tiny homes on wheels (32)

Review of Rolling Homes in Point Reyes Light

by Sam Mondros – October 10, 2022

Original article at ptreyeslight.com/news/rolling-homes-unpacked-in-new-lloyd-kahn-book


Gregory Watson's traveling carpentry rig carries his tools and blueprints, acting as both shelter and office.

Gregory Watson’s traveling carpentry rig carries his tools and blueprints, acting as both shelter and office.

One rainy day last fall, two men traveling on electric unicycles from New York’s Hudson Valley found themselves on the streets of Bolinas being photographed by Lloyd Kahn, author of over a dozen books on tiny homes. The unicycles were outfitted with dirt bike tires, tiger-print protective pads and various bags holding the belongings of their riders, Dylan Weidman and Tristan Schipa.

The unicycles became the most minimalist examples of 75 wheeled homes featured in Mr. Kahn’s new book, Rolling Homes: Shelter on Wheels. Mr. Kahn’s latest release is a follow-up to Tiny Homes on the Move, his first book on mobile homes. Some of its subjects are solar-powered, some double as saunas, some have gardens or pizza ovens and bars. One hauls 12 baby bison and others barely work well enough to get a person and their surfboard to the beach, but all are homes of one sort and the book explores them through photographs and stories about their many adventures.

“I think it’s my best book in a long time,” Mr. Kahn said. “It’s timely and speaks to people who are a part of a movement that isn’t specific to any age group.”

Mr. Kahn has spent over five decades publishing a wide spectrum of books on do-it-yourself design and carpentry that have influenced builders across the world. He took to building at age 12, helping with projects at his family’s weekend home in the Central Valley. After graduating from Stanford in 1957, he joined the Air Force and spent two years as the editor for a military newspaper. When he returned to California, he built his first home, in Mill Valley, developing his practical philosophy of building while working as an insurance broker. He soon exchanged his suit and tie for a hammer and measuring tape.

In Big Sur in the ’60s, Mr. Kahn explored a variety of housing design concepts and quickly became an authority on geodesic domes. Ultimately, he would rescind his two books on domes out of a belief that the structures, once representative of a brand of Northern California counterculture, were intrinsically flawed. “I have many reasons for why they don’t work,” Mr. Kahn said. “The whole building is exposed to weather, it’s hard to subdivide inside and they leak. I learned there’s beauty in rectangles, as far as housing goes,” he said.

In 1973, Mr. Kahn released his most popular book to date, Shelter, co-authored by architect Bob Easton. The colossal photo book celebrates varying forms of shelter built by humankind and showcases Mr. Kahn’s D.I.Y. ethic, offering blueprints and instructions “Shelter” sold over 300,000 copies and was re-released in 2013.
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Paul Elkins’ Video of the TinyFest Festival Sept. 10-11, 2022

One of Paul’s bicycle-pulled campers is in our most recent book, Rolling Homes. Paul drove all the way down from Washington to exhibit one of his trailers next to our Shelter booth at the festival. People were fascinated with his trailer and he had inquisitive visitors for the entire two days. Here is his video of a bunch of the rigs on display.



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Simple Van Setup

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Brilliant simple van setup by Sam Ausden, who is pulling an equally brilliant trailer built with SIPs (structural insulated panels) with solar panels powering a big air conditioner and a 14kw 48-volt battery.

His units were on display at the TinyFest Festival last weekend.

There are 17 $8 milk crates holding everything. They are held snug with powerful magnets. Simple, cheap, practical, lightweight.

Quite a contrast with expensive, overbuilt, heavy Sprinter van conversions.

www.zerohouse.co

instagram.com/tallmaninavan

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At Tiny Home Festival on September 10-11

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We’re scrambling to get ready to do our first festival appearance in four years.

Evan and I are in the process of packing up our trucks with all our festival gear: 10′ × 10′ booth with white canvas roof, our Shelter banner, boxes of books, tables, chairs, and lath walls that we will affix to the sides of the booth and upon which we will mount blowups from our various books.

This is for the Tiny Home Festival at the Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California this weekend, September 10-11. Details and tickets at:
www.tinyfest.events/tinyfest-pleasanton-california-2022.

We will be selling our books at a discount and I will be doing a presentation and slideshow on Rolling Homes on the main stage at 1 PM on Saturday, September 10 (calendar file).

In the past we have appeared at green festivals, solar energy festivals, and what was the best of all: the Maker Faires, but the Maker Faires unfortunately went out of business, and then Covid came along.

The big news right now is that Rolling Homes is finally in the stores, as well as available from us via mail order.


