About

You’ve seen him at the hardware store and you’ve seen him on Discovery Channel.  
Now, learn about the man behind the beard and his company, Pangea Design Group.

Jared "Cappie" Cap

I learned to build by helping my father and grandfather, starting when I was 13. I have loved building, designing, and creating ever since.

After graduating high school, I joined the US Air Force and traveled the world as a C-130 Loadmaster. While visiting over 60 countries, my fascination for natural building grew as I noticed more natural, local, and sustainable construction styles.

I made my first off-grid home in 2004 – I modified a 1993 International school bus with PV solar, solar hot water, and a composting toilet.

I was lucky enough to purchase my grandfather’s 3-acre homestead in 2008 in the city of Spearfish, where I grew up. I wanted to build an off-grid straw bale home, and looking back, I didn’t realize the challenges that were ahead of me.

As you might imagine, I had moved home to find a Natural Building Desert. Between the City of Spearfish and the State of South Dakota, I worked with officials to address many aspects of the cottage I wanted to build:

  1. Load-bearing straw bale construction
  2. Composting toilets
  3. Gray-water systems
  4. Changing the requirement to use the city’s sewer system
  5. Special electric and plumbing inspections

After years of meetings and ordinance updates, and quite the education, I completed my code-approved off-grid, straw bale home in 2015.

I build residential and commercial straw bale structures, and I will continue to offer instruction in natural building with workshops during our summer season.

I look forward to meeting you in person someday soon!

-Cappie

Practical Sustainability

Using natural building techniques, our knowledge of conventional building, as well as local and recycled materials we build things that will blow your mind! We like to call this approach “practical sustainability”: bridging the gap between conventional and natural building.

The goals in utilizing our approach of practical sustainability are:
  • Increase the quality of life for our clients. Including following generations that live in the spaces we create.
  • Legitimize natural building practices as a viable alternative in the eyes of architects, engineers, professional builders, and code officials.
  • Reduce or eliminate ongoing costs for utilities. We specialize in off-grid homes!
  • Build for the long-term and reduce the notion of intentional obsolescence. We want the spaces and things we create to last lifetimes.
We have been featured on both the DIY Network and Discovery Channel. We are incredibly proud of the fact that we built a straw bale cottage in Spearfish with the first code-approved residential grey water system in the country!

Black Hills Homestead

Located in the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota, the Black Hills Homestead is 53 acres of beautiful ecotone between the high prairie and pine woodlands which is bordered on the south with a linear mile of the Red Water River.  We educate through hands-on experiences – for the seasoned and the beginner.  We offer modern solutions to Homesteading and Practical Sustainability, including homestead stays, tours, and full-build workshops.