Off-Grid Timber Frame, Turtle Valley, BC

Off-Grid Timber Frame, Turtle Valley, BC

Marjorie built this Timber Frame after a fire burnt down her original home

Marjorie lives in an off-the-grid home in the mountains near Turtle Valley, about 45 minutes from Kamloops in British Columbia, Canada.

Marjorie is a strong and extremely self-sufficient woman and was the builder, designer and contractor for her Timber Frame home. She wasn’t completely alone as she had help from her 23-year-old son. Her dad helped with the foundation and flooring.

Marjorie has several dogs – all rescued and spade/neutered – 2 cats, 3 horses, goats and sheep, living with her on this mountain acreage, surrounded by trees. She has been living the off-grid life for about 7 years.

This is the second home on this land as her last one burnt down 3 Christmases ago. Sadly, she lost 2 dogs in the fire. Fortunately Marjorie and her son were okay.

Marjorie’s new home was built to suit her lifestyle. She lives simply and her home consists of a kitchen, bathroom, living/dining room and a utility room downstairs. Upstairs there is a loft bedroom and bathroom. As she mentions in her company website Full Circle Contracting, she is living the dream of off-grid, natural living with ease and peace of mind.

Timber Frame details in the vaulted living room

Timber Frame details on the side entrance

This is a very healthy home. All finishes were picked so that there would not be any off gassing of chemicals. Marjorie was also careful to stay away from all glue type products and her concrete floor is natural and polished with a soft gray beauty.

The home has in-floor heating powered by an on-demand propane boiler.

Marjorie says that when you have in-floor radiant heat, you want to be careful about what you’re heating. A lot of people would tile but there’s adhesive holding that tile and you’re heating a chemical.

Marjorie gets her electricity from 9 solar panels in the yard of the home. When Riverside Energy installed the solar photovoltaic panels, they set them up on a Solar Tracker. This can increase the efficiency of your panels by 30% or more. This intelligent system follows the sun and as Marjorie puts it, will put itself to bed at the end of the day.

When we looked at Marjorie’s inverter, batteries and electrical panel, she was quick to point out that her renewable energy components ran themselves and that the electrical panel is the same as a conventional home would have.

A lot of times people think that they have to get a solar pump, a solar water heater, a solar everything, or alternative energy components. But basically, you have normal power once it comes through the inverter.

Solar Tracking system for Electricity

Solar Tracking system for Electricity

In equipping this home, she planned to buy a propane powered fridge – as she had in per previous home – but was surprised when Paul of Riverside told her she could run both a fridge and an additional freezer. She took his advice and this home has a full fridge (no freezer) and a separate freezer, noting that these appliances are more efficient when they are separate.

Marjorie has a washing machine but no dryer, by choice. She uses what she calls a solar dryer – hanging laundry outside on a clothes line.

Marjorie is a drywaller by trade, but also helps people who wish to build new homes. Her company Full Circle Contracting works with people around the interior of British Columbia and was founded to create sustainable, expansively beautiful homes with minimal impact on the Earth.

Marjorie is living the life she has always dreamed of and is doing this in a sustainable way. Although she is living off-the-grid she still has all of the amenities that most people enjoy such as a stereo, computer and tv, she just makes her own power.

Yet, it seems that life has changed somewhat in regards to the bears and cougars in this wilderness location. As more and more people move into the area, wild animals are losing their fear of humans. She almost lost one of her dogs to a bear recently. The bear dropped her dog when she started throwing things at it. Another recent event saw her losing a sheep to a cougar. As she says, wild animals are acting differently and she is more wary when she steps out in the evenings.

Marjorie is a strong woman with a lot of character and is learning to deal with these animals’ lack of fear, She knows that she must be careful, so that is what she will do. She loves her home and isn’t leaving.

Marjorie is a force to be admired.


  1. Your best bet is to contact Paul from Riverside Energy – as they installed the system and would be happy to help you.


    ps. I visited the homeowner and interviewed her.

  2. Penny Nolt says

    I live in turtle valley too !!!I would like to know more about the solar setup u have

  3. You are welcome.


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