Building (353)

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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Barn in Oregon Framed with 1″ Lumber

I’ve been going through old photos lately. I shot photos of this beautiful barn in 2014. I posted it back then, but I think it’s worth looking at it again, in more detail. Here’s what I wrote:

There are buildings that have — for lack of a better word — a sweetness to them. Like this barn, like a small abandoned cottage in an English field I once found, slowly disintegrating back into the soil from which all its materials came. Inside, I could feel the lives that had been lived there. Or the buildings of master carpenter Lloyd House. It happens most frequently in barns, where practicality and experience create form with function. Architecture without architects.

The unique feature here is that the roof’s curve is achieved by building the rafters out of 1″ material. 1 × 12s laminated together (I believe 4 of them) to achieve the simplest of laminated trusses. The barn is 24′ wide, 32′ long, 26′ to the ridge. Thanks to Mackenzie Strawn for measuring it; he also wrote: “I have a carpentry manual from the 1930’s with a short section on the Gothic arch barns, they suggest making the roof radius ¾ of the width.”

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Lodge in Allegany Mountains in New York

Log home built by Bill Castle near Belmont in the Allegany Mountains, New York. Bill, a good friend, who unfortunately left this earth a few years back, was a phenomenal builder. He created a resort he called Pollywog Hollér and was one of the three featured builders in our book Homework.

The resort is still going strong. Here’s what it says on their website:

“Named for the serenade of frogs that fills the evening air, Pollywogg Holler is a great camp-style eco-resort in New York’s Southern Tier. The genius of nature and man are showcased in a setting of spectacular beauty, Adirondack-style craftsmanship, solar electricity, and gravity fed spring water. Explore available lodging and book your stay now.”

www.pollywoggholler.com

Post from www.lloydkahn.com

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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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Curved-Roof Shed


This is 10′ by 10′. Rafters made of four 1″ by 4″ by ⅜″ redwood bender board, 16′ long, bent, glued and clamped together. Roof sheathing is 1 × 6 redwood fence boards from Home Depot. Siding is ⅜″ rough-sawn exterior DF plywood. Eventually I’ll panel the inside with used fence boards. Flooring is used yellow pine T&G from Heritage Salvage in Petaluma. Windows (used) from Urban Ore in Berkeley.

Billy Cummings has done most of the work here, including cutting and fitting double-wall polycarbonate greenhouse glazing under the curved eaves.

Next step is to build a sliding door for one half of the end wall shown here so a bed can be rolled out onto the deck for nighttime star gazing. Jay Nelson built a sliding door for his shop that gave me the idea.

Note: A curved roof is infinitely more time-consuming (in many ways) as compared with, say, a shed roof or a gable roof. BUT the space underneath is wonderful and something I highly recommend for tiny homes. If you take the time to build a roof like this, it will give you a feeling of spaciousness and avoid the claustrophobia of small spaces. Curved roofs are the secret to the good feeling in Gypsy wagons (vardos).

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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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Mike & Sierra’s Home in the California Foothills

All the buildings were built in the late ‘60s and had been vacant for years (there were lots of mice), so we gutted the house. When we tore out the walls and ceilings, we discovered that the house was eight-sided — an octagon. Which was so fitting for me, since my last small home was a pentagon.

–Mike Basich

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