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Little House on a Small Planet, 2nd: Simple Homes, Cozy Retreats, and Energy Efficient Possibilities

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3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  360 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
A guidebook to planning, building, renovating, and inhabiting an eco-friendly small house.
to get more information on how to live simply visit: www.littlehouseonasmallplanet.com

Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by Lyons Press (first published September 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,019)
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Dixie Diamond
Apr 08, 2008 Dixie Diamond rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crunchy people with resources
I should have known I was in for trouble when I started seeing words like "earthship". This book actually made me depressed about how much simplicity I can't even afford.

It was kind of preachy and it made a lot of smug assumptions about people who want to live in something bigger than a garden shed. Maybe it's just that I'm an introvert, but asking me to live with a pile of people in a house with minimal privacy and elbow room is a mass murder waiting to happen.

The house shapes and building mate
...more
Angie
May 23, 2009 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I was interested in small houses before I found this book, but now that I'm reading it I am convinced that small houses are the way to go. In the US it seems like having a small house has become a sign of deprivation, and it's hard to get around that mental block or to believe - really believe - that less is more. And having a small house would mean, logically, having less stuff. Less stuff can translate into less time cleaning, more time to do other things, more energy to spend on the activitie ...more
Marjanne
Jun 26, 2009 Marjanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friend Matt loaned me this book. He was very clearly excited about the ideas presented here, particularly community housing. I can see why he is so excited. There are some very appealing ideas the author conveys. I basic idea is that people can live in smaller homes, being more ecologically concerned, and improve their lives and the lives of those around them. I like the idea of building your own home and specially keeping it small so that you can own it outright or in a few years rather than ...more
Charity
Nov 09, 2011 Charity rated it really liked it
While I marked this book as "read", in reality I skimmed it. It's interesting enough and well-written enough that it could be a cover-to-cover read. I set out to read it that way, but since we just bought a house in the suburbs three months ago, I could't bring myself to do any more than skim it.

Things I liked:

-The approach. The book got me thinking about what "home" means to me and the way in which I use the spaces in my home.

-The profiles. Seeing the variety of people and living situations of
...more
Claire
Sep 19, 2010 Claire rated it really liked it
Shelves: guides
This book is kind of like a textbook with large pages, lots of images and anecdotes, which makes it easy to read in excerpts if one didn't have the time or attention to read the book like a novel.

I enjoyed hearing the message to live simply and reading of the many ways the authors and contributors are moving towards that goal, primarily in housing. This certainly isn't preachy; the book clearly sends the message that there's no one right way to live. But it does encourage us to live simply for
...more
Alyn
Apr 07, 2011 Alyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little bit more environmentalist than me.

I started feeling guilty about all the junk stored in my garage. It was quite interesting reading all the case studies describing different small spaces that various people live in. Many built themselves, without a mortgage. Lots of outdoor time. It's good to read something that challenges the status quo of home ownership. Lots of thought provoking ideas. Many I'd read about before. Co-housing. Tumbleweed Tiny houses. Adobe. Straw Bale.

I do love living
...more
Cheri
Aug 13, 2007 Cheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone seeking what really matters
Shelves: home, socialissues
This book explores possibilities and real people in what seem like impossibly small spaces. Not just single hermits, but families, partners and communities thriving in their chosen small spaces.

It makes our 1,200 sq/ft seem huge. It was important to me that we live walking-distance to everything when we chose a home and I'm so glad that we did. Last night at 9 p.m. I walked to the grocery store to pick up some milk and just enjoyed looking up at the stars in the clear sky.

