Maarja Õunaste's Profile

Maarja Õunaste's picture

My Gender


A Little about Me

I have been on the road for a quite some time, living in Namibia,SA, UK, Spain and Mexico, hitching around Europe and on sail boats in Caribbean etc. Whilst living in Mexico me and Jim saw a movie called Garbage Warrior and I was really amazed and inspired! No long after that I found myself learning more about sustainable building, getting my hands and feet muddy! Also getting really exited about the POOSH, touring around promoting it in the UK. The dream of building a low impact home has now got to the first (real and practical) stage - me and Jim have some beautiful land in Estonia where we want and can build our home and more! Pretty soon this will be open to volunteers to come and learn, play and live! I am also looking to set up a permaculture forest garden, live with and in the nature!

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Leah O's picture Maarja is has a wonderful spirit. She is always willing to pitch in and help. I know that I can always rely on Maari (rain or shine) to make a project happen and to do a wonderful job! She is a joy to be around and anyone would be lucky to have her as a POOSHer at their build site or on their team...
Eric Puro's picture Maarja keeps the good vibes flowing. You can always look at her to see a simile! She can be stern and serious, but only when she has to be. This one you will want helping you build your sustainable house!
Jim Self's picture Maarja's truly unique; spontaneous yet thought giving to every action. A hard physical worker with an artistic spirit and creative flare. We've enjoyed POOSHing! several sustainable projects together across Europe and look forward to doing many many more for others: PLUS one of our own...

Why I Build Sustainably

I think sustainable building is the way forward. I am interested because I truly believe it has many benefits- in social, economical and cultural spheres, to name few. Sustainable building almost means self-building to me, which I think is so important nowadays. How cool it would be if many people know-how to build their own homes? Also, I am planning to build my own home soon using sustainable methods - it hopefully will be a healthy house blending in with the natural environment. I love the fact that sustainable building involves many people and usually brings a sense of community. And you do not need a mortgage, have you seen also these 1500 pound amazing houses!?!

Skills I would like to Work on or Share.

Partly growing up at my grandparents small holding in Estonia I have a pretty good understanding of being self-sufficient in terms of farming.These skills together with new knowledge from permaculture I would like to use, develop and share. Also, just recently I have been experimenting and running workshops how to build your own solarpanels- when just a year ago I though this is impossible, I now believe that we use these panels in our off grid low impact center and home. I am happy to teach this skills!

My Life Philosophy

My true belief in life is that everything is possible if you really want something!

Building Styles I have Experience in

Rammed Earth
Earthship/used tires
Adobe/Mud Bricks
Reclaimed Materials
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
Cord-wood, waddle and daub
I think I can say I am pretty confident when it comes to building with cob, cord-wood, waddle and daub, mud bricks etc. I have been part of different build projects in UK, Wales, Belgium, Germany. I have also taken part of "how to build a earthship" course in the UK, where we focused mostly on rammed earth. I have done a course on renovating old wooden windows and doors - it can be quite satisfying working with wood. So far, most of my experience is learning by doing. As of now, I am also learning from many books.

My Occupation


What I Read, Watch, and Listen to

books books books, such as from Salinger, Vonnegut, Kerouac, Dostoevsky..

Building Styles I'm Interested in

Rammed Earth
Earthship/used tires
Straw Bale
Adobe/Mud Bricks
Reclaimed Materials
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
Stone/Flint walls
Sand bags
I am interested in the innovative styles (I guess the ones I haven't been in contact jet)
I love the fact that we can build with natural materials, which are local to the specific areas we live in. I am still fascinated by cob, how easy, simple and reliable it is. It is just amazing. Also, I would like to learn how to build a tipi. I would be really up for sewing the canvas and doing all that! And most of all - we are planning to build a straw bale house, so I would really like to gain more experience building with straw!

My Education

I have a BA in International Development and Spanish from University of East Anglia. I truly value travelling as form of education. I have learnt the most from the people and places I have been. Education is a journey. It has taken me to Namibia, Mexico and to the sailboat on the Caribbean sea, which has tough me a lot.

My Eating Habits

I generally just love food! And I also eat almost everything! Always ready to try something new!