Building Our Debt Free Home

Welcome everyone! We are Jesse and Alyssa and we’re building our dream home on our dream land debt free. We’re documenting the entire build and using this page to keep you posted of the latest happenings!

To streamline our workload we will update this page with important details surrounding the project including video, photos, workshops, events, press and sponsors. Check back often.
Better yet bookmark the page! (Command + D on Mac | CTRL + D on Windows)

Announcements & Recent Updates

6/26/17: We’re close to finalizing our plans and preparing to set dates for the build, as well as schedule our workshops for the year!
5/27/17: Join us for the first Pure Living for Life workshop: Bandsaw mill training and practice!
5/20/17: Completed the timber frame workshop in Maine! Check out how it went!

Who are we in more detail?

We are a modern day couple in our late twenties and early thirties that wanted to do things a little bit differently. We were tired of working corporate jobs and chasing the dollar. We knew “there has to be a better way”. So we set out on a journey to live life differently.

Our Dream Life Vision
One day we sat down to envision our dream life. We want to have space (and time!) to start a family. We want to build wealth. Not get rich, but building something with lasting value to pass on to our kids. We want to own a modest home and rid ourselves of debt. We want to have time in our life to do meaningful work and give back to the community. Finally we’d like to spend time with each other, our family, our elders and youth.

Where are we with the build?

The thing with building a house cash is that timelines aren’t exact – they’re more rough estimates. Here is what we’ve done and here is where we are at with projected completion dates.

  • Install septic system (Fall 2015)
  • Install water system (Spring 2017)
  • Finalize house plans (July 2017)
  • Prepare building site (July 2017)
  • Foundation + daylight basement (August 2017)
  • Mill / prepare timbers (September 2017)
  • Cut joinery & raise frame (October 2017)
  • Dry in structure (roofing + SIPs) (November 2017)
  • Finish work on structure (2018 and beyond as time and budget allows)

What do our house plans look like?

2017-03-11: Currently we’re in the process of finalizing our plans. Although our plans have already had multiple revisions, our current plan is to have a 36×36 floor plan with a daylight basement / garage and a loft. Here are photos of the preliminary plans – a video to follow soon!

Exterior Photos
Interior Photos
Floor Plans


Noteworthy Events & Workshops

Throughout this build we hope to open up opportunities to the local community and our many friends from all over the world. We hope to have a number of smaller workshops for things like foundation work and preparing the timbers, and then a large, multi-day workshop for the joinery and raising of the structure.

We’re looking for folks interested in these workshops – preference given to those that are interested in multiple workshops.

We’re NOT looking for free labor so that we don’t have to do all of the hard work ourselves. If this is your mentality, this opportunity is not for you. We’re looking for those that see value in helping on a real-life owner-build and see value in being part of a tight-knit community.

Workshop opportunities will be listed below. To be sure you don’t miss out on a notification be sure you’re subscribed to our email list.

Shelter Institute Purely Post & Beam Workshop (April 23 - 28, 2017)

build a debt free home

Dates: April 23 – 28, 2017

Location: Woolwich, ME

Event website: Click here

We just completed this workshop in Maine and had a blast! For the full scoop of what this workshop was like, check out our timber frame workshop page.

Here you will find multiple videos of the workshop, the total investment to us as well as what we learned from being part of the Shelter Institute family for a week.

Pure Living for Life Workshop - Bandsaw Mill Training (May 27th)


Date: May 27th, 2017

Location: North Idaho (Specifics given in invitation to join us)

Time: 9am to 5pm

We are having a Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill delivered to our property by a Wood-Mizer representative and would like to extend the invitation to join us for the unloading, setup, and hands-on instruction with how to operate the sawmill. We’ll also be going through how to load a couple of logs and turn them into cants.

Is this open to just anybody?
We have space for up to 10 to joins us. If you’re interested, fill out this form, and we’ll extend invitations to those we think are the best fit. Preference will be given to those interested in helping on further aspects of the build.

Disclosure: This is not a event put on by Wood-Mizer.

Pure Living for Life Workshop (Date(s) Unknown)

Dates: TBD

Location: Idaho

We hope to put together at least one large workshop and possibly smaller ones in preparation for the big one, and we’re looking for folks that are interested in joining us!

Will this opportunity open to the general public to join in?
Unfortunately, no. This project requires skill, a generous time commitment and requires substantial organization to be successful. We’ll be considering each inquiry to determine availability, skill and project needs. We’ll be giving priority those with more skill and more availability. There may be opportunities to be in a backup position should someone need to cancel.

Will there be costs to attend the workshop?
Yes. We have no intention of profiting from this opportunity, but in order to provide the highest quality opportunity for those who do put in the time and effort to attend there will be a tuition fee. After the roster has been established a reasonable cost will be determined.

As we finalize our plans we’ll begin to crystallize potential workshop dates. If you’re interested in joining us, fill out this Google form, and also be sure to sign up to our email list for the latest updates.

How can you watch our videos?

We’re documenting this entire home build including not only the building but the strategy behind the project as well, including finances, planning, research, relationships and more! Navigate these using the tabs (playlists) below, otherwise, feel free to visit our YouTube channel.

How can you follow the build?

If you want to follow our journey, including our entire home build, there are many ways to do so including the ways below!

Subscribe on YouTube
If you enjoy YouTube, be sure to subscribe to our channel, but also click the bell to be notified of our new videos!
Follow us on Facebook
Be sure to hit the “like” button on our Facebook page! Not only that, but if you want to not miss out on any of our posts, opt to see our content first in your feed (no hurt feelings if you don’t like us THAT much – just letting you know it’s an option).
Subscribe to our email list
The #1 way to stay up-to-date is to our email list. It’s the only reliable way to not miss a post, update or video.

