Celebrating DIY Home Building

Lloyd Kahn, author of the classic book “Shelter,” talks about modern homesteading and the art and craft of building your own home.

| Aug. 31, 2009

Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn has inspired a generation of DIY home builders with his books celebrating handcrafted homes.


Take a look inside one of Lloyd Kahn’s classic books about homes and other buildings, and you’ll find hundreds of inspiring examples of unique, handcrafted buildings. In 1973, Kahn, the former shelter editor for The Whole Earth Catalog, produced the now classic book Shelter, celebrating the many and varied forms of human habitat. He’s since followed that up with Home Work, published in 2004, and Builders of the Pacific Coast, published in 2008. All together, his books include thousands of photos documenting some of the most interesting and unusual buildings in the world. (Click the links above for examples.)

In addition to his role as editor in chief of Shelter Publications, Kahn is also a dedicated blogger, skateboarder and world traveler. He took a few minutes to talk to us about his life and work. Here’s what Kahn had to say about the art and craft of home building, the perils of bureaucracy, and the next generation of homesteaders.

How do you meet the people who are featured in your books?

With the book Home Work it was just an accumulation of years of travel. I shoot pictures wherever I go, so a lot of it is just what I’ve run across.

But increasingly, we have a network of people who send stuff in to us. I get a lot of feedback from people. The next book we’re doing is Tiny Houses, which is about houses that are 500 square feet and under, and we have a lot of material already. It’s just coming in from all over the place.

You shoot most of the photos that are in your books.  

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