Small Homes Book (104)

Small Homes Book Is Off to the Printer

We got the proofs back last week, and I almost cried when I went through it page by page. Sounds dumb, I know, but it was overwhelming to see all the pages, in collated order, full size, 4-color for the first time — after a couple of years working on it. I’d only seen rather low-quality, reduced size printouts up until now. And you know what, it’s (ahem) a beautiful book.

People, home builders from all walks of life, a great variety of designs, materials, locales. It may very well be the most useful book we’ve ever done. Tiny homes are great for some people, but too small for most. Here are 65 or so homes in all, a cornucopia of ideas for people who can’t afford high rents and bank mortgages, and want to build or remodel (or contract out) their own homes.

Check out the “sneak previews” on TheShelterBlog:
blog.shelterpub.com/…

Post a comment (2 comments)

Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #25, Solar-Powered Quonset Hut Home in Northern California

p7150830-lo-res

p7150849Elaine and Sandy Doss live on 150 acres in Northern California in this WWII Quonset hut, which was converted for living by architect Val Agnoli (one of the featured builders in our book, Shelter).

Sandy and I continue to live off the grid using a photovoltaic system with backup gas generator. Water comes from a well with solar pump, then gravity-fed to the house; livestock water is from springs.

We have a bedroom wood-burning stove, living-room propane fireplace, and propane wall heater in the study. TV and Internet services are via satellite.

–Elaine Doss

Post a comment (1 comment)

Which Cover Do You Like Best?

Rick and I are in the final stages of preparing Small Homes for the printers. We changed the cover from an earlier version, which showed a small turn-of-the-century home in Santa Cruz (in this revised cover, it’s the middle image in the left hand column), because a single image didn’t seem to represent the diversity of images (120 or so small homes) in the book. Hence the collage.

Below are two alternatives, the same except for the background color. In the one with the red, it’s similar-looking to Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Some of our savvy book friends think it’s too similar, and that another color would distinguish it from the other books. Hence the other with the dark green background.

Comments, please. Which do you like? Do you see any problem in this cover being similar to our other books?

smh-frontcover_v5-lo-ressmh-frontcover_v6-dark-green-lo-res

Post a comment (23 comments)

Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #24, Cave Home in New Zealand

20161020-20161020-20161020_0010-2-lo-res

20161019-20161019-20161019_0416-lo-resLeaving his English home at the age of 16 to travel the world, Graham Hannah had his heart set on settling down in rural New Zealand…

His aim was to create a cave-type dwelling that was stable, dry, and free of moisture seepage through the clay walls-and to use all natural materials in the process.

Using huge beams of local New Zealand timbers, he framed a structure within the “cave” and filled the entire area with tons of compacted sand, covering both the vertical and horizontal beams. He then laid large river stones from the local mountain stream on top of the sand. To create the roof of the cave, he mixed reinforced concrete. Which was poured over the sand and river stones, with the concrete roof being embedded in the existing bank of solid clay walls.

Once the concrete set up, the sand was dug out, leaving the vertical and horizontal beams and the exposed river stones locked into the concrete roof structure…

–Jessie and Craig Moon

Post a comment (2 comments)

Jay Nelson and Friends Visit Godfrey Stephens in Victoria, BC Yesterday

Photo by Godfrey Stephens

Photo by Godfrey Stephens

Jay and 3 surfers are on a surf/photo trip on Vancouver Island for a Surfer’s Journal article, traveling in a camper Jay built. Yesterday they visited Godfrey. In this photo (Jay at left), they’re looking into the cabin of Godfrey’s latest sailboat. I’m hoping they get a chance to visit Godfrey’s best friend, master builder and surfer Bruno Atkey.

Both Godfrey and Bruno are featured in our book Builders of the Pacific Coast.

Jay’s San Francisco home is featured in our forthcoming book Small Homes.

Post a comment

Layout of Pages on Last Home in Our Book, Small Homes

pa140992

Staircase between the two units, in the backyard. Photo by Lloyd Kahn

Just did layout of the last home in our next book, Small Homes: The Right Size. It’s a two-family home converted to a duplex in San Francisco. Downstairs is Jay Nelson, his wife Rachel Kaye, and their daughter Romy; upstairs is Dalia Burde — all three are artists (probably Romy too).

This is what’s called a tenants-in-common agreement, where two parties buy a home together. Listen up, people looking for homes in cities, here’s a way to cut costs in half, with the important prerequisite that you’re compatible (and remain so) with each other.

Want to get it done!

Next we’re working on the front matter and back matter, as well as the all-important, the big kahuna — the cover. We’re probably changing from a single home on the cover to a collage of 14 photos. I’m going to put up our cover choices here for general feedback pretty soon.

Post a comment

It's All About Building

Cottage-Aspen-Rd.-Jan-2010-005-lo-re-s

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.

Post a comment (2 comments)

Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #23

IMG_3095-copy-lo-res

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…

Post a comment
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!