Twisted Oak

A Journey to Create a Self-Sustaining Life and Home

From the back cover...

Twisted Oak is the inspiring, true story of a family seeking a more sustainable life in a complex, technology-driven world. Their journey leads them to build a self-sustaining home and lifestyle in the sunny mountains of southwestern Colorado as they pursue their goal to maintain a balance of respecting the natural world and continuing to remain engaged in the modern world. Follow Kristina and her sons, Austin and Andy, from their initial vision and dream of a more simple life, through their triumphs and their tears as they research, design, and build a home with the support of their family and the skills of newfound friends. Rejoice with them as they learn and find unexpected healing and new strength on the road to an abundant and fulfilling future.

Along with the heartwarming story, Twisted Oak is full of technical inserts and plenty of practical tips from an engineer who not only designed her home, but helped build it, and has comfortably lived in it with her family since 2011.


"Kristina Munroe’s whimsical, brave tale begins ‘on a dark and stormy night’ as she welcomes readers to join her on a humble journey to build Twisted Oak, her solar-powered, rain-harvesting, organically-inspired home — replete with an indoor tropical garden and loft — near Durango, Colorado. An engineer by trade, Munroe’s words are crafted as intentionally as the tires and timber that piece together Twisted Oak, making this vibrant book ideal for both curious architects and those seeking an energizing story about one determined mother’s leap of faith. Twisted Oak empowers our pioneer hearts to keep seeking ways to imagine a more sustainable way of life and, above all, realize that pipe dreams are in fact possibilities waiting to happen. Pairs best with either a cup of tea at sunrise or glass of wine at sunset. Happy daydreaming! "

~ Joy Martin
free lance writer Durango, Colorado ~

"Kristina makes sure that we know how interesting and luscious life can be on the other side of the 9-5. Though your adventure may be in Durango, Taos, or across the globe, in an Earthship, a yurt, or something yet undiscovered, she reminds that we solve the same problems — which materials to use, what source of power and method to employ to grow food and manage water, and how to produce energy, and manage waste (to name a few). These are the seedbed for creativity, satisfaction, and even happiness. By sharing what brought her to her decision to live a hands-on life, we can recognize that it is more important to be willing and interested than skilled up in advance. What seems more important is a desire to grow and live in harmony with people, resources, and nature. Kristina lets us in on her creative process which produced a beautiful home that oozes with details and shines with achievement and thoughtfulness. Watch out, once you read this story, it may become impossible to settle for a standard lifestyle and cookie-cutter home."

Wendy Jehanara Tremayne,
Author of The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living

"This is a well written, heartfelt account of homesteading at its best. Kristina combines true passion with real detail. Anybody who is the least bit interested in what off-the-grid permaculture homesteading can be owes it to themselves to read this book. I’m glad that we could play a small part in her great adventure."

Sandy Graves,
President of C-Head LLC

"More than a DIY home-building story, Twisted Oak offers the reader an intimate account of crafting a home and a life from the inside out. With nature and its forces and humans and their follies as collaborators, author Kristina Munroe ’s optimistic voice leads the reader through a journey grounded in simplicity, beauty and ecology. "

~ Jules Masterjohn,
Editor of Stanton Englehart: A Life on Canvas

"What a capturing book for all types of readers. The stories are heartwarming, and the information provided on building an alternative home is invigorating for any homeowner or person interested in sustainable living. The writer gives you a feel as if you’re sitting in her cozy home listening to the story in person over a cup of joe. Highly recommended! "

Christy Muir
Co-Owner Muir Construction

"Twisted Oak is a great read for anyone who is tired of conspicuous consumerdom and longs for life off the grid. The book follows Kristina Munroe as she relocates her young sons to Colorado with a dream of creating a sustainable living environment off the grid. Spanning the 2-year period from concept to completion, Munroe details the ups and downs and trials and errors of building her own self-sustaining home. What I especially like about this book is its rich references and tip lists covering everything from passive solar to thermal mass and insulation to greywater to the ever popular composting human waste. In addition, there’s a wealth of wonderful photographs that bring Munroe’s story to life. At its heart, Twisted Oak is a story of conservation and determination. I can’t wait to put some of the author’s advice to use in my own downsized life."

~ Wendy Ludgewait
Editor - Unconscious Wisdom

"Twisted Oak: A Journey to Create a Self-Sustaining Life and Home gave me a number of ideas to lessen my own carbon footprint and inspired me to live more courageously. Visually stunning and written in an easy conversational style, Twisted Oak is a good read for folks who enjoy stories of personal growth and change, but a must for anyone thinking about building a self-sustaining home. "

~Ann Butler,
former Neighbors Columnist and Staff Writer for The Durango Herald Co-author of Trail Canyon: Six Miles Long, 10,000 Years Deep

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