tiny homes (481)

Tiny House

Tiny (10 by 10) building — my latest. Curved roof like gypsy wagon (vardo or Basque shepherd’s wagon) plus windows at eye level give tiny rooms a feeling of spaciousness. This is the first autumn for this building.

Billy Cummings did a lot of the work here. Construction details (including making the curved rafters) and interior photos in The Half-Acre Homestead.

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Oregon Mountain Cabins


Peter from Portland, OR here. Met you at a book signing a couple years ago at Powell’s on Hawthorne St.

Came upon these beauties on the first day of a 5-day thru-hike in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa Mtns of NE Oregon. These mountains are high alpine, differing greatly in appearance and density than the Cascades. They seem to be managed by a man who goes by “Dennis”, who we encountered on our initial ascent into the wilderness. He told us he was the caretaker of the cabins on the southern shore of Android Lake, to peruse them if we fancy. He mentioned that it was the remnants of an old summer “resort” from the early 1900s. He has done good work restoring these old gems.

The yurt-shaped cabin looks newer, however. You’ll also notice some homemade structural supports on a couple of them. All gear/equipment/tools are carried by horseback up nearly 6500 ft. (3000 ft. gain) to this location. All in all, pretty cool. They function on something of a rental basis. They all have beds, wood stoves and seem to be in good shape interiorly as well.

Peter Knudsen

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We Will Send Our Books to Prisons Free of Charge

We get letters from prisoners from time to time, and we always send them whatever books they request, free of charge. Prisons, which are profit-making organizations, continually exacerbate the problems of confinement. Years ago, they eliminated weight training and gym facilities; until that time, we sent many copies of our book Getting Stronger: Weight Training for Men and Women, by Bill Pearl to prisons around the country. These days, they won’t allow us to send books to their libraries, as is indicated in this heartfelt letter, but we can send books directly to prisoners.

If you have any connections with prisons, or know anyone serving time, we want to get the word out that any of our books — either fitness books or books on building — can be sent free of charge upon request.

In this case, it’s such a positive thing for inmates to learn a useful trade such as building tiny homes, that will both help them integrate back into society, and help provide shelter when it’s sorely needed.

Mr. Kahn,

My name is ——— and I am an inmate of the federal correctional institution in ———————. Within the Bureau of Prisons is a program called Vocational Training (VT) wherein the local prison partners with a local college or university in order to provide career training courses that are worth transferable college credit.

I work in the VT Program as a tutor and teaching assistant in the Residential Carpentry class. As the building tutor, it’s my job to take (mostly young) men from never having held a hammer to completely framing, subfloor or slab up to roof sheathing — a tiny home in three months. I love my job and find it intensely interesting.

I’ve long had an interest in sustainable building, community building, and smaller home designs. I was not prepared to find a small but dedicated (and growing) community of similarly-minded people here in prison. We have an architect from Tucson who is into natural materials, and a gentleman who wants to build a carbon neutral off-grid home. One guy wants to build a tiny cabin in Idaho, and another dreams of building homes on small trailer frames as a business. It’s exciting to have this support.

Which, Mr. Kahn, is why I am writing. I’m hoping you can connect me to resource books, papers, and other sources of information so that I can help this community succeed. The VT carpentry library is small and currently contains only a few volumes on tiny home design with almost nothing about natural or alternative methods of sustainability.

I’m working to change that, little by little. One of my goals here is to vastly increase the information available to the inmate population. Without internet or research computer access, that means the printed word. My vision is to have a robust selection of books on general sustainability, green building, water systems, solar designs — the works. I am asking you and Shelter Publications to donate books for the purpose of bolstering our sustainability knowledge set.

I making this appeal personally rather than as an official part of the VT program because the BOP has very strict rules about outside/private organizations donating to or participating in BOP programs. As an inmate, however, I can receive books and materials, then donate them to the library. I understand the purpose of these rules (I do not want to jog laps in the Coca-Cola Annex or spend time in the Inmate Leisure Library brought to you by Verizon,) but it does make certain things more difficult to accomplish.

I screwed up, broke the law and I’m paying the price. I could spend the next four years feeling sorry for myself, but that is not who I am. I intend to leave here a better person and to have made this place better for my efforts.

I ask that you help me serve this community, that these people can go on to serve their home communities.

Thank you for your time,

Respectfully, ———

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Yurts in Cornwall

I recently got an Instagram post from Lisa Mudie at Mill Valley Yurts in Cornwall, U.K, along with some photos. (They rent yurts and cabins in a rural setting.) I asked her to email me, and she wrote:

“Thirteen years ago we started a rustic campsite in our beautiful Cornish Valley a few miles from the rugged Atlantic coast which has evolved over the years into a crazy mix of hobbit huts, wooden yurts, cabins, and gypsy vardos. All handmade by us using reclaimed materials and all Cornish timber. Our latest purchase is a mobile sawmill and 26 tonnes of local oak … now we can really start building!”

Yurts in Cornwall

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Surfer’s Shack by Bruno Atkey on the “Wild Coast” of British Columbia


Surfer’s shack built by Bruno Atkey on the “Wild Coast,” about 40 miles by north of Tofino (reachable only by sea–no roads), on the west side of Vancouver Island. We went in Bruno’s 17-foot aluminum fishing boat, with 50 HP rope-pull-starter outboard motor), stayed there a couple of nights, fished, surfed, drank whiskey, and took a driftwood-fired sauna when I was shooting photos for Builders of the Pacific Coast. Bruno was one of the first surfers on Vancouver Island.

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Two Cabins on Washington State Island

We received these photos last week, from Vashon Island, which is in Puget Sound.

Hi Lloyd,

The A-frame cabin was built in the late 1960s by Tony Arndt, and my family purchased the property in 1978. My late Aunt Mary lived in it for some time with her son. I think she replaced the cedar shingles on the front and possibly the windows. Sadly, it is falling down now, I do believe beyond repair.

The newer cabin is my 12′ by 16′ cabin with a loft. All materials for windows and doors were salvaged for free. I’m trying to incorporate design elements from the forest as well as repurposing wood from the old cabin.

During the same time, my father and mother, myself and 2 brothers lived in a small one-room cabin and a bus on another part of the property, which is where I am building my cabin. There’s a 3rd larger cabin on the property built from all old-growth timber by my father. The property had no power or water when we purchased it in 1978. We dug our own well during the 1980s, and put power in.

–Chris Ramsell

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Tiny Home in Maine

April 6, 2020

Dear Lloyd,

A photo of our daughter’s house

I have been reading your books for years (and have given them to my kids) and, more recently, your blog. I studied architecture in college (in the 70’s) and when your Shelter book came out I wore it out reading it. It has influenced the last forty years of my life as a builder/carpenter.

Ours is a relatively sustainable and self sufficient lifestyle, and one our kids have adopted as well. Our daughter has been living for the last 5 years in a 7′×10′ house she built, with no electricity or running water, and is building a traditional Washington County peapod (a double-ended wooden rowboat). Our son is currently living in a 42″ wide × 10′ long shelter he built to live in, while building a tiny house for a college acquaintance. before that he was living on a 36′ sailboat he fixed up and sailed solo across the Atlantic to the Azores.

We are preparing to sell the house in which our two kids were born and grew up, and on which we have worked for the last forty years. My wife created a website so we can sell the house ourselves and I thought, perhaps, you might like to see the photos of the house.

Here’s a link to the website richmondmainefarmhouse.com

Thanks for all the inspiration — just wanted you to know that you’ve had quite an impact on our lives.

Best wishes to you,
Joe Stanley

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