Posts by Lloyd Kahn (239)

Beautiful Small Home in French Pyrenees

Beautiful Small Home in French Pyrenees

This is one of my favorite little homes; everything about it seems right. I especially like the way the roof changes angles at the bottom, which directs rain out away from the building; also the shingle pattern above the windows and door makes it look like the house has eyebrows.

It was built by Jeanne-Marie; she based the design on the old stone barns of the surrounding countryside, but used wood rather than stone. The photo is by jean soum (capitalized as written), and it’s featured in our book Home Work in an article entitled “Archlibre,” on countercultural builders in France.

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Bobby's Mobile Art Cart

Rolling art studio

Bobby Heffelfinger created this rolling art studio in West Marin county, California, on a 2013 Ford F-350 truck with mostly recycled materials (left over from various building projects). He started with the truck chassis and built a flatbed with 2 × 2 steel square stock.

It’s immaculately built. It’s framed with 2 × 2 fir studs. Siding is 1 × 4 tongue-and-groove cedar. Curved rafters were cut out of fir 2 × 12’s. Roof sheathing is 1 × 6 redwood tongue-and-groove.

It’s 8 feet wide by 14 feet long. Inside, it’s 7 feet to the top of the arch. The roof is 18-gauge copper with standing seams. Windows were built out of redwood from an old water tank.
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Making Your Own Knives

When I was at the Mother Earth News Faire in Pennsylvania a few months ago, I bought a handmade knife from a mountain man — a guy who dressed in buckskins and made a variety of hunting, trapping, and outdoor tools. The blade was carbon steel, which I prefer over stainless steel. It’s softer and easier to sharpen, even if you have to care for it so that it doesn’t rust.

He told me that it was a Russell Green River blade, so I tracked it down, and ordered about half a dozen different shaped blades (from; they’re pretty inexpensive, $9-$10 each. I made the first one in the last few days with some manzanita wood I gathered (and dried out) a year or so ago. It’s a bit crude, but I learned a lot and am going to make handles for some paring and skinning knives.

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My First Building Project


In 1961, a surfing friend, John Stonum, was studying to be an architect at UC Berkeley, and designed this small building for me to build in Mill Valley, California. I wanted to build a sod roof (now called “living roof”), and we had journeyed up to the Heritage House on the Mendocino Coast to see their two sod-roofed cabins.

This was a post-and-beam structure, with posts 6 feet on centers, and oversized precast concrete piers for the foundation. A lumberyard in nearby Olema, California was going out of business and I bought a truckload of “merch” grade rough redwood two-by-fours for $35 a 1000. Not $350, but $35.
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Man-with-Mule Bernie Harberts Builds Tiny Home on Land

Bernie Harberts was featured in Tiny Homes (pp. 188-189), documenting a 2,500 mile journey from Canada to Mexico, with a mule pulling a 21-square-foot gypsy wagon. Recently we got a letter from Bernie, as reproduced below. A month or so later he sent us two jars of applesauce cooked on his wood stove in a box stuffed with straw.

Harberts-front Harberts-back
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The $22,000 (Tiny) Dream Home

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“It only cost the Morrisons $22,000 to build their dream home. They now live mortgage-free, which has improved the quality of their life and the closeness of their marriage. Thanks to a brilliant design, this 207 sq. ft. space feels much bigger on the inside. The Morrisons have everything they need. There’s a spacious kitchen, with an oven, fridge, and sink. Definitely no lack of counter and shelf space here! They also included a reading area and an office desk that doubles as a dining table. Under the stairs to the loft is a big ‘closet.’ Not a single inch is wasted.”

Article at

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Uncle Mud's Tiny Cob House



I built a cottage for the local suburban farm outside Cleveland, Ohio. It took 2.5 of us and some weekend volunteers about three months to build. It is 200 square feet plus a bump-out window-bed and a 100-square-foot loft. The round poles and lumber came from the firewood pile on the property. We had an Amish miller come out with his trailer band-saw and slice up the bigger logs into live-edge boards for the ceiling and window bucks.

The walls are insulating clay-straw. The windows came from the local Habitat Restore. The interior is plastered with tinted drywall compound. The floor is local clay and stones sealed with hemp oil. The heat source is a small rocket mass heater. The chimney goes back and forth through the clay floor to heat it and keeps the building warm long after the fire is out.

