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House of Ideas, a DVD by Larry Weingarten
( SKU 270 )
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House of Ideas, a DVD by Larry Weingarten

About 20 years ago, I visited our friends Larry and Suzanne Weingarten in their small house in Monterey, California (Larry and Suzanne wrote The Water Heater Workbook). During that visit, Larry showed me a cardboard model of an off-grid house that he wanted to build. He explained the design and went over the ideas he had for its construction and how he would plumb, heat and power it. This house was to be atop a gorgeous hill in Monterey with a view of the bay. It was going to be completely off the power grid. And Larry was going to do just about everything by himself, including building the road that approaches the house.

They've been in that house for several years now and Larry has shared many stories with me about how it all came together. The heating system he installed is based on some old principles he discovered in old books (Larry has a LOT of old books). It's a hydronic system with radiant walls. It operates off the solar-thermal panels and by gravity alone. Rather than use antifreeze, which needs a lot of attention, Larry filled his system with vodka. Did that make you smile? It sure made me smile. Oh, and the "thermostats" for the radiant-wall system are mechanical and non-electric. They are the same devices that open and close skylights in greenhouses but the way he modified them will make you smile even more. It's all brilliantly simple and natural, and so is the rest of the house.

Twenty years ago when we made that visit, Larry showed me how he decided where the windows would be by shining a flashlight into the cardboard model and experimenting. He wanted to capture as much natural light at all times of the day and he kept cutting holes and moving cardboard walls until he had it perfect.

He shows and tells that story and so much more in this remarkable, two-hour program. He also explains every material used in the house (I had never heard of some of this stuff), the off-grid electrical system and the plumbing. He talks about ways to save on construction without sacrificing quality and shares some tricks you've probably never known (I sure didn't). And there's so much more. This DVD held my full attention from start to finish and I guarantee is will do the same for you. If not, send it back to me and I'll give you a full refund. But I'm betting you'll keep it, share it with friends, and get inspired.

And what did all of this cost Larry and Suzanne? That's probably the most amazing part of the whole story. Watch and you'll see what I mean.

Here's to those who make things.

Dan Holohan

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