Family Home

Question I return to
What makes a building come to be loved?
I’m curious about
The best way to build a house in Ghana
I want to
Build a beautiful, adaptable home for my family

“But it is also possible to put patterns together in such a way that many many patterns overlap in the same physical space: the building is very dense; it has many meanings captured in a small space; and through this density, it becomes profound.” — from A Pattern Language


When I was young, a difficult situation forced my mother, my two little brothers, and I to move from our home to a communal family house. We grew up in the garage of that house.

Over many months, my incredible mother turned the garage and backyard into a home for her kids. A bathroom, plywood divisions to create a living room and bedrooms, a kitchen.

While my family worked hard to create good memories there, I never loved it. The overwhelming desire to be away from it has been an important driving force in my life. The problem is, mother still lives there (I’ve tried to move her somewhere else, but she refuses to live in a rental).

The lack of our own home has been a source of intense anxiety my entire life. Without a place of our own, everything always feels fragile. A few years ago, the gas canister in the kitchen exploded and nearly burnt down the place.

Getting us our own place was one of the reasons why I returned to Ghana, and I feel like I’m only now in a position to begin to do something about it. Mawusi (that’s my mother) is in her early 60s, and not getting any younger. She deserves the dignity of her own home while she can still enjoy it.

I’ve never been involved in a building project before, and I have very little idea what I’m doing. My goal is to share every resource that I find valuable during the process. In the end, I hope to have produced the guide I wish someone had given to me. I hope this page becomes a useful resource for anyone looking to build an adaptable, comfortable, and much-loved home in Ghana.

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