small homes (113)

The Steen Family’s Latest Straw Bale Building Project

Bill and Athena Steen, the strawbale/earthen plaster maestro/maestra team from Arizona are helping build this home, which will be featured in our new book, Small Homes.

Bill writes: “Interior adobe wall in a clay plastered straw bale house we are helping our boys build in Sonoita, AZ.”

(Bill shoots pretty much all his photos with an iPhone, has been doing it for a few years. I’ve finally come around to doing this. Both of us still use the big cameras (him a Nikon, me an Olympus OM-D) for serious shoots, but the iPhone for every day shots. The new iPhone 6S has a super new camera.)

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Small Home in San Francisco

I’ve often found that homes that appear quite simple on the outside are lovely inside. Also that in my experience, men tend to think of how a building looks on the exterior, whereas women tend to judge a home by the interior space and  the life that can be conducted within. That’s an observation from decades of observing both men and women and their ideas of what makes for a desirable home.

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On the Coast Today

Left at 5:30 AM, made about 12 photo stops, got to Gualala at 9 — 3-1/2 hours travel time, from pitch black to blue-sky/blue ocean morning sun.

Three planets are lined up in pre-dawn skies right now, about 4-6:30 AM in these parts. Power girl Venus, Jupiter, Mars.

After breakfast, Louie and I took a long walk on the Guala beach.

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Mark & Meg’s Half Acre California Coastal Farm

On which they grow 60-70% of all their own food.

I’m going to post sneak previews of our next book, Small Homes, once in a while, as I proceed with layout. There will be 6 pages with photos of Mark and Meg’s home, built out of recycled wood, and garden.

I’m experimenting with Twitter to post references to other websites; it’s quicker than blogging. https://twitter.com/lloydkahn

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The Very Possible End of this Blog

In the ’60s I had a friend is Santa Barbara, a highly-skilled gardener, tell me this about the growth of his pot plants: they’d not grow much for a week or so, then suddenly in 24 hours they’d grow like crazy. We talked about how knowledge was like that. You’ll take in information and ponder something over a period of time and suddenly—eureka!—you’ll get it. You get the whole picture. You see the way forward.

Well here’s my growth spurt of the last few days. It may be premature to write this, but I think I see a new way to get out our “content*”) out to (more) people.

I’ve been pondering mostly Instagram and Twitter, but also Facebook (ugh!), Pinterest, maybe Tumblr as a better way than blogging. I’ve done almost 5,000 posts now, some 7 million page views, I think it’s time to hang it up, or at least quit trying to do a post a day. I’ve been running it like a mini-newspaper, and I love doing it, but it’s taking too much time. Maybe I’ll just do my own material on this blog and not keep posting interesting stuff from other websites.

Small Homes

I’m laying out about 2 pages of this new book each day. Once I get the photos and text on the design table, it seems to assemble itself. Oh this fits here…I’ll put the pull quote here…Line this up both up and across…I love doing it—watching the birth of a book. A lot of material came in today—photos and stories.

I need to put more time into the book now, less on the blog.

Plus it’s occurring to me that blogs may be less significant these days, what with these super-sized phone screens and the fact that people are checking Instagram and Facebook daily whereas one has to go to a blog. I only look at blogs occasionally.

Lloyd’s Change of Direction

The iPhone 6 Plus! Holy shit! What a tool. I’ve run across 3 of them in the last 5 days. Yesterday my friend Jeff said, “Have you seen the billboards with photos shot on the iPhone 6?” I’ve kept saying I’d rather shoot quick photos with my many-featured Sony Cybershot RX100 II—raw files, tons of options not on any phone. But the camera seems v. good on the new iPhone and it’ll allow me to post stuff immediately, without having to shoot pix, load them on computer, use wi-fi, blah blah blah…Just zap from the phone. Immediate communication.

It’s gonna be fun, because I run across so much interesting stuff out in the world.

Looking forward to doing Twitter again. Forced to edit self.

*I have probably 15,000 (film and digital ) photos from 50+years—maybe half of them on homes, builders, building, architecture, most of it never used.

Live Broadcast of Small Homes

We’re going to try publishing excerpts from this book as we lay it out. Need to figure how to do so efficiently…hey, what about publishing quick photos of rough layout like this, along with a paragraph about the builder/homeowners? Would that work? The above layout:

“Jes Nelee’, musician and world traveler, designed and built her own small home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the help of her 80-year-old grandfather and friends.”

We could do that real simply. Get out on theshelterblog plus other social media.

Just sayin…

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Small Homes Book Under Production

I’m rolling with layout of Small Homes. It’s like magic: I start with a bunch of photos and columns of text and start assembling. I’ll pick a lead photo and blow it up on my little (inexpensive)  6-year-old Brother DCP-9040CN color printer/copier and start laying things down, getting pics to size on the copy machine, shifting stuff around, adding text, taping it down with Scotch removable tape and voila, it’s lookin pretty good.

Note: we want to hear what people are doing about shelter in cities (other than paying $3500/month for a studio apartment in San Francisco). Email us at smallhomes@shelterpub.com

I’ve got so much going on right now, what with the book production, and also due to the fact that our sales have dropped off (in the midst of incredible feedback), so we’re working on marketing. Goal is to get people in bookstores just to pick up one of our books.

I’m back in the water after about 20 years of running (mostly on the mountain). Swimming and paddling my (12′ Joe bark Surftek) paddleboard, which whisks through the water. The other day I got in a strong outgoing tide, paddling hard, and was going at least 10 mph, if not 15, water spraying from the bow, pretending I was a speedboat. The water in the ocean is uncharacteristically warm right now. Some days 65 degrees. Am I in LA?

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There ARE a Few Good Architects in the USA: Lake/Flato Architects in Texas

“HACIENDA JA JA

Alamo Heights, TX

Nestled beneath the canopy of the live oaks, the home is a natural partner with its neighbors in scale, with porches allowing its residents to easily engage with activity on the street.

Carefully sited to preserve and to protect the live oaks, to promote cross-ventilation and to maximize natural daylighting, the home is also designed to avoid solar thermal gain during the summer and capture passive solar heating during the winter. Rainwater is collected from the roofs and stored in a below-ground tank; during most of the year, captured rain water will supplant domestic water for all landscape irrigation needs.”

https://www.lakeflato.com/projects/homes.asp

Suggested by Michael Gaspers

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