Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world, a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you...Build, therefore, your own world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature


Building a New World


Building a new world begins with the one art that precedes and unites and justifies all other arts and sciences: the art of Living at Home. We return to philanthropic origins in search of “the mind on fire,” reaching back beyond problems and solutions to the unified beginnings of culture. Whether you bring your experience, knowledge or time, your means or materials, your land, craft or artistry, we welcome your participation.  We are many different kinds of people with one purpose. Engage with us to restore a timeless ideal to the present, and a present ideal to practical reality. 



I have sometimes imagined a library, i.e. a collection of the works of true poets, philosophers, naturalists, etc., deposited not in a brick or marble edifice in a crowded and dusty city...but rather far away in the depths of a primitive forest...which the heroic student could reach only after adventures in the wilderness amid wild beasts and wild men. 
                Henry David Thoreau, Journals


1. furthest in; nearest to the center

What is Innermost House? It is an actual house hidden at the heart of the woods, twelve-by-twelve feet in size, in a world lit only by fire. During the seven years of its secret existence, it served as a private meeting place of forest nature, fine traditional craft and fundamental thought culture, conceived to realize the "dream too wild" of a domestic life based entirely on transcendental values and high conversation. 

The Innermost House Foundation® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit philanthropic organization that exists to carry that experiment forward on a public basis. Innermost House is a long-term experiment in "plain living and high thinking," demonstrating that ideals of freedom and equality, self-reliant independence and environmental stewardship, can be made harmoniously and sustainably real.

We pursue these ends through a simultaneous program of inreach and outreach, reaching inward toward curated experiences of an ideal culture, and outward toward communicating those experiences through journalism and scholarship, published writings, public speaking, workshops, conferences and conversation forums, and, most broadly, through the modern media of photography, documentary film and electronic publishing. 

Innermost House publications have reached millions of people in over a hundred nations of the world. The prototype house and its story have been featured in House Beautiful, Fine Homebuilding, The Oregonian, Mother Earth Living, Green Style, The Examiner, Furniture and Home Fashion, Yahoo and AOL Homepages, Kiplinger, Tiny House Blog, Fair Companies, Kadinlar Arasi, Interior Post, and hundreds of websites, books and newspapers around the world.

Our record has been translated into languages from French, German, Spanish and Italian, to Turkish and Pakistani, to Japanese and Chinese. Innermost House has been judged the "World's Favorite Small House," the "Most Beautiful Tiny House in the World" and the "Most Inspiring Small House Ever." The voices of myth, archetype and ideal speak to us of the beginning, and have a universal resonance in our common human nature. 

The transcendental ideals represented by the Innermost House experiment stand upon the deepest foundations. Those hidden foundations have to be seen to be believed, and experienced to be understood. We are pioneers in creating a simpler, more sustainable, more beautiful culture. Together, we are building a new world.


Every god is there sitting in his sphere. The young mortal enters the hall of the firmament: there is he alone with them alone, they pouring on him benedictions and gifts, and beckoning him up to their thrones. On the instant, and incessantly, fall snow-storms of illusions.... Every moment, new changes, and new showers of deceptions, to baffle and distract him. And when, by and by, for an instant, the air clears, and the cloud lifts a little, there are the gods still sitting around him on their thrones, — they alone with him alone. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Illusions"

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Rightly viewed, the whole soul of man is a sort of picture gallery, a grand panorama, in which all the great facts of the universe, tracing things of time and things of eternity, are painted.

Frederick Douglass, “Pictures and Progress”

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