Small Homes Book (84)

Timber Home on Canada's Sunshine Coast

Around eight years ago my brother and I bought some land on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. He planned on building a large shop and I planned on building a small house, at the same time there was some logging going on behind the place, so we bought some logs —
mostly second-growth Douglas fir…

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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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Aunt Lillie's House

Dear Lloyd,

I just want to send you a quick email to let you know that my book came and to thank you so much for including me amongst so many amazing and beautiful homes! I’m really not worthy. The book is beautiful, I love the section on small homes in towns and cities everywhere. It’s true, every town has some small homes, especially if there was a mill. We have lots of old mill towns here in Georgia and near the old mill will be some of the most beautiful small homes. In Atlanta there’s a place called Cabbage Town, where they took the old mill homes and neighborhood and revitalized it. The downside to this is gentrification. I’d like to see or work to achieve revitalization without gentrification. But it’s up to all of us to take care of our things and make the most of what we have.
Read More …

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Small Homes Now Available

Our new book Small Homes: The Right Size is now available at independent bookstores, and Amazon — as well as from us: www.shelterpub.com/…

Shameless Commerce Dept.: This is, I think, the best building book we’ve ever done. (Yes, I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it keeps reoccurring to me.) Shelter is everyone’s favorite; it captured the times; it inspired thousands of homes. Builders of the Pacific Coast is in some ways, my best book. It’s an odyssey of discovery where the reader rides shotgun with me over a two-year period — cohesive and focused.

BUT Small Homes is so useful to so many people in this era of astronomical home prices and rents, that I think it’s hugely important. It offers alternatives to people looking for rentals on Craigslist or homes on Zillow. Here are 65 very different homes, of different materials, in different parts of the world. The idea, as with all our building books is to use your hands to create your own shelter.

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SunRay Kelley's Two-Story Treehouse

…On the other side of the property, in a gnarled, old-growth fir is an actual tree house. Not a treehouse, but a house in a tree. Two stories fully enclosed and insulated with a kitchen and bathroom and woodstove. A spiral staircase leads up from the ground into the house…

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Dennis Fry's Full-Circle Shelter

While not included in the print edition of Small Homes, this spread will be included in the ebook edition, and links to a very readable PDF.

Simplicity is what a small home is all about — simple to build, low cost, easy to clean and maintain, no excess or wasted space, and built to fit into its environment. Our vacation house in the mountains of Southwest Puerto Rico was designed specifically for its location. Large double doors all around open fully to take advantage of the mountain breezes. A covered outdoor living and dining space provides shade and allows use even when it rains.

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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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Roundhouse Living in Wales

While not included in the print edition of Small Homes, this spread will be included in the ebook edition, and links to a very readable PDF.

Hi folks. I live in West Wales, UK, with my partner Faith in a roundhouse I designed and we built in 1997. It is about 85m2, (850 sq. ft.) in size. It cost £3,000 ($4,500) to make initially, and we have spent another £1000 or so on it in the 18 years we have been living here.

It is based on the type of roundwood frame and turf-roofed houses used by Celtic, Mandan, Miwok, and Pomo peoples, plus some modern things thrown in, like windscreen and double-glazed windows, wood stove, running water (hot and cold), solar PVs on the roof, and a wooden plank floor. We are off grid.

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