Andee's Reviews > Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

Tiny Homes by Lloyd Kahn
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's review
Feb 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: alt-building-how2
Read in February, 2012

I've seen a lot of the houses in this book before online, featured in magazine articles, on youtube or in alternative builder books, but it is nice to have them all in one place. I would have liked it better if there had been interior shots and a floor plan for each one, but as it is the book is full of eye candy for those interested in exploring the living small options. This book covers most of them, cob, stone, prefab, modular, tree houses, bus conversions, yurts, vardos, adobe, straw bale, and tiny homes on wheels. Missing was an example of a shipping container home, or if there was one I blew by it.

I am a fan of Mr Kahn's books, and the layout of this one is great, the photos are wonderful but 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 be surfing yahoo groups, and tiny house blogs, and forums gathering info on how wide and tall can it be and still be mobile, pros and cons of different construction types, how to figure your house weight to trailer ratios, how to set up viable and affordable off grid power options, heating and cooling options, pros and cons of 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 it 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. Maybe more women need to start designing them. Personally, in rainy Oregon I need more than a sleeping loft, 5 ft of kitchen and 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...
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