Building (333)

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.

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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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Surfers Hotel in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Shelter Publications had a visit from Steve Pezman, the co-creator and recently-retired editor of Surfer’s Journal, and his long-time surfing buddy, photographer Leo Hetzel. Steve interviewed @lloyd.kahn and Leo shot photos for an article in the magazine. This was the cover of a scrapbook Lloyd made of a surfing trip to Costa Rica in 1990. It shows Kurt Van Dyke on the balcony of his hotel for surfers in Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean coast southeast of Puerto Limón. When he saw Lloyd about to take a picture, Kurt said, “Classic, eh?”

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Mike & Sierra’s Home in the California Foothills

All the buildings were built in the late ‘60s and had been vacant for years (there were lots of mice), so we gutted the house. When we tore out the walls and ceilings, we discovered that the house was eight-sided — an octagon. Which was so fitting for me, since my last small home was a pentagon.

–Mike Basich

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Beautiful Camper Built by Jay Nelson

…It’s on a 1986 long-bed Toyota truck that I converted to a flat bed; the shell can slide off by removing 4 bolts. It has a basic kitchen: single burner, sink with water pump, and a cooler. The bed cantilevers over the cab: it’s 6 feet long and folds into a sofa. The frame is all recycled redwood; the skin is ¼″ plywood with bio-epoxy resin and fiberglass. It’s insulated and weighs around 400 pounds…

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Circle Madness

Old guys at work. 153 years of age total here. Billy and I have worked together off and on for 47 years.

I’ve wanted to build a curved roof for a long time. I finally did it, with help from Billy Cummings. For the 6 rafters, we glued together 4 pieces of redwood bender board — 16′ long, 1″ by 4″, ⅜″ thick, using a jig laid out on the floor, with Titebond wood glue, and clamping every foot or so. It was a pretty tedious process, we could only do one a day.

We got the rafters in place, Billy did the blocking on the plates, and we used 1×8 rough redwood fence boards for the sheathing. Yesterday we put down the flooring — used shiplap pine from Heritage Salvage. It looks (and feels) great.

There’s nothing like a curved roof, especially with a tiny home; it gives you a feeling of spaciousness. This is the roof shape in gypsy wagons — vardos.

This is 10′ by 10′. If I did it over, I would make it rectangular, like 8 by 12 or 8 by 14. I’m going to put a bed inside on wheels, that can be rolled out on the deck to sleep out under the stars. I’m still figuring out where to put windows.

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Boathouse Built by Dean Ellis

This is a graceful little steel-framed boathouse that Dean built on the beach. Posts are 4″-5″ square steel, 8′ on center. The steel purlins are 2½″ steel tubes. The 1″×6″ sheathing is welded to the steel purlins with nails. Photo by @lloyd.kahn

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