Once you subscribe, be sure to add our email to your contacts list, otherwise our emails will be spent to your spam or promotional folder (which none of us ever check!).

Follow us on Instagram
Nothing special here… but we share lots of quick photos on Instagram if you’re on that platform! If you enjoy our photos, be sure to “heart” them when they scroll by!

How can you support the project?

If you like what we’re doing and would like to support us along the way, all means of support are greatly appreciated! Here are some of the things you can do:

No Cost Ways to Support

Get involved on social media
One of the best ways to support us is simply by engaging with us by watching new videos, reading new posts, give us a “like”, “share”, “repin” or even just leaving a comment. As most all forms of social media are algorithm-based, our content is only shown to a small fraction of the folks that follow us, but if you see our content and engage with it, it will encourage the algorithm to show it to others helping us reach more people!
Shop through our link on Amazon
If you are an online shopper, one of the things you can do is bookmark our Amazon link and when you click that link prior to shopping, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you want to bookmark this link, press Command + D on a Mac or CTRL + D on Windows.

Above & Beyond Supporting

Donate monthly through Patreon
After going back and forth, we decided to join Patreon since we had many folks wishing to send a monthly donation. So yes, if you wish to do this, it’s welcomed although we don’t offer incentives or rewards for doing so… we appreciate all support big and small, and we’re already giving 110% so we have nothing left to give! Please only do this if you want to support us as we are – we’ll do our best to keep documenting so long as it makes sense to do so!
Pass on tools & quality building materials
If you have tools you’re no longer using and want to donate to our cause it would be a huge helping hand! Same for quality building materials. Feel free to send us a message if you have a suggestion and we’ll see what we can do.
Send a donation through PayPal
We are an industrious, financially responsible, driven couple who take pride in ownership of our finances. Many folks however have requested a way to show their support in a financial way. Thank you for your kindness!

Join a Workshop
As you’ll see in the events / workshops section of this page, we plan on opening up the doors to the community to join a workshop on our property as either an attendee or a facilitator. Unfortunately this won’t be open to the general public, but fill out this form if you’re interested in lending a helping hand! Also, subscribe to our email list to be notified of any opportunities when we know more.

What does it cost to build this house?

Since this project began over 18 months ago we’ve been documenting our expenses each month on our expense report page. To get up to speed on projects we’ve already completed (water, septic, driveway, cabin, solar, rv, generator etc.), costs incurred and other budget questions read over each expense report carefully.

We’ll also be tracking and publishing the cost of this project including materials, man power and much more.

Planning Costs
  • Initial floor plan / renderings: FREE! We used Sketchup Software
  • Professional Drawings / 3D renderings: $1800 ($2/sq ft) (subject to change with revisions)
Hours Spent
  • Jesse / Alyssa to date: 300 hours
  • Friends / Family / Neighbors to date: 7 hours
  • Volunteers to date: 0 hours
Material Costs (coming soon)
Check back later please.
Other Costs (coming soon)
Check back later please.

Press & Media

Interested in featuring this project on your website or another medium? We’d be happy to provide high-resolution photos, body copy and we may even be available for an interview. Please send us a short message via our contact form with who you represent, who your target audience is, the type of feature you’d like to do and what you need from us.

Sponsors & Partners

Have an excellent tool, product or service and share our passion for quality homes and craftsmanship? We’re always looking to build beneficial relationships with companies whose products we can genuinely stand behind. Get in touch with us via our contact form for more information on opportunities that are available.


Will your home be off grid or use modern utilities?
We’ve given this some thought and our plan right now is to remain off the grid. One, we love the idea of being self-sufficient on our property, not having to rely on public utilities to meet our daily needs. Two, it could cost us $15,000 or more to bring power to the property so at that cost, we think we’d rather have solar power. Never say never though, right?

That said, we’re designing our home so that it will be on-grid compatible. We’ll do the extra steps to lay the framework for bringing in power one day in case we don’t always want to be off grid or in case we decide to sell the property and the new owners would like conventional power.

What do you do for work?
When we realized our dream of building a home in a rural area, we decided to each do career shifts and pursue an online income. We make a living by managing various websites, offering ecourses, selling digital products, and running blogs. More on that here!
What are your individual backgrounds?
We both come from vary different backgrounds, yet our goals are the same, and neither of us were in construction! Jesse has spent his entire life as an entrepreneur building and selling various businesses. Alyssa took the route of a college degree and a corporate job as a graphic designer. Needless to say we’ve both gone to great lengths to diversify our skill set to achieve our dreams, regardless of background!
Why did you wait over a year to start building your home?
We cover this more in our “Building a Debt Free Home” video series, but our first year on the property was taxing enough simply trying to survive and gather the tools we would need to build a home. Not only that, but we had to learn how to work as a team, had to brush up on our construction skills, get a few practice projects under our belts, and spend quality time observing our property! Had we built right away we would have regretted it… big time.
I have a question or suggestion about the project or page, how can I contact you?
To help streamline our workload we are requesting questions be directed to us via our contact form. While we cannot respond to all emails, be assured we make time to read every single one. Out of respect for our time please keep emails brief. If you are having a problem with this page please include a web link of a screenshot of the issue with your email. You can use a free software like LightShot to upload a screenshot to the web. (Click for Instructions) Please include the link with your message. If warranted we may update this page with information that answers your question.