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SMALL HOMES Now Available

Our new book Small Homes: The Right Size is now available at independent bookstores, and Amazon — as well as from us: www.shelterpub.com/building/small-homes

Shameless Commerce Dept. This is, I think, the best building book we’ve ever done. (Yes, I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it keeps reoccurring to me.)  Shelter is everyone’s favorite; it captured the times, it inspired thousands of homes. Builders of the Pacific Coast is in some ways, my best book. It’s an odyssey of discovery where the reader rides shotgun with me over a 2-year period. Cohesive and focused.

BUT Small Homes is so useful to so many people in this era of astronomical home prices and rents, that I think it’s hugely important. It offers alternatives to people looking for rentals on Craigslist or homes on Zillow. Here are 65 very different homes, of different materials, in different parts of the world. The idea, as with all our building books is to use your hands to create your own shelter.

Two things I’ve discovered about this book (after seeing the finished product):

  1. There are a lot of homes out in middle America – Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, more so than in any of our other books.
  2. It sparkles. Largely due to Rick’s considerable Photoshop skills, a motley assortment of photos from contributors have been rendered in colorful detail. I was stunned when I saw the first book off the press. The photos draw you in.
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I’m Off To Minneapolis January 27th

I’m doing an author appearance at the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute on January 29, 2017. It’s a reception at 5PM that day, where authors meet booksellers. I’ll be talking about our forthcoming book, Small Homes: The Right Size, and handing out copies of Tiny Homes.  https://www.bookweb.org/wi2017/winter-institute

I’m going there a few days early to explore around the Twin Cities. Any advice on things to do there?

And, as of about a half hour ago, it looks like after the event, I’ll drive the next day to Grand Marais and visit folks at the North House Folk School, and do some kind of presentation there.

***

I’m gonna get together a state of the state at our publishing company and of what I’ve been doing lately, now that the book is off to the printers. I’ve cut down a lot on my posts in the last year, what with now using Instagram, and finishing my 1st book in 3 years, but I have a bit of posting to do soon. Stay tuned.

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SMALL HOMES Book is off to Printers

We got the proofs back last week, and I almost cried when I went through it page by page. Sounds dumb, I know, but it was overwhelming to see all the pages, in collated order, full size, 4-color for the first time — after a couple of years working on it. I’d only seen rather low-quality, reduced size printouts up until now. And you know what, it’s ahem, a beautiful book.

People, home builders from all walks of life, a great variety of designs, materials, locales. It may very well be the most useful book we’ve ever done. Tiny homes are great for some people, but too small for most. Here are 65 or so homes in all, a cornucopia of ideas for people who can’t afford high rents and bank mortgages, and want to build or remodel (or contract out) their own homes.

Check out the “sneak previews” on TheShelterBlog:

https://www.theshelterblog.com/?s=sneak+preview

Book due out April, 2017. More details to follow here.

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Check Out Our Photos Now on Tumblr

Above: Caleb and Louise’s hand-built home near West Cornwall, Connecticut, in the early ’70s

Sean Hellfritsch gave us the idea of using Tumblr for good quality photos; he started it and now Brittany Cole Bush is continuing to put up photos, some old, some recent.

Click here: https://shelterpub.tumblr.com/

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Which Cover Do You Like Best?

Rick and I are in the final stages of preparing Small Homes for the printers. We changed the cover from an earlier version, which showed a small turn-of-the-century home in Santa Cruz (in this revised cover, it’s the middle image in the left hand column), because a single image didn’t seem to represent the diversity of images (120 or so small homes) in the book. Hence the collage.

Below are two alternatives, the same except for the background color. In the one with the red, it’s similar-looking to Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Some of our savvy book friends think it’s too similar, and that another color would distinguish it from the other books. Hence the other with the dark green background.

Comments, please. Which do you like? Do you see any problem in this cover being similar to our other books?

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It’s All About Building

Small Homes – the book

I’ve got pretty much all the pages laid out. Rick will be back from Hawaii next week and build the rest of the pages in InDesign. The book is looking better each week. Here’s a little hidden waterfront cottage (under construction) on Vancouver Island, BC (the shakes for the eaves were steamed and bent).

Material continues to come in for the book (400-1200 sq. ft. homes), and we’ll continue the book after its publication on theshelterblog, with a section titled “Small Homes.” Ongoing small homes.

My Next Book (?)

Adventures in Building – a 70-Year Odyssey

No kidding. I started at 12 years old, helping my dad build a house on his rice farm near Colusa, California. At 18 I got into the carpenters’ union in San Francisco and worked for a shipwright on the docks (SF was a port in those days!). At age 25 I started building and remodeling on a piece of land with 3 cottages in Mill Valley, California.

I never got the chance to work with a master carpenter or formally learn architecture, so I had a layman’s approach. Everything was new.

Right off, I liked the smell of lumber, and was fascinated with how things went together (still am). In about 12 buildings over the course of years, I personally went through post and beam, then polyhedral (domes), and finally stud frame construction techniques.

And all along, I shot pictures of buildings, collected books, and interviewed builders about all types of buildings and materials, and so far, have produced 6 highly graphic books on building.

Having this layman’s view means I can talk to inexperienced builders in understandable terms. Plus, all the travel and studying and interviews have given me a wealth of material of interest to experienced builders. We’re all interested in how things are put together. That’s what building is all about.

Música del día:

Etta James “Come Back Baby”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdFcg7zkhqM

Enough! I’m heading for the beach…

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Bruno’s Hand-hewn Froe Mallet

Bruno Atkey, one of the major builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast, has been splitting cedar shakes for most of his life. He split the shakes for my 6-sided tower roof from driftwood logs (and his girlfriend Mecea drove them down here in a van). He’s split cedar shakes, and even siding, in British Columbia for numerous homes over the years.

Godfrey Stephens sent us this photo of Bruno’s latest mallet. (I use an old bowling pin.) In the background is one of Godfrey’s paintings.

Here’s a photo of a froe:

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Maine Builder Specializes in SMALL, not TINY Homes

Jim Bahoosh is a builder in Maine who specializes in small (500-900 sq. ft.) homes. His homes look really nice, and of the right size.

This of course coincides with our next book, now almost completed: Small Homes, which highlights some 70 builders and their small homes (400-1200 sq. ft.). It’s due out in February, 2017.

Article on Jim: https://bangordailynews.com/2016/08/01/homestead/small-but-not-tiny-houses-right-size-for-many/

His website: https://www.jimbahooshbuilder.com/houses.shtml

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Progress on SMALL HOMES Book

We just finished what will probably be the middle section of the book, “Small Homes in Cities and Towns,” 67 photos on some 20 pages. When Rick showed me the finished pages, I was thrilled. Some times I’ll muddle my way through a project, starting with no concept of how it will come out, and the whole, as  they say, is greater than the sum of its parts, i.e., synergy.

We’ve got 200 out of 224 pages done now. I have this great feeling, having worked for so many months, because:

1. we’re close to the end (to printers in November, out February 2017)

2. it looks so darned good!

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