When Robyn and Arlo first moved to the San Juan Ridge in 1974 with their son Aero, they were living in a large trailer called the 'Spartan Royal Mansion'. The trailer was pulled into a feeder barn and served as their home until it was destroyed by a wildfire in 1976. After losing everything in the fire, the growing family - now including their daughter Ana - set up a tipi on the property to live in (cf. 'Looking at Photographs').
After some cold winters living in a tipi the construction of the three story house finally began in 1978. It was a community effort, many of Arlo and Robyn's friends were involved and helped with construction. The house, which Arlo designed himself, is primarily made from wood and different recycled materials. You can discover something new everytime you take a closer look around. The house has been remodeled and adjusted many times over the years: Due to Ana's car accident in 1991, the house has been made wheelchair accessible and for the first time, was connected to electricity. Parts of the house, such as the upper level, have been added and transformed, especially due to the need of additional space as the family grew even bigger with the births of their sons Zeno and Orb in 1980 and 1982. Aero mentioned in an interview that he moved out of the house when he was 13, because his siblings were bothering him too much, and the house was too crowded: "I moved out of the house and into a trailer on the property. I just came to the house for dinner and to take showers."
The house can be seen as one of Arlo's art pieces: a huge and complex sculpture, ever growing, changing, and evolving. "That's my dad's thing: the living sculpture", says Aero. "And that's kind of what the house is." In a way, the house can be seen as Arlo's biggest and most elaborate sculpture, his magnum opus, so to speak. The house is busiest around dinner time, when friends from the area, and from all around the world come to visit, having a home-cooked meal that Robyn prepared in the previous hours.
Arlo started building the house in 1978 with the help of his friends. This was a multi-staged process that included adding new parts and materials to the house when they were needed.
Around the house there are many little objects one can discover.
On the left one can see a big freezer that holds all the harvested organic produce and on the left is the back of the house.
Behind the house in the outside kitchen, dinner is usually cooking all day long in a crockpot.