Posts by Lew Lewandowski (30)

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.
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The Wooden Yurts of Bill Coperthwaite

Yurt by Bill Coperthwaite

Bill Coperthwaite was a master yurt-builder/​designer who was featured in Home Work. He died in 2013. Here is a selection of several of his wooden yurts.

The photo above and the two photos immediately below were Bill’s home in the Maine woods. It is 54 feet in diameter and was designed so it could be built over a period of several years and still provide shelter during the process. It is a tri-centric, or three-ring yurt with 2700 sq. ft. of floor space. You can first build the 16 ft. inner core as a room to move into. In the second stage, you can build the large sheltering roof over a gravel pad, allowing the major cost, floor construction, to be delayed. In the meantime you have a spacious area under roof that can be used for a workshop, greenhouse, garage, or for play.

wooden yurt wooden yurt

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Alaskan Campers

Alaskan Camper

Alaskan Campers are hard-sided pop-up slide-in campers made in the U.S. for the past 50 years. This one is matched to a 1-ton Ford F350 4×4 utility bed pickup. The roof raises hydraulically to provide interior standing room while camping.
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Treehouse in a Japanese Cypress

by Kirsten Dirksen

When builder/craftsman Yuichi Takeuchi was asked by a friend to build a treehouse as a second residence in Fujiyoshida — an area near the base of Mount Fuji and popular for vacation residences — Takeuchi set to work searching the trees and looking for a place to rent.

He finally found a friend who was willing to lease some land (for a decade) in the backyard of his woodworking workshop. Takeuchi then invited friends/coworkers to camp out with him and brainstorm at the site. “I’m not a professional architect … I don’t really design things I just enjoy what’s happening next. And this was designed by many of us just staying in this little house [the workshop floor] and sleep together, eat together and drink together and just keep talking about design and how we want so this was happening on the location.”

Together Takeuchi and friends of Tree Heads & Co. began constructing a tiny cabin (“about 4-and-a-half tatami mats”) perched 20 feet high on two young trees. It’s constructed from Japanese cypress, mostly from trees felled by Takeuchi within a couple miles of the property.

The tiny elevated home is furnished with just a carpet — the part-time residents roll out sleeping bags at night — and a kitchen of rice cooker and camping stove.

Tree Heads & Co: www.treeheads.com

Original story: www.faircompanies.com/…

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Lisa's Pole Barn House

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The pole barn house makes a great small home, guest house, cabin or cottage. It’s simple shape makes it easy to build! It’s 1,085 square feet and features:

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1 bath
  • storage/sleeping loft
  • modern design
  • shed roof
  • high ceilings
  • radiant in floor heat
  • pole building construction
  • passive solar
  • abundant windows
  • some universal design principles

10136377_f520Holes 1-2′ in diameter were dug 4′ in the ground below the frost line. 1′ of cement was poured in the bottom of the holes and posts were placed on top of the cement. The holes were then back-filled. The cement pads distribute the weight from the load on the post.
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The Terrapin Trailer

terrapin trailer

Peter Pavlowich’s Casual Turtle Campers were featured in Tiny Homes on the Move (pp. 26–27).

Shelter guys,

Hey I thought I’d pass along a few shots of the another recent build. This one was for a gentleman here in Colorado — the model I call the Terrapin. We went with a pretty full interior arrangement on this one. He opted for no painted surfaces (which I usually do), so we incorporated several different species on the cabin’s interior — oak, birch, cedar, and beetle-killed ponderosa pine — so it wasn’t a one-tone wood overload. It weighed in at 1,300 lbs, max headroom around 5′9″, and it goes down the highway just great.
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A Living Living Room – The Farmhouse at Hickory Highlands

the living living room

My wood-artist friend Duncan, tells of the temple builders in Japan. They go to the forest to find the temple. When found, ceremonies are performed amidst the trees. Then the builders relocate the temple from the forest to the population center. I consider myself (and likely delude myself) creating on that level — finding the house in the forest, asking permission, seeking willingness, then moving the house from the forest to the brow of the hill.

