LA Returning the Tiny Houses It Took from the Homeless

Last year, South LA resident Elvis Summers built a tiny house for a homeless woman in his neighborhood using simple materials he bought from Home Depot. The heartwarming story captured lots of attention, and was even written about in People. It led Summers to start a crowdfunding effort to help build and distribute miniature homes throughout the city to shield homeless residents from the elements. He ended up raising close to $100,000 and the small, colorful homes began popping up on overpasses and sidewalks around LA. That is, until the city confiscated them in February.

Citing health and safety concerns, City Councilmember Curren Price asked sanitation workers to seize the 37 houses Summers had constructed (though he was able to remove eight before they could be taken). Not surprisingly, taking houses from the homeless didn’t go over very well with the public, and now the city has decided to return the units to Summers. According to the LA Times, Summers will get his houses back over the next two weeks, but he’ll need to find a new place to put them…

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Tiny Builds Needed for UK TV Series

Mortgage Flyer UKDear The Shelter Blog,

I work at Plum Pictures, an award-winning TV production company based in London. We are currently looking for people to take part in an exciting new series that demonstrates how home ownership is possible without the need for banks and mortgages and huge debts. I realize that you’re based in the U.S., but I noticed the odd post about UK builds and I was wondering whether you might be able to help.

I was wondering whether this might be something that your UK members/​readers would be interested in? Whether you want to post something on your website or send the details onto your members we’d love to hear from them.

Any questions please feel free to get in touch.

Many thanks,

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City of Toronto Orders Family to Remove Elaborate Treehouse

John Alpeza built a boat to get away from all the distractions that come with living in Toronto. But the city has ordered him to dismantle the boat, saying it violates zoning bylaws. At the heart of the dispute is where he decided to build it: in a tree in his backyard.

The boat-treehouse sits atop a dead tree in Alpeza’s Bloor West Village backyard, stretching beyond the tree and overlooking his fence. Alpeza admits that he did not have a building permit when he constructed it…

Sent by Anonymous

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Curved-Roof Tiny Home Made from Salvaged Cedar

Even if tiny homes are built small, they don’t have to feel like little claustrophobic boxes with gabled roofs. We’ve seen a number of designers play with this potential space in different ways, such as using a shed roof that gives more headroom, or even curving the roof to create a more spacious feeling. Vancouver, Canada’s Chad Smith of Structural Spaces takes the latter route with this stunning build that features a custom-built curved roof, its beams milled out of an unwanted cedar tree that was not growing straight.

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Driftwood Shelter


Photo by Lloyd Kahn

This is a shack that I built on a remote beach about 5 years ago. (It’s such a long hike that I’ve never seen anyone at this spot.) I used hammer and nails. I kept a tarp stashed behind some bushes on the bank that I’d stretch over the top. Cook a pigeon or chicken on a fire, foil-wrapped potato and onions in coals. Sit around dying embers and watch stars. Flask of brandy. Sleep with waves hitting beach 50 feet away.

It blew down last year, and I’ll probably rebuild it later this year.

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185-foot-tall Tower Built by Anchorage Lawyer


Anchorage attorney Phil Weidner calls his structure ‘The Goose Creek Tower,’ because it sits near the confluence of Goose Creek and the Big Susitna River. He got the idea for the tower almost two decades ago and started construction in the late ’90s.

Weidner says he took a break from the project that lasted 15 years but is ready to start again. ‘It’s meant to be a home, also an observatory,’ Weidner said. ‘I plan to eventually put a telescope in the top of it. Also, probably a ham radio station and call it Radio Free Goose Creek, and broadcast appropriate information to the world.’

The tower is 185 feet high with unfinished metal decks that wrap around almost every story. It’s natural wood and more than 60,000 pounds of steel. Weidner says the major construction is finished, including electrical and plumbing, but interior work is still needed. He figures it could be another three years before it’s completed…


Story by Lauren Maxwell / Photojournalist John Thain

Sent to us by Jon Kalish

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Shepherd's Caravans

This is an incredible resource. Richard Harris, English architect, former director of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex, and longtime friend, sent this link to early shepherd’s caravans. This led me to explore some of the other links at this incredible website.

[Inadequately translated from French by Google Translate. Got a better one from “Roulotte No 7” here?]

rambouillet_cabane_roulotteThis shepherd’s cabin trailer is preserved at the National Sheepfold of Rambouillet near Paris, where it was presented to the public at an exhibition in 2010. It consists of a small house with two gutter and two gears joined boards under a gable roof, house that sits on two parallel rails extending to the front of the machine in the form of two arms between which articulates a metal wheel on an axle.

Two iron hooks attached on top of the two arms were to be used to tow the vehicle. Another fixed axle with two wheels in iron, is located under the rear part of the cabin, freeing enough room in front to accommodate an entrance closed by a door hinged on the left against the forearm. This gate is formed of contiguous vertical boards fixed on two large horizontal cross. The roof seems to be covered with waterproof canvas.

On the wall of the front sprocket is fixed a sort of open storage box on the front. one notes the presence of the nearest spar of the observer, two rings, one on the front and one on the back: without hold they used to tie the dogs.


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230 sq. ft. Tiny House

camper-like-tiny-house-start-small-ann-armstrong-1.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scaleSome say that tiny houses are basically overpriced, overweight and overly cute recreational vehicles, and tend to stick out like sore thumbs — easy for the city inspectors to spot. Austin, Texas–based architect and steel fabricator Ann Armstrong built this RV-like tiny home that boasts a fresh, modern interior that feels much more comfortable than your run-of-the-mill camper…

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55 Tiny Apartments in New NYC Building

In a city of big dreams and an ever-growing population trying to squeeze into a tight space, New York is hoping the solution to its housing problems is to go small — micro, in fact.

This spring marks the opening of Carmel Place, the city’s first apartment building made up entirely of micro apartments. Ranging in size from 260 to 360 square feet, the units were built to find space for the growing number of single-person households moving to the city.

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