Which Cover Do You Like Best?

We are in the final stages with our latest book, The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening. It’s 8½″ square, 168 pages, with about 540 photos of these things:


It’s a book I’ve been meaning to put together for years, and it feels good to be in the final stages.

Above are two choices for the cover. Click either image for larger view. Whichever image we choose for the front cover, the other one will go on the back cover.

What do you think?

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:

46 Responses to Which Cover Do You Like Best?

  1. Frances Burrows says:

    I think the picture of the garden reflects the title of the book more.

  2. Ken Rose says:

    Lloyd, both covers are great. The cover with the dinning table grabs my attention more than the garden.

  3. Phil Clark says:

    I`m with Frances on this one Lloyd. They are both great images but the garden picture just draws your attention more.

  4. Mary Rush says:

    I’m a gardener, so I’d say go with the garden cover on front.

  5. jesus Sierra says:

    Hey Lloyd, looking forward to this new book of yours…
    I’m a carpenter so the first one would be my choice. The one with the garden is not bad either but wood always calls me a lot more.

  6. Wilson Hughes says:

    I’m drawn to the table photo.

  7. Nedene Martin says:

    Lloyd, why not split the cover? Each image is very appealing and the point is that they are both the same place, but from two completely different viewpoints. Lovely, both.

  8. L A says:

    The one with the garden!
    So excited to see this forthcoming book.
    Thank you

  9. Michael says:

    Front cover, dining table

  10. Ronnie Williams says:

    Front cover – Garden. Back cover – Dining Table. However, I like the idea another person had of splitting the front cover. My husband and I are very excited about this book. Keep the books coming. Love them. Thanks!

  11. Linda says:

    Garden on the front, dining room on the back. Pretty pictures!

  12. Rick Gordon says:

    I’m the production editor, and to me, the table works better in the context of the existing cover elements. If I were to go with the garden, to my eye, it would entail one or more changes, such as:

    • lightening the image more, which seems to be a dusk shot, which I already did some of, but not enough for this context, in my opinion
    • changing the other elements (background color and text) to harmonize more; to me, it doesn’t.
  13. Graham Hughes says:

    Tough choice Lloyd! IMHO I’d use the “lighter” interior picture for the front cover, and the “darker” garden picture for the back. Good to see that opinions are divided though, shows there’s nothing between them! Good luck with the (book) run – I’ll definitely get a copy to add to the collection.

  14. Laury says:

    I love the table photo.

  15. Al Whittle says:

    I think the garden picture is a fine shot and perhaps more appropriate to homesteading, the interior shot is superb. Very warm, inviting and carefully composed but perhaps more suited to a home/building book. I am sure whichever you choose you will be on to a winner.

  16. Ami Brosseau says:

    The interior shot is brighter and more soothing to the eye.

  17. Kevin Kiwak says:

    Both beautiful, both appropriate. You can’t go wrong either way. Absolutely beautiful.

  18. Tannit says:

    Both gorgeous and I am super-excited for this book, which I’d buy either way. But if it was the first Shelter book I’d ever seen, I’d be more likely to reach for the interior cover – it’s brighter, warmer, and more inviting to me. I’m more excited about seeing your house from the inside than I am about looking at garden pictures.

  19. Anon says:

    one on right. maybe it reflects the title better.

    also, though, I think the color on right one is better.

    so…being a long time lover of your photos I apologize in advance, but the color on the kitchen one seems “off”.
    also, I believe I have seen (here) better photos of your kitchen/table/inside of your home.

  20. f brandon says:


  21. Geoff Welch says:

    The picture on the right is more comprehensive, visually interesting and balanced. The structure, viewed the the garden piques your curiosity and draws you in. The dining room shot is more one dimensional. I agree with Anon that the color seems off – probably because of the warmth of the wood.
    Looking forward to it’s publication.

  22. Geoff Welch says:

    Just got around to proofreading, meant to say viewed through the garden

  23. Afina says:

    The table feels warm and light and exemplifies simple ( = rich ) living. Looking forward to both Lesley’s and your creative solutions and experience. You both are inspirational for this Dutchie in the northern part of the Netherlands!

  24. James LaMee says:

    Garden on the front cover.

  25. Steve says:

    In your opinion, Lloyd, is the book more about “houses” or “yards”? With the table picture, I expect houses/building/cooking/kitchen content. With the garden picture, I expect foraging/gardening/chicken content.

  26. Douglas Armstrong says:

    I vote for the garden pic. Both are pretty, of course.

  27. Klaas says:

    The table picture. It has more vibrant colours and I suspect your eye is more drawn to it. I agree with others, that the table pic gives the suggestion of a more building orientated book, while the garden cover might appeal people more interested in the growing crops idea… tough choice though. Why not both pics….

  28. Desert Wildflower says:

    Don’t ask me – I’m a Libra. Both appeal to me.

  29. Anon says:

    what was Lesley’s thoughts?

    don’t know how I missed it, but didn’t realise you had a second story. Ran across this


  30. Devon says:

    Both are good, I’m buying the book regardless. Garden pic draws me slightly more, however.

  31. rjp says:

    I vote for the dining room but I would consider alternative pictures as well.

  32. Melody Shimada says:

    Outdoor photo. Very much looking forward to this book.

  33. Colleen Smith says:

    The garden catches my eye but I love both, can’t wait for the book.

  34. Laura says:

    I’m waiting anxiously for this book, Lloyd! I love both the pictures, but I think you should go with the interior shot on the cover. I think it would draw in more people at a bookstore who may not be familiar with your books (gasp!).

  35. Viviana B says:

    garden, please

  36. Bob Freudenheim says:

    garden front, great!

  37. Irene Tukuafu says:

    Most wonderful ideas start first in the Kitchen. I vote for the Kitchen. So many wonderful other photos of what you see out in your garden came from this kitchen. looking sooooooooooooo forward to this book. aloha, irene

  38. Rebecca says:

    I like both the covers but I definitely prefer the garden. I’m looking forward to buying the book when it comes out.

  39. Martin Johnson says:

    I really love the garden photo and really looking forward to the book!!

  40. Bil says:

    I like the bright, cheery and inviting dining room photo for the front cover and the garden shot for the back cover.
    Looking forward to the book!

  41. Jeanne Crager Stellar says:

    Love the flowers but will purchase either.
    Sounds like a winner.

  42. Kelly says:

    The graphic artist in me screams table picture. The colors go perfectly with the border and font color. If you are going for looks, the table picture wins. However, the garden picture reinforces the title “Half-Acre Homestead” but it just doesn’t draw my eye like the table picture!

  43. Tina says:

    The garden❤️

  44. Kevin Ralph says:

    I can’t wait for the book to come out. You do such great work! Both covers look great. Get that book out!

  45. wayne pedersen says:



    I like them both but my eye catches the dining room so I choose the dining room cover

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