The Flying Tortoise

“The Flying Tortoise is a 1977 KD Bedford bus built in New Zealand by Hawke Coach Builders.  Originally it was used in forestry areas to carry work gangs to remote bush sites, built high off the ground and with a short wheelbase for tight turning, there’s hardly a hill it can’t climb, and with its off-road tires, it’s almost a ‘Go Anywhere Vehicle.’”

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Barn in Oregon Framed with 1″ Lumber

I’ve been going through old photos lately. I shot photos of this beautiful barn in 2014. I posted it back then, but I think it’s worth looking at it again, in more detail. Here’s what I wrote:

There are buildings that have — for lack of a better word — a sweetness to them. Like this barn, like a small abandoned cottage in an English field I once found, slowly disintegrating back into the soil from which all its materials came. Inside, I could feel the lives that had been lived there. Or the buildings of master carpenter Lloyd House. It happens most frequently in barns, where practicality and experience create form with function. Architecture without architects.

The unique feature here is that the roof’s curve is achieved by building the rafters out of 1″ material. 1 × 12s laminated together (I believe 4 of them) to achieve the simplest of laminated trusses. The barn is 24′ wide, 32′ long, 26′ to the ridge. Thanks to Mackenzie Strawn for measuring it; he also wrote: “I have a carpentry manual from the 1930’s with a short section on the Gothic arch barns, they suggest making the roof radius ¾ of the width.”

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Ziggy and April's Timber Frame and Straw Bale Home in Missouri

…After ten days of the Straw Bale Workshop (and yet more punishing heat), we built the walls of our new home, installed all the windows and doors, and began the natural clay and lime plaster finishes on the walls.

Amazingly, we were able to live in the house by winter of that same year. Granted the house was not complete, but we had a dry, warm place to rest in before the next year’s work started. A year or so later the house was completed.

Building our straw bale house challenged us in many unexpected ways. Just as we had taken a bare piece of ground and utterly transformed it, the straw bale house itself changed us in ways we could never imagine…

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Kahn Family Kitchen

My book Driftwood Shacks is just about to go to the printers in Hong Kong, and now I’m starting to assemble the next one: Handmade: The Half-Acre Homestead, which covers 50+ years of building, gardening, cooking, foraging, fixing, and other aspects of creating our own shelter and food. In coming months, I’ll put up preview photos from this book.

This is our kitchen. The stainless steel sink was $100 at a salvage lumberyard. A key feature is that the sideboards drain into the sink. Most kitchen sinks have a rim around the edge, and the sideboards do not drain into the sink.

The dish rack at the right was designed and built by Lew Lewandowski about 20 years ago; after the plates and saucers and glasses are washed and rinsed, they are put in the rack to dry — and they stay there.

@lloyd.kahn

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Lodge in Allegany Mountains in New York

Log home built by Bill Castle near Belmont in the Allegany Mountains, New York. Bill, a good friend, who unfortunately left this earth a few years back, was a phenomenal builder. He created a resort he called Pollywog Hollér and was one of the three featured builders in our book Homework.

The resort is still going strong. Here’s what it says on their website:

“Named for the serenade of frogs that fills the evening air, Pollywogg Holler is a great camp-style eco-resort in New York’s Southern Tier. The genius of nature and man are showcased in a setting of spectacular beauty, Adirondack-style craftsmanship, solar electricity, and gravity fed spring water. Explore available lodging and book your stay now.”

www.pollywoggholler.com

Post from www.lloydkahn.com

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Off-Grid Homestead in Missouri



Doug and Stacy are living the pioneer lifestyle in the 21st century. After quitting their high-stress city lives they moved onto a property in rural Missouri where they could be debt free and construct a beautiful little pioneer style homestead. Today, they raise animals, grow most of their own food and live simply on the land.

The homestead is centered around a beautiful 600 sq. ft. (55 m2) log cabin which was built by Doug. When he began this massive DIY project he had absolutely no building experience but figured that if the pioneers could do it then so could he! Since then, he has been adding additional out-buildings to their off-the-grid homestead including an outdoor kitchen, and his new project (still under construction) which is a root cellar.

Doug and Stacy’s cabin is simply beautiful with gorgeous wood and rustic features everywhere you look. Here, the couple live with no electricity and no refrigerator. Rainwater is collected and is gravity fed to the cabin. Stepping inside this tiny house feels almost as though you have travelled back in time. Still, it’s warm and cozy and provides this couple with a beautiful place to call home.

Read More …

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Paul and Melissa’s Homemade Vardo

For maximum space versatility, the shelves and seats can be folded up and fastened out-of-the-way, and the massive drawers and cupboards under the bed provide ample storage. We have no running water or electricity, but plenty of comfort and convenience with the propane cooktop, large bay window, and skylight that lets us see the stars at night.

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Curved-Roof Shed


This is 10′ by 10′. Rafters made of four 1″ by 4″ by ⅜″ redwood bender board, 16′ long, bent, glued and clamped together. Roof sheathing is 1 × 6 redwood fence boards from Home Depot. Siding is ⅜″ rough-sawn exterior DF plywood. Eventually I’ll panel the inside with used fence boards. Flooring is used yellow pine T&G from Heritage Salvage in Petaluma. Windows (used) from Urban Ore in Berkeley.

Billy Cummings has done most of the work here, including cutting and fitting double-wall polycarbonate greenhouse glazing under the curved eaves.

Next step is to build a sliding door for one half of the end wall shown here so a bed can be rolled out onto the deck for nighttime star gazing. Jay Nelson built a sliding door for his shop that gave me the idea.

Note: A curved roof is infinitely more time-consuming (in many ways) as compared with, say, a shed roof or a gable roof. BUT the space underneath is wonderful and something I highly recommend for tiny homes. If you take the time to build a roof like this, it will give you a feeling of spaciousness and avoid the claustrophobia of small spaces. Curved roofs are the secret to the good feeling in Gypsy wagons (vardos).

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