The constant progress of Culture is to a more interior life, to a deeper Home. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Home”


A Deeper Home

The Innermost House Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to the transcendental ideal of "plain living and high thinking" at the heart of mature civilization. We seek a unity in nature, fine hand craft and the perennial ideals of the mind as a way home to the original wholeness and harmony of the individual human being.



I have one doctrine: the infinitude of the private man.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

1. to go beyond

The Transcendental is that which transcends the expectations of ordinary life. It is dawn and dusk. It is Truth and Beauty. It is Goodness and Unity. It is the classic, the ideal, the immortal, the eternal. The Transcendental is the higher law and the deeper reality. It is the Word. It is the Wilderness. It is the infinitude of the Soul. Our mission is to cultivate a transcendental expectation of ordinary life, to make the Innermost Life imaginable, possible, and real.

Practical Transcendentalism is embodied in the ideal of "plain living and high thinking," a wisdom-ethic with deep roots among the Native American peoples and the civilizations of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. It is an unfolding conversation of many voices, seeking that harmony within us each we can all call home.

In America, this ideal is often associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson and the experiment in origins undertaken by Henry Thoreau at Walden Pond in 1845. Transcendentalism sought to individuate the truths affirmed as self-evident in the revolutionary declaration of 1776. With the closing of the American frontier in 1890, that same ideal went to earth to give rise to the wilderness preservation movement in the West.

The Innermost House Foundation continues that search for origins and the sources of our renewal.  Innermost House has been described as "The Most Inspiring Small House Ever," and its published record has established it among the most widely known small structures of modern times, reaching tens of thousands of people from every state and over a hundred nations of the world.

We seek the sources of a sustainable relation to nature in the Mythic Landscape. We seek the sources of creative art in the Archetypes of Craft. We seek the sources of original thought in the Ideals of the Mind. We seek the renewal of our world, not by turning from it, but by turning inward of it toward the individual. We seek the origins of all that we are and have and know in the infinitude of the individual soul.

Innermost House is a continuing experiment in "Life in the Woods," undertaken to cultivate a higher and deeper expectation of life in the world. We welcome you to join with us in pursuing this transcendental promise, one in which the whole world shares an interest. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, we seek an abiding union in spirit as "the last best hope of earth."


Page Index