Recycled Materials (114)

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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Tiny Texas Houses

This photo is the cover image on our book, Tiny Homes.

My Mascot, the first house I ever built: a 10′ × 16′ Rustic Texas Cabin, our most popular style. It was picked up in the air and dropped 15 feet over on the edge of a concrete slab in the tornado, one of the reasons we have stainless steel cables that run through the house peak and down for anchoring them now. We only broke one pane of glass in the loft when it was tossed around…

–Brad Kittel
Founder and Owner
Tiny Texas Houses

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Jeffrey's Straw Bale House

Hey there!

Well, it’s happened twice now. Just as you publish a book on a subject, I finish a project that might have sat nicely in your book!

First one was my tiny home dome, released just after your book Tiny Homes

Then coincidently I purchased and moved onto my 38 ft. narrowboat just as you released Tiny Homes on the Move

Now. I have just finished creating this 40m2 / 430 sq. ft. straw bale house with my new company, Hartwyn. The building is named Ty Twt — Welsh for “small home.”

It was an interesting project, where we offered the entire build as a training program. We took a group of mixed-skill interns through the entire building process in 12 weeks.

We used local straw, dug our site clay for plasters, and the timber was (mostly) all milled locally. It boasts a green roof, composting toilet, tadelakt shower (Moroccan lime plaster), and greywater system.

I have attached some pictures, and have high-res ones if you would like. But all of the information is on our site with a nifty little time-lapse of the whole process!

Hope this is of some interest!

–Jeffrey


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74K Tiny Home Is Larger than Life

…The exterior of the home offers the first clue that this is more than just a tiny space put together on a whim. The attractive facade is a blend of reclaimed pine heart and cedar with a beautiful weathered, blue stain finish that gives the structure a shabby chic cabin feel. The home’s gabled roof is topped with Onduvilla tiles, which are made with recycled materials.

The interior is as comfortable as it is attractive. Like most tiny homes, the “palace” has a creative layout that maximizes space for the master bedroom, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom. The bedroom has a queen-sized bed with plenty of room to walk around it. The bed converts into two lounge chairs when not in use, and there is a hidden “loft” that can be used as a second bedroom…

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Eat Dog's Driftwood Beach Shack

Photo by Lloyd Kahn

…Eat Dog built a tiny house in a semi-hidden ravine leading down to the same beach. (I walked on this beach many times in those years and never spotted his shack.) He lived there for about two years, until getting to work as a gardener miles away in the “civilized world” got to be a strain, and he abandoned the place. Soon others moved in, notoriety followed, and it too was confined to a fiery ending…

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Snowboarder Austin Smith's Firetruck Turned Home on Wheels



At the beginning of the winter Austin Smith made a bit of a departure from his standard season. After somewhat unexpectedly coming to own a retired fire truck turned mobile home, Austin decided to squat in the Mt. Bachelor parking lot for a month-and-a-half. Rather than chase storms all over the planet, he chose to hang at his home resort. And ride every day.

“I knew I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t know I’d love it this much,” says Austin. “I’m really digging it.”

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Beautiful Japanese Tiny House on Wheels



It’s possible that this is one of the smallest homes that we have visited on the show so far and yet without doubt it is one of the most spectacular in its design. Japan is a country already world-famous for its small space designs, and so it should come as no surprise that when Japanese master craftsman Tagami Haruhiko turned his attention towards the tiny house movement, amazing things would happen.

The home is crafted wherever possible from locally sourced and natural materials, predominantly cedar. There is an architectural edge to this tiny house on wheels which seems to draw inspiration from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, yet which has been given a unique and bewildering touch of Japanese-design…

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Homestead of Recycled Materials in Quebec

…In the fall of 2008 we came across an opportunity to pick up pine trees that were locally cut. We adapted our plans to the amount of wood available.

We hired a local sawmill owner to cut the timbers for us. That winter we rented a shop and prebuilt a 24′×30′ timber frame of 9′×9′ pine. The joinery is mortise-and-tenon, sculpted with mallet and chisels…

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Builder on the Move

My partner and I restored an old bread oven in northern Drôme, France, that was damaged by the rain and the time, extended it to make a small bedroom for a guesthouse. The idea was to create a room for lovers, close to the woods and far from the road.

The special design with bottles is inspired from the wind and a feather because the guest house is called the Feathers Inn. Most of the building materials were repurposed (tiles, bottles, door, wood), or found on site (earth, stones).

The design is inspired by the local style of building with stones on the base and earth on the top, but adapted with a contemporary touch.

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Living Off the Grid in Paradise



Warrick Mitchell lives deep in one of the world’s most remote locations: Fiordland, New Zealand. His home in the country’s oldest national park is nestled in a vast wildness accessible only by boat or airplane, a four day’s walk from the nearest road. Life in isolation can be hard, but surrounded by breathtaking, pristine natural beauty, plentiful wildlife and a small but tight-knit community that is always willing to lend a hand, Mitchell would have it no other way.

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