The Half-Acre Homestead Book Is Finished!

(Subtitle: 46 Years of Building & Gardening)

You know, it’s Thanksgiving morning, both boys are off for the holiday with spouses’ families, and Lesley and I are working on our separate crafts. What a difference with no phones, no email, no business necessities, no one else around. Witness the fact that I’ve hardly blogged at all lately. Gonna have to get one day a week here with no distractions. A right-brain day!

The unbound pages came in from the printers a few days ago. What a thrill! The book’s getting bound (in Hong Kong) this week, shipped and will be available in early March, 2020. When we get it together, we’re going to take pre-orders.

I’m still getting used to the book. After covering hundreds of builders over the years, this is the first on my own (and Lesley’s) work.

Stay tuned.

These photos shot with iPhone. We just got these early pages.

Music de éste día: The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers, 1969

Here’s how I make books:

(I’ve written pretty much the same a bunch of times, so skip if it sounds familiar.)

As always, I gather printed-out photos in 9″ by 12″ file folders. When I get maybe 20-30 folders, I start doing layout.

The photos are printed 6-up on a sheet of recycled paper, along with file numbers beneath. If I haven’t done it before, I’ll write copy to go with pix, then start doing layout.

I’ll put down the headline, and adjust size of photos on our 10-year-old Brother MFC 9130CW color copy machine. If I want to upgrade the layout, I’ll do prints on our Epson Stylus Pro 4900 (boy, do I recommend this printer for photographers!) I print out 2, 3, and 4 columns versions of text, and choose which fits best.

My preferred state of consciousness for making good aesthetic analogue decisions involves coffee, mota, rock ‘n’ roll, and no distractions (the latter so very hard to achieve these days!)

I tape pix and text down, one double-page spread at a time with removable Scotch tape. I use the procedure Bob Easton used when we did Shelter in 1973: Each two-page spread is a story in itself.

I write the file number on each photo and then place all photo files and text in DropBox for Rick to pick up. Rick gets the (analog) layouts from me and does the digital files. We then go through lots of changes, improvements, color changing, proofreading, agony over the cover, but finally Rick FTPs it (sends it over the internet) to our printers in Hong Kong. We send Epson prints of the entire book so the press men can make adjustments if necessary while on press.

I used to do press checks on any color jobs, but due to coordination between Rick and Trevor Shih and Sophie Zhai of Midas Printing in Hong Kong, I haven’t had to do press checks. We’ve got the colors coordinated.

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:

24 Responses to The Half-Acre Homestead Book Is Finished!

  1. Looking forward, can’t wait and similar expressions of great appreciation for everything the great Lloyd Kahn publishes…

  2. Can’t wait.
    Your books are possibly the most entertaining publications around. I will reorder as soon as it’s offerred. Hell, if you can let us know how many more books you plan over your remaining career i will preorder them too.

  3. We look forward to your new book. My wife has followed you for years. We started, after retiring, with a yurt, then a series of tiny houses, with recycled materials. A sustainable retirement for us. Thanks for your knowledge and entertainment.

  4. Beautiful photos of the pages shown! Last I was there, the ambience was enhanced by the smells of Leslie’s home baked cookies (as was the palate). I look forward to reading the finished book of your ever-so-special home. Kudos.

  5. Yes!! Congratulations and Thanks Lloyd. I am greatly looking forward to the inspiration for mind, body and soul. Keep on truckin’ my man!

  6. Good to be back in contact, Lloyd. I’ve bailed out of Facebook — they can make their money peddling someone else’s personal data. Come back to your Small Homes book often for inspiration.

  7. I have always admired and appreciated the wonderful home place you and Lesley have created. I look forward to seeing it honored and recorded in a beautiful book. You two are a great team.

  8. Llyod; I’ll always remember how I taught you to go point to point longboarding (Loaded Boards) so you could survive steep downhills in order to write / publish more books, enjoy road kill and most of all — talk story with your family and extended ones. Looking forward to my copy! peace and Aloha brother, Joshua (Dr. J.)

  9. It looks very promising Lloyd, very excited about reading it. The book will have excellent company on my bookshelf next to all the other books you have published!

  10. I’m are looking forward to reading your new book about your very own home, what a treat it will be to peek in a few of your corners. Given your appreciation of so many gorgeous homes I have always been curious about your own abode and of course your no doubt lovely partner Lesley. Yippee, now I just need to cool my jets up here on Hornby until March, no problem.

  11. Looking forward to your latest creation! Have enjoyed the other books you’ve published immensely. Builders of the Pacific Coast has been living on my nightstand of late. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Thank you so much for your wonderful work. Can’t wait to read this new book. Appreciate your values and your work. God bless and best wishes for the new year.

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