Lloyd Kahn and a Shout-Out to Shelter Publications

lloyd kahn natural building tiny house pioneer shelter publications founder

Meet the 84-year-old surfer who pioneered green and natural building. Lloyd Kahn has been designing and building beautiful and whimsical natural buildings for more than 60 years. He’s also been photographing and writing about them for over 40 years.

In the 1970s, Lloyd founded Shelter Publications. Since then, they’ve produced several gorgeous and inspiring books about handmade homes that use all kinds of natural and creative approaches to building. Here are three of our favorites.

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Small Homes: The Right Size

natural building small house with people inside beautiful spiral ceiling

Tiny homes may be too tiny for some, yet stretching out into the average American gargantuan house (2,600 square feet) is just too much. Fortunately, there’s a middle ground: small homes. We’re a huge proponent of such reasonably-sized structures, and we teach a lot about them in our online tiny house building class or Tiny House Workshop (which could be called the “Not-So-Tiny House Workshop”). We even have the honor of welcoming Lloyd as a guest instructor for the class.  

people applying natural plaster to an earthen wall in a natural building and tiny house course

Small Homes documents 65 hand-built structures ranging between 400 and 1,200 square feet. “Some are plain, ordinary buildings that provide owners shelter at a reasonable cost – and some are inspiring examples of design, carpentry, craftsmanship, imagination, creativity, and homemaking.” As with all Shelter Publications books, this one is full of Lloyd’s amazing photography as well as his signature style of storytelling. 

beautiful natural artistic small tiny house with man on porch

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

natural tiny house in the forest with curved branches for porch railing

When Lloyd Kahn says tiny, he means it. This inspiring book has 1,300 photos documenting homes of less than 500 square feet and the people who built them. “Homes on land, homes on wheels, homes on the road, homes on water, and homes in the trees. There are also studios, saunas, garden sheds, and greenhouses.”

Tiny Homes is an exploration of the tiny-home movement in terms of construction and design, and also in terms of human stories. People share how they built their unique and cozy homes. Plus, we hear why they chose to build small and how that choice can have a ripple effect on our consumer culture.  

Tiny Homes on the Move: Wheels and Water

tiny arched hand built fishing cabin on wheels

As you might expect, this book is about mobile tiny homes. But not just homes on wheels! Tiny Homes on the Move also includes sailboats and houseboats. With 1,100 expedition-inspiring photos of 90 creative quarters – plus stories of the folks who built them – it sure gets the reader’s travel bug buzzing. 

“This is a book full of joy, adventure and high spirits. It is rich, colorful and imaginative, and these competent and artistic owners/builders will inspire others with their unique homes and lives.”