50 Years Off-Grid Architect-Maker Paradise Amid NorCal Redwoods

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This is a truly inspirational video from Kirsten Dirksen of a “dream” off grid lifestyle. If ever there was someone in the world who seems happy with his life, this is the man! And why wouldn’t he be? – he lives in a beautiful home-built house in a clearing in the California woods with an incredible view.

This is really a feelgood film and shows just what be achieved with determination and creativity. Charles Bello purchased 400 acres back in the 1960’s and was amazed “that nobody wanted it”. They built absolutely everything themselves using redwood from the forest – no contractors, no external design firm, no outside labor.

Since moving to the land with his wife in 1968, it’s clear that there has been a lot of hard work involved in creating everything we see (he’s now living in the third house they built without any contractors) and I’m sure plenty of obstacles to overcome but at the age of 88, Charles seems so full of life and excited to talk about it!

The property is self-sufficient in energy with solar heating and a PV system as well as a greenhouse that supplies a large percentage of his food needs.

We get a fantastic guided tour of the property, Charles is keen to share his story of how he and his wife built everything they needed to raise a family. His mission is now to teach what it takes to live such a life close to nature and still live in a good way with everything a person needs. There’s even an opportunity to stay on the land and to take part in an “Alternative Lifestyle Skills” program if you want to move towards this way of life.


I urge you to settle down and enjoy the whole video for yourself, it’s full of wisdom and inspiration. It’s more than a description of an off-grid home build, it’s an insight into a life lived well.

“Limitations are not necessarily bad. They actually inspire creation, because if you can go to a store and buy it, it’s too easy, you just buy it. If you can’t buy it then you have to make it.”

50 Years Off-Grid - Architect-Maker Paradise Amid NorCal Redwoods
50 Years Off-Grid Architect-Maker Paradise Amid NorCal Redwoods – Graphic © off-grid.info. Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qcsWajivnI

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