The emphasis of the boo
...more
GeekGirl_7
Apr 29, 2015 GeekGirl_7 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestyle
This book is a great resource for those who are thinking about going green (& not with envy at all the folks already living their tree change). Whist it is not a book that I read in the read in the traditional sense, it was one that I dipped my toe into, reading some bits here and other parts there. In fact, as this copy was borrowed from my local library, I was sorry when I had to return it, as there was so much more to be learned in its pages.
John
Jul 02, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book you may never think to browse at the bookstore, but I recommend you do so. It triggered a paradigm shift for me in the way I think of "home". There's a reason the "small house movement" has been sweeping the country in this age of McMansions and ritualistic compulsive consumption.
Denele
This is an excellent starting point for those interested in living small. Little House on a Small Planet covers everything, or at least a little bit of everything. There are a large variety of homes showcased, with homeowners at various points of their life cycle (proving tiny homes aren't just for singles and retirees!). There are tips for new builds, and older home renovations. For most house situations, there are suggestions on how to reduce your environmental impact and live small.

I do wish
...more
Roxanne Richardson
This was not so much a cover to cover reading as it was a browsing thing. It's a great reference on living small, and contains profiles of all sorts of people who have found creative solutions to the overbuilt, non-sustainable residences that have proliferated the globe, but primarily in North America. All of these folks have given up Jonesing for the house next door in favor of simplicity and the freedom of not being tied to the old concepts. Now, you're not going to find me building an earth-p ...more
Jayme Zobrist
Jun 24, 2014 Jayme Zobrist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from the library because I am thinking about eventually buying a small home and wanted tips/ideas/advice from other small home owners. This book gave me some advice about what I want in a home and how to figure out what I want/need in a home, but it lacked practicality. Many of the people featured in the book are wealthy individuals and almost all of them are located in hot regions. As someone who lives in a 4 season region, it was not helpful for so much of the book to be d ...more
Daria
Nov 28, 2011 Daria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring, eye opening, life changing to see what freedom looks like and what is possible!
Nina Mcdaniel
Aug 19, 2011 Nina Mcdaniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book makes me feel cozy.
Jon
Aug 10, 2015 Jon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What I thought I was getting:

Here's a bunch of clever projects to eek out more space while minimizing your energy usage of your small house.

What I got:

"Why would someone spend $1000 on a composting toilet when they can get the same result with a bucket and a light bulb."

Why indeed.

This has nothing to do with making small houses more livable or more efficient. It's about justifying a particular brand of bat-shit crazy minimalism through profile after profile of people who live in not small, but
...more
Gunsonm
This is a fascinating book, written by authors who are knowledgeable and entertaining. They led me to examine assumptions I had about house size and function that I did not even realize were assumptions - and I've done a lot of reading on alternative housing. This book is full of ideas people have applied to the design and organization of their homes in order to minimize ecological footprint and maximize functionality. The ways this has been done run from very utilitarian approaches, to very art ...more
Emily Mellow
Feb 19, 2010 Emily Mellow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: financial, design
This book is about so much more than small houses. I think even if you live in a large house and want to stay that way, this book will inspire you to change in some other way, by planting a garden, renting out your daylight basement so your house doesn't feel so empty, getting solar power and superinsulating your home, or whatever. There are just so many stories of families who are doing amazing things, living by choice on so little, or helping their communities, creating community, etc. The boo ...more
Deanna
Feb 14, 2010 Deanna rated it really liked it
I was the lucky winner of a copy of this book from Goodreads. For anyone interested in ways to reduce their impact on the environment, this book has many useful ideas. Even if you are not interesting in selling your home and moving into a 300 sq. ft. house, there are many other options for reducing your human footprint. The author takes you through three main ideas- reduce, rethink and relax. The reader is forced to rethink why they live the ways they do. Many different homes and floor plans are ...more
Sarah
Jan 22, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Little House On A Small Planet
I loved this book. It's a reminder that you dont have to automatically buy a tract home in the suburbs because 'thats just what you do when you grow up'.
For me, it's a reminder that I am not the only one who feels this way. There are other options. Personally, I've always loved the idea of small houses. Even as a teenager, I already had a small-house ideology. My housing motto was "I dont want a big house, I want a bunch of small ones so I can move around, take va
...more
Beth
There's not a lot of black and white photos, and only 1 section of color photo inserts. The articles showcase a variety of people from different backgrounds, urban to rural, West coast to East coast. But really, reading this feels like a one-sided conversation with a hippie radical. (no judgements, just FYI)

