Small Homes Book Sneak Preview #2—Homesteading in Montana

Just came in for our new book SMALL HOMES:

Hey Lloyd,

Like many others, your books inspired us to build our own home. Four years ago I left a career as a helicopter pilot in the Army with my wife and two kids and moved to the Mission Valley of Montana (north of Missoula). We bought 40 acres of bare hay fields and built an 800 sq ft. house. It was quite an experience since neither one of us had experience with construction. We broke ground in late September, and six weeks later I remember the first snow of the season blasting me in the face as I dryed in the last wall. We finished it more or less over the winter, then went on to build a barn a few years later…still working on that one!

We grow organic produce and pastured hogs and like to farm as much as possible with our draft horses. I’d like to say 800 sq. ft. is working for us, but after four years, we currently are in the midst of adding on, increasing our square footage to about 1800*. With our remodel, we are trying to replicate the classic American Foursquare style of architecture that is widely seen across the country with a few timber framed details here and there. I think we could have lasted longer with a house sized somewhere in between, but this was initially going to be just a small cottage for family to stay in and down the road we would build another house.  therefore we built it without storage in mind. Well we ran out of money and didn’t see the need to do that, so here we are! Nevertheless, its been a wild ride!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Micah & Katie Helser

Yes, it’ll exceed our size limit of 1200 sq. ft., but it was smaller to start, so it’s going in the book. (We have been known to stretch parameters.)

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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