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Check Out Our Photos Now on Tumblr

Above: Caleb and Louise’s hand-built home near West Cornwall, Connecticut, in the early ’70s

Sean Hellfritsch gave us the idea of using Tumblr for good quality photos; he started it and now Brittany Cole Bush is continuing to put up photos, some old, some recent.

Click here: https://shelterpub.tumblr.com/

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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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It's All About Building

Small Homes – the book

I’ve got pretty much all the pages laid out. Rick will be back from Hawaii next week and build the rest of the pages in InDesign. The book is looking better each week. Here’s a little hidden waterfront cottage (under construction) on Vancouver Island, BC (the shakes for the eaves were steamed and bent).

Material continues to come in for the book (400-1200 sq. ft. homes), and we’ll continue the book after its publication on theshelterblog, with a section titled “Small Homes.” Ongoing small homes.

My Next Book (?)

Adventures in Building – a 70-Year Odyssey

No kidding. I started at 12 years old, helping my dad build a house on his rice farm near Colusa, California. At 18 I got into the carpenters’ union in San Francisco and worked for a shipwright on the docks (SF was a port in those days!). At age 25 I started building and remodeling on a piece of land with 3 cottages in Mill Valley, California.

I never got the chance to work with a master carpenter or formally learn architecture, so I had a layman’s approach. Everything was new.

Right off, I liked the smell of lumber, and was fascinated with how things went together (still am). In about 12 buildings over the course of years, I personally went through post and beam, then polyhedral (domes), and finally stud frame construction techniques.

And all along, I shot pictures of buildings, collected books, and interviewed builders about all types of buildings and materials, and so far, have produced 6 highly graphic books on building.

Having this layman’s view means I can talk to inexperienced builders in understandable terms. Plus, all the travel and studying and interviews have given me a wealth of material of interest to experienced builders. We’re all interested in how things are put together. That’s what building is all about.

Música del día:

Etta James “Come Back Baby”


Enough! I’m heading for the beach…

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Bruno's Hand-hewn Froe Mallet

Bruno Atkey, one of the major builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast, has been splitting cedar shakes for most of his life. He split the shakes for my 6-sided tower roof from driftwood logs (and his girlfriend Mecea drove them down here in a van). He’s split cedar shakes, and even siding, in British Columbia for numerous homes over the years.

Godfrey Stephens sent us this photo of Bruno’s latest mallet. (I use an old bowling pin.) In the background is one of Godfrey’s paintings.

Here’s a photo of a froe:

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Maine Builder Specializes in SMALL, not TINY Homes

Jim Bahoosh is a builder in Maine who specializes in small (500-900 sq. ft.) homes. His homes look really nice, and of the right size.

This of course coincides with our next book, now almost completed: Small Homes, which highlights some 70 builders and their small homes (400-1200 sq. ft.). It’s due out in February, 2017.

Article on Jim: https://bangordailynews.com/2016/08/01/homestead/small-but-not-tiny-houses-right-size-for-many/

His website: https://www.jimbahooshbuilder.com/houses.shtml

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Progress on SMALL HOMES Book

We just finished what will probably be the middle section of the book, “Small Homes in Cities and Towns,” 67 photos on some 20 pages. When Rick showed me the finished pages, I was thrilled. Some times I’ll muddle my way through a project, starting with no concept of how it will come out, and the whole, as  they say, is greater than the sum of its parts, i.e., synergy.

We’ve got 200 out of 224 pages done now. I have this great feeling, having worked for so many months, because:

1. we’re close to the end (to printers in November, out February 2017)

2. it looks so darned good!

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Back to Book Production

My trip to Scotland was an overwhelmingly wonderful experience. 30 days of people who were friendly, cheerful, and helpful—civilized society!

I shot maybe 1000 photographs, with three different cameras. I posted (mostly photos) on Instagram and this blog almost every day.
I could do a book on this trip, but the reality, the priority right now, is to get our new book, Small Homes, finished.

So I will be posting less for a while, and certainly not posting daily.

I had an epiphany, as they say, yesterday: I can reach a lot more people by turning out books than I can by posting things on my blog or via Instagram—at least with my present internet followers (about 500 people a day).

Plus the feedback from our books is phenomenal. Just about daily: people inspired, lives changed, abilities discovered.

I want to get this book finished and then try to get one new book published each year (instead of one book every 2-3 years, as now).

I’m thinking of three possibilities for the book after this one:

Trips I’ve taken over the past 40 years, with photos and text. Readers can ride shotgun with me.

• My favorite builders: about six or seven of them, describing not only their work, but their personalities. I just love all these guys.

Barns: a scrapbook of my photos over the years and reference to the many (not well-known) books I’ve accumulated on barns; we have over 3 feet of barn books in our shelves.

So it’s back to book making for me. I’m really excited by this new one. I’m gonna get oan wi it.


Check out https://www.theshelterblog.com/ for daily postings on building, homesteading, gardening, carpentry. tiny homes, small homes, and the like.

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