Hand Tools (46)

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Beautifully Converted Bus



From modern live-work spaces to family-oriented dwellings, we’re seeing a number of beautifully renovated interiors inside buses that have been converted into tiny homes. But what’s great too is that each vehicle has its own fascinating story behind it. Take Denver, Colorado’s Charles Kern of Art Builders Guild, a professional bus homebuilder who first built his own home on wheels a few years ago, using a bus that has quite a history.

Charles tells us that he converted a bus for a simple reason: he needed a place to live as a cash-strapped 20-year-old philosophy student, and as someone who was knowledgeable about buses for over a decade, it seemed like the best solution. Charles relates the story behind the bus that he calls The Queen — a 1982 Bluebird Bus on an International Harvester chassis…

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Master Carpenter in Japan Builds on Wheels



Mr. Tagami follows a principle of organic architecture. He describes his tiny house designs as growing like seeds, each with it’s own life and character. Before constructing a home, he creates scale models to ensure that his concept works and that the home will be aesthetically appealing.

As a man who is conscious of our environmental footprint,  Mr. Tagami strives to use natural materials wherever possible which at the end of the homes life will be able to return to the earth and not become a burden for future generations. Great care is taken in the sourcing of materials to ensure that the home is not only healthy for the earth, but also for those who will live in it…

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Hallig Home in Northern Germany

Hallig Habel during “land unter,” a local term describing the flooding of the Halligs during storms when just the houses stick out of the water. Thirty years ago, when this picture was taken, the house was inhabited by a farmer. His sheep and cattle spent their nights in the lower story. In extreme storms, when the lower story was flooded, the farmer would bring his animals upstairs. Photo by Hans Joachim Kürtz

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A Phenomenal Bread Knife

All our bread is homemade, so we use a bread knife daily. We’ve had 3 of them, of different configurations. But we got this very unusual one a couple of months ago, and it’s not only better then any bread knife I’ve ever seen, but a delight to use.

Irene says: “I like making bread knives. I tell folks when they buy ’em, ‘If this doesn’t cut the bread SMACK out of the oven better then anything else you’ve ever used, then I’ll double your money back.’ No one’s ever returned a bread knife.”

The wood is cherry or mahogany, they are made in the USA, and available for $30 plus $10 postage (mail check) to:

Irene Tukuafu
2639 N. Sycamore Haven Dr.
Nauvoo, Illinois 62354

Check out also, Irene’s musical instruments:


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5 Questions with Lloyd Kahn

City Lights Bookstore welcomes Lloyd Kahn on Tuesday, April 11th. He’ll be discussing his new book, Small Homes: The Right Size, from Shelter Publications. Lloyd answered our 5 questions. More about him, and his answers, below.


The Event: Tuesday, April 11th at 7:00PM. 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133.

About Small Homes: Are tiny homes too small for you? Do you want living space larger than 200–300 sq. ft. of floor area? Hot on the heels of his popular Tiny Home series of books, Lloyd Kahn revisits smallish structures and explores the possibilities of working within limited physical spaces and maximizing creativity in relation to one’s needs. His new book is profusely illustrated and he will be presenting a visual presentation that will include many images that never made it into the book.

Featuring: 120 homes in the 400–1200 sq. ft. range, owner-builder techniques, natural materials, a variety of construction methods, inspiration from owner-builders, a cornucopia of ideas, small homes in the country, towns, and cities, and over 1,000 photographs. Use your own hands to build your own home.

About Lloyd Kahn: Lloyd Kahn is the editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications, an independent California publisher. Shelter Publications specializes in books on building and architecture, as well as health and fitness.


City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Lloyd Kahn: First time maybe 1962, I was an insurance broker and started to wander in North Beach during my lunch hour. Memory of wonderful place. I bought Howl.


CL: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

LK: I started out reading books on the sea by Howard Pease at 12 years of age or so. Right now reading A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman.


CL: Which 3 books would you never part with?

LK: Barns of the Abbey of Beaulieu at Its Granges of Great Coxwell and Beaulieu-St. Leonards by Water Horn and Earnest Born, Das Skizzenbuch des Francesco di Giorgio Martini, and Richard Halliburton’s Complete Book of Marvels


CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

LK: The album “Let It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones (which includes “Gimme Shelter”).


CL: If you opened a bookstore tomorrow, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

LK: Maybe some day I’ll open a bookstore and sell off the some 600 books I have on building and architecture. I could call it Learning to Build.


Join Lloyd and City Lights on Tuesday, April 11th at 7PM as we celebrate the release of his new book, Small Homes. Get the book direct from Lloyd’s Shelter Publications, at City Lights, or ask for it at your local independent bookseller.

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