green building (21)

Monday Morning Fish Fry*

Right now I’m working on:

1. Redesign of my blog. Rick, who doesn’t think much of templates, is writing code to achieve our new look. For one thing, I’ll be able to go wide screen with good photos (a la https://cabinporn.com/) and have more control over layout than I do now in Blogger.

2. My book on the ’60s will be on the new blog in its own category (a blog within a blog). Here, I don’t feel the need to adhere to the linear necessity of a print book. I can post things out of sequence, and people can chime in.

3. We’re going to the Rebuild Green Expo in Santa Rosa on Friday, February 23rd. We’ll have a table and be passing out my “Open letter to Californians Building New Homes After Recent Fires, and selling copies of Shelter II (which contains a manual on stud-frame building) at a 50% discount. The idea is that we can do things better this time around. It’s at Santa Rosa Veterans’ Hall, 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa. Come see us if you’re in Sonoma County. I’ll be there along with Evan and Em-J.

4. We continue making videos — a couple a month. We’re working on one on me skateboarding last week, and going to do one on office workout equipment.

5. We just completed my latest book, Driftwood Shacks: Anonymous Architecture Along the Northern California Coast (82 pages, 8″ by 8″). It’s the first in a series of short-run digitally-printed small books. This is a way for me to publish some not-ready-for-prime-time books, ones that we may just sell via mail order.

We’re using Ingram’s Lightning Source, and for a variety of reasons, I’d recommend them over Amazon’s CreateSpace.

I’ll post details on the new book within a week.

The next book in this series will be Pop’s Diner — America Is Still Out There, Folks, a 48 page hand-lettered scrapbook with color photos that I put together after a 2-week trip to the southwest, April 1-15, 1989. Hot springs, barns, canyon backpacking, 4-wheel drive, Log cabins, Valley of the Gods…

6. I continue roaming beaches. Yesterday it was spooky warm for this time of year.

7. I gave up on making chairs with a tenon cutter. I’m now going to try making chairs out of driftwood, using grabbers for connections.

*San Francisco columnist Herb Caen used to have the occasional “Friday Fish Fry” column, using 3-dot journalism to write a bunch of unrelated short bits.

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Woodworkers Attention: J. B. Blunk's Handcrafted Wooden Home in the Northern California Woods

I visited J.B. in the early ’60s, when I was just starting to build. I was inspired. It was (is) a magic house. Everyone who steps inside feels it.

Here’s a great article and photos in yesterday’s New York Times Style Magazine by Amanda Fortini, with photos by Lisa Eisner:

https://shltr.net/2fyLfRi

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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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