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

7/16/17: Interested in helping with the home build? Click here!

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.

What do our house plans look like?

Check out the video tour of our timber frame house plans! We will be building a 36×36 timber frame with a daylight basement. The basement will include room for two vehicles, a root cellar, small bathroom, utility room and space for a workshop. The frame will also include a loft. Our plans are not yet finalized so we may have some small changes coming still.

Here are current photos of what the floor plans and frame will roughly look like.

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’re looking for folks interested in not just joining us for the workshops below, but even helping out between workshops on the other numerous tasks we need to do to get this house built. Preference will be given to those that are interested in helping out on more than one aspect of the build.

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 are listed below. Whether you’re interested in one of these workshops or helping in-between workshops (such as weekdays), we are open to both, so let us know your availability by filling out this form!. Also, be sure to subscribe to our email list and add our email ( to your contacts list so notifications and invites from us don’t end up in your spam folder!

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 attended this workshop in Maine back in spring and it was 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.

COMPLETE 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 had a Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill delivered to our property by a Wood-Mizer representative had a great group of folks join us for the assembly! Check out the video below to see this workshop in action!

COMPLETE Pure Living for Life Workshop - Footings (July 29 - 31, 2017)

Dates: July 29-31, 2017

Location: Idaho

Due to last minute cancellations Alyssa and Jesse put in 18 hour days all weekend and were able to pour the footings on schedule! We learned a lot about setting forms, excavation and had a VERY successful pour with help of a friend.

COMPLETE Pure Living for Life Workshop - ICF Walls (August 5 - 7, 2017)

Dates: August 5 – 7, 2017

Location: Idaho

Many volunteers traveled several hours to attend and despite running into several confusing complications and brutal summer heat we had a successful day getting our first two courses of ICF stacked, rebar placed and learned a lot about getting things square and straight!

Pure Living for Life Workshop - Garage Slab (Tuesday Sept 5th)

Dates: TBD

Location: Idaho

This workshop is almost full, but we’re still accepting interest inquiries! If you’d like to be considered for an invitation, please fill out this form!

Pure Living for Life Workshop - Sub Floor & Radiant Heating (Tentative Mid-September)

Dates: TBD

Location: Idaho

This workshop is almost full, but we’re still accepting interest inquiries! If you’d like to be considered for an invitation, please fill out this form!

Pure Living for Life Workshop - Milling Beams (Tentative Late September)

Dates: TBD

Location: Idaho

This workshop is almost full, but we’re still accepting interest inquiries! If you’d like to be considered for an invitation, please fill out this form!

LIMITED REGISTRATION OPEN Shelter Institute Post and Beam / Timber Frame Workshop (October 29 - Nov 3, 2017)

Dates: October 22 – 27, 2017 (it will be this week for sure but not sure if it will be 5, 6 or 7 days)

Location: Idaho Panhandle

CLICK HERE TO REQUEST AND INVITATION! Closes Sunday Sept 3 This workshop will be the actual cutting of joinery and raising of our frame. Shelter Institute from Woolwich, Maine will be driving their crew all the way from the east coast to conduct the workshop. This will be a $2,000 commitment to cover the cost of overhead, and there will only be space for 16 attendees. Preference will be given to those that have joined us for previous workshops.

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 (first folks we worked with)
Full set of shop plans + engineering: $5000
Hours Spent
Jesse / Alyssa to date: 600 hours
Friends / Family / Neighbors to date: 120 hours
Estimated Material Costs
Concrete: $8,000
ICFs: $7,000
I-Joists: $5,000
Warmboard Radiant Subfloor: $15,000
Logs for timber frame: $7,500
Sawmill: $13,000
SIPs: $27,000
Roofing: $7,000
Windows / Doors / Garage Doors: $9,000
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.