Wisconsin Riverside Park Bandshell by Roald Gundersen

Hi Lloyd,

You may recall, we came to your door on March 18th, when you were heading out the door to the printers for your new book.  I mentioned you had blogged about an article in the NYTimes on my work in 2009.  I’ve built with trees from sustainably managed forests — using mostly the worst first — for over 30 years, and I thought you’d enjoy the attached bandshell I completed two years ago in my hometown of La Crosse, WI, mostly with trees from the land I live on and steward.

With friends in San Anselmo, I expect we’ll be back out before too long and it would be a treat to spend a few hours sharing a meal and some stories.  Thanks for your work in supporting and promoting natural building through these many years.

Cheers, Roald

Roald Gundersen
Architecture & Structures, LLC
Stoddard, WI 54658

Post a comment (2 comments)

Vanessa Renwick Discovers Secrets in Her 115-Year-Old Portland House

breathe love, breathe light.

I’ve lived in this house for thirty years now. I sit within it and study it, inside and out. I love transforming it, as I love transforming spaces for installations. To create a vision of beauty. Sometimes I hear the house telling me things … that wainscoting is needed where the wallboard is that someone put up in the kitchen. I take off the wallboard and the wainscoting is already there, has been all along, waiting to breathe in the sunlight.

That a door needs to be between the two small bedrooms, I take off the fake wood paneling and there is a doorway already there.

For years I debated taking down two walls to make the house more open, but then I would lose my guest room. I finally decided to just widen the doorway in between the kitchen and the living room. I had taken the door off the hinges years ago anyway. When the doorway trim came off, there was a wadded-up piece of material jammed under it. I was afraid I would break it if I tried to unfold it, as it was stiff like newspaper. It was covered in dust and dried blood. I soaked it in oxygen bleach three times over and hung it outside on the clothesline.

It dried as you see it in the photo, holding that beautiful form. I knew that Volga Germans built this house in 1908, and I contacted Steven Schreiber, who has a site dedicated to their history. The story continues here.


Post a comment (3 comments)

Straw Bale Guest House in Idaho Inspired by Shelter Book


I’m writing because we have just recently completed a straw bale ADU in our backyard in Boise, Idaho that all came about because of (1) a pregnancy and (2) seeing Lloyd Kahn speak at Bookshop Santa Cruz promoting Small Homes: The Right Size years ago. I wanted to share our story.

My husband and I had moved from Santa Cruz to the Santa Cruz Mountains (Boulder Creek right outside of Big Basin). We had the big dream of starting from scratch on an off-grid property and building a structure over time utilizing natural building principles. We had taken a straw bale building workshop at Real Goods/Solar Living Institute in Hopland, CA and fell in love with straw bale building. That first winter was tough. It rained so much that we barely had the ability to get that infrastructure going. There were trees falling and mudslides. Leaky roofs and mice. No power, no running water.

Then we found out we were pregnant and needed to rethink whether we would realistically be able to both work full-time in Santa Cruz, commute 45 minutes each way, and build a home while taking care of a small child. Land, permits, building materials, daycare, etc. all added up financially so to live in that area we would both have to work full-time jobs. How could we do that and build a home? It was daunting.
Read More …

Post a comment (1 comment)

Stone Masonry Publications

Lloyd, hello. I’m Tomas Lipps, used to live in Bolinas late ’70s, early ’80s… I was pleased to stumble upon your blog today and have enjoyed browsing through it. One line in particular struck me [referring to the book Shelter]: “We were both fans of Life Magazine, and felt that each two-page spread should stand alone and be visually balanced.” That’s because I’ve gotten into publishing myself. I edit a glossy print publication called STONEXUS Magazine and a digital counterpart to it called the STONEZINE, and in the print mag I’m particularly sensitive to how the two-page spreads are laid out. (The ‘zine is single-page, 8.5″ × 14″.)

Good to see you’re still at it, and out and about. I’ve been confined here in Santa Fe due to the damn pandemic, but as soon as I get issue #XX printed and mailed out (April), I’ll go off on the trip I had planned in 2020 — to Sardinia. Will be photographing stonework there, the Bronze Age Nuraghi in particular fascinate me. You seem to be familiar with Italy, anything you can tell me about Sardinia?

Post a comment

Guitar Boogie & Working Man Blues (Live) | Collaborations | Tommy Emmanuel with Billy Strings

In spite of all the shit going on the planet right now, it’s a beautiful California morning, a bunch of poppies are exuberantly blooming, oblivious of world misery, we have (two days ago) finished the year-long stressful job of putting together Rolling Homes: Shelter on Wheels, covering 75 nomadic homes and I feel wonderfully free and ready first for a celebratory 4×4 trip to Baja, then to come back and get to work on my semi-autobiography, Live from California.

(From about mid-April on, I’ll be blogging from the road — a lot more regular posting when I’m away from office tasks.)

Just now listening to this (and watching Billy’s expressions). Rare communication between musicians, it’s like they’ve blended their art and skills into one.

Post a comment (2 comments)

Mrs. Beeton’s Everyday Cookery, Circa 1890

We were talking about old cookbooks with a friend the other day and pulled out this gem, circa 1890. This was in the ’70s, when we were doing some small-scale farming, and trying to relearn skills of the past (as documented in, ahem, The Half-Acre Homestead).

Note: We have an unconditional guarantee on all books. If unsatisfied, call us and we’ll refund price and postage; no need to return book.

Also, we have a 30% discount on two or more books — which usually beats Amazon — with free postage in the USA.

Just sayin’.

Post a comment (2 comments)