…We used the clay — excavating to dig a swimming pond just behind the cottage. This summer we will do a two-week cottage building workshop at the same site for anyone who wants to learn how to build their own. Email for more information.

–Chris McClellan
aka Uncle Mud

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Nice Interior Design of a Tiny Home in D.C. by Brian Levy

Interior shot

There are two things that I like about this tiny home:

  • The light coming in from all around — no claustrophobia as with many tiny homes.
  • The bed is not in a cramped loft, as with many tiny homes. (The vertical ladders to these lofts make them doubly poor in design.)

This place is plain and simple on the outside, and thoughtfully laid out on the inside.

Brian Levy is leading his own quiet experiment on a pie-shaped, 5,000-square-foot lot in Northeast Washington. As new homes get larger and larger in many neighborhoods throughout the region, Levy is attempting to prove that less is more.

Levy’s house is 11 feet wide and 22 feet long, with 210 square feet of interior space. The house has a galley kitchen and space to accommodate a small dinner party. It also has a full-size bed — although he can’t sleep overnight there because of a provision in District law.
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ANIÁN Surf Shop in Victoria, BC

Annian surf shop


I did a tour for Tiny Homes on the Move a few months ago in British Columbia. On my way into Victoria, I noticed a little complex of buildings constructed out of used materials. I stopped in and met the owners. Everything was perfect. A tiny village in a kind of industrial area, built out of scrap, clothing manufactured in Canada (I bought 3 beautiful wool T-shirts), surfboards, an outdoor stage. I asked Paul and Nick to send us a writeup of what they are doing:

What started as a trip to the beach has grown from infatuation into obsession. Created in 2013, ANIÁN represents travel, adventure and nomadic culture. ANIÁN products showcase the beauty within simplicity and the importance of quality. ANIÁN clothing is made in Canada to ensure a quality product and fair wages for those who make it.

Nick and Paul, the two owners of ANIÁN (named after a mythical channel between Asia and the Americas) have transformed a rundown lot used for storing dumpsters in Victoria, B.C., into Canada’s first 100% solar, off-the-grid store. The store is best described as a cabin in the woods in the city. It is complete with a lawn, junipers and a small outdoor stage where local artists come to play all powered by four 250-watt panels, one 80-amp charge controller and eight 210 amp-hour, 12-volt batteries. By showing people that going 100% solar in a downtown location is possible they hope to inspire others to follow their lead.

ANIÁN is comprised of an outdoor stage, showroom/retail store, an interactive work shop, and a shipping container where finished goods are stored. 95% of everything is either made or covered in reclaimed material.

Most of the materials came from an old blimp hanger in the Comox valley (central Vancouver Island) where some of the material was pieces of Douglas fir up to 40 feet long.

The interactive workshop is built entirely out of the Douglas fir. The tongue-and-groove pieces ruggedly fit together, giving it a wonderfully rustic feel. The floor of the showroom is one laminated beam cut in half and then bookmarked into four amazingly golden white 3½-inch-thick ten-foot-long boards. All of the patio and boardwalk decking is made of four-inch wide Douglas fir tongue-and-groove. Slightly thinner planking; 2½-inch tongue-and-groove was used for the stage. The shipping container is faced with cedar shakes to help it seamlessly slip into this downtown escape.

Along with showcasing ANIÁN and providing Paul and Nick a place to display their coastally nomadic clothing the location has proven to be a great as a destination for outdoor musical festivals and charity fundraisers.

Next time you find yourself in Victoria, stop by 516 Discovery Street.

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Floating Homes of Iraq

It was Iraq’s ‘Garden of Eden’; unique wetlands in southern Iraq where a people known as the Ma’dan, or ‘Arabs of the marsh,’ lived in a Mesopotamian Venice, characterized by beautifully elaborate floating houses…

These little-known architectural wonders are known as a mudhif; built without nails, wood or glass in under three days, even the islands the houses rest on are made of compacted mud and rushes.

It’s a construction method that has been used by the dwellers of the plains for thousands of years, but in recent decades, this exotic architecture has almost completely disappeared, and at risk of being lost along with it of course, is the ancient knowledge of the unique building technique itself…

The full article is here.


Sent us by Rich (Cerebral Vortex)

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