our home sweet tire.”

Our home for the summer is made out of old, discarded tires.  And in case there is any confusion about this fact when guests come to visit, here’s the front door:

Tire houses are officially called Earthships.  They are designed with natural materials from the area (such as stones from the valley) and hundreds of recycled tires.  You don’t know how many tread patterns there are on tires until they make up your walls!

The tires on the inside of the house are covered with stucco.  Shall we walk in and take a peek?

There’s one of our interior walls right there.  See the tire trim on the bottom?  That cracks me up every day!  The reason the whole house doesn’t have four complete walls in each room is to take advantage of passive solar heat.  The fourth wall is a canvas curtain.  The roof angles just right so that the house gets all the sun in the world in the winter.  The stucco walls absorb the warm sunlight, so then at night, the house retains a lot of the warmth.  The high summer sun barely enters the house.

Here’s the view if we turn to the left a little.

Tire houses are meant to be self-sufficient.  That’s why there’s this huge strip of garden along the whole house.  Right now, the garden is only a huge, thick row of aloe… which came in pretty handy as our skin adjusted to the sunny Rocky Mountains after a winter in Germany with no sun to speak of.

We’re learning a lot about country life out here, and we really find ourselves thinking a lot about sustainability and the things that matter to us.  There’s no going out to eat around here.  Just getting to the mailbox is a mini journey.  It’s hard to remember that we were just calling a city of 3.5 million people our home – where you could hear and see people at every moment you stepped outside.  Here when you see someone – anyone – you always wave or tip your hat.

The house doesn’t have a lot of windows that open, which is a very good thing since the house is built into the ground.  Mice literally just hop into the house if you leave the window open.  Martin’s in front of the only window (besides skylights in every room).  Instead the house uses air exchangers that swap outside air with inside air via an underground pipe.  That underground pipe either helps cool the air or warm it naturally depending on the time of year.

We bake our own bread.  Neighbors kindly give us some fresh produce, and when we do drive into town, we always make sure it’s during the farmer’s market.  We are on a well here, so we think it’s super important to avoid spraying weeds and we use eco-products like dish soap and laundry soap.  (Right now, we’re loving soap nuts.)

Those of you who have been joining us on Making This Home for a while might recall the Earthship Tour I gave of this house last summer.  That post contains a lot more Tire House facts and history.  We rented the home then, too.  Ever since, the tire jokes just seem to roll right out of everyone’s mouths!

The absolute best thing about living in a house made out of recycled tires?  Well that’s easy:

The views, the neighbors, and the big hearts.  These two arrived just in time for dinner.  Apparently they like farmer’s market spinach, too!

What do you love about where you live?  Any tire house takers out there?