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The Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses: Build your own guest cottage, writing studio, home office, craft workshop, or personal retreat Paperback – September 23, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing (September 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565237048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565237049
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Ran a story about Jay Shaffer and the small house movement

The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company's Pompano model was featured on Fox Business News

Whether you really want to downsize or just want to fantasize about living in a small, exquistely-constructed, simpler bungalow, Shafer's book will be a treat. Stunning photos of the small Tumbleweed houses in many natural settings will entice readers into learning more. The first half of the book focuses on the styles of homes available, and the second half has illustrated guidelines for preparing a site and building a home. Highly recommended.

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a personal tour from Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, of his new tiny home. Jay has completed and moved into the Gifford Box Bungalow. This house is one of the designs featured in his latest book called Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses. Jay agreed to do a video walkthrough of the Gifford explaining his thoughts behind the design of his house. These homes were recently featured in HGTV Design Star's contest but I prefer Jay's design and I think the designers could learn a lot from him.

From the Back Cover

Good things do come in small packages.

Just ask internationally recognized small living expert Jay Shafer. His small buildings have appeared on CNN, Oprah, Fine Homebuilding, and This Old House. Ranging in size from 100 to 120 square feet, these tiny backyard buildings can be used as guest cottages, art or writing studios, home offices, craft workshops, vacation retreats, or full-time residences.

Filled with photos, elevation drawings, and door/window schedules for six Tumbleweed box bungalows, Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses also includes extensive how-to instructions that can be applied to any backyard building project. These handsome little buildings are filled with interesting and practical details including real doors, windows, and skylights. With extra design attention to energy and space efficiency, these tiny houses can help us onthe road to a sustainable world.

Customer Reviews

Just don't expect too much.
Owner Tiny Bastments Apts.
Some wonderful designs of small sheds and tiny houses, beautifully built.
Joanne
Great pictures and ideas are included.
Sunny

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Hutchison on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love tumbleweed houses, and I bought this book to get a better idea of the interiors and how to build shelves and closets in small spaces. This book is first and foremost an advertisements for tumbleweed homes. It gives a lot of very basic layouts for the houses and then tells you to purchase the plans from the website.

The parts that did contain DIY information looked to be taken straight form a generic source. None of the DIY pages had people working on tumbleweed houses. Instead you will get some illustrated how to pages of people working on large structures. I was very disappointed by this. In one DIY page it shows you the proper way to cut down a tree... WHY!?

Overall I think they were stretching to get enough content for this book. I was hoping to get a lot of nice how to info on tumbleweeds, but I ended up getting a few pages of useless DIY. For the same money I could have bought a more comprehensive how to book form Home Depot.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Charles L. Clark II on May 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
While I'll agree that some of the book is nothing more than a catalog I will say it is more than that. They give a walk through, starting with how to cut down a tree. Why? How many people do you know that have EVER cut down a tree? The idea is to expand the minds (and the market) of tiny houses and I appreciate that Jay Shafer didn't leave anything to chance.

What I didn't like was that the instructions, on the last page of the book, were for two great offers. One was the ability to purchase a set of six bungalow plans for only $49.95 (a roughly $500 savings) and the other was a code (found in a well sealed flap of the last page) to be used to download the Zinn bungalow plans for free. However, when this reviewer went online to take advantage of both of these, neither link was available on the Tumbleweed site. I emailed the company but didn't get an answer so I messaged them through Facebook and got a prompt response that I want all of you to know.

They did email me the plans for the Zinn bungalow (nowhere near as convenient as the book alludes to). The offer for the six bungalow plans for only $49.95? I'll quote them here, "That offer is no longer available." Where I live that is called false advertising, but I understand laws vary from state to state.

At any rate, if you get joy from looking at tiny houses - get the book. I'm keeping mine, despite the misrepresentation.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Baja James on September 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have Fox Chapels book on small cottages a cabins then you have most if not all of the practical content of the book. The remainder is a catalog with great pictures and floor plans for Tumbleweed Houses. The book is usefull in that aspect and for getting ideas but know what you are getting.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Amoni on April 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
My impression of the book is that Jay Shafer wrote a couple of pages about designing and living in a tiny house and the publishers pasted together some generic info about building small structures. There are many drawings of boring bungalow style mini-cottages that don't seem useful for anything. Overall, it is very uninspiring. I returned my copy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Owner Tiny Bastments Apts. on June 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Much of this book was a how-to-do-carpentry guide. I was looking for tips on tiny houses and what I got was a nicely bound super nice book however 1/2 looked like diagrams and wall--framing how-to from a bunch of old Sunset Magazine yard and graden books I have on the shelves. Just don't expect too much. Limited use to me as a person converting basements on hillside houses and detatched garages into apartments. This may be a good book for younger book buyers or inexperienced framers and the photos are nice......just don't expect too much.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg Scheuer on July 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
I recently ordered, "Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses." The book is terrible. It is a complete waste of money. I expected the recapitulation of the Tumbleweed catalog as filler but at least in, "The Small House Book" there was some interesting information. The "Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses" book is a vastly inferior version of a basic construction book. There appears to be no effort to tailor any of the basic construction information to tiny dwellings.

Basic construction books that I would recommend are, "Building Thoreau's Cabin," by Stephen Taylor and "Habitat for Humanity, How to Build a House" by Haun. "The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses" by Lester Walker is not a construction book but it is great to get you dreaming.

Tumbleweed has some attractive models. The over priced Tumbleweed plans may even have a place if you have to build an RV (as in... on a trailer) and you don't want an Airstream. However, if can build on any kind of foundation, it makes more sense to use traditional design in dimensions that are multiples of 4, with standard 2x4s. If you have never built anything you may not understand why this is so important but it is. Tumbleweed could easily adapt their designs and they would be just as cute; just cheaper, easier and more efficient to build. If you are not building an RV I would wait. I heard Tumbleweed hired a school-trained architect and I would bet money she will address this sooner than later.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Swede VINE VOICE on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after reading the very mixed reviews on Amazon, and now see the validity of many of the reviewers' points.

I've been following the Small House movement for many years - and drawing my own plans for decades, so I'd say I'm a devotee, but not yet committed. I have purchased Jay's previous books, so I was ready for this as a second step to help me see the work involved in building my "dream home." It looks overwhelming to me as a person with some limitations, but it certainly laid out the scope of the project (at least the building's shell, not the interior).

The one great shortcoming of the book is the lack of interior shots. If there are so many ways to finish the interior of the tiny house, well then, let's see it! Perhaps the author feels this is ground that has already been covered, but I'm sure from the comments here, and the endless stream of decorating and design books, that there is a real hunger to know how these tiny homes are being used.

The designs that are included all reflect a gorgeous Craftsman/Bungalow style, with bold details and expressive color. Superior craftsmanship is evident in many shots, and the siting of the small home is exquisite in many cases. While the book does have a bit of a patchwork feel to it, Jay Shafer continues to expand his vision of the Tiny House as lifestyle and design.
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