Home of artist J. D. Harris in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

“…Two of the more remarkable things about the Harris’s home and studio are that there are no blueprints other than a sketch on a piece of paper, and J.D. built most of it by himself, with little help.

‘It’s all in his head,’ Cathy said. ‘He just sketched it to show me what my new home would look like. Every cut and nail is in his head.’

   ‘It’s all two-by-fours and one-by-twelves,’ J.D. said. ‘I can see this so clearly in my mind, and it stays. It doesn’t just come and go.…’

   Others have constructed sloped roofs, J.D. said, but he came up with a way to do it without steaming the wood, which would be impossible for some of the lengths he’s using in his roofs. He figured out a way to put two 2x4s together, put pressure on them and then nail the joints with nails at different angles so the planks hold their curvature.

   How did he get 40 feet in the air to do this?

   By building the walls from the ground up and making a hand- and foothold “ladder” out of pieces of 2×4 nailed to each vertical section. ‘He hung upside down by his toes from these to do some of the work,’ Cathy said. ‘I couldn’t watch.'”


Sent us by Fred W. Weisenborn

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:

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