Canyon Pool in Big Sur

I’m going through all my 50,000 or so digital photos in preparation for my book The Half-Acre Homestead, picking out those on the garden, home, kitchen, and tooIs, etc, and running across some long-forgotten shots, like this one.

I built a house in Big Sur in 1967, on land owned by Boris and Filippa Veren, who ran the Craft & Hobby Book Service. I was their caretaker and they let me build my house on their 40 acres. This was their pool in the canyon, Burns Creek, about two miles north of Esalen. Creek water flowed from a pipe into the pool so no need for chlorine.

I built the house out of mostly used lumber and shakes I got from old redwood stumps or short pieces left by loggers in the woods.

Each night after I finished work in the Spring and Summer, I’d go down to swim. I’d bow to the nearby family of redwoods, then bow in each of the four directions before jumping in.

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:

4 Responses to Canyon Pool in Big Sur

  1. Hi Lloyd,

    just looking up some things on my aunt, by marriage Filippa Veren. I was so lucky to know them and spend time with them. I swam in that pool and it is truly magical. I married Jan Cornish. We were heartbroken when the their home burned down in 1985. they moved to Carmel and then sadly Boris got cancer. Filippa went back to start over again but then died suddenly building a wall. I was devastated. I loved them so much and I miss them so much. Very special people. Feel truly blessed to have spent some incredible afternoons with them, eating lunch and talking about so many things. I may have met you at one of the services. where are you now? been thinking of Big Sur recently. Franie inherited the house at the bottom of the hill that her mom and dad The Springs inherited from the Verens. Was that the house you built? Pamela Harter

  2. Pamela,

    Yes. I built that house. And also loved Boris and Filippa. I’m so sorry I never got down to see her in her last days. I believe she was living in a trailer up at the top. We visited them one December at their home in France; they took us over to visit Alexander Calder, a long-time friend of Filippa’s family. He opened a bottle of red wine, then showed us his studio and sculptures. What an honor!
    I visit Frannie and husband whenever I go down that way. The pool is still the same.

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