Tiny Homes on the Move Book (47)

Jay Shafer's $5,000 Tiny Home



Jay Shafer is the Godfather of the modern tiny house movement. I say the modern movement, because for the vast majority of human history, we have lived in small, simple shelters. It was almost 20 years ago that Jay designed and built his first 90-square-foot (8m²) tiny house on wheels and that moment sparked the very beginning of the tiny house movement and a trend towards reclaiming the human right to affordable simple shelter.

The affordability factor is a big one. In recent years, we have watched the average price of a tiny house on wheels creep up as the movement grows, more builders get involved and the spec of tiny homes ever increases. It’s not uncommon for a tiny house on wheels to now cost over $100,000 (US) – still a relatively tiny price tag compared to the cost of a “normal” house in some areas, however still a price too far out of reach for many.

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Listen to Lloyd on Tangentially Speaking Podcast with Chris Ryan

We recently had Dr. Chris Ryan over to record an episode of Chris’ podcast Tangentially Speaking. Click the iTunes link below to hear Lloyd discuss his life, what got him into building, publishing books, and what’s up next for Shelter Publications.

Chris Ryan is an author, podcaster, world traveler, and an all-around amazing guy. Check out his bestselling book Sex at Dawn; look for his next book coming out next year called Civilized to Death.

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Paul and Melissa’s Homemade Vardo

For maximum space versatility, the shelves and seats can be folded up and fastened out-of-the-way, and the massive drawers and cupboards under the bed provide ample storage. We have no running water or electricity, but plenty of comfort and convenience with the propane cooktop, large bay window, and skylight that lets us see the stars at night.

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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…

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Godfrey Stephens' New Sculpture

Godfrey just sent this photo. After two day’s work. What a fucking genius! He’s getting better.

His combination of Kwakwaka’wakw training and artistic sensibilities from the depths of his soul produce powerful art. He’s in Builders of the Pacific Coast, Tiny Homes on the Move, and throughout this blog, and has been in my life for over 50 years.

He’s more of an artist — wild, productive, joyous — than the world-famous rich artists out there getting all the attention. He’s a Picasso under the radar.

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Godfrey Stephens' Junk-Rigged Snookwis

…An ancient Nitnat canoe (carved from one cedar tree), which Godfrey rebuilt in the ’70s. It’s sheathed in copper, with an underwater Nautilus window and a tiny stainless steel wood stove; there’s room for two. Tilikum (Godfrey’s daughter) is now the caretaker of the boat and keeps it in Port Townsend, Washington…

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Rob's French Army House Truck

… It’s a 1959 French Army Truck — a Simica Unic Marmon Bocquet (or SUMB). The shack is built with wood from local sawmills, reclaimed bits, corrugated steel, and insulated with sheep wool. Friends Jo House and Charlie Goodvibes helped with the building, which took about three weeks, I hadn’t built anything like this before, but now I feel ready to build anything…

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Godfrey Stephens' Toomany Pocketts Sailing Vessel

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Godfrey Stephens’ latest sailboat is this little 12′ San Francisco Bay Pelican, a model designed in 1959 by Bill Short.

It’s a much beloved boat among sailors. Godfrey worked on and off customizing it. A leeboard on the side provides lateral resistance; this way he doesn’t need a centerboard, and can go up on the beach…

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Mike Basich's Custom Snowchaser

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Photo by Evan Kahn

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Photo by Mike Basich

He bought a 1999 Dodge Ram and started by cutting out the back cab and fitting a massive custom roll bar made out of 2″ square tubing where the end of the cab used to be. He then built a custom camper to fit the truck bed, with a liftable top. This way, after the snowmobile is secured, the roof could raise to allow for a more comfortable living space…

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