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Thursday, April 20, 2023

6 Off-Grid House Plans for Your Survival Retreat

 Original Article

Living off-grid is seen as the ultimate goal for many preppers. Reduced dependency on society, its regulations and its luxuries that invariably make you softer and weaker.

house blueprints

Quite a few of us want to free ourselves from the rat race entirely, living in a way that is much closer to what our great grandparents experienced.

Back then, it wasn’t cold survival, it was just called living, and this harder but a pure way of life is revealing itself today with ever greater appeal.

But making the transition from urban or suburban dweller with an on-grid, mass-produced house that is one step removed from apartment living to live full-time on an off-grid homestead is challenging stuff.

The list of prerequisites seems to be endless, not the least of which is what kind of house is suitable for off-grid living.

Space considerations, efficiency, best use of natural resources, and overall quality of life are all pertinent factors and if you are starting from scratch with no architectural experience you could be setting yourself up for wasted time, wasted money and dented dreams.

This doesn’t have to be you, however. In this article, we are bringing you six superb, ultra-efficient off-grid house plans that are well within the reach of any skilled DIY’er.

Classic Two-Story Cabin

This traditional homesteader cabin has everything you might want in an actual, working home with amenities to spare.

A spacious living room, galley kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and usable loft space provide plenty of room to stretch out, work and rest comfortably while the full-length front porch lets you lounge or expand outside easily.

Notably, this is not an all-in-one or built-in plan. You’ll need to modify it if you want to integrate solar panels on the roof, build in septic or add attached water storage, but most folks typically install to suit when building a house like this.

If you don’t mind that your house isn’t a portable one-piece, it shouldn’t be an issue and furthermore also makes it highly adaptable to various laws and codes from state to state and sometimes county to county.

Made with traditional techniques and easy to modify, this can be seen as the most ubiquitous and adaptable option on this list.

Suitable for most environments you could do a lot worse than beginning and ending your search for an off-grid house plan here.

Aspen Style Cabin

Attractive, cozy, classic. That sums up this 16×24-ft Aspen-style cabin.

Capable of serving wonderfully as both a full-time off-grid residence for one or two people or a weekend getaway, the enclosed porch, living room, open kitchen, bedroom and fully featured bathroom have everything you could want and nothing you don’t.

You won’t have room for mountains of junk but that isn’t the point of living off-grid.

This is another option for those who desire typical construction and conventional techniques, and though it is not quite as adaptable as the previous entry on this list it still affords builders plenty of room to expand or modify as budget and tastes allow.

Also, like the previous entry, there is not a built-in, and has no provision for built-in utilities.

Septic, water storage and electricity will all have to be provided or just connected separately but again this is not an issue for most folks who plan on building to suit.

Modern Flat / Cottage

A true, fully-featured home, this plan is an excellent representation of what you might call the modern flat, or cottage.

Typically marketed as a standalone home to be placed behind a larger structure as a Grandma’s cottage, this could nonetheless make for an excellent full-time off-grid residence.

Two bedrooms with one including a full bathroom as part of the master suite, dining room, kitchen, study, covered patio, porch and dedicated garden space you’ll have every comfort of home in this 1,000 square foot, cute as a button cottage.

All you’ll need is provisioning for electricity, septic and water supply or storage, but once you do that you probably won’t miss the suburbs anymore.

This design is considerably more intricate than the previous entries on this list but also significantly more modern and could be the ideal option for those you are not quite ready to give up all the amenities of modernity just yet.

Year-round Off-Grid Home

The second marvelously modern two-story off-grid home on this list, this charming contemporary build features a first-floor great room, kitchen, breakfast nook and bathroom while the second floor features a spacious loft that can be repurposed as a sleeping area, study or other space.

Compared to other homes on this list the bathroom and kitchen are quite comfortable and suitable for small families.

This is another set of plans that could easily be expanded or modified depending on tastes and budget, and the addition of a carport or garage would provide the same living experience as a house trapped in the middle of suburbia.

Per usual, you’ll need to supply your own water, electricity and sewage or septic outputs but this is par for the course for this type of operation.

Compact and comparatively easy to build, you definitely won’t give up any aesthetic treatment with this house!

Self-Sustaining Earthen Home

For the truly dedicated off-grid homeowner, a self-sustaining earthen home, sometimes called an “earthship,” might be the answer.

Compared to traditional stick-built homes and cabins, earthships are made from a variety of materials, including repurposed or recycled material along with the Earth itself, at least partially.

Efficiency and resource capture or generation is the name of the game with an earthship home.

Walls made out of concrete, recycled rubber tires or thick buttress layers of Earth make excellent thermal insulators, keeping the interior cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold.

Roofs are designed to capture and funnel water to storage tanks while being naturally repellent and resistant to leaks.

Stone floors and south-facing windows make the best possible use of sunlight as slow-acting thermal heat sinks and radiators.

Unconventional in appearance and requiring an entirely different set of skills to maintain compared to most normal homes, a self-sustaining earthen home can be a marvelous upgrade to your off-grid homesteads efficiency if an unconventional one.

If you have ever wanted to live like a hobbit, now is your chance!

Floating Cabin

We come to it at last, the wildest self-sustaining off-grid house plan on this list.

Essentially a floating cabin, the float wing design is a configurable, solar-powered and mobile off-grid home containing up to three bedrooms and two bathrooms along with spacious living quarters, a great room, kitchen and even a wine cellar.

In fact, the design of this floating home is so efficient it can generate 100% of its power requirements and store it on onboard batteries and just 6 months, meaning that even a spate of bad weather and overcast skies will hardly be anything to worry about as far as electricity is concerned.

The idea of living on a floating home might sound strange to you, but consider that the ease of providing security for such a home as well as painless access to water could make such a plan highly viable!


Off-grid living is always a viable plan for preppers, and thanks to more and more people getting fed up with the doldrums of society are becoming an increasingly popular option for folks from all walks of life.

Whether you are a suburban inhabitant or a proper urban dweller, there is an off-grid home that will meet all your needs and tickle your aesthetic Fancy on the list above.

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