Some people never leave the snug confines of New York City. And then there’s John Wells. The experienced set builder was tired of the crowded, expensive island of 8.5 million. Instead, he headed to West Texas where the crowds are few and far between.
Wells decided to use his carpentry and set-building skills to create an off-the-grid compound out in the Texas expanse. Kirsten Dirksen broke the story when she filmed his Texas estate in isolated Brewster County. He has named it the Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory.
He purchased the original 40 acres for $8,000. With no building code restrictions in this sparse county, Wells was able to construct his tiny house in less than two weeks. That project only cost him about $1,600.
He has spent the last seven years slowly building up a self-sustaining compound. He hasn’t hired help, builds everything himself and lives alone.
His projects include a bike-powered washing machine, solar shower, adjustable solar oven and an expansive greenhouse.
He also has a classic Airstream parked next door for any guests that might come his way.
He even has internet and a little chicken coop. His giant water tanks only require about 8 inches of rain each year to stay viable, which is a good thing in West Texas.
He added to his land holdings over time and now has 1,000 acres. He only pays $300 in property taxes each year. A little cheaper than NYC.
Wells points out this solitary lifestyle isn’t for everyone: “Unless you’re really prepared and you’ve got some money and you’re willing to do the work yourself, you’re going to discover it really sucks out here.”
The video below gives you a glimpse into the isolated and rugged life of John Wells: