Tiny Homes book update

Here’s what’s happening at Shelter Publications and environs at this moment, day of our lord April 3, 2011, with sunny Sunday morning blue skies and warm days after cold rainy months. The hills are verdant green, with Spring life pulsating, creeks rushing, ground soaked deeply. It’s the month of my birthday, and I feel energized.

Tiny Homes book It’s extraordinary. This book is evolving daily. Some of the best material is coming in right now. Just last week a small group of artists and homebuilders creating unique shelters on a piece of land in France; we just did 8 pages on them. “France is the California of Europe…” says our friend Paula.

   The best and most unexpected thing about working on this book is that so many of these builders say they were inspired by our books, going back to Shelter (1973). Boy! Plus our books are being discovered by a new generation.

  We’ve got a thread of continuity running between Shelter, HomeWork, and Builders of the Pacific Coast. (Shameless commerce dept.: we’ve been selling the set of 3 for a 40% discount: https://www.shelterpub.com/.

   We’re in full gear production now, have maybe 155 pages (out of 228) done in rough form. We just changed the publication date to February 2012. Got to do it right. It’s gonna be a beauty, is all I can say. I have the feeling that I did with Shelter, back in the ’70s, that we were plugged into something vital and current. There’s buzz.

   This time it’s about figuring out a way use your own hands to get shelter over your head without getting tied up with a bank (or landlord) — we’re talkin freedom here! Maybe not right away, but some (especially young) people can move in this direction…

Daily routine. I’ve been getting up early (mostly), trying to get biz stuff over with and then, work on the book. Gotta snatch those precious moments to do inspired layout. Caffeine, ganja, B. B. King’s Bluesville, no phones or email, I can never tell when things will smooth out and I can put pages together.

Our layout process: I have a big drawer full of files of buildings and builders. When I finish two pages, I look through it and pull out a file to work on. Pretty random. I figure out what size I want  photos, and print out (on paper) on a color copy machine. I write or edit text in Word, print it out (on paper) in 2- and 3-columns, and do pasteup with removable Scotch Tape. Yes, yes, I know, but tell you what: I do a different layout physically than I’d do on a computer. Using eyes rather than mouse seems one step closer to layout art. 

   Sometimes I’ll go over and over a page; I re-did the pages on the French builders at least 4 times. I save up a bunch of scotch-taped, written on, drawn-upon 2-page spreads, then artist David Wills comes out on a bus from San Francisco and adds a master touch of design (manually as well). They then go to Rick Gordon for InDesign and Photoshop work. Lew Lewandowski is in on all of this. The four of us have gotten to working really well together. We’re a book-making team.

   Here are a few rough layout spreads before going to Rick. Remember, these are scotch-taped together crude color photos with scotch-taped text. Colors are all wrong. But you get the idea. Hi-tech or what?

Staying in shape It’s been tough. With the fact I had injuries, along with the intensity of this book project, I got away from running/cycling/paddling/surfing/skating for quite a while. When I started back out there, I decided to quit competitive running (the Dipsea race). My knees. Big decision. Really! If you’re going to race, you’ve got to run 3-4 times a week, and running was my main activity for 20+ years. If I’m not going to race, it opens up a lot of time for other stuff. I’ve been going for long beach hikes, bike rides, starting to paddle my paddleboard again, seeing a lot more of the world..Time and again I get reminded that the body is part of the equation. Getting blood moving makes brain happier. So true.

It’s about noon Sunday and I’m heading out into the world somewhere. Here’s a pic I just shot of our weeping cherry tree just now. In spring it explodes like popcorn.

Music du jour: Been listening to a lot of ’50s vocals on Sirius lately. Stand By Me/Ben E. King;  Do the Locomotion/Little Eva; Be-bop-a-lu-la/Gene Vincent; Suzie Q/ Dale Hawkins (1957!); the Coasters, the Shirelles, Ronnie Spector. It was a great era, if you separate out the pap…

Happy Springtime!

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:

7 Responses to Tiny Homes book update

  1. Keep stretching. My knees kill too, but stretching quads helps a lot for keeping my knees from screaming at me as I walk the hills around here. Can you pull your ankle up to your butt? Try it. Stretch hams and calves too.

    I love the last picture.

  2. This sounds like its gonna be great! Good to hear some of the process. The stages that occur with production of a book generally remain a mystery to us.

    I am one of those inspired by your books and indeed am one of the new generation.

    I move with my girlfriend, from UK to spain in just over a week. To build a bender and live in amongst the olive trees. Got no money and no prospects over here. So why not just do something better. Away from the city lights and put a roof (or canvas)of our own over our heads.
    For all the daydreams and inspiration.

  3. I can't wait either !
    Well happy birthday Lloyd. My birthday is in Febuary – so guess what I'd like! Tiny Houses. That'd be great.
    I guess I'm new generation too Shelter came out the year I was born. Must have been a good year :0)
    I want to make the dream of building our own house a reality in the UK. But there are lots of plannning hoops to jump through.If not Canada.
    Good luck in Spain Peat.
    Regards Rich

  4. I can't wait for Tiny Homes to come out!
    Apart from building my own tiny studio out of pallets. I day dream of building a remote tiny home on one of the Gulf Islands in BC, Canada but it would be hard to stuff our 5 member family in such a small space.
    For now it's a dream but not long now….

  5. It was the list of music that got my attention and you can thank stumbleupon for the bread crumbs in the forest that led me to you. Moving back to Mexico soon I have built there before but now seeking a more efficient functional approach and less style oriented …..I am old enough to have been involved in building domes when they were a new concept…keep on truckin

  6. Tiny homes and spaces have been a passion of mine or quite some time and I look forward to your new book for further inspiration.


  7. We can't wait until this book comes out! My partner and I are almost done building our own tiny house in Oregon. It is the first thing that either of us have ever built and we did everything ourselves. It's 16×12 (the biggest structure you can build without a permit in our area). It has a cedar shake roof, board and batten siding, and will be painted with organic solvent free paint. There's no electricity or plumbing (we gave up both many years ago). We have a tiny woodstove that we've had since we lived on a sailboat and oil lamps. Right now we haul water from a spring on the property but we just got a well drilled and will be installing a handpump. Anyway, if you're interested in pictures send me an email at shaemorningtree@yahoo.com

Leave a Reply