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

Carpentry (157)

Mendocino County Architecture


Here’s the local influence for Sea Ranch home design. Perfect. Farmer architecture.

Too bad most of the houses (over 600 of them) out there turned out to be such clunkers. Why do so few architects ever get it right?

The best thing about Sea Ranch is the landscaping, by Lawrence Halperin; he left it completely au naturel.

This is at Stewart’s Point on Highway One.

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Inspired by Shelter in 1973


Hi, Lloyd,

On first looking into your Shelter book in 1973, my fate was sealed. Since then, I have made my own ceramic tile, been a tile setter for 35 years, and am a serial remodeler and builder of tiny houses. Pictured here with my original Shelter book. I recently came upon your Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, and have been inspired anew. Rage on!

–Fred Ross
San Anselmo, CA

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Vin's Exquisitely Crafted Small Home


Master builder Vin Jon Gorman’s colorful, exquisitely crafted small home in progress. (See pp. 204–205, Builders of the Pacific Coast for his eucalyptus pod–shaped redwood sauna).


This is Sneak Preview #13 from our forthcoming book, Small Homes, to be published in spring, 2017.

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The House That Worked Out


The Building of the Cabin took 41 days. This included preparing the site for a foundation, building the timber framework, cordwooding the walls, and insulating and preparing the roof for earth, but did not include plumbing or electricity. While we built the cabin, we lived in a tent with our sons, then aged seven and five. Our days of building started at dawn and usually didn’t finish until 10 or 11 at night. We had no power or water on site; not only did this impact our building methods (everything mixed by hand, water brought to the site in drums), it also meant cold turkey from electricity for the kids.

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Canadian Home in Our Book Inspires Home in Tasmania


My name is Pete Robey and my wife Blythe and I live in Tasmania. The little island attached to the bottom of Australia. Thought I would share with you that our house is the first approved cordwood home in Australia. It is currently featured in Australia’s Owner Builder magazine. You can get a link here at the bottom of the page: 

I bought your 3 books: Shelter, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Home Work early on before we had even confirmed style. The Baird House from page 28–31 of Builders of the Pacific Coast just grabbed me. Thanks Mike Baird and to you too Lloyd (House) for this inspiration. We designed our home with the same ideal: every room and every area of the home can pretty much engage with every other area of the home. The village TeePee idea. We have a massive 4 ft. diameter, 2  ft. long tree holding up the earth roof and our 2nd story doesn’t go all the way to the middle so we have plenty of space. We don’t have stairs, preferring to use a gym rope as exercise — see this post from our blog: ‌…

Catch you later.


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Norma's Floating Store in British Columbia


Built by Bruno Atkey in Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, in the ’70s, and towed 26 miles to Hot Springs Cove, where Norma Bailey ran a “…great floating store selling emergency supplies, esoteric items, and Wild Coast history books,” according to Godfrey Stephens, who just sent this photo.


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Guner Tautrim's Wooden Home on California Coast


Kitchen in Guner Tautrim’s wooden home on California coast

Interior woods were all milled on site and include a floor of black walnut, kitchen cabinets of silky oak and black acacia, wainscoting of red gum eucalyptus, red ironbark eucalyptus, and yellow acacia; as well as kitchen counters made from large slabs of swamp eucalyptus…

This is Sneak Preview #11 from our forthcoming book, Small Homes, to be published in spring, 2017.

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Yogan and Menthé's Pacific Northwest Trip (Part 4)

This is Jay’s cabin, on a little island near Seattle, it’s like a hobbit house — buried under the dirt with a large south window. He lives on this land with his sons. Beautiful garden, see view. Secret place the civilization with Barbie concrete homes are being built around the land.

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Yogan and Menthé's Pacific Northwest Trip (Part 3)



This is our funny USA building in Humboldt County. Menthé and I built it in about 10 days.

We used old first-growth cedar for the frame and old yellow shakes for the roof. The timber is a mix between French and American techniques; the low wall in shingles and the high wall in colombage. The roof is curved like the “Philibert Delorme roof”; we didn’t use a lot of wood to make the curve because we screwed the inside of the plank on to the top of the curve, a cheap beautiful technique.

The upper little roof is where you can watch from the bedroom mezzanine — just for fun. The gypsy Dodge does not have a motor, so it needs to be moved with a tractor on the property. It’s a friend’s bedroom, 6 ft. high!!!!!!

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Yogan and Menthé's Pacific Northwest Trip (Part 1)

imageOur French carpenter friends Yogan and Menthé spent several months last summer, hitchhiking up and down the Northwest Pacific Coast and trading their carpentry skill for room and board.

When they left, they visited us here and we downloaded about 1,000 of their photos. They’d had a great trip.

They wrote: “The U.S.A. is incredible, so much imagination. It was a perfect trip for me. Thank you Lloyd, I wanted to meet the amazing builders of the pacific coast. Your book Builders of the Pacific Coast was my motivation for my trip to the West Coast.”

I picked out a few photos and Yogan has written these captions. We’ll post them one at a time.

The Leviathan Studio on Lasqueti Island. Mark is a contemporary dancer who built this studio by himself. He used trees from his 12½-acre property. The south side was made with used windows; the floor is yellow cedar. The roof is green: he used EPDM roofing. It’s built it for dance workshops during the warm season. The architecture is inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci.

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