Little house on a small planet (book review)
A lot of people are dreaming about downsizing their dwellings these days. Smaller houses go with a simpler, more rural life… and hopefully freedom from debt and “the Man.”
Naturally they’re turning to books for ideas about how to build or set up their new place. Print is still superior to the internet for providing thematic collections of photographs and drawings, and a book about dwellings can and should be something of a “wish book” for the reader… something they stay up to look at, under the covers with a flashlight if necessary.
Accordingly I was excited to receive a review copy of Little House on a Small Planet (Lyons Press, 2006), by Shay Salomon, with photographs by Nigel Valdez.
This wasn’t just because I love receiving free swag (note to all: please send more). I’ve also been frustrated by the scattershot bibliography of the small-house movement. …more
Tiny house barely escapes strangulation by codes
[note May 2007: people keep linking to this very old post.. if you want to see the finished house, follow this link. For the bureaucratic struggle, read on…]
Though I’ve ranted in this space about McMansions and monster houses, I haven’t spoken about my own little venture into the obvious alternative: tiny homes. Now I’m going to, with drawings and dollar numbers, and man it ain’t a pretty story.
Tiny houses are just the rage among a certain set. The dream begins with artisans who give the structures a tremendous romance, where “small” doesn’t mean “poor,” it means “beautifully simple.” The dollish scale brings natural economy with energy and materials — saving cash and nature. Lots of greens with back-to-the-land dreams (like Sandra the Serene) are thinking about building them.
However, these buildings are usually pictured in a rural setting, where building codes and zoning regulations are lax or nonexistent. I wanted to do mine in the city, where money is big and bureaucrats rule.
Here’s what happened to me. There’s a lot of detail here, but if you are getting into this kind of thing, detail may be just what you need…