House Built of Bridge Timbers in Big Sur

In 1968, I moved from Mill Valley to Big Sur and worked as foreman on a job building this house out of bridge timbers. The architect was George Brook-Kothlow. George had purchased all the bridge timbers from the town of Duncan’s Mills on the Russian River; they tore down the redwood bridge to build one of concrete, and George had hand-hewn 12 × 12 posts, 16-foot-long 6-by-16s and 16-foot-long 8-by-22s.

Carpenters Paul and Seth Wingate went down with me and we lived on the site, Rancho Rico, a 400-acre ranch with two private beaches. We remodeled some chicken coops for living quarters.

I spent about a year on the project. It was a struggle. We had to splice together two 8-by-22s for the 32-foot-long rafters, and lift them into place with a boom on the back of the ranch backhoe. There were 11 concrete pours for the foundation, each one coming 40 miles down the winding coast from Monterey. I quit after we got the building framed.

About 10 years ago, I went down for a visit. The family had moved into the chicken coops and they were renting the house for $13,000 a month.

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I Wish I Still Had Time to Do Blog Posts Like This

I just ran across this post (below), done in 2006. What a difference 14 years can make! Our books were selling way better in those days, so I had the time to do blog posts.

These days — right now — I’m swamped with the business side of publishing: reprints, marketing, sales, publicity, foreign translations, interviews, podcasts, metadata as well as social media, and I’m getting very little time to work on new books.

My plan is to get as much of this stuff done as possible right now and, as well, farm out as much of it as I can in the future, and free up time to get going on the next book (which I’m really excited about): Rolling Homes.

I ran across the below post while doing a search on my blog for Godfrey and Bruno — this post came up first. If you’re interested further in these two amazing guys, scroll on down.

Note: When Godfrey first told me about Bruno (who I hadn’t met), he said: “He’s the ultimate guy.”

www.lloydkahn.com/?s=godfrey+bruno

Note: If you want to get on my GIMME SHELTER email newsletter list (goes out every month or two to about 4000 people), go to: shltr.net/gimme-signup

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Lew’s Homemade Snowplow

From Lew Lewandowski, former Shelter editor, who moved to a small town in central Oregon:

Snowing today, had a chance to plow the driveway with a plow I built and attached to my old lawn tractor. I cut snow chains to fit, added weights to the rear, and use pulleys to lift and lower the blade. Muy buenos!! My back is getting too old to shovel that large area by hand.

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Michael Kahn’s Stained Glass Greenhouse in Arizona

My cousin Mike and I hung out together until we both went off to college. Mike started painting at an early age, moved to New York, where he sold paintings on the sidewalk, then to Provincetown, Cape Cod, where he painted, did pottery, and supported himself waiting on tables.

In the ’70s, he moved to a piece of land near Cottonwood, Arizona (near Sedona), where — partially influenced by our book Shelter — he started building a partially underground village of sculptural buildings, which he called Eliphante. I visited him and his wife Leda off and on, and in Home Work, published 24 photos of his wildly creative compound.

This is his greenhouse room built out of old auto windshields, put together with silicone caulk. The stained glass, which he got free, was siliconed on the inside of the windshields.

Mike is no longer with us, but you can learn more about him and Eliphante at: www.eliphante.com/…

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