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Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter (The Shelter Library of Building Books) Paperback – January 24, 2012
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"...a cornucopia of 1,300 photos featuring 150 different tiny homes, showing how they were built, giving resources and helpful tips of construction, supplying design solutions and inspiration for others, but also conveying WHY they were built. Tiny though they are, they are much more than mere shelter."
-Kevin Kelly, CoolTools.org
"Gives me chills, it's so inspiring." - Cheryl Long, Editor, The Mother Earth News
A "...photo-packed new volume ... (by) Shelter Publications founder and green architecture pioneer Lloyd Kahn..." - Publishers Weekly
"The book arrived today, all I can say is Wow! It's beautiful and another one of your masterpieces." - Kent Griswold, Tiny House Blog
"...a dream book...the scale is humble, but the architectural detail is rich..."
-Michael Tortellero, New York Times
From the Author
TINY HOMES is especially timely due to the current grassroots movements in small homes. The real estate collapse, the economic downturn, layoffs, scarcity of good jobs - these things have many people rethinking their ideas about shelter - seeking an alternative to high rents, or a lifelong mortgage debt to a bank on an overpriced home.
Here are some 150 builders who have created tiny homes (under 500 sq. ft.). There are some 1,300 photos of 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.
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.
"Scaling back in the 21st century"
Top customer reviews
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To be frank, I have no real interest in living in something this small (probably) but truly enjoy looking at them to see just what is possible. I have also enjoyed the books by Sarah Susanka ("Creating the Not So Big House" is just one of her books). My husband and I are at odds about home size but this book has allowed us to have some useful discussion about what is next for us. It has gotten my creative juices flowing a bit and has also come in helpful when thinking about downsizing my mother-in-law to a small apartment.
My only real complaints about the book are two-fold. One: the working definition of a tiny house is one under 500 sf but almost all the pictures are of homes more in the 250 sf range. I can't imagine living in 250 sf but can picture 500 sf - just not enough of this slightly larger home for my desire. Two: I would have liked to have seen more floor plans. The pictures are great, but having a floor plan would help be better visualize what I am seeing.
Even with those two quibbles it is a wonderful, picture-packed book that was well worth the money I spent. I am keeping it on my family room coffee table for perusal and inspiration!
- This book is not intended to be a technical account of architectural styles - don't buy it if that's what you're looking for.
- This book does not provide detailed plans or building tips.
- As others have brought up, the photos in the book are not the highest resolution, but this did not detract from my enjoyment. Honestly, it is tough to notice if you are just flipping through.
- I have never had a problem with the quality of binding or paper.
To address some of the other reviewers who were wary of the reviews because they all mentioned the name of the author or publishing company: Lloyd Kahn is a well-known guy in the tiny house movement. I do not know him personally, but I saw him speak once (after buying this book), and I imagine that a lot of reviewers have seen him speak, resulting in a feeling of familiarity leading them to use his name in a review. I don't think it is a big deal. He has written and published a lot of books, so his name and the name of his publishing company coming up in reviews shouldn't be a surprise.
Overall, buy this book if you want to look at a lot of cool pictures of tiny homes. Do not buy this book if you want a technical account of the architectural or building practices associated with the homes. It's a great book if you're looking for the former.
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. That OMG, this is IT book still needs to be written by someone, until then I'll continue surfing yahoo groups, tiny house blogs, and living small forums gathering info on how wide and tall can it be and still be mobile, pros and cons of mobile vs stationary, how to figure the house weight to trailer ratios, how to set up viable and affordable off grid power options, heating and cooling options, pros and cons of conversions, stick built, metal frame or SIP construction, how to build and vent a composting toilet in a tiny home, storage tricks, info on tiny house friendly parking options and problems, or what to look out for when buying land to build on. Basic code info would be helpful for stationary tiny homes, like minimum size, foundation options, etc. I also want to hear from people who tried tiny living and are either struggling to stay tiny or they went back to larger living. I want them to explain what went wrong for them in living tiny. I guess I want meaty info so I can decide if this is truly a viable housing option for me. I do not want to wind up with a costly albatross on a trailer, nowhere to live in it and feeling the burden of an unhappy financial investment that I find I regret making. A lot of us are sitting on the fence, someone needs to answer the hard questions and address the pitfalls.
What is clear from the pics in this book is the sad fact that very few tiny house designers are laying out floor plan designs that would make tiny home living even marginally comfortable or long term viable, and very few of them are designed for people who truly need affordable housing options like those with mobility issues. Maybe more women need to start designing them. Personally, in rainy Oregon I need more than a sleeping loft, 5 ft of kitchen counter plus 2 chairs and table if I am going to do this long term, and I don't consider myself space greedy. I have downsized my life from a 2400sqft house to life in under 300sqft over the last 3 years, I am ready to make the jump both mentally and emotionally but I need reliable info that is still hard to gather and this book doesn't provide much of the info I was looking for, but it is indeed lovely to browse through...