Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

3 Responses to Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

  • mj says:
    323 of 356 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    The glowing reviews for this book can’t be real!, February 1, 2012
    By 
    mj (Silicon Valley, CA United States) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter (Paperback)

    I bought this book after reading the earlier reviews. As soon as I saw the low resolution quality of the cover photo, I thought, wait a minute, is this the right book? Then I started looking at the content, and I realized, gee, I’ve seen this content before. It’s pretty old. But almost none of the houses list a date or timeframe. The book mentions a few newer homes and builders, but by and large, I don’t feel that this book is really current. At the end, the author says that he wrote this book over the last two years, collecting images off the Web. Maybe that’s why there are so many tiny photos in this book, because that’s the best resolution he could get.

    I wondered why these reviews were so glowing, so I checked their authors. For most of the authors, this book is the only review. Many of the reviews have the same words, and they mention the publisher. How many consumer reviewers mention the book publisher? Come on, something’s fishy here.

    This book is a hodge podge of sheds, trailers, tree houses, mud houses, mini-vans, etc. Some of them look 10-20 years old, and most are kitschy. Some of the photos have nudity. If you are looking for a compendium of the latest trends in tiny houses, this book is not it. I have been studying and following small housing for several years, and this book was a disappointment.

    – – – – – – –
    ADDENDUM on Feb-9-2012

    I was kind of taken aback by some of the comments I received on my review, so I am adding this update.

    In the credits on the last page of the book, Lloyd Kahn wrote: “We combed over 5,000 photos to make our selection. Information came from hundred of blogs and websites. … With this kind of complexity, it was impossible to determine (or remember) credit for every bit of material, and we apologize to anyone not properly credited with helping us out. … About two years ago I started gathering information on tiny houses. A lot of it came from the web.”

    After one comment that I was too hard on Mr Kahn and possibly endangering his livelihood, I went to the library. I found 2 earlier books: “Shelter II” (1978) and “Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter” (2004). A small amount of content from 2004 is reused in Tiny Homes, and 20 pages of the new book are from pre-fab manufacturers (such as the cover photo). I guess Mr Kahn has been collecting photos of tiny houses, shacks and twig huts around the world for decades, and that is laudable. Clearly he is passionate about his subject. And if you enjoyed the 2004 book, you will enjoy Tiny Homes as well.

    But, I have been studying interior design for 4 years, and I was looking for something more formal and architectural, not so quirky. Also, after closely examining the book, the pages are already tearing out. I probably would not have posted my review in the first place if I hadn’t felt that the previous reviews (as well as WSJ and NYTimes) had mislead me. I of course don’t know if the Amazon reviews were planted, but after my additional research, I stand by what I wrote in my original review.

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  • javajunki says:
    54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Packed Full of Fantastic Photo’s. Creativity Meets Functionality!, January 12, 2012
    By 
    javajunki
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter (Paperback)

    After eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book, I was NOT disappointed! It is packed full of beautiful full-color photographs on every page. Quality of the book, text, photographic elements and diversity of tiny homes and simple shelters is superb!

    Various types of homes, different locations, building materials and styles mean this will appeal to a large variety of people. From city dwellers to cave (and even tree!) dweller, there is something here for nearly anyone. Whether you are just curious, desire a spare space for some peace and quiet or searching for a full-time alternative way of living…this book is sure to inspire a multitude of ideas.

    There is a nice selection of pre-fab/kits and other options as well as significant treatment of recycled materials. Examples of tiny homes range from ultra modern to quaint, primative to luxurious little escapes.

    Size, price estimates and materials are all mentioned. This is not a blueprint book nor a dedicated “how to” but rather a complete overview with a plethora of examples that will allow anyone to plan the perfect tiny home of their very own.

    Interviews with tiny home owners and designers are both informative and intersting. The writing style is engaging and the visuals beautifully executed.

    Well worth the wait!

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  • Andrea Wasson "dejablu503" says:
    13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Loaded with inspiration but very limited info, if info is what you are looking for, February 21, 2012
    By 
    Andrea Wasson “dejablu503” (Clackamas, Oregon United States) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter (Paperback)

    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 long time fan of Mr Kahn’s books, and the layout of this one is great, the photos are wonderful. 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 continue surfing yahoo groups, tiny house blogs, and living small forums gathering info on how wide and tall can it be and still be mobile, pros and cons of mobile vs stationary, how to figure the house weight to trailer ratios, how to set up viable and affordable off grid power options, heating and cooling options, pros and cons of conversions, 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 tiny living 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, and very few of them are designed for people who truly need affordable housing options like those with mobility issues. Maybe more women need to start designing them. Personally, in rainy Oregon I need more than a sleeping loft, 5 ft of kitchen counter plus 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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