Author(s): Lloyd Kahn
These days, homeowners, designers, architects (no less), road gypsies, water dwellers, dreamers, people of all ages, all over the world are making do creatively with under-500 sq. ft. shelters. This is a real and powerful alternative to high rents, or a lifelong obligation to a bank on an overpriced home. The heart of our 1973 book "Shelter" was on small buildings, which we recommended as a starting point in providing one's own living space. Now, almost 40 years later, there's a significant tiny house movement all over the world -which we've been tracking over the past year. John Field sold his 2800 sq. ft. house in upstate New York and built a 128 ft. cabin in the high Texas desert. The "Lady on the Road" (who wishes to remain anonymous), has been living full-time in a highly decorated bus since she was 51 (she's now 72). A couple in British Columbia have a houseboat with adjacent floating garden. A rustic cabin has been built on a remote beach in Mendocino, inspired by our book Shelter, and reachable only by boat. A lot of small houses have been built on trailers, so they can be moved around and don't necessarily require land ownership.More and more people are living in buses, trucks, houseboats, and other movable shelters. There are a large number of prefabs and kits now available. There are innovative solutions in cities, such as the "capsules" in Tokyo. There are numerous websites with news, photos, and/or plans for tiny houses. This is going to be a spectacular book, no kidding! It will be our first major building block since "Builders of the Pacific Coast" was published in 2008. Like our other building books, it will have at least 1000 photos, along with stories, interviews, and insights from people who have chosen to scale back in the 21st century.
This year I've been obsessed with the idea of extending my living space by building a shed in the garden, and I've found inspiration in two books simply packed with ideas and photographs.
Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn is the more ambitious one, as it covers very small houses as well as the section on sheds. It has lots of space saving ideas and wonderful interior photographs.
My Cool Shed: An Inspirational Guide to Stylish Hideaways and Workspaces by Jane Field Lewis looks at sheds from literally every country in the world. She spends a bit more time describing each shed and the photographs by Tina Hillier are superb. The sheds are or have been owned by artists, musicians, writers and gardeners. The book then looks at sheds for retreats, workspaces and time out. I'm so carried away by these books I don't think one shed will be enough for me! - Jan
"our friend Lloyd Kahn's beautiful book, Tiny Homes."Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing "Tiny Homes is an amazing collection. ...The homes might be tiny but your inspiration is huge."Richard Zanuck, Film Producer ..".a quirky photo-rich book that preaches the benefits of a 'grassroots movement to scale things back.'"Jeffery Trachtenberg, Wall Street Journal ..".a glorious portfolio of quirky makers and dreamers..."Penelope Green, New York Times "Before McMansions, before the counter culture was granite and marble, there was Lloyd Kahn, champion of the hand-built house . . . progenitor of the new do-it-yourself movement"Patricia Leigh Brown, New York Times "The common thread that weaves between the stories is the builders' immense pride of place, a drive for independence and a vision that, when little goes to waste, life can have greater meaning."HomeGrown.Org " ...a refreshing view into the wonderful world of small houses."Watershed Sentinel, BC, Canada ..".splendid photos of home exteriors, interiors and landscapes..."Urban Times "What these structures might lack in square footage they more than make up for in economy, character and appeal..."U-T San Diego"
"I started building almost 50 years ago, and have lived in a self-built home ever since. If I'd been able to buy a wonderful old good-feeling house, I might have never started building. But it was always cheaper to build than to buy, and by building myself, I could design what I wanted and use materials I wanted to live with. I set off to learn the art of building in 1960. I liked the whole process immensely. Hammering nails. Framing -- delineating space. Nailing down the sub-floor, the roof decking. It's a thrill when you first step on the floor you've just created. Ideally I'd have worked with a master carpenter long enough to learn the basics, but there was never time. I learned from friends and books and by blundering my way into a process that required a certain amount of competence. My perspective was that of a novice, a homeowner -- rather than a pro. As I learned, I felt that I could tell others how to build, or at least get them started on the path to creating their own homes. Through the years I've personally gone from post and beam to geodesic domes to stud frame construction. It's been a constant learning process, and this has led me into investigating many methods of construction -- I'm interested in them all. For five years, the late '60s to early '70s, I built geodesic domes. I got into being a publisher by producing "Domebook One" in 1970 and "Domebook 2" in 1971. I then gave up on domes (as homes) and published our namesake "Shelter" in 1973. We've published books on a variety of subjects over the years, and returned to our roots with Home Work: "Handbuilt Shelter" in 2004, "Builders of the Pacific Coast," and "The Barefoot Architect" in 2008. Building is my favorite subject. Even in this day and age, building a house with your own hands can save you a ton of money (I've never had a mortgage) and -- if you follow it through -- you can get what you want in a home." --Lloyd Kahn