Small Homes are Just the Right Size
I just picked up a 2017 issue of Mother Earth News at our neighborhood book exchange. It had a cover article Small Homes are Just the Right Size.
These homeowners downsized their lives to inhabit hand-built spaces that are easier and cheaper to maintain.
The article is by Lloyd Kahn. He says that “the average size of a new single-family house in the United States in 2016 was 2,650—almost 1,000 square feet larger than in 1973.”
Smaller homes are “less expensive, use less resources, are more efficient to heat and cool, [and] are cheaper to maintain and repair.”
Lloyd Kahn’s book Small Homes: Just the Right Size is about homes that are larger than Tiny Houses but smaller than the national average. It is about homes with between 400 and 1,200 square feet of floor area.
“You can create your own home using mostly natural materials.”
Mother Earth News December 2017
Most of the homes were built by the homeowners. Some are made with timber from their own trees. They make use of hand-made, recycled and repurposed materials.
It is a sequel to his book Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter about homes that are 200–300 square feet.
Lloyd Kahn is a regular contributor to Mother Earth News and has written a lot of books. Most are still in print. Many are available on Kindle.
The Half-Acre Homestead by Lloyd Kahn & Lesley Creed
The Half-Acre Homestead is a record, with over 500 color photos, of Lloyd and his wife Lesley’s owner-built home and garden. They show you what the house and garden look like, how various functions (solar panels, septic systems, skylights, etc.) operate, and tools they use in the kitchen, garden, and shop.
The book also includes fishing and foraging along with recipes, information on raised beds, raising chickens, and collecting rainwater. The couple include advice for anyone thinking of building a home.
Shelter by Lloyd Kahn and Bob Easton
Shelter has been in print since 1973. It is one of the original books on living in tents, yurts, timber buildings, barns, small homes, domes, and more. It covers building materials like heavy timber construction, stud framing, stone, straw bale, adobe, plaster, and bamboo.
Shelter II by Lloyd Kahn and Bob Easton
Shelter II is a sequel, not just an update of the same book. It is a practical hand-book to build your own stud-frame home. It is covers everything; the foundation, floor, wall and roof framing; roofing, windows, doors, interior finish, plumbing and electrical work.
Home Work by Lloyd Kahn
Home Work is the sequel to Shelter and Shelter II with more ideas.
“From yurts to caves to tree houses to tents, thatched houses, glass houses, nomadic homes, and riverboats, each hand-built dwelling finds itself at one with its environment, using natural materials.”
Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn
200–300 square feet
This idea book covers 150 builders with 1,300 photos of tiny homes studios, saunas, garden sheds, and greenhouses.
Tiny Homes on the Move by Lloyd Kahn
This book covers 90 tiny homes “either rolling on the road or floating in the water.” There are 1,100 color photos with descriptions of each home.
Small Homes: The Right Size by Lloyd Kahn
400–1200 square feet
This is the book the article I read is about. The book has photos and descriptions of 65 small homes with between 400–1200 square feet of floor area that range from simple low-cost housing to unique and artistic statements. “Some are inspiring examples of design, carpentry, craftsmanship, imagination, creativity, and homemaking.”
Driftwood Shacks: Anonymous Architecture Along the California Coast by Lloyd Kahn
Photos of unique and whimsical shacks on Northern California beaches, “shaped by materials lying on the beach, and ephemeral in the sense that they are built without nails, and don’t last long ― victims of wind, waves, and high tides.”
Builders of the Pacific Coast by Lloyd Kahn
This book has interviews with creative builders along with over 1,200 photos of the unique style of carpentry that has developed along the west coast of North America.
The Septic System Owner’s Manual by Lloyd Kahn
The only comprehensive, nontechnical book on septic systems available for homeowners.
A handbook and guide to the basics of septic systems with everything you ever need to know about septic tanks and drain fields, septic system maintenance
It covers what to do if things go wrong, and advanced systems such as shallow drain fields, effluent filters, and trickling bio‑filters with chapters on gray water systems and composting toilets.