house (5)

Homesteading in Alaska, 2020–2021

Hi Lloyd and company,

Greatly enjoyed your book, Small Homes: The Right Size. My wife and I live in a small home on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. We bought the land and the original cabin, which, according to the realtor, had no value: “free firewood.” So we of course did like some of the homeowners in your book, and decided to restore the place.

We added a 14×16 foot room and went from 500 sq. feet to now 830. Added a few outbuildings and now have a lovely place to call home on the edge of the wilderness. Moose, bears, lynx and more in the area.

Hope to make a second addition next year if time allows, so we can have a little more room; my wife would love a larger kitchen, and that should be it. I did all the work, with help from one of my sons and some occasional help from other family members.

If you ever are in Alaska, do stop by and visit.

I’ve attached one shot of the place, original log cabin on the right side and the 2019 addition on the left side. I’ve also attached two photos of our garden.

Keep up the good, inspiring work with your books!

–Ed and Theresa Gonzalez
Ninilchik, Alaska

Post a comment (1 comment)

A Home in Sooke, British Columbia

Shot on a trip in 2017, hanging out with Godfrey Stephens and Bruno Atkey…

I like a lot of things about this design, like the way the shingles flair out over the lower windows.

Too bad more people having homes built don’t just go with the thousands of well-worked-out designs like this, rather than hiring an architect, who will usually be trying to make a “statement.”

There are lots of of home-sweet-homes designs out there, worked out over centuries.

Post a comment (2 comments)

Louie’s Shop

When I first met Louie, in the mid-1980s, I was stunned by the beauty of this little building, and even more stunned when he told me that his design was based on the painting of a Mandan earth lodge on page 4 of our book Shelter. Moreover, his cabin across the river was based on the drawing of a small Japanese cabin (bottom right, page 21) in Shelter.

At that point, I had published Shelter II in 1978, but hadn’t really planned on any new books on building.

If Shelter had inspired buildings like this, it occurred to me that it was time for a sequel, and therefore I started working on Home Work, featuring Louie’s creations as the first part of the book. It turned out that a lot of buildings had been inspired by Shelter, as you can see if you leaf through Home Work.*

Since then, we’ve become the best of friends, and I visit him whenever I can. I stay in the little circular room (at right in the exterior photo), and it’s always a wonderful experience — looking up at the radial framing of the roof (with a Ford truck wheel at the apex), looking out at the grapevines, enjoying the design and quality of the building.

I always consult him on projects underway, and on this trip I took along the 30 or so pages of rough layout of our next book, Rolling Homes, and got his feedback.

Now that I’ve returned home, I’m back to work on this book, and it looks really exciting — what with the huge interest in nomadic living these days.*

Stay tuned.

P.S.: I highly recommend the film Nomadland; it’s real (a rarity these days).

*Shameless Commerce Department

You can get both Shelter and Home Work on our website with a 30% discount and free shipping — which beats Amazon. There’s a money back guarantee on all of our books.
www.shelterpub.com

Post a comment (5 comments)

Manufactured Homes in Petaluma, California

Stephen Marshall has been building small- and medium-sized homes for 50 years now. Here’s a walk-through tour of one:

Sonoma Manufactured Homes – a partner company with Little House on the Trailer – builds Accessory Dwelling Units (aka ADUs, Second Units, Granny Flats, Prefabs) both HUD approved manufactured homes and RVIA certified Recreational Trailers.

Sonoma Manufactured Homes is located in Petaluma, CA and serves the North Bay Area including all of Sonoma County, Napa County, Marin County, and Solano County. Shipment to other areas can be arranged.

Post a comment (3 comments)

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.

Post a comment (3 comments)