Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

December 2, 2013 - Comment

There’s a grassroots movement in tiny homes these days. The real estate collapse, the economic downturn, burning out on 12-hour workdays — many people are rethinking their ideas about shelter — seeking an alternative to high rents, or a lifelong mortgage debt to a bank on an overpriced home. In this book are some 150

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There’s a grassroots movement in tiny homes these days. The real estate collapse, the economic downturn, burning out on 12-hour workdays — many people are rethinking their ideas about shelter — seeking an alternative to high rents, or a lifelong mortgage debt to a bank on an overpriced home.

In this book are some 150 builders who have taken things into their own hands, creating tiny homes (under 500 sq. ft.). Homes on land, homes on wheels, homes on the road, homes on water, even homes in the trees. There are also studios, saunas, garden sheds, and greenhouses.

There are 1,300 photos, showing a rich variety of small homemade shelters, and there are stories (and thoughts and inspirations) of the owner-builders who are on the forefront of this new trend in downsizing and self-sufficiency.

At the heart of our 1973 book Shelter were drawings of 5 small buildings, which we recommended as a starting point in providing one’s own home. Now, almost 40 years later, there’s a growing tiny house movement all over the world — which we’ve been tracking over the past two years.

Many people have decided to scale back, to get by with less stuff, to live in smaller homes. You can buy a   ready-made tiny home, build your own, get a kit or pre-fab, or live in a bus, houseboat, or other movable shelter. Some cities have special ordinances for building “inlaw” or “granny flats” in the back yard. There are innovative solutions in cities, such as the “capsules” in Tokyo. There are numerous blogs and websites with news, photos, and/or plans for tiny homes, documented here.

If you’re thinking of scaling back, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here. Here’s a different approach, a 180º turn from increasing consumption. Here are builders, designers, architects (no less), dreamers, artists, road gypsies, and water dwellers who’ve achieved a measure of freedom and independence by taking shelter into their own hands.

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Comments

mj says:

The glowing reviews for this book can’t be real! I bought this book after reading the earlier reviews. As soon as I saw the low resolution quality of the cover photo, I thought, wait a minute, is this the right book? Then I started looking at the content, and I realized, gee, I’ve seen this content before. It’s pretty old. But almost none of the houses list a date or timeframe. The book mentions a few newer homes and builders, but by and large, I don’t feel that this book is really current. At the end, the author says that he wrote this book over the last two years, collecting images off the Web. Maybe that’s why there are so many tiny photos in this book, because that’s the best resolution he could get.I wondered why these reviews were so glowing, so I checked their authors. For most of the authors, this book is the only review. Many of the reviews have the same words, and they mention the publisher. How many consumer reviewers mention the book publisher? Come on, something’s fishy here.This book…

javajunki says:

Packed Full of Fantastic Photo’s. Creativity Meets Functionality! After eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book, I was NOT disappointed! It is packed full of beautiful full-color photographs on every page. Quality of the book, text, photographic elements and diversity of tiny homes and simple shelters is superb!Various types of homes, different locations, building materials and styles mean this will appeal to a large variety of people. From city dwellers to cave (and even tree!) dweller, there is something here for nearly anyone. Whether you are just curious, desire a spare space for some peace and quiet or searching for a full-time alternative way of living…this book is sure to inspire a multitude of ideas.There is a nice selection of pre-fab/kits and other options as well as significant treatment of recycled materials. Examples of tiny homes range from ultra modern to quaint, primative to luxurious little escapes.Size, price estimates and materials are all mentioned. This is not a blueprint book nor a…

Andrea Wasson "dejablu503" says:

Loaded with inspiration but very limited info, if info is what you are looking for I’ve seen a lot of the houses in this book before online, featured in magazine articles, on youtube or in alternative builder books, but it is nice to have them all in one place. I would have liked it better if there had been interior shots and a floor plan for each one, but as it is the book is full of eye candy for those interested in exploring the living small options. This book covers most of them, cob, stone, prefab, modular, tree houses, bus conversions, yurts, vardos, adobe, straw bale, and tiny homes on wheels. Missing was an example of a shipping container home, or if there was one I blew by it.I am a long time fan of Mr Kahn’s books, and the layout of this one is great, the photos are wonderful. Did he take it to the next level? No. As gorgeous as it is, it offers more inspiration than useful info, so it is not the holy grail go-to source for reliable info on the ins and outs of tiny home building/living that I was hoping it would be, and I’m a bit sad it isn’t…

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