Video Tour of the Root Simple Compound

Johnny Sanphillippo from Faircompanies.com shot a nice video tour of our house. Excuses for the audio–it was shot during a very windy day. And I really need to get around to painting the garage!

You’ll see our chicken coop. The video also features our rocket stove, horno and emergency potty plus a spin around the pantry. But the real star of this video is our 1920 bungalow. I wish they still build houses like this (sorry Dwell).

Thank you Ben Loescher and Kurt Gardella for building our horno and thanks to John Zapf for designing our chicken run!

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34 Comments

  1. hello. found your site via faircompanies. wonderful video. nozzle on the hydrogen peroxide = genuis! your neighborhood must be where part of the film Cyrus was shot.

    • Glad you found us! I haven’t seen Cyrus, but it’s likely because tons of tv shows and movies are shot in and around our neighborhood.

  2. I enjoyed seeing where you lived and how. I have to tell you though the first thing I thought in those opening shots was “Wow! They really DO have those crazy tall palm trees everywhere in LA.”

    • There’s no new book any time soon, but we are working on some little how-to pamphlets.

  3. You have a lot happening on 1/12 an acre. I am all for getting rid of grass! Did you score the bread with a single edge razor blade?

    When I pile pine straw or leaves in my chicken yard a foot high, the hens kick it out in no time. How often do you put hay in your Chickens’ yard?

    • Yes, we use a razor blade for the bread. And our chickens can’t kick the stuff out, because their run is surrounded with hardware cloth. We add more straw whenever it looks low– or when we have some we need to get rid of–I’m not sure how often that is!

  4. Awesome!! I love seeing how other folks live their values. That slope in front of your home is really great (says the ‘flatlander’) and we love our 1924 bungalow; they’re such great houses.

  5. Awesome video! I loved seeing your operation and how everything fits together. I wish we could plant our avocado trees outside, but it’s just not possible here in NY. You’ve inspired me to try growing artichokes, going to go buy some today!

  6. You have created a life to be very proud of. I loved seeing everything you have done and your cute house. So happy you are not one of those who tear up beautiful old architecture that is part of our history. And you have a life style that many other envy and aspire too. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Awesome!! We have the water from the wash watering and the chickens making compost. What is your detergent, that has been a concern of ours? I love how you make us think about new ways. My husband is getting ready to retire and we are always looking for ways to save. Making the home a place to produce instead of a place to only consume. GREAT concept. Keep up the great work.

    • Awesome!

      We use Oasis laundry detergent. It’s basically the only one safe for greywater, and can be hard to find. We mail order it. Fortunately it’s concentrated, so one jug lasts a long time. You can also use soap nuts. What you can’t use, unfortunately, is homemade detergent (the classic recipe with washing soda) or the various eco-detergents, because they will cause salt to build up in the soil. That’s particularly problematic here in the dry west, where the soil is saline anyway. Castile soap and vinegar are okay.

  8. Hey, great stuff, you really have it all together. Seriously, I’ve never seen so much good stuff in one place. But it looks too easy in California. What about us folks stuck up here in Canada? We share the same culture/society, except we can’t just up and move to California without permits. My sister moved to California by marrying a US citizen, but no such luck for me – I met a Canadian woman. I’d sure love an avacado tree, but unfortunately we have to import our avacados. So, don’t knock the avacado farms and trucks that bring them here, ’cause I love avacados. And what about gluten-free bread? Do you have an easy no-knead recipe for that? I don’t have any gluten allergy or disease, I just prefer to reduce gluten to aleviate stress on my degestive system. And don’t forget, home made beer and wine are also essential to proper health – both physical and psychological. Cheers!

    • I’ve reached out to a few friends with gluten intolerance and asked them to pick their favorite recipes. It will take me awhile, but I plan on doing some experimenting myself with their recipes. Cheers to you too!

  9. This is a fantastic video! You have rejuvenated my quest to build solar dehydrator this summer – I moved last summer and that project got put on the back burner. I like your design better than some others I have seen.

    Cool video!

  10. Thanks all ya’ll! Johnny was a super nice guy, who asked all sorts of great questions, and we really enjoyed showing him around the place. Be sure to check out Faircompanies for more cool videos.