30 years ago, I was gifted a scroll from Japan by a friend who studied there. It depicted dozens of people moving a huge log with rollers, ropes and oxen. In turn, because of his interest in Japanese woodworking, tools and culture, I gave the scroll to Duncan who kept in on a low table in his temple office with other treasures of wood and art and spirit.

A room with a wooden ceiling, curved in a soft barrel vault, emerged from a deep place in my heart. With this internal picture, I went for a walk in the snowy, hickory woods, searching for this room. Because hickory trees grow straight and tall, the likelihood of finding a curved one for the ceiling was slim, and two beams with the same curve pushed the dream into the realm of unrealistic. But dreams are to pursue, explore, manifest.

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Welsh "Hobbit House" Faces Demolition

Welsh Hobbit House

Sent to us by Conor McBrierty :

A young family is making a last-ditch effort to save its cherished “hobbit house” from the bulldozers after planners deemed it had to be razed.

Charlie Hague and Megan Williams used natural materials to lovingly build their roundhouse tucked away in southwest Wales. But the pair, both 27, applied for planning permission only after moving in with their newborn son, Eli, in 2012.

Though many local people did not even know the small building was there, planners ruled the house did not fit in with the surrounding Pembrokeshire countryside and decided it had to go.

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Magical Hobbit-Like Eco Cave House

Underhill is an incredible hobbit-home eco-cave house built into a hillside. The off-the-grid house is cleverly constructed to resemble a cave. With no electricity in the house, the stone, wood and rustic features truly make you feel like you’re stepping back in time.

For more information on this house, visit www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com.

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Yestermorrow School

Yestermorrow Design/Build School

One of the most common questions we get asked is “How do I learn how to build a tiny home?” A very superior answer would be the Yestermorrow School in Waitsfield, Vermont offering over 100 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft including a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design and green building. Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Hands-on courses are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country.
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Casual Turtle Campers

Casual Turtle Camper

Peter Pavlowich’s company, Casual Turtle Campers, was featured in our book Tiny Homes on the Move. Peter recently wrote to us with his newest creation:

Lloyd, Lew, and folks,

Thought I might pass along a couple photos of a recent build. It’s a simple little non-cabover design for a second generation Toyota Tacoma. Of the four basic designs that I build, this one is probably my favorite — dead simple, you get a huge bed area, and there’s lots of room for storage underneath. The forward section of the bed platform is fixed, and the rear portion is removable. Five windows, excellent thru-visibility, and some really nice roof lines — I’m quite happy with this one, and the gentleman who ordered it seems to be, too. Thanks for having a look — more photos and info at CasualTurtleCampers.com.

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Top 5 Best Tiny House Books

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We don’t mean to brag, but according to Heavy.com, Shelter Publications has two of the top 5 best tiny house books:

The Tiny House Movement is growing rapidly in the United States. There are a lot of cultures around the world who have already discovered the greater simplicity, freedom and happiness that comes from minimizing your “stuff” load and living in a small home. In the U.S., though, the trend for years has been toward McMansions and the “more is more” philosophy: more space, more stuff, more debt, more hours at work, the list can go on and on. The Tiny House Movement provides an outlet and an alternative for people looking to have more creative control over their living spaces and, in turn, their lives. These five books are a good starting place if you are interested in tiny homes and want to learn more, are looking for some inspiration and ideas, or if you are an experienced tiny house dweller or builder.
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Cob Home with a Reciprocal Roof

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Les Tit’B Libres is a group of young French artists living communally in handmade structures, such as this cob home with a reciprocal roof.

See more of their free lifestyle at titblibre.garagepunks.com.

To build a reciprocal roof, we first install a temporary central pillar on which the first chevron is placed. The height of this pillar depends on the roof pitch.The following rafters are then placed to support the one on the other. The last chevron place above the penultimate and below the first one. They are then attached to each other and the central pillar is removed. If only one of the rafters breaks, the whole structure collapses. Read More …

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