Posts by Lloyd Kahn (239)

My Talk/​Slideshow: "50 Years of Natural Building" This Weekend at Maker Faire

My first building in 1961, in Mill Valley, California, a studio with what is now called a “living roof”

I actually started building in 1960 and soon thereafter started shooting photos and interviewing builders for our series of books on handmade housing. In those days we didn’t call it “natural building,” but that’s what it was. In our book Shelter in 1973, a section of the book was devoted to these materials: wood, adobe, stone, straw bale, thatch, and bamboo. I guess we were natural before it was called “natural.”

A month or so ago, Cheryl Long, the editor at The Mother Earth News, asked me if I could do a talk on natural building at the TMEN fair in Albany, Oregon (near Corvallis) on the first weekend in June. As I was getting the materials together, the Maker Faire asked if I could do a presentation at their annual event in San Mateo, California, on May 16.
Read More …

Post a comment

Heritage Salvage in Petaluma

Heritage Salvage

If you’re a Northern California builder, I highly recommend you stop in at Heritage Salvage in Petaluma. They have tons of used wood, hardwood slabs, and all manner of recycled and soulful building materials.


Shown here is a walnut slab that is 8′3″ long, and 60″ at one end and 43″ at the other. Think of the walnut tree that this came from.

If you’re a Northern California builder, I highly recommend you stop in at Heritage Salvage in Petaluma. They have tons of used wood, hardwood slabs, and all manner of recycled and soulful building materials.

Post a comment

A Few Great Days in Napa

House in Napa, California

Last week, I did a slide show on Tiny Homes on the Move at the Napa Bookmine bookstore. A great bookstore, a wonderful crowd, all of us on the same page. Made me think of Sam Cooke saying to the audience on his “Live at Harlem Square” album, “I can see you’re with me tonight.”

Rapport has been wonderful lately. 45 years of doing these building books; there’s a thread through these books and people who’ve read them. A tribe of us interested in a certain kind of shelter, warm, inviting, full of life, the antithesis of the Dwell magazine aesthetic.

“…all rooms ought to look as if they were lived in, and to have, so to say, a friendly welcome for the incomer.”

–William Morris

And working with our own hands.
Read More …

Post a comment (1 comment)

Treehouse on Kauai by Jay Nelson

Jay Nelson is a gifted artist/builder. His mobile designs were featured in Tiny Homes and Tiny Homes on the Move: an electric car on bike wheels; an 8′ dinghy that you can sleep inside (and carry a surfboard on the roof); a motor scooter with surfboard rack.

What’s surprising is that his carpentry (and building design) are also outstanding. I especially like the way he uses used wood.

This is a treehouse he built on Kaua‘i. It’s not finished (but close).

P1241010-lo-res-B steps
room1 room 2

Post a comment

Three Small Homes in Kauai


I recently spent three weeks on the island of Kaua‘i. I shot a lot of photographs of small homes that seemed simple, well-designed, and suitable for the climate. In general I thought that construction on Kaua‘i was of pretty good quality: good carpentry. I’m going to put up photographs as I get the time. Some of these are more upscale than others, but overall, the shapes seem functional.

When people ask me what I think they should build, I generally suggest that they look around at what’s been built in the neighborhood (or surroundings). I think this is generally a better place to start than with an architect.
Read More …

Post a comment

SunRay Kelley's Solar Electric Diesel Hybrid RV and Reclining Electric Bike

SunRay Kelley

SunRay Kelley continues to invent, design, and build a plethora of buildings and vehicles. I asked SunRay and Bonnie to send us the latest, and here are videos of his campers and electric reclining bike. I don’t know of any vehicle that combines diesel, solar, and electric power like the RV shown at the right.

SunRay was featured in our books Builders of the Pacific Coast and Tiny Homes.
Read More …

Post a comment (6 comments)

SunRay Kelley's Newest Sauna Stove

Sunray Kelley's Sauna

This is SunRay’s newest down-drafting sauna with a stove built from salvaged materials. The fire box is a 20″-diameter stainless steel piece from an industrial heating system. The heat riser is housed inside an old propane tank.

Flue gases spiral and rise until they hit the top of the tank and then are forced down between the heat riser and the tank until they are vented out the spiral chimney made of flexible stainless steel ducting.
Read More …

Post a comment
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!