  11. Hey! How about more info on your breadmaking group and access to that flour from heirloom wheat?

    I’m in LA (Woodland Hills) and I’m also an avid breadmaker so I’d love to know more about your resources. Do you have a source, for example, for spent grain? I’ve been looking for one without success.

  12. I have a question. How long have you lived there and did you start to do your ‘homesteading’ as soon as you moved in? I love all that you have done and want to start doing a lot of the things you have done. But where to start? And how long did it take you to get where you are now? You look pretty ‘self sufficient’ in many respects. Did you start with the yard/gardens first? I take it you live in an area where the neighbors don’t mind your bees, chickens, or lack of lawn? It looks like you have accomplished so much and I wonder how long it will take for someone just starting out and doing it all on their own. Thanks for showing us your place.

    • We’ve lived here since 1998, so a long time now. One of the first things we did on moving in was build a 4 x 8 raised bed in the back yard–so gardening started right away. The house was a pit when we moved in–a neglected shell, basically. We had a whole lot of work to do on the infrastructure and the inside of the house, as well as developing the yard from nothing, so we’ve been working on one thing or another pretty much constantly since we moved in. It certainly took the first 10 years just to get all the major repairing/remodeling done, since we were doing it ourselves. The “homesteading” projects came along bit by bit in the midst of all this. We like to compare our place to a coral reef — ie it’s been built up slowly and organically.

      We are lucky to live in a cool neighborhood and have very generous immediate neighbors. We’ve never had any problems.

      As to where to start, just start anywhere you like. Before you know it, you’ll look back and be surprised at how much you’ve done. What you see in our place comes from 14 years of off and on work, but that didn’t mean cool things weren’t happening back in year 1 or 2. Whatever you do, have fun. Don’t pressure yourself. Go where your heart leads you.

  13. I really enjoyed your video. Nice to meet the folks of the Root Simple blog.
    You’re doing so many interesting things and its motivated me take some of my efforts a step further. I do many of the things you do, but have gotten very lax the last few years (oh that consumer mentality!). Thanks for the kick start.

  14. Hi, Your video inspires me and affirms what we have done. We are using gray water, have chickens, and grow fruit and vegetables. We keep reducing the amount of grass we have. I will be looking into Oasis laundry detergent and heirloom wheat. I’ve been reading your blog since before it changed names to Root Simple. I’m in Fullerton. I like that we share the same climate and challenges. I also appreciate your encouragement on living simple in So. Calif. Thank you for sharing your know how.

  15. Great video great info all around. It just lets me know I’m on the right path. Own and loved both books and thank you for them, now I make my own bread, soap and so much more. Thank you for all the info.

  16. I’m late to the comment party but this a great video! Your house really looks great.

    Will you post up your sourdough recipe sometime? I made a starter from the video instructions, but whenever I make the bread, it tastes a little sour, but not as much as storebought sourdough. I do a sponge overnight from the starter overnight then add the rest of the flour in the morning and bake in the afternoon.

    Also I am jealous of your worm bin. Mine would inevitably die out in the 106 degree summer heat so I finally got rid of it.

    • Sara–I’ve been meaning to post a sourdough recipe soon. Sorry for the delay!

  17. Our roommate bought your book over a year ago so that is about how long I have been quoting it, toting it around the house and garden, taking ideas from it and sharing them with my five roommates. Then, out of the blue my boyfriend sees the video, recommended to him by youtube, and tells me, “Hey you have to watch this, I just discovered this awesome couple in L.A.!” Already suspecting who this awesome couple was, I watched the video with him. Confirmed! So while I now realize how little my boyfriend has been listening to me over the past year (I enjoy how “he” discovered you), the video has now finally brought him over to the homesteading side! We love the books, blog, and the video. Thanks for sharing!

  18. This was a GREAT video. GREAT. I am so inspired by your home. We’re making the small steps at our place and already are so happy with everything we’ve learned and added and the growing freedom we’ve found in doing so. Its amazing how one thing really leads to another. We’re adding chickens next spring. A new challenge and joy that I am really looking forward to.

    Also, I must say I was surprised to see a deer head mounted in your house. :) In Montana that is super common, but for whatever reason it caught me by surprise the the Root Simple LA homestead!

    • Hey Beth–thanks! I bagged that deer . . . in a thrift store in Stockton CA, I’m sorry to say. The hunters that have visited our house have all asked why anyone would mount such an unimpressive specimen.

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