woodwork (47)

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 2-by-8s 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.

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Photo of Zome Workshop in France by Yogan

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Photos from yogan carpenter of his friend Robin’s workshop in SW France, with a zome roof. Again, yogan has photographed a building shown in Home Work (page 49) but gotten better shots. This is really a nice idea: using a dome as roof on vertical walls. It’s in a section in the book on countercultural builders in France. (A friend of ours who lives in Amsterdam says that France is the California of Europe.)

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Shingled Cabin in France

I am Bastien Forestier. I live in Boussy Saint Antoine near Paris. One year ago, in the winter, I was driving across Normandy to go surfing. On my way I stumbled upon la Chappelle D’Allouville, a mystical wooden treehouse made by a monk in 1609. So I decided to build a shelter using this technique.

I began doing wood shingles and beams. First with axes, then I bought a shaking axe.

I used the trees around me. I know them all since my childhood. Now after a year i have a roof and walls. I am very sure to make more houses like this in the future, inspired by Tingely’s cyclops maybe.

I like that the people in the neighborhood call it La Chapelle (the chapel).

Note: These are actually shakes, rather than shingles.  –LK

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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!”


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Studio on the Pond in BC

Roger Warren just sent this, along with this description of his studio on an island in British Columbia:

Lloyd… The studio was put together from scrounged everything, total investment under $300 that was mostly for floor ply. Size is 8 × 12.

Something you have never mentioned in any of your books (I have them all): Any building should be designed around multiples of 4. This fits in with standard construction lumber; i.e.: If you build 10 × 10, you (have to) cut off 2 ft. of floor ply.

I also designed and built the house, shown in my website.

www.rogeronsaltspring.com/gallery-iii

I also have the same tools you do.

Cheers Lloyd,
–Roger

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Handcrafted Homes in Pennsylvania Woods

A terrific article in today’s NYTimes (3/16/20) online by Michael Snyder, with great photos by Chris Mottalini.

Everything about this story and the photos struck me as right. I felt at home here. I love the rumpled bed in the second photo. I also like the idea of an “alternative to modernism.” 

How Two Children Are Keeping Their Father’s Design Legacy Alive

A pair of Pennsylvania homes constructed by the Japanese-American furniture designer George Nakashima have become an enduring testament to mid-century folk craft.

“From 1946, when he founded his studio on a three-acre plot in New Hope, a historic artist’s colony halfway between New York City and Philadelphia, to his death in 1990 at the age of 85, Nakashima devoted his life to transforming slabs of walnut, cherry, burled maple and redwood into coffee tables shaped like pools of water, Shaker-style chairs with hand-whittled spindles and dining-room tables fashioned from slices of tree trunks, their cracks and seams bridged with joints like butterflies caught in amber. ‘He felt his work was a form of integral yoga: How you work and live is all connected,’ his daughter, Mira, 78, told me on a damp, gray morning last fall while showing me around the grounds of the studio, which she has run since her father’s death. Organic, improvisational and individual, the tens of thousands of objects he made in the course of his lifetime were also functional, meant for daily use; they were, Mira says, “the antithesis of Modernism, a protest against mass production.”

“But the homes where Mira and Kevin live, patinated and imperfect and crowded with debris, more fully capture the spirit of mingei. Less an antithesis to Modernism than an alternative to it, such projects embraced 20th-century idioms while refusing to accept industrial mass production as the fundamental fact of modernity. ‘Dad always said that building furniture was just like architecture but smaller,’ Mira says. In his houses for his children, the opposite holds true: Like Nakashima’s tables and chairs, they can be read as works of folk art, useful objects that, as Yanagi wrote, ‘honestly fulfill the practical purpose for which they were made.’”

www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/t-magazine/george-nakashima-legacy.html

Article sent us by Elizabeth Kirkland

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SunRay’s Treehouse Masterpiece

Just when you think maybe SunRay has done all he’s gonna do — like major buildings — he pulls off this wild soaring, spiraling, 4-story log-framed structure in the woods. The spiral turrets up top are just insane. I mean, holy shit! SunRay rolls on, a true Spirit of Nature in his designs, carried out with incredible (and intuitive) building skills.

I wrote Uncle Mud (aka Chris McClellan) about SunRay’s latest (I’d seen a pic on @cabinporn) and he responded:

Lloyd,

I was there in 2018 during the rebuild after the fire so I don’t have anything newer than framing, which I have enclosed. Bonnie sends this video. I’m off to the mountains of Jamaica to teach mud building again next week. The village of Nine Mile is very sweet to us. The little kids call me “Meesta Mood”. People there make $20 a day but a sack of cement costs $10 so no one every finishes their house. When we were there in 2018 we taught them how to make windows out of bottles that get thrown by the side of the road, putting up a rough “Tree of Life” window in the dead of night before our flight home. When we came back in 2019 we were treated to this lovely view of the finished window.

(I’ll put up Mud’s photos in a later post.)

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