Posts by Evan Kahn (434)

Hybrid Natural Home in Colorado Highlands Built by Brett LeCompte

My home, which I built in 
2003–04, is a hybrid design. 
The north, east, and west wall are straw bale, while the south wall is adobe and glass. The upper story is framed with 2˝ × 8˝ rough-sawn local Ponderosa Pine, furred out to about 9½˝ to accommodate a heavy coat of cellulose insulation, which also fills the roof cavity. Downstairs, there are earthen plasters inside and outside, while upstairs is sheathed in local, rough-sawn pine board and batten.

Drywall walls upstairs are finished in earthen plasters, which ties the two levels together. A central woodstove heats the home, which is off the grid. I tried to use materials mostly from my county in southwest Colorado. Ceilings are tongue-and-groove aspen sawn in a mill six miles away. The frame is local Ponderosa pine, including a third of them milled from my property. I did my own bathroom and kitchen ­cabinetry. Downstairs floors are earthen (two thirds) and tile (one third). There are lots of porches for protection of my earthen walls during a Colorado winter. One unique feature is a 10-inch lizard (painted blue) that runs up the staircase on an interior adobe wall. I named her Noelle when I finished shaping her one Christmas afternoon. I share the house with my wife Shaine, kids Rosie and Fielder, and dog Ella…

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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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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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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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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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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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Houseboat Island Living



Mark has lived a very unique life, sailing and traveling around the world working as a professional mime and clown. Now, in his retirement he is living the island lifestyle on an incredible off-the-grid houseboat where he is able to enjoy life and spend his days looking out over the ocean.

Mark’s houseboat is a member of a houseboat community which is made up of 8 floating homes which are situated on an island off the coast of New Zealand. This community is made up of a variety of beautiful, small, off-grid, tiny houseboats, all with their unique and individual charms. The community has existed in this area since the 70’s.

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