Natural Materials (309)

The Thomas J. Nugget Westfalia

The VW Westfalia is an iconic vehicle, and to me, Thomas J. Nugget, or Nuggs for short, is my symbol of freedom. Nuggs is a 1989 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van.

He is in incredible condition and is equipped with a 2,200 cc, 2.2L Subaru engine, built-in propane tank, two-burner stove top, thermostat-controlled furnace, a 12-gallon water tank, sink, roof-mounted solar panel, a refrigerator/freezer, two full-size beds, a swing-out table, and lots of storage…

[sharethis]
Post a comment (2 comments)

Circle Madness

Old guys at work. 153 years of age total here. Billy and I have worked together off and on for 47 years.

I’ve wanted to build a curved roof for a long time. I finally did it, with help from Billy Cummings. For the 6 rafters, we glued together 4 pieces of redwood bender board — 16′ long, 1″ by 4″, ⅜″ thick, using a jig laid out on the floor, with Titebond wood glue, and clamping every foot or so. It was a pretty tedious process, we could only do one a day.

We got the rafters in place, Billy did the blocking on the plates, and we used 1×8 rough redwood fence boards for the sheathing. Yesterday we put down the flooring — used shiplap pine from Heritage Salvage. It looks (and feels) great.

There’s nothing like a curved roof, especially with a tiny home; it gives you a feeling of spaciousness. This is the roof shape in gypsy wagons — vardos.

This is 10′ by 10′. If I did it over, I would make it rectangular, like 8 by 12 or 8 by 14. I’m going to put a bed inside on wheels, that can be rolled out on the deck to sleep out under the stars. I’m still figuring out where to put windows.

[sharethis]
Post a comment

Lovely Cordwood Cabin on Small BC Island

Gary and Marlene Cooper built this lovely cordwood cabin on a small BC island in the 90’s. All the cordwood came off the beach. “I wanted it to be salty,” says Gary.

They used the book Cordwood Building: The State of the Art, by Rob Roy.

[sharethis]
Post a comment (1 comment)

Lloyd House's Leaf House

…It seemed like a light roof was needed to compensate for the heaviness of the forest. Built the roof first; then the floor, and last the walls. To me roofs have become umbrellas that say anything can happen under them. When the roof is finished, you can stand it — feel the space, be in touch with the house — love it…

[sharethis]
Post a comment (2 comments)

Custom Sauna by Travis Skinner and Marc Goodson

The Steam Roller is a custom collaboration project with Marc Goodson of Engaging Environments. Marc is a very talented carpenter and welder and he visited me in Olympia to see the Snail Shell Sauna. We decided to collaborate on another sauna that was his main design in his shop in Portland, Oregon. Over the past few months we have met for a few days at a time and chipped away on all the details. After a lot of on and off work we spent Easter weekend jacking up the sauna and getting it on to a trailer and out of Marc’s shop!

What to do with this beautiful sauna? We are not entirely sure. It has been a terrific project and we hope to use it to showcase our work and potentially find a buyer. I think Marc is a bit attached to this sauna, but for the right price he could be convinced to let it go. For now it will live outside of his shop in Tyler Smith’s yard, but if you have any interest in seeing this building or taking a sweat, don’t hesitate to contact either Marc or me.

–Travis Skinner

[sharethis]
Post a comment

Small Home Made from Hemp



This beautiful small family home has a very special story to tell. Designed by architect Michael Leung and his wife Tiffany for their young family, the 60m2 (646 sq. ft.) house is actually constructed from hemp. The couple chose to use hempcrete for their home after searching for healthy, non-toxic building materials.

Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant, that unfortunately has been unfairly demonized over recent years. Essentially hemp is a low-THC version of the Cannabis sativa plant, now colloquially referred to as marijuana. This amazingly versatile plant has many uses, including medicine, food, clothing, and much more. One of the many uses of the plant, which is now being explored more in depth, is for building.

[sharethis]
Post a comment (1 comment)

Rose's Small Farmhouse in North Carolina

My small house is a labor of love. It belonged to my mother’s parents who bought it in 1969, when I was 4 years old. My dad was renovating it when he passed away in 2006. I inherited it in 2012 and my journey began. I spent the first few years cleaning up the yard, mowing grass and dreaming about living in this little old house. It is 864 square feet, was built in the 1930s and sits on five acres of farmland in Castle Hayne, North Carolina…

[sharethis]
Post a comment

Driftwood Shack in Northern California

Reincarnation of the Whalebone Saloon, built a few years ago by Sean Hellfritsch and friends on a remote beach. It’s at the base of a free-flowing creek that empties on to the beach, and has prolific watercress.

[sharethis]
Post a comment (1 comment)

The Nest

Hi, Lloyd,

Thank you so much for all your inspirational work, your books, and thoughts.

You have been filling my passed father’s role as a motivational teacher for the last decade. A simple image of your kitchen was enough to make me reach out. Ten years ago my young family acquired 6 amazing acres of land in South Australia. It had a small cabin with solar light still glowing from the last owner and lined with insulating corks.

Ever since I learned of the stability of the Earth’s temperature 6 feet down, my dream has been to build a earth-integrated home. This is what I have done, slowly, by hand, using the earth, rock, and free or cheap materials. A living earth roof, earth and kangaroo-poo floors, off-grid solar system, well water, incredible wildlife, no debt. And a Vitruvian chill space — what more could you ask for?

If you are ever in Australia, drop by.

Cheers and thank you,
–Will

[sharethis]
Post a comment (4 comments)