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The Small House Book

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  342 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
In 2008, a used house in the U.S. averaged $244,000. That is far more than the average American can afford. Jay Shafer shatters the myth that affordable housing needs to be cheap. In his book, Jay reveals the ugly truth about residential planning and the needless overbuilding that is, in part, to blame for today's mortgage crisis. Did you know that you can't build a house ...more
197 pages
Published 2009 by Tumbleweed Tiny House
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James Eckman
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, diy
Jay Shafer writes about small houses and unlike architects that claim a 2,000 square foot flat in Manhattan is small, the largest house in this book is 874 sq ft. It's a bit of a mixed bag, philosophy, some DIY, some design guidelines and an ad for tiny houses that he builds. While he likes tiny, he is not a Thoreau, he has a TV and other electric toys and the interiors are designed for comfort.

Many of these designs are based on using a travel trailer chassis to help get around restrictive build
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This has been the most inspirational of the tiny house books. I think I have read just about everything on the topic. I own this book and probably look at it daily just to keep me geared up while I build my own house.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The pictures in this book are wonderful. I use this book to dream of living in a teeny house on a lake (but I go so far as to look for teeny plots of land.) I love this book!
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Astounding! I am already planning my retirement around living in one of these houses.
Apr 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: interiors, 2011
This book generally discusses on the legality, design principles, materials, lifestyle, economics and ideology of choosing to live in a small house. The last 1/3 of the book includes a run-down on the small house plans offered by the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, so it starts to feel like a marketing piece, even if they are quite good at what they do. The first 2/3s of the book is fascinating, though. Most of the photos are gorgeous and showcase these beautiful tiny homes. Some of the photos in ...more
Nice book, well illustrated, but very light on engineering and details (like where do pipes go, tankage, and such...)

Not very certain of what the thoughts are on emergency egress (I think I would build in a kick-out panel/window in the roof, with an emergency ladder, before I'd accept sleeping in the loft).

Excellent photography and kindly thinking went into the book - just would hate to find that "The Practical" makes a built project less useful.

Further correspondence with the Author's Website a
Jul 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The author has some very interesting ideas about housing. Unlike some other ideas that I've seen presented for more sustainable living, I think that a lot of people could find his ideas to be practical.

The photos of the small houses are beautiful, both those designed by the author and those he's discovered.

I do have some issues with the quality of the book itself. Page references are off throughout the book (ie it will say "see page 68" when the actual information is on page 66. There are also a
Trudy Macy
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I met Jay at a Tiny house workshop/weekend a few years ago at Yestermorrow, a school in Waitsfield, Vermont. He was so interesting, and drew a crowd after he talked, so I just made my way out to my car for a smoke.(I think I was the only smoker that weekend, how politically incorrect of me !)....much to my surprise, Jay showed up to smoke too, and we easily fell into conversation.....he was just a "regular guy" and I was lucky enough to be able to chat with the "father of the tiny house movement ...more
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I bought this when I was going through my RV phase. Very interesting houses. I would love to own one. I would have zero trouble living in such a small space. I love the idea of it. I think people would do very well in such a small house. People need to spend the majority of their time outside anyway. Out in the sunshine! Not to mention you can take your house anywhere. Isn't that concept amazing? I think it's only fair that if I invest thousands of dollars into a house, that I should be able to ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was great to read about Jay's approach to small houses, including not only the why but also some of the considerations he includes in his designs. Some of the politics of the book were a bit outside of my personal interest, but for those who are concerned with those things, it was nice to have them included. He devoted a lot of pages to pictures of his houses on wheels, but far fewer of his cottages, which I would have liked to have seen.
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Jay Shafer is internationally recognized as an expert in small living. He is a designer specializing in sustainable architecture and urban planning. He has lectured extensively on these subjects for such venues as the Eco-Dwelling program at New College, the Boston Architectural Center, and the University of Iowa's School of Art and Art History where he served as Adjunct Assistant Professor for mo ...more
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