Lloyd Kahn

In the mid-‘60s, Lloyd Kahn quit his job in the insurance business and began working as a carpenter, first building post and beam houses, then geodesic domes. In 1968, he became the shelter editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, which led him to publish two books on dome building and then, in 1973, the book Shelter (which went on to sell 270,000 copies). Lloyd’s been writing ever since. In his latest book, The Half-Acre Homestead, he for the first time covers his own work, and that of his wife Lesley, in building a house and creating a garden in the seaside town of Bolinas over a 46-year period.

There are over 500 photos showing you what the house and garden look like, how various functions (solar panels, septic systems, skylights, etc.) operate, and tools used in the kitchen, garden, and shop. There are recipes and sections on fishing and foraging. There are descriptions of raised beds, tending chickens, and collecting rainwater. There is advice for anyone thinking of building a home these days.

Lloyd’s publishing company, Shelter Publications, has now published eight books on building; this series is called The Shelter Library Of Building Books. Included are Home Work, the sequel to Shelter, Tiny Homes, and Lloyd’s favorite, Builders of the Pacific Coast.

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With over 1,000 photographs, Shelter is a classic celebrating the imagination, resourcefulness, and exuberance of human habitat. It includes a history of shelter and the evolution of building types: tents, yurts, timber buildings, barns, small homes, domes, etc. There is a section on building materials, including heavy timber ­construction and stud framing, as well as stone, straw bale, adobe, ­plaster, and bamboo.

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