domes (12)

My Take on the '60s

Jim Morrison said once that when they (The Doors) finished a record, only then were they released to start thinking about the next one. When I finished Small Homes, I couldn’t think what to do next. I’d sort of run the gamut of 9″x12′ building books, each with about color 1000 photos, from Home Work to Small Homes. Retire? No way! I’m just getting warmed up.

About the same time there was an explosion of articles, TV specials, museum exhibits, and conferences rehashing “The Summer of Love.” (Yes, I know I’ve written this before, but I’m further into it all now.)

Since my take on the years was so different from everything being written or presented, I decided to write my own version of the ’60s. (I was there.) The project seemed to gather momentum as I proceeded. I started having fun. I hadn’t looked back at those times in any sort of organized way, and I found myself not only marveling at what happened, but having new insights with the perspective of 5 decades.

Plus, the 60s weren’t an abstraction for me. The concepts, the spirit, the new knowledge profoundly changed my life. (I just realized this now.)

Stop, children, what’s that sound,

Everybody look—what’s going down.

                             -Buffalo Springfield

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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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Our Next Book - SMALL HOMES - Now In Production

I started 3 days ago. My M.O. is to open the file drawer and start picking out folders (there are 50-60 now) to work on.

I pick them out randomly and start doing layout— with scissors and removable scotch tape. No stinkin computers at this stage.

I print out the text in 3 & 4 columns, adjust photos to desired size on copy machine, and do rough layouts.

This is turning out to be really fun. We’ve accumulated material for maybe a year and now, the book is starting to assemble itself, in random manner. Organizing will come later.

Note: contact us if you know of small homes (400-1200 sq. ft.) that would work in this book:

smallhomes@shelterpub.com

We are especially interested in any kind of homes in cities and towns.

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Steve Arene's Dome in Thailand

“In 2011 I had a wonderful visit with my friend Hajjar Gibran. For years he has inspired me with his creative ideas. This time he was building domes at his retreat center in northeast Thailand. He and his wife offered me a spot on their mango farm to build my own dome.

With Hajjar’s guidance and design ideas, along with my own, and his son-in-law Tao’s masonry skills, I had my dome home up and painted in six weeks.

For a lot of great photos, click here.

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