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Tiny Texas Houses’ “Willy Wonka” on making magic reusing wood
Tiny Texas Houses Willy Wonka. Brad “Darby” Kittel came to Texas living on a converted school bus. He had planned to write the Great American Novel, but he ended up buying up boarded-up homes and fixing them up using materials he salvaged from other old houses, barns, and buildings. After a couple of decades refining his salvage mining techniques, he began using his collection to build “new” tiny portable homes from salvage. The prefab homes, measuring 64 square feet and up, are built from 99% salvaged materials. The other 1% is for things like electrical parts, plumbing, nails, screws, and some insulation materials. Since he builds with natural materials (mostly wood) or materials that have already off-gassed, he calls his homes “organic” (he makes clear he doesn’t use plastics, formaldehyde, sheetrock, VOC paints, latex paint, carpet or toxic glues and minimal vinyl or PVC). Kittel has started a tiny home community on his land in Luling, Texas to embracing what he calls Pure Salvage Living. Right now he offers the homes as rentals so people can experience a “truly organic house”. Some of the homes are being lived in longer-term by employees and interns and the compound has a community kitchen and bathhouse. Kittel also hopes his village, or villages, will become completely independent from zoning and regulations by voting to become independent towns. He’s also dug “four million years” beneath his home in search of freshwater and living space. He’s supported this huge underground world with salvaged railroad ties. At the bottom of the main cave lies a pool of water where Kittel hopes to practice fish farming and access drinking water if necessary. There are also caves down here that could be used as living spaces. Kittel has already occupied one (directly beneath his home) using an old RV (it was craned in before his home was built). He can access it through a trap door beneath his home and currently, he uses it for solitude, but he sees its potential for underground living.
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