Straw Bale (8)

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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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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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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$35,000 Straw Bale Home in Missouri

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Lobelia is the name of our 864-square-foot two-bedroom straw bale home. Named after a native wildflower, Lobelia was built with many reclaimed materials, including all framing lumber, most doors and windows, and even the kitchen cabinet.

The straw bale exterior walls are protected by earthen plaster inside and out. Outside, the hip roof and wood shingle skirt, made from pallet wood scraps, along with a coat or two of raw linseed oil, help protect the exterior plaster from the elements.Š

–Alyssa Martin and Tony (AKA Papa Bear) Barrett

This is Sneak Preview #14 from our forthcoming book, Small Homes, to be published in spring, 2017.

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Natural Buildings: Photographs by Catherine Wanek

A natural building

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Since discovering straw bale construction in 1992, Catherine Wanek has traveled widely to spread the straw bale gospel, and documenting traditional and modern examples of natural building. She co-edited The Art of Natural Building in 2002, wrote and photographed The New Strawbale Home in 2003, and wrote The Hybrid House in 2010. Her photos are featured in Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter.

Shown above, Thierry Dronet built this fairy-tale hybrid of straw bales and cordwood masonry, topped with a “living roof,” as his workshop and stable for two horses in eastern France. Bale walls act to retain the hillside, with a plastic sheet barrier and a “French drain” to wick away moisture. Time will tell whether this practice is advised.
Read More …

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The Steen Family's Latest Straw Bale Building Project

Bill and Athena Steen, the straw bale/earthen plaster maestro/maestra team from Arizona are helping build this home, which will be featured in our new book, Small Homes.

Bill writes: “Interior adobe wall in a clay-plastered straw bale house we are helping our boys build in Sonoita, AZ.”

(Bill shoots pretty much all his photos with an iPhone — has been doing it for a few years. I’ve finally come around to doing this. Both of us still use the big cameras (him a Nikon, me an Olympus OM-D) for serious shoots, but the iPhone for everyday shots. The new iPhone 6s Plus has a super new camera.)

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Straw Bale and Timber Frame Home

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Hi Lloyd and Co.:

Saw your call for responses to the upcoming Small Homes book. Exciting! I think our straw bale & timber frame home fits squarely into that category. It’s actually around 440 sq. feet of interior heated space, but with the porch and balcony it’s a bit bigger.

15016408354_bd76ef81d5_c 08-strawtron 30-strawtron Read More …

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A Woman Architect and Natural Builder

Roundwood framed building using straw bale and cobwood walls

“Paulina Wojciechowska, is an architect and natural builder. This is a home she built in Poland, a roundwood framed building using straw bale and cobwood walls. Paulina is perhaps best known for building with earthbags and she often uses them in the foundations of her straw bale homes.”

More women builders:
www.naturalhomes.org/natural-building-women.htm#paulina

Paulina’s website
www.earthhandsandhouses.org/

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