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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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Layout of Pages on Last Home in Our Book SMALL HOMES

Just did layout of the last home in our next book, Small Homes: The Right Size. It’s a 2-family home converted to a duplex in San Francisco,. Downstairs is Jay Nelson, his wife Rachel Kaye, and their daughter Romy; upstairs is Dalia Burde — all 3 are artists (probably Romy (above) too).

This is what’s called a “tenants in common” agreement, where 2 parties buy a home together. Listen up, people looking for homes in cities, here’s a way to cut costs in half with the important prerequisite that you’re compatible (and remain so) with each other.

At left: staircase between the 2 units, in the back yard.

We’ve got another month or so to go on the book. I’ve been neglecting a bunch of things, like working out, blogging, traveling—to get it done. Boy, do I want  to get it done!

Next we’re working on the “front matter” and “back matter,” as well as the all-important, the big kahuna—the cover. We’re probably changing from a single home on the cover to a collage of 14 photos. I’m going to put up our cover choices here for general feedback pretty soon.

Listening to this song just now: Marty Raybon – There’s A Ghost In This House – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St1-_JQwidosong now:

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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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Ohlone Tribe of Santa Cruz

This lovely painting is on the wall of the Santa Cruz Museum Of Natural History, a wonderful small museum with displays of the former inhabitants of the Monterey Bay Area, as well as local flora and fauna. It’s at 1305 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 95062.

What a beautiful life California inhabitants had before the Europeans arrived!

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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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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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Small Homes Book Rolling

Workwise, I’m having more fun than in a coon’s age.

This book—Small Homes—was in limbo for the 30 days we were in Scotland. Add to that the several weeks it took to get re-grounded at home, and there was a long lull in production (layout, that is).

WELL! The book is now rolling at a grand pace. This lovely little home just came in a few days ago.  French carpenter Menthé (partner of French carpenter Yogan) wrote, rather poetically:

“I grew up in the forest of Corréze; it’s really wild and green. 

I started building cabins when I was 3 years old, playing in the forest. 

I started this little one when I was 17 in 2000—I wanted my independence. 

It took me 3 years, and I lived there for 2 years.

The frame is made of chestnut from the forest, and all the windows are industrial window seconds.

The roof is insulated with lime and woodchips—a really strong mixture once it’s dry and insects can’t get in.

The walls are made of straw and lime; it’s a really cheap material, important when you’re young without money.

I built the entrance door with chestnut and walnut—my first work of joinerie, and it’s still working good.…”

***

This is gonna be such a good book!

Música del día: Cool Dry Place, Traveling Wilburys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD8mBMn5F5k

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