masonry (15)

Stone Barn

I’m going through my photo archives these days. I realize I have a wealth of building photos accumulated over a 50+ year period. I can’t recall where I shot this; it was somewhere on the several trips I took through Ireland and England in the ’70s. I was on a journey to study real building, after giving up on geodesic domes. Going from mathematically derived buildings, often built with highly processed materials, to studying construction methods based on local materials, site-specific experience, and fine craftsmanship was a revelation.

This stone barn, for example, is almost unreal in its simplicity and master masonry — both in the walls and stone (slate?) roof.

Note: See the wonderful thread of comments below.

BTW, I’m in a new mode these days of trying to put up blog and Instagram posts at least 5 days a week. I’ve sure got a lot of “content.”

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Charcoal Kilns near Ely, Nevada

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Look at the stone masonry! Built in the 1870s, I believe by Italian masons, they were used to make charcoal for processing ore. In the ’80s and ’90s, I used to go on 2-to-3-week camping trips in my Toyota Tacoma 4×4 to the southwest, hitting hot springs and enjoying the wilds of Nevada and Utah. I’m going through photos from those years now, will post from time to time.

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Stone Cottage on Scottish Island

This is a restored “blackhouse” on the Isle of Eigg, off the west coast of Scotland, where we spent a week in May, 2016. Some time in the future, if I can get time off, we plan to go to Scotland and visit several of the islands. The Scots are the nicest, most friendly people I’ve encountered anywhere in the world.

Blackhouses were the dwellings of “crofters” or farmers on Scottish Islands, in the Highlands, and Ireland.

From Wikipedia: “(They) … were generally built with double-wall dry-stone walls packed with earth, and were roofed with wooden rafters covered with a thatch of turf with cereal straw or reed. The floor was generally flagstones or packed earth and there was a central hearth for the fire. There was no chimney for the smoke to escape through. Instead the smoke made its way through the roof. This led to the soot blackening of the interior which may also have contributed to the adoption of name blackhouse.…”

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Stonework in Ireland

I shot this in 1972, somewhere on the west coast of Ireland. It didn’t look like a master mason did the work, but more like a farmer with an intuitive sense of building. I love the soulful rock work, the colors and placement of stones — obviously gathered nearby. Look at the five different funky window/door lintels. Looks like a fairly new slate roof. Abandoned, but looks sound.

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Fort Point, Under the Golden Gate Bridge

Note: Click on this image to get a much larger pic.

I often go under the bridge to check the waves. On Friday, they were hitting the seawall, with spray flying. I started talking to a park ranger, and he  told me to go inside the fort, and up to the top (four stories, cast iron staircases).

I grew up in San Francisco, I’ve been down there dozens of times, and I never knew you could go inside the fort. It’s an amazing building, built in 1853-1861. It’s open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and well worth a visit. I’ll post more photos in coming days. This was a thrill.

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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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