I did enjoy the architectural layouts, but as a visual person, I would have liked more photos to pair up with it.
Hanneke Mwk
Oct 23, 2015 Hanneke Mwk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sustainability
This is an excellent read on small, planet-friendly housing. It is full of ideas and stories of people who have purposefully chosen to live in a smaller home. The authors make you think about what it is that you want from your house and what you really need. There are floor plans included in the book. I would have like even more of them, because they give you an idea of space and what might work for you.
MJ
This is an amazing book--especially for letting the reader know how many variations on the kinds of housing we can choose for ourselves that DO NOT include keeping up with the Joneses or living in a ginormous monstrosity with multiple roof lines. I only wish there had been even more pictures!
Rekha
Jan 22, 2008 Rekha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adultnonfiction
The Boy often brings home books on sustainable engineering and construction. I don't understand any of them, not for lack of interest but because the technical level is WAY over my head. This book was gifted to us for the Boy's birthday and I picked it up and loved it. It's a sort of treatise on how to live big in less space (yay!) and maximize teeny square footage. There are inspirational examples, photos, floor plans, etc. It talks in physical terms, philosophical terms , social terms, environ ...more
Kaylynn
Not a book I read cover to cover, but neat little stories and helpful information about Coding issues when it comes to living small/tiny.
Jo
Aug 02, 2011 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Jo Seeking out inspiration I've been reading, browsing any book I can find on little houses. Altho on first glance this book didn't seem to be of much h...moreSeeking out inspiration I've been reading, browsing any book I can find on little houses. Altho on first glance this book didn't seem to be of much help to my particular needs, I found myself drawn into the stories of the people who built themselves small and eco-friendly homes. All different reasons, and so many different outcomes. I foun
...more
Charlotte
This book is about a lot more than little houses. It goes into broader topics such as co-housing, family structure, energy efficiency, zoning, bank interest, recycling, population density, building codes, wildlife habitat, construction methods, etc. At first I liked it. I think it was because it made me feel better about living in a little house. Suddenly I can feel righteous for doing my part to save the planet (even if the decisions were made more out of necessity than by choice). But by the e ...more
Kathy
Mar 01, 2008 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tiny houses! I've always loved little rooms, cozy cabins, and cute cottages. I have been pouring over this book for weeks now, peering closely at the photos and reading the stories of people who have decided to live small. It gives you serious down-sizing, de-cluttering fever. Little House on a Small Planet is surprisingly informative (zoning laws, history of mortgages, etc.), entertaining (some of these people are crazy!), and inspiring. Whether your reason for living small is about community, ...more
Triz
Aug 02, 2014 Triz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This and Tiny Homes are more coffee table books, but I love them.
Candy
Jan 14, 2015 Candy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: house-and-yard
Fascinated by tiny houses, but wonder what it is like to live in one? This book gives you that answer and a million more.
I have been reading bits of this for about 6 months-I love all the real people and real houses. Each is unique and representative of a special type of living.
I've become more aware of "orientation on the lot", which I was only aware of from a gardening perspective.
The concrete action this book has inspired is that I want to pay off my house. I'm going to start by making an
...more
Motorcycle
Jan 27, 2010 Motorcycle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was great. I was browsing in the architecture section at the library and came up with it thinking I might take some ideas from it on a house design. I did get some ideas, but the biggest was the epiphany that these house designs I've been fiddling with are too big. I mean they are pretty modest, but still too large. There are all sorts of things I could do to economize them. The book was very thought provoking. At least for me. I really enjoyed all of the profiles of people living in s ...more
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“It's hard to know exactly how many empty houses there are...the census placed the figure, in the United States, in 2000, at about 10.5 million housing units (including apartments, counting duplexes as two, and so forth). For comparison: less than a quarter million people lived in homeless shelters in 2000.” 0 likes
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