Faces in the Crowd: Jared “Cappie” Capp

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Cappie, as he prefers to be called, was raised to live by practical sustainability standards — a term he uses often.

“I’ve always been fascinated with a more sustainable lifestyle, self-reliant lifestyle,” says Cappie. “And some of that started when we were kids — me, my dad, my grandpa, we didn’t have much money.”

Now he builds custom homes in the Black Hills, some off-grid. His work ranges from stick to straw bale custom homes and of course some of your more conventional houses.

His interest is to educate — which inspired him to build the first straw bale house in Spearfish in 2010.

“I was able to build this house and now have a physical, tangible example of practical sustainability,” Cappie said.

Afterwards, he began building numerous unique homes. One such project led him to star on a Discovery Channel series, ‘Building Off the Grid’. His episode ‘Dakota A-Frame’ featured a 1,600 square foot custom home in Hill City built for a family of four.

 “It’s a custom home, and every one we do is a one-off,” Cappie said. “We design the houses and build them, and to add the added layer of a film crew… it was quite the learning curve the first time we did it.”

He’s worked with the Discovery Channel on another occasion, and has been approached by other producers in the past. But working under those conditions — in addition to weather, location, and client needs, it can be challenging. Cappie’s creative problem-solving skills get him through.

“The challenge to us is the logistical part,” he said. “In the very beginning charisma will get you so far, then you actually have to have skill to back it up. And I think the thing for me is I never claimed to know everything. I’ve never claimed to be an expert. I’m a creative problem-solver.”

Some might think building a straw house, a spaceship tree-house, and two shipping container homes may be unconventional and a bit crazy — but Cappie won’t care.

“I don’t get to fussed over what people think of me. But I think the thing for me is the ability to show them,” Cappie said. “A lot of people have opinions on things they don’t know anything about, and that’s just the world we live in. Come to my house, I’ll show you — then tell me I’m crazy.”

Categories: Faces in the Crowd, Local News