homesteading (252)

SMALL HOMES Book is off to Printers

We got the proofs back last week, and I almost cried when I went through it page by page. Sounds dumb, I know, but it was overwhelming to see all the pages, in collated order, full size, 4-color for the first time — after a couple of years working on it. I’d only seen rather low-quality, reduced size printouts up until now. And you know what, it’s ahem, a beautiful book.

People, home builders from all walks of life, a great variety of designs, materials, locales. It may very well be the most useful book we’ve ever done. Tiny homes are great for some people, but too small for most. Here are 65 or so homes in all, a cornucopia of ideas for people who can’t afford high rents and bank mortgages, and want to build or remodel (or contract out) their own homes.

Check out the “sneak previews” on TheShelterBlog:

https://www.theshelterblog.com/?s=sneak+preview

Book due out April, 2017. More details to follow here.

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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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Our New BlueStar Stove

This has been a life changer. No electronic controls or screen. For oven convection, you turn on the fan. It’s such an upgrade from 25 years of a Jenn-Air. A lot of people prefer it to the Wolf Range these days, it seems.

With this model, when you remove one of the 4 ring grates, there’s a well and about a 2″ space down to the burners; a wok nestles down so you don’t need a ring for it.

Both the burners and oven work better than any stove we’ve ever used.

It’s easy to clean, and a relief not to have to mess with touchscreen controls. Made in America. A wonderful tool.

If you’re a Bay Area person: I got it at CG Appliance Express in Daly City, CA (adjacent to San Francisco), the best place I’ve ever seen for appliances of all kinds.

Note: See Kevin Kelly’s (more complete) review of the BlueStar on Cool Tools at: https://kk.org/cooltools/bluestar-range/

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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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Natural Building Colloquium - High Desert, Southern California Oct. 17th-22nd, 2016

“Focusing on the West Coast and South West

Quail Springs is an educational and land stewardship nonprofit organization dedicated to demonstrating and teaching holistic ways of designing human environments, restoring and revitalizing the land and community, and facilitating deeper understandings of ourselves and one another through immersive experiences in nature. The 2016 Colloquium organizing team consists of the whole Quail Springs team, Sasha Rabin*, Tammy Van, and Rebekah Hacker.”

“The gathering will give focus and priority to the building and builders of the west coast and south west, US.
​ We ask that all people attending the colloquium have some experience with natural building. This is not the event for the novice builder. That being said, we value the fresh eyes and perspectives, and enthusiasm that comes with a newness to the field. We will strive for a balance of experienced attendees, while also encouraging the next generation of builders.…”

https://www.earthenshelter.com/colloquium.html

*Sasha’s beautiful cob house will be in Small Homes.

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French-Canadian Family's Small Home in Quebec

Sophie and Marc’s home will be in our next book, Small Homes. Here is a letter from them, with a link to a film of their family and home:

Dear Lloyd,

Marc and I were on tv radio-canada last night.

Our family philosophy, construction and lifestyle close to nature—10 min.

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/remue-menage/2016/segments/reportage/8060/vivre-autrement-nature-simplicite?isAutoPlay=1

Have fun watching

Love to you

the quebec family

Sophie Belisle and Marc Boutin

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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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