builders (138)

Wonderful Houses Around the World

Yesterday I read in the paper that sales of children’s books are booming, due to schools being closed. This brought to mind our one and only children’s book, Wonderful Houses Around the World, by photographer Yoshio Komatsu and artist Akira Nishiyama.

There are 10 photographs by Yoshio of homes in different parts of the world. All the homes are built of natural materials — earth, wood, thatch, sod, bamboo, and stone.

Each photo is followed by a watercolor drawing of the inside of that home, showing the children and their parents going about their everyday activities: food gathering and processing, cooking, sleeping, working and playing.

The book is timely in this day and age: it shows what people do in their homes. Timely also because it’s great educational material for kids being home-schooled: look at what what kids your age are doing in other parts of the planet.

Yoshio is my favorite photographer of homes in the world. Not only are the homes invariably soulful, but his composition and lighting are perfect — and he has a knack for making people feel comfortable, so that the homeowners look natural, often laughing.

The book is $12.95 and you can order it through your independent bookstore, or from:

Note: We have a money-back guarantee on all of our books (no matter where you buy them). If for any reason you are dissatisfied, call us and we’ll return the full purchase price plus shipping. No need to return the book.

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Sauna on Wheels

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This immaculately built sauna on wheels rolled through town 3 weeks ago. Built by Jeremy Tuffli (shown here [in white T‑shirt] seated with Evan Kahn), and Joey Pepper. They use it for events. Stove is from Finland, roof and trim are copper. (I didn’t get a full-on shot of the roof; it’s really beautiful.) Jeremy said he was inspired by our book Tiny Homes on the Move to build a camper, then went on to building saunas. The guys are next headed to Mexico City, financed by Vans to build a skatepark.

Jeremy is among a group of young builders (like Jay Nelson, Foster Huntington, Tucker Gorman) who are carrying on in the tradition of Lloyd House, Louie Frazier, Bruno Atkey — a new wave of carpenter poets.

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SunRay’s Treehouse Masterpiece

Just when you think maybe SunRay has done all he’s gonna do — like major buildings — he pulls off this wild soaring, spiraling, 4-story log-framed structure in the woods. The spiral turrets up top are just insane. I mean, holy shit! SunRay rolls on, a true Spirit of Nature in his designs, carried out with incredible (and intuitive) building skills.

I wrote Uncle Mud (aka Chris McClellan) about SunRay’s latest (I’d seen a pic on @cabinporn) and he responded:

Lloyd,

I was there in 2018 during the rebuild after the fire so I don’t have anything newer than framing, which I have enclosed. Bonnie sends this video. I’m off to the mountains of Jamaica to teach mud building again next week. The village of Nine Mile is very sweet to us. The little kids call me “Meesta Mood”. People there make $20 a day but a sack of cement costs $10 so no one every finishes their house. When we were there in 2018 we taught them how to make windows out of bottles that get thrown by the side of the road, putting up a rough “Tree of Life” window in the dead of night before our flight home. When we came back in 2019 we were treated to this lovely view of the finished window.

(I’ll put up Mud’s photos in a later post.)

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Little Log Cabin in Nevada Desert

Log cabin with hip roof, central Nevada. Squared-off logs, nice joinery. I shot this in the early ’90s, on one of my 4×4 trips in search of remote hot springs in the American southwest. It was out in the middle of nowhere, making it even more special.

Note tacked-on addition in back. Even with that, the simplicity and beauty of this little building shine through. Note also floor joist tenons routed in to bottom girder/log.

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This little beauty down a side street in Torrey, Utah, stopped me in my tracks. It’s in our book Home Work. The log work is perfect — a master builder at work. (Check out notched-in log partition in center, and notched-in cross-ties — look at second horizontal log below eave.) Perfect proportions. No architect in sight. Shot in 1989.

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Grandpa Built a Car

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When my father was 5 years old, he was riding a tricycle on the street in Alameda and a train came along and the wheel cut off 4 of the toes on his left foot. When he was in the hospital, his dad promised him he’d build him a car. Which he did. I just discovered this photo in the family archives. My dad didn’t let the injury slow him down, he played tennis in high school and was an avid duck hunter and fisherman. I’m so proud of him, for his courage, and grandpa for his soulful kid’s car (with bicycle wheels).

(I just discovered this photo in an old family album, with my dad’s explanation written on the back; I’d never heard the story.)

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