The Shelter Blog has been inactive since May, 2019. Too much to do! From this point on, Lloyd’s Blog will have the buildings, vehicles, and home-related posts such as what has previously appeared here. Go to lloydkahn.com.

Posts by Evan Kahn (434)

Tom's Lorry

…After a lot of trawling through eBay, I finally found the perfect lorry to build my house on, the beastly 1988 Bedford MJ. The build began in November 2016, and, as I was building it mainly single-handedly, I didn’t move into it until November 2017.

My house has everything you need, including a fully equipped kitchen, log burner, bathroom with shower and composting toilet, and — most importantly — space for surfboards! To maximize space, the bed is suspended from the ceiling on pulleys, raised during the day over the living room and lowers down to be slept on. It’s also fully off-grid, with solar panels and a rain water harvesting system…

  • Tom’s Lorry will be featured in our upcoming book Hit the Road Jack.
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Greg Clark's Handmade House

Hi Lloyd,

I’ve been fascinated by handmade houses for years. I came across a book in the ’70s called The Wood Butcher’s Art. I now teach in a traditional school in India, and teach my students about such houses. With their help I made a house here in West Bengal from mostly local timber and I thought you might be interested. We have several of your books which are very inspiring. The boys made several models based on a reading of some of your books. If you are interested I can send more photos. The house was inspired by my travels in Cambodia, Thailand, and Assam.

I teach in a traditional school in West Bengal, India. We have international students and I wanted to show them that you can build a great house out of local renewable materials. The trees for the frame and most of the floors was all local. Many students came and helped me build the house. It took about two years. I wanted to use shingles for the roof, but we can’t get cedar here. So I had to invest quite a bit to make teak shingles, which were used historically in tropical places like Hawaii or Mauritius. The walls are made from ‘Slipstraw’ but we used the abundant eucalyptus sawdust that we generated instead of straw. We finished the walls with a lime sand plaster. It came out so well we had no need to paint. The wood was finished with a mix of local beeswax and pine turpentine.

The Bhaktivedanta Academy Gurukula, a traditional Vedic school with international students in West Bengal, India is helping to construct a series of houses for teachers. The boys of the academy spend a couple of hours each day learning basic construction methods based on age-old building traditions and using mostly local materials. The school’s oxen and horse also assist in the process. The boys are from all over the world: Russia, Ukraine, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, different parts of India, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc. Before starting to build the boys spent several lessons studying your books, Builders of the Pacific Coast, Shelter 1-2, etc.

–Greg Clark

Sasha making pegs

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Driftwood Shacks Publication Date Today

It’s now available in independent bookstores.

I’m doing the following appearances:

  • Saturday, March 16th, 7 PM at Mollusk Surf Shop, 4500 Irving Street, San Francisco (maps)
  • Tuesday, March 19th, 7 PM at Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (maps)
  • Wednesday, April 17th, 6:30 PM, Gallery Bookshop, 319 Kasten Street, Mendocino, Calif. (maps)
  • Friday, April 26th, 7 PM, Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, Calif. (maps)

Some early reader feedback:

“…a breathtaking new book…”
–Kay LeRoy, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.
Driftwood Shacks is spectacular!”
–J. Tony Serra, Lawyer, San Francisco
“…a marvelous book with lovely pictures of the California Coast.”
–Eliot Buchdruker, CPA, San Francisco
“Driftwood Shacks is splendid, a tribute to Lloyd’s fine and undimmed eye.”
–John Van der Zee, author
“…fascinating, ephemeral forms of spontaneous architecture.”
–Elise Cannon, Publishers Group West
“…fantastic new book”
–Chris “Uncle Mud” McClellan, natural builder
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Sarah and Matt Parks' Adventure Rig



Sarah and Matt Parks lived in a 1978 VW Westfalia before they decided to build a new rig using a newer Chevy van as a platform. What are the benefits of using a newer platform? Easier to heat during winter, more storage, less maintenance. Sarah and Matt along with their new rig will be featured in our upcoming book, aptly called Hit the Road Jack due out towards the end of the year.

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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…

From our book, Small Homes: The Right Size

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Affordable Off-Grid Tiny Home Built with Recycled Picket Fence Palings



This incredible tiny house has been built for a remarkable price. Builder Jesse has taken a whole bunch of salvaged materials (mostly lots of old fence palings) and constructed a fully featured and whimsically beautiful tiny home all for less that $20,000.

While a tiny house may be small, there’s nothing tiny about the amount of labour that goes into constructing one. If you’re choosing to use reclaimed or salvaged materials that work load is dramatically increased as there is a lot of labour involved in reconditioning old materials and preparing them for a new project. If you’re willing to put in the work though, you can construct an affordable and beautiful home for a remarkably low figure.

Jesse’s home sits on an amazing property where he lives and works full time as a tiny house builder. While his boss was away on holiday and there was a break of work in the shop, Jessie turned his attention to constructing his own home on wheels. Ever resourceful, he had managed to find a whole bunch of old windows which he salvaged and designed his tiny house around. Except for the framing, old fence palings which he saved from landfill and thus got for free were used for both interior and exterior cladding as well as much of the cabinetry in the house…

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Driftwood Shacks Book Version 2.0 Just Released

We just received our new version of Driftwood Shacks: Anonymous Architecture Along the California Coast. It has twice as many pages/pictures and was printed by our printers in Hong Kong who print all of our building books. It is now available for order at www.shelterpub.com/building/driftwood.

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Off-Grid Tiny Home in Australia



This stunning off-the-grid home in Australia may be tiny, but it has a very big story to tell. Constructed as a do-it-yourself build by recent empty-nesters Jan and Kev, this tiny house is open, spacious very efficient and completely off the grid.

When the last of their adult children left home, Jan and Kev decided it was time to redesign their lives. Constructing a tiny house on wheels was a fantastic way of freeing up capital and living a more simple lifestyle which would give them plenty of opportunity to travel and focus on the things in life which are important to them.

The home was constructed as a DIY project as Jan and Kev got stuck into all aspects of the build themselves. With no prior building experience, the tiny house was certainly a challenging project and the couple admit there were more than a few arguments throughout the process including a few walk-offs. Ultimately though, together they have built a beautiful home which has taught the couple they really can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Even though it’s a tiny house, there’s still plenty of space for entertaining their family when they come over. The couple are currently expanding on their home by adding a large deck, which will be completely under cover giving a lot of additional outdoor living space to capitalize on the fabulous Queensland weather…

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