Sneak Preview (32)

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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Small Homes Book Is Off to the Printer

We got the proofs back last week, and I almost cried when I went through it page by page. Sounds dumb, I know, but it was overwhelming to see all the pages, in collated order, full size, 4-color for the first time — after a couple of years working on it. I’d only seen rather low-quality, reduced size printouts up until now. And you know what, it’s (ahem) a beautiful book.

People, home builders from all walks of life, a great variety of designs, materials, locales. It may very well be the most useful book we’ve ever done. Tiny homes are great for some people, but too small for most. Here are 65 or so homes in all, a cornucopia of ideas for people who can’t afford high rents and bank mortgages, and want to build or remodel (or contract out) their own homes.

Check out the “sneak previews” on TheShelterBlog:
www.theshelterblog.com/…

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #25, Solar-Powered Quonset Hut Home in Northern California

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p7150849Elaine and Sandy Doss live on 150 acres in Northern California in this WWII Quonset hut, which was converted for living by architect Val Agnoli (one of the featured builders in our book, Shelter).

Sandy and I continue to live off the grid using a photovoltaic system with backup gas generator. Water comes from a well with solar pump, then gravity-fed to the house; livestock water is from springs.

We have a bedroom wood-burning stove, living-room propane fireplace, and propane wall heater in the study. TV and Internet services are via satellite.

–Elaine Doss

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Which Cover Do You Like Best?

Rick and I are in the final stages of preparing Small Homes for the printers. We changed the cover from an earlier version, which showed a small turn-of-the-century home in Santa Cruz (in this revised cover, it’s the middle image in the left hand column), because a single image didn’t seem to represent the diversity of images (120 or so small homes) in the book. Hence the collage.

Below are two alternatives, the same except for the background color. In the one with the red, it’s similar-looking to Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Some of our savvy book friends think it’s too similar, and that another color would distinguish it from the other books. Hence the other with the dark green background.

Comments, please. Which do you like? Do you see any problem in this cover being similar to our other books?

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #24, Cave Home in New Zealand

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20161019-20161019-20161019_0416-lo-resLeaving his English home at the age of 16 to travel the world, Graham Hannah had his heart set on settling down in rural New Zealand…

His aim was to create a cave-type dwelling that was stable, dry, and free of moisture seepage through the clay walls-and to use all natural materials in the process.

Using huge beams of local New Zealand timbers, he framed a structure within the “cave” and filled the entire area with tons of compacted sand, covering both the vertical and horizontal beams. He then laid large river stones from the local mountain stream on top of the sand. To create the roof of the cave, he mixed reinforced concrete. Which was poured over the sand and river stones, with the concrete roof being embedded in the existing bank of solid clay walls.

Once the concrete set up, the sand was dug out, leaving the vertical and horizontal beams and the exposed river stones locked into the concrete roof structure…

–Jessie and Craig Moon

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Layout of Pages on Last Home in Our Book, Small Homes

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Staircase between the two units, in the backyard. Photo by Lloyd Kahn

Just did layout of the last home in our next book, Small Homes: The Right Size. It’s a two-family home converted to a duplex in San Francisco. Downstairs is Jay Nelson, his wife Rachel Kaye, and their daughter Romy; upstairs is Dalia Burde — all three are artists (probably Romy too).

This is what’s called a tenants-in-common agreement, where two parties buy a home together. Listen up, people looking for homes in cities, here’s a way to cut costs in half, with the important prerequisite that you’re compatible (and remain so) with each other.

Want to get it done!

Next we’re working on the front matter and back matter, as well as the all-important, the big kahuna — the cover. We’re probably changing from a single home on the cover to a collage of 14 photos. I’m going to put up our cover choices here for general feedback pretty soon.

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #23

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Off-the-grid cabin in California woods

When my brother and I bought land in remote coastal Northern California in the ’70s, our parents, Bob and Jean Anderson, jumped at the opportunity to build a small home on our place.

Bob was a retired filmmaker, and Jean a travel agent, so they had seen a lot of the world from which to get ideas for building.

“I saw it more as set design than architecture,” Bob said about the 665 square foot house…

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #21

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Sophie and Marc’s home will be in our next book, Small Homes. Here is a letter from them, with a link to a film of their family and home:

Dear Lloyd,

Marc and I were on tv radio-canada last night.
Our family philosophy, construction and lifestyle close to nature — 10 min.

Have fun watching.

Love to you,
The quebec family
–Sophie Belisle and Marc Boutin

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #19 – Damian Helliwell's Straw Bale Home in Scotland

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Interiors of Damian Helliwell’s straw bale home on a small island off the west coast of Scotland. Construction is timber frame, and the straw bale walls are protected on the exterior with shiplap cedar siding. Heat and hot water are provided by a homemade rocket box stove. It took Damian four years to complete the house.

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #18 – Small Home in Lithuania, Builder Inspired by Shelter

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I started as a carpenter when I was 16 in Montana. I was working as a dishwasher when a builder, who was a regular at the counter, liked the way I worked and offered me a job. During the next two years, we built houses, and I was exposed to the first printing of Shelter. This was in 1973.

Shelter had a significant influence on me and opened my eyes and mind to many paths, which I explored…

In the summer of 1994, when I was sent to Lithuania to show a Lithuanian building contractor how to assemble an American technology house — the first in the then recent break-away from the Soviet Union. It took me about two weeks to decide I wanted to live there, and over the following years, I saved money in preparation for my move to Lithuania.

In 2003 I loaded everything into a container and moved to a piece of land I had purchased in northern Lithuania…

–Dan Combellick


Read More …

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #17 – Timber Home Along Canada's Sunshine Coast

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This home was built by Marlin Hanson with Douglas fir logs from adjacent land that were milled onsite. Marlin is a marine construction carpenter and he utilized the strong construction methods used in building piers for framing this home.

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