The House We Live In, by Amy Knight

New Plans

By Amy Knight

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The House We Live In: A Series on Building the Sustainable Home in Tucson, Arizona

When you look into the distance in a landscape of rolling hills, sometimes the road looks shorter than it is. You can’t see the valleys—only the successive climbs, almost as though it were a straight road up. You think you’re almost there, until you crest one of the hills and find yourself looking down at a road much longer than you realized.

I am there. I have decided I am not going to build the house right now. Some combination of a market that caught us (all of us, builder included) off guard, and an overly ambitious design has left it out of reach for the moment, and I don’t have the mental resources to problem solve it, re-design, and make it work in this moment. I am going to buy an already-built house, for the time being, and do what I can to keep it green.

This isn’t to say I’m giving up (although in some ways it feels like it). I still have the lot. I still want to build the house. I’m just not going to do it right now. Hopefully in a couple of years things will look different. More ideas will surface; the market might evolve. My vision might change a bit. It might seem more doable.

But this will be the end, for now anyway, of this series. Thank you, readers, for reading it, and for being with me on this part of the journey.




Amy KnightAmy Knight is the fiction editor for In this weekly series, she chronicles the process of designing and building an eco-friendly house in Tucson, Arizona. The series will explore both how it’s done and what it means, from the perspective of someone who wants to do the right thing but knows almost nothing about sustainable building. Look for new posts every Monday. You can email Amy at or leave a comment here. Visit her website, or follow her on twitter @amypknight.

Photo of desert arch courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Amy Knight by Richard Whitmer.

Lawn Guilt is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.