Building (353)

Young Woman Builds Beautiful Recycled Tiny House for $19,000



For many, the idea of building a tiny house on wheels is a wonderful pipe dream, however young kiwi furniture maker Annelies Zwaan has turned that dream into reality by building her very own cottage-in-the-woods style tiny home. Despite having gained many skills working with timber as a furniture maker, the learning curve when it came to building her own home was still steep. With the help of YouTube and some instruction videos, she was able to follow each step to completion…

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It's All About Building

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Small Homes — the book

I’ve got pretty much all the pages laid out. Rick will be back from Hawaii next week and build the rest of the pages in InDesign. The book is looking better each week. Here’s a little hidden waterfront cottage (under construction) on Vancouver Island, BC. (The shakes for the eaves were steamed and bent.)

Material continues to come in for the book (400–1200 sq. ft. homes), and we’ll continue the book after its publication on The Shelter Blog, with a section titled “Small Homes.” Ongoing small homes.

My Next Book (?)

Adventures in Building: a 70-Year Odyssey

No kidding. I started at 12 years old, helping my dad build a house on his rice farm near Colusa, California. At 18 I got into the carpenters’ union in San Francisco and worked for a shipwright on the docks (SF was a port in those days!). At age 25 I started building and remodeling on a piece of land with 3 cottages in Mill Valley, California.

I never got the chance to work with a master carpenter or formally learn architecture, so I had a layman’s approach. Everything was new.

Right off, I liked the smell of lumber, and was fascinated with how things went together (still am). In about 12 buildings over the course of years, I personally went through post and beam, then polyhedral (domes), and finally stud frame construction techniques.

And all along, I shot pictures of buildings, collected books, and interviewed builders about all types of buildings and materials, and so far, have produced 6 highly graphic books on building.

Having this layman’s view means I can talk to inexperienced builders in understandable terms. Plus, all the travel and studying and interviews have given me a wealth of material of interest to experienced builders. We’re all interested in how things are put together. That’s what building is all about.

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Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #23

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Off-the-grid cabin in California woods

When my brother and I bought land in remote coastal Northern California in the ’70s, our parents, Bob and Jean Anderson, jumped at the opportunity to build a small home on our place.

Bob was a retired filmmaker, and Jean a travel agent, so they had seen a lot of the world from which to get ideas for building.

“I saw it more as set design than architecture,” Bob said about the 665 square foot house…

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Boat Builder's 20 ft. Shipping Container Home



A 20 ft. shipping container can be a challenging space to work with when constructing a home. Thankfully, with years of experience building super-yachts and racing boats, shipwright Evans is no stranger to working in small spaces and when it came to building his own home he has done a truly spectacular job of, quite literally, thinking inside the box.

Shipping containers make a lot of sense as a base for constructing a home. Structurally they are incredibly sound and because they are designed for marine environments, they are well-equipped to handle pretty much anything that nature can throw at them. Most people, when building a shipping container home, will modify the container by cutting holes for doors and windows. In his design however, Evans has left the entire exterior of the container structurally intact, meaning this 20 × 8 ft. home can still be shipped by sea, anywhere in the world…

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Bruno's Hand-Hewn Froe Mallet

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Bruno Atkey, one of the major builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast, has been splitting cedar shakes for most of his life. He split the shakes for my 6-sided tower roof from driftwood logs (and his girlfriend Mecea drove them down here in a van). He’s split cedar shakes, and even siding, in British Columbia for numerous homes over the years.

Godfrey Stephens sent us this photo of Bruno’s latest mallet. (I use an old bowling pin.) In the background is one of Godfrey’s paintings.
Read More …

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Maine Builder Specializes in SMALL – Not TINY – Homes

snowyhouseJim Bahoosh is a builder in Maine who specializes in small (500–900 sq. ft.) homes. His homes look really nice, and of the right size.

This of course coincides with our next book, now almost completed: Small Homes, which highlights some 70 builders and their small homes (400–1200 sq. ft.). It’s due out in February, 2017.

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Couple Builds $12K Mountain Home

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A local couple is using skills and talents learned “on the job” with the Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity to avoid the high prices, mortgage payments and wait times involved in building a new home. Last December, Terrie Bush Quick, a Tullahoma dental hygienist, and Mike Hill, a location supervisor for Aramark at Nissan in Decherd, purchased several acres in Grundy County together with a plan to build a small cabin. Only six months later, they now live in a stylish mountain hideaway in Altamont for only $12,000 in construction cost…

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