Shelter's New Book on Tiny Houses

Once I got back from Europe and the dust settled, I finally started on our tiny houses book. We’ve been gathering material on the subject for about a year and I’m astounded by the wealth and richness of material. I thought I’d have to wrestle with myself to get rolling on this project in the early stages, but it’s taken on a life of its own from day one. I’ve never had a book take off like this. I’m having a wickedly good time, getting up early in the mornings to work on it. PLUS I’m running across all kinds of other interesting stuff (see blogs of Nov.-Dec.).

There are a ton of books out there on tiny (or “small”) houses and more coming, so why are we doing one? Well, we wrote about building small, simple, non-architect, homes in Shelter, 36 years ago. In fact Bob Easton drew up 5 simple little buildings with these roofs: shed, gable, steep gable, gambrel and circular. We told owner-builders to keep it small, simple, and economical, and to not get trapped in a wishful fantasy (domes, 7-sided, abstract shapes, etc). “Quick to build so you can get on with your life.”

Secondly, there’s an obvious surge of interest nowadays, necessity being the mother, etc.

Third, I’ve been photographing small buildings for 40 years now.

Fourth, we’re doing one of our signature building books, dense with photos and stories, way different from other books, hoping to publish by November 2010. It’s gonna be a good one!

*Click here for gambrel roof page from Shelter (shown above).

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

5 Responses to Shelter's New Book on Tiny Houses

  1. I too am looking forward to this book. From building my own small place I know the tricks used to hold things in place and straight while getting the next bit ready. I had never been so happy when a friend turned up and offered to help.
    It gave me a real appreciation of building elements/form, the assistance of a friend or two and the effort involved in getting things right. I am looking forward to seeing Lloyds portrayal of this.

  2. In your book, could you spare a couple of pages for disability access? Tiny homes are great and can be lifesavers for the disabled, as they can be less expensive, take less maintenance, and –most importantly–have only 4 painful steps to the bathroom instead of 22.

    We are blogging about trying to remodel a 350 sf carraige house to be accessible at

    Thanks and I really look forward to seeing your book!

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