Below are some spreads from Rolling Homes (available at shelterpub.com/building/rolling-homes, which has a 30% discount on two or more books and free shipping:

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Rolf Pot’s Ford Transit Connect Van

Having always been attracted to compact living spaces on wheels and having been stranded several times in VW Westfalias, I decided to start off with a basic solid vehicle with reliability, safety and small size in mind. The challenge of fitting as many desirable features in a limited space attracted me greatly. Found this 2017 Ford Transit Connect passenger van with 16K miles for 20K dollars here in the Bay Area.

Essential for me was being able to stand up and a sense of spaciousness. Hence the rear-hinged pop-top, purchased from England. Cutting it to size was a bit of a pain, a local welding shop made the strengthening frame, the rest was pretty straight forward. A single flex solar panel and a ceiling fan just fit on the 6″ top. The bed slides forwards and backwards to max 6′3″, while still allowing standing space to cook and stretch. A 200ah battery and 1K watt inverter is sufficient for blender, 150-watt space heater, movie screen etc. Slightly larger size tires and a yet to be installed 1″ lift kit gives it a bit more clearance. The van took 8 months to complete, gets 32 mpg at 65 mph on level road. Inadvertently the additional weight gives it a smooth ride while retaining enough power. The six speakers and good seats makes this a perfect rig for my travel needs and stealth camping. My pup Bella agrees!

Rolf Pot
Santa Cruz

Note: Rolf’s bus “Old Red” is featured in our new book Rolling Homes on pp. 204–205.

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GIMME SHELTER – Summer 2022

To anyone receiving this for the first time, I send these newsletters out every few months. They’re different from social media — old-school in a way — in that they go to a select audience (over 5,000 people now), rather than blasting out into the internetosphere.

If you’re not signed up on the list to receive it, you can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here.


Homestead in Spring 2022. See our recent book,
The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening

Rolling Homes Is Done!

Back cover

Title spread

After a year and a half, dealing with maybe a hundred contributors, thousands (I kid you not!) of emails, many thousands of photos, the book has pieced itself together, as has been the fashion with our building books. The material provided the content, and the book organized itself as it was put together.

I just received (via expensive air mail from China) the first five copies of Rolling Homes: Shelter on Wheels. 7,000 copies of the book are now en route to the U.S.A. and we expect it to be available in mid-July.

Holding it in my hands, I’m seeing it for the first time. And yes, I am prone to over-enthusiasm, and yes, this is my baby — but I think this is our best building book in years. There’s energy, there’s joy, there’s cleverness and craftsmanship and the spirit of adventure. There’s solid information — and fun. The people shine through.

There are time-tested components recommended by these builders, sometimes in great detail. And there’s inspiration — to create, to build, to get out there, to do something different.

But best … check it out in this 50-page flipbook: shelterpub.com/rolling-homes-sample-flipbook

Attention, reviewers:

Want the full book in flipbook form for review? Write rollinghomes@shelterpub.com, telling us where your review might appear, and we’ll send a link (and send us your address if you’d like us to mail you a copy of the book once printed).

Seeking blurbs:

Can you help us publicize the book? We will send you the flipbook version and if you like it, could you give us a few lines we could use for publicity purposes?


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1956 Cadillac Camper

Got this email with old photos from Claudia Smigelski today, it referred to the camper, which was for sale for $1525 on eBay in 2011 (in LA, of course) — which I had posted on my blog.

Hello Lloyd!

I’m unsure if your the same Lloyd with the 1956 Cadillac camper, but if you are thanks for posting the photo! It reminds me of one I bought many moons ago in Arizona and brought to NY.

Wish I still had it! What happened to the 1956 Cadillac Camper?

Thanks, Claudia

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Tiny Home in Northern California

A month or so ago, I saw a unique elliptical wooden teardrop trailer in the surfers’ parking lot at Salmon Creek (Sonoma County). Inside was Mira Nussbaum, who was painting on a silk scarf. The trailer will be one of the units covered in our forthcoming book (publication date May-June, 2022), Rolling Homes. Mira told me she and her husband lived in a tiny home, and she sent these photos. A link to her art work is at www.silkstorymaps.com.

Our tiny house, Tree Song, was inspired by three years of visioning and design for a better way of life. We built this sanctuary so that we could take a step towards living our own beliefs and values in our day-to-day choices. Tree Song was built in 2010 from locally harvested and produced material sourced from local businesses who care about their ecological impact, furthering our intention to live a simple life connected to the land. Tree Song was built on a 22′ × 8′ trailer and is 13′ tall. This amazing home has been at two retreat centers on the East Coast, made an arduous cross-country journey, and now resides in Northern California where we have called it our home since 2017.

–Mira and Alex

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