An owner/builder can theoretically do most of the work in building his or her own house. Most building authorities recognize that people often want to do the work themselves rather than hire professional contractors and laborers. Of course an owner/builder is still subject to the same code requirements as the professionals would be.

Building in this mode can save a lot of money and be immensely satisfying at the same time. I had always wanted to design and build my own house, and it wasn't until I was in my fifties that I was able to realize this dream; all of the construction I did before this had been either remodeling existing structures or working for other people. I must say that living in a house that I designed and built brings joy to my life in many ways; the building fits our needs and aesthetics so perfectly.

Most of the books listed here relate to conventional construction techniques. However most of the design work and planning that goes into building a house is the same, regardless of the materials used. Also much of the detailed work related to electrical and plumbing, etc. is the same.




How to Design Your Dream Green Home

Designing Your Affordable,
Energy-Efficient, Eco-Friendly Home


with John Connell

Dealing with nature
Contacts for building



Remodel Green: Make Your House Serve Your Life, a Green Home Building Book by Kelly Hart, 2014.

Over the course of the author's life he has engaged in numerous remodeling projects, as a professional carpenter, as a home owner, and as a renter. He draws on this experience as he explores with you what he considers to be the main principles that should guide you in your choices for your own green remodeling project.

The chapters include fitting your house to your needs, the basics of passive solar design, tips on keeping your house cool, options to power your house with renewable energy, ways to conserve water, employing local, natural and recycled materials, the value of cultivating vegetables, how to naturally store the produce that you grow, and why to consider sharing some facilities with others for economy and sustainability.


The Greened House Effect: Renovating Your Home with a Deep Energy Retrofit
by Jeff Wilson, 2013

Click on image for more information

Advanced Home Wiring
from Black & Decker
, 2012


Home Remodeling:
Planning, Design, Construction

Fine Homebuilding, 2012


The Owner Builder
Leeza Sipek, Matthew Sipek, Hazel Foote, 2012


Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home
for the Way You Really Live

Sarah Susanka and Marc Vassallo, 2012


How Your House Works:
A Visual Guide
to Understanding
and Maintaining Your Home

Charlie Wing, 2012


Michael Litchfield, 2012


Understanding Green Building Materials
by Traci Rose Rider, et al, 2011


Eco House Book
by Terence Conran, 2009


Subcontracting Your Home:
Or How the Average Person Can Become an "Owner-Builder"

by William J Fricke, 2009


Owner-Builder Organizer
by Judy Ostrow, 2009


Designing Your Dream Home: Every Question to Ask,
Every Detail to Consider,
and Everything to Know Before You Build or Remodel

by Susan Lang, 2008


Your Eco-Friendly Home: Buying, Building,
or Remodeling Green

by Sid Davis, 2008


Natural Light
in Residential Architecture

by Michelle Corrodi and Klaus Spechtenhauser, 2008


Green Beginnings:
The Story of How We Built Our Green
& Sustainable Home

by Avrim and Vicki Topel, 2008


Green Home Improvement:
65 Projects That Will Cut Utility Bills, Protect Your Health & Help the the Environment

by Daniel D. Chiras, 2008

Universal Design
for the Home:
Great Looking, Great Living Design for All Ages, Abilities, and Circumstances

by Wendy A. Jordan, 2008


Ecological Design
by Sim Van Der Ryn; Stuart Cowan, 2007


Creating a New Old House: Yesterday's Character
for Today's Home

by Russell Versaci, 2007


The Complete Idiot's Guide
to Designing your Own Home

by Oreste Drapaca, Abigail R. Esman, 2007


The Complete Idiot's Guide
to Building Your Own Home

by Dan Ramsey, 2007



So... You Want
To Build a House

by J M Gore, William Null, 2006


Your Green Home:
A guide to Planning a Healthy,
Environmentally Friendly,
New Home

by Alex Wilson, 2006

Click on image for more information

A Small Cabin
That One Person Can Build

by Aristotle Locke Madison, 2006


The House That Jill Built:
A Woman's Guide
to Home Building
by Judy Ostrow and Karen Leffler, 2005


Affordable Home Design: Innovations and Renovations
by Martha Torres, 2005

Building an Affordable House: Trade Secrets for High-Value, Low-Cost Construction
by Fernando Pages Ruiz, 2005


Build Your Own Home!
by Michael A. Pompeii, 2005


Designing Your Natural Home by David Pearson, 2005


Independent Builder:
Designing & Building a House Your Own Way

by Sam Clark, 2004 

Click on image for more information

Timber Framing for the Rest of Us : A Guide to Contemporary Post and Beam Construction
by Rob Roy, 2004

Click on image for more information

Click on image for more information

Creating the Inspired House: Discovering Your Place
Called Home

by John Connell, 2004


Designs for a Healthy Home: An Eco-Friendly Approach
by Dan Phillips, 2003


Designing & Building
Your Own Home

by Martin Cummins, 2003


of Residential Construction

by Edward Allen, Rob Thallon, 2002


From Sand Castles
to Dream Houses:
A Planner for Building
or Remodeling Your Home

by Sheri Koones, 2002


Patterns of Home:
The Ten Essentials
of Enduring Design

by Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein, Barbara Winslow, 2002


The Owner-Builder Book: How You Can Save More than $100,000 in the Construction of Your Custom Home
by by Mark A. Smith, 2000


Working Alone :
Tips & Techniques
for Solo Building

by John Carroll, 1999


Designng Your Natural House by Charles Woods, Malcolm Wells, 1999


Homing Instinct:
Using Your Lifestyle
to Design & Build Your Home

by John Connel, 1998


Build Your Dream House
For A Song; and own it free and clear in five years

by David Cook, 1998


A Pattern Language:
Towns, Buildings, Construction

by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, 1997




ownerbuilder.com Tom Landis has provided his entire book, "Home Building Consumer's Guide" for on-line reference.

motherearthnews.com a Mother Earth News article: Essential Advice for Owner Builders by David Eisenburg.


construction-resource a forum for exploring all aspects of building.

houserepairtalk.com a general forum about house repair, both inside and out.

ownerbuilderbook.com information about the book, forums, workshops, etc.

asktooltalk.com Find links to articles on home improvement, woodworking, products, and tools (including reviews); shop at the General Store; and locate manufacturers. Homeowners and construction professionals can ask questions and share ideas on projects.


homebuilding.co.uk site for Homebuilding & Renovating: "The Self-Build Magazine"

theownerbuilder.com.au Australia's Owner/Builder magazine.

youtube.com Larry Haun has an extensive list of videos he has produced about basic carpentry skills.


dreamgreenhomes.com is the companion site of greenhomebuilding.com and has many wonderful sustainable home plans.

countryplans.com inexpensive plans for small cottages and cabins are described here, with lots of nice photos.


deboerarchitects.com Some thoughts and illustrations about strawbale building by architect Darrel DeBoer.


buildingscience.com some very specific suggestions for building techniques related to climate.


needcontractor.com offers a free referral service where you submit a description of your project and they will have up to four different contractors in your area submit bids for the job.

Disclaimer Of Liability And Warranty
I specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. Neither I nor any of the advisor/consultants associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this, or any other page at this site. Kelly Hart, Hartworks, Inc.


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