Hand Tools (69)

Alan Beckwith's Homestead

…Alan did everything himself: carpentry, plumbing, wiring (solar electricity and hydro), and developed his own water supply. He drives a tractor, maintains several miles of roads, makes beer and wine, and raises pigs and ducks. A lot of people have started homesteads since the 60’s, but seldom have they got as far along as this…

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Rockstar's Magical Woodland Cabin



Alban “Snoopy” Pfisterer is perhaps best known as the original drummer for the rock band Love, which rose to fame in the late ’60s. After his time in the public eye, he retreated to a spectacular property in the Pacific Northwest where he was able to find privacy and solace amongst the trees where he continued to work on new music and art…

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Seaside Cabin Built by Bruno Atkey

The wilderness seaside cabin is 43 miles from the nearest road and is on the westernmost point of land on the ocean side of Vancouver Island. It is 20′ × 24′ and framed entirely from beach wood. All the wall and roof sheathing boards are split from cedar on the site, as is the roofing, which is 3′ long. It was built 1987.

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Exquisite Sauna Built by Jesus Sierra

I finished building this sauna in June 2017 with some help from a few friends. All the wood is reclaimed apart from a a few lengths of dimensional timber. The round larch posts are leftovers from previous jobs.The floor, roof planks, internal and external cladding, benches, rafters, tie beams, wall plates, fascia boards, and even the door are made with reclaimed scaffold planks (96 of them!) that I bought from a scaffolding company. The banister and spindles are off-cuts from a job I did many years ago.

Only new items are the (old-looking) hinges, the insulation (aluminum-polyester blanket), the thermometer/hydrometer, and some stained glass. The wood burner was beautifully crafted from an old gas bottle by Ed Osborne from Parp Industrie in Devon.

The dragon heads up in the fascia boards have hollow eyes with embedded red stained glass. When the late evening sun hits the back of them, they shine and make the dragons look alive. Totally unnecessary detail but it really puts a smile on people’s face the first time they see it…

The platform is 3.9m long by 2.2m wide and the interior is 2.6m by 1.8m. It accommodates 7 people in comfort or up to 11 if they are very friendly…

I call the style “Euro folk fusion”. It’s based on the very rich (although a bit forgotten) European wooden building tradition. It’s one part traditional Finnish sauna, a Norwegian wood cabin, a Slovakian log cabin, a Spanish horreo from Asturias region and a splash of Swiss alpine chalet.

All the materials including wood burner, stainless steel flue, glass, screws, hinges, insulation, and timber cost me just over £1000.

–Jesus Sierra
www.sierraecocarpentry.com

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Beautiful Cabin in the Forest



Standing amongst the sea of green that is the forest of Olympia, this whimsical cabin appears to have fallen onto the land directly from the pages of a storybook. Built by the inspiring Jacob Witzling, a math teacher by trade, the cabin was designed to be beautiful yet unassuming, nestling perfectly into its deep wooded landscape…

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Van Life in Olympia



At just 21 years old, Milla Delphine knows what she wants in life and has a plan on how to get it. Ever since she was little, Milla has dreamed of living on a sailboat. Converting a van to live in full-time was initially just a plan to allow her to save more money in order to manifest her nautical dream; yet in the process, Milla has completely fallen in love with van living…

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Couple Builds Tiny Home for $17K



Built for only $17,000 this young couple’s tiny house is certainly an incredible achievement. The home, constructed by Asheville, NC couple David and Catherine, was built mostly using reclaimed or recycled materials and is filled with clever design elements to truly make the home their own.

An ideal parking space for the tiny house on wheels has been created in the yard of a home in a quiet neighborhood and the couple have spent time creating an outdoor area to relax and expand the living space of the house while also building gardens to grow some food.

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Timber Owl Cabin in the French Countryside

Imagine hiking through the greenery around Bordeaux, France, and coming upon a magical little house in the shape of three owls. We’re guessing you’d want to stay awhile, and that’s the point. Les Guetteurs (The Watchers) is one of six oddball, off-grid huts in the Refuges Périurbains (Peri-urban shelters), a program intended to draw curious guests to discover new areas on the edge of the city (a similar project has also taken hold just outside of Copenhagen.)

Designed by Candice Pétrillo and constructed by the French workshop Zébra3/Buy-Sellf, the building was made to resemble a group of small, ground-nesting owls that live in the wetlands around the structure. From the exterior, the timber building looks like a huddle of three owls, their eyes made of large round windows and feathers made from long strips of bent plywood and shorter plywood shingles…

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Godfrey Stephens' New Sculpture

Godfrey just sent this photo. After two day’s work. What a fucking genius! He’s getting better.

His combination of Kwakwaka’wakw training and artistic sensibilities from the depths of his soul produce powerful art. He’s in Builders of the Pacific Coast, Tiny Homes on the Move, and throughout this blog, and has been in my life for over 50 years.

He’s more of an artist — wild, productive, joyous — than the world-famous rich artists out there getting all the attention. He’s a Picasso under the radar.

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Nonagan Yurt Treehouse



I spent the weekend at Mountain View Air B&B building a canted-wall nonagon yurt treehouse! I worked with SunRay Kelley, Bonnie, Bob-O, and Tyler Smith. This was such a fun project. I spent one weekend helping assemble the walls for the kit; SunRay and his team did the rest during the week; and last weekend, we built the platform and erected the nonagon yurt.

–Travis Skinner

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The Temple of Promise Built for Burning Man

Temple of Promise, the unbuilt temple for Burning Man 2014

Lloyd,

Humans’ first large structures were long houses. Simple pit houses with a circle of lengths of branches or trees were expanded for larger groups by taking those same short spans and arranging them along a line: a Long House. These basis structures are indigenous to almost all ancient cultures. I felt that the temple at burning man needed to be a reference to our most ancient structures; well before the rise of organized religions. These were spaces for the first assembly of a tribe. A time when we all knew each other, when we all built the building, and we all shared risks, adventures, celebrations and solemn moments. The Temple of Promise was about simplicity of sharing as a group.

When I was 15 or 16, I found Shelter in the local library on the same shelf as Frank Lloyd Wright. The two sets of images gripped my and never let go. Wright’s work was both art and craft mixed with aspiration, while Shelter was accessible, immediate and endearing. My copy of Shelter was worn at the edges within a year was very quickly pile of loose but revered pages. Thirty years later, after working in the trades, completing architecture school, and working in the East Coast, Europe, Asia and Australia and moving to the West Coast, I opened boxes of old possessions. Shelter greeted me from the pile. You can only imagine my joy when I realized that it was written and published just a few miles from where I now called home. I can never fully express the joy and insight Shelter has given me. It gave me a direction and remains a strong reference in my life.

Thank you, Lloyd Kahn,
–Ross

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