Housing is a fundamental human right. For most of human history, our homes were built by hand from whatever local materials were available. However, since the Industrial Revolution, most housing has become little more than quickly constructed, mass-produced, uniform boxes. At the same time, the invention and standardization of the 30-year mortgage and our ever-increasing reliance on credit has come to mean that most of us never own our homes outright.
Housing Reclaimed is a call to arms for nonconventional home builders. It examines how technological advances, design evolution and resourceful, out-of-the-box thinking about materials and efficiency can help us meet the challenge of building affordable, environmentally friendly, beautiful and unique homes. Focusing on the use of salvaged and reclaimed materials, this inspirational volume is packed with case studies of innovative projects including:
These projects and others like them demonstrate that building one's own home does not have to be an unattainable dream. This beautifully illustrated guide is a must read for anyone interested in creating quality zero- or low-debt housing, reducing landfill waste and creating stronger communities.
About the author
Jessica Kellner is editor-in-chief of Mother Earth Living magazine (www.motherearthliving.com) and a passionate advocate of using architectural salvage to create aesthetically beautiful, low-cost housing.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is recommending books and products to readers. For more than 40 years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been North America's "Original Guide to Living Wisely," creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Jessica Kellner
Malcolm Wells' fourth book about underground architecture will show you that building a house underground is not only possible but also a very good idea for those who want a friendly-with-the-earth life.
This book covers everything you need to know about underground building, from concept basics to house plans you can use for your own underground home.
An architect by trade, Wells lived in The Underground Art Gallery, in Brewster, Mass., and wrote several books about this subject, which he began promoting in 1964. A pioneer of underground building and natural design, he penned such best-selling books as Gentle Architecture and The Earth-Sheltered House. How to Build an Underground House is scanned from his own handwritten and illustrated pages and is self-published.
Author: Malcolm Wells
A holistic DIY guide designed to help you along the path to creating a sustainable homestead and affordable dwelling. It provides perspectives on the history of small homes, building and zoning codes, as well as on being a landowner, how rural living is different than urban, examples of off-grid dwellings, and much more.
Author: Christopher Marshall
Following the simple plans in Lights On will ensure that you are safe and secure during widespread long-term power outages. The United States electric grid is at greater risk today than ever before. From aging infrastructure, severe weather, and EPA mandated closure of coal-fired power plants to solar storms, digital sabotage, terrorism, and electromagnetic pulse attacks, future outages are almost certain. And they will likely last far longer and cover much larger areas than anything experienced in the past. When the grid is down and you run out of fuel for your generator, and all the stores are closed, then what? Lights On has the solution. Energy expert Jeffrey Yago lays out the lost history of early residential battery power and delves into just how durable and universal battery-powered devices are. Battery-powered devices can provide lighting, communications, refrigeration, safety, and entertainment when all else fails. Yago covers the multiple ways to keep your batteries recharged and ready to go. There are many books and magazines on emergency preparedness, survival, solar power, and disaster planning, which show strong public interest in these topics. However, many offer brief introductions to each topic. Lights On provides easy-to-understand, detailed information on having a plan of action for setting up a battery-powered home in advance of widespread and sustained power outages. This is the only book you need to be prepared to keep your refrigerator running, your lights on, and much more.
Author: Jeffrey Yago
Based on the successful blog of the same name, Living Large in Our Little House is a practical and inspirational memoir about the joy and freedom of tiny house living. Traditionally, the American dream has included owning a house, and until recently that meant the bigger, the better. McMansions have flourished in suburbs across the country, and as houses got bigger we filled them with more stuff. Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell had been subconsciously trying to live up to this ideal when circumstances forced her and her husband into a 480-square-foot house in the woods. What was supposed to be a writing cabin and guest house became their full-time abode and they quickly discovered that they had serendipitously discovered a better way of life. They realized that by living smaller, they were, in fact, living large. They were not spending extra time cleaning and maintaining the house, but had the freedom to pursue their hobbies; they did not waste money on things they didn’t need; and they grew emotionally (as well as physically) closer. Kerri and her husband realized that living large is less about square footage and more about a state of mind. As Fivecoat-Campbell relates the story of her own transformation, she also profiles more than a dozen other families living tiny house lives. And she offers practical advice for how you can too.
Whether readers are inspired to join the tiny house movement or not, they are sure to be inspired to live large with less.
Author: Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
Created by a wide array of builders and designers around the United States and beyond, these 59 unique and innovative structures show you the limits of what is possible. Each is displayed in full-color photographs accompanied by commentary by author Derek “Deek” Diedricksen. In addition, Diedricksen includes six sets of building plans by leading designers to help you get started on a microshelter of your own. You’ll also find guidelines on building with recycled and salvaged materials, plus techniques for making your small space comfortable and easy to inhabit.
Author: Derek "Deek" Diedricksen
The second edition of No-Regrets Remodeling will educate homeowners about opportunities for improving their home's energy efficiency and comfort at one of the most critical junctures in home ownership. That moment comes when homeowners are faced with the decision to remodel a recently purchased or existing home, or due to a component failure, need to upgrade their home's HVAC, appliances, lighting or other energy-related systems.
No-Regrets Remodeling is not a technical guide for the pro or serious hands-on DIYer. It's oriented toward the homeowner who wants to make the right decisions to improve their home's comfort, safety, durability and energy savings, but isn't prepared to do more than simple weatherizing or efficiency measures.
No-Regrets Remodeling is valuable as a consumer-education tool for builders, remodelers and home-performance retrofitters. But most importantly, No-Regrets Remodeling will educate homeowners on how to choose the right professional for the job.
No-Regrets Remodeling introduces homeowners to the concepts of whole-home performance, energy auditing, energy rating, and how HVAC systems and other elements of a home work together. No-Regrets Remodeling will help homeowners understand and control energy use in their homes, pointing out money-saving opportunities they can take advantage of now, as well as helping them plan for future upgrades when they can afford them.
Author: Jennifer Ford Berry
Author: Sheri Koones
The MOTHER EARTH NEWS WISER LIVING SERIES SET brings you nearly 600 pages of expert advice, recipes, do-it-yourself projects, and more information on living a self-sufficient life. This set covers everything from organic gardening to easy solar power, from raising chickens for meat to self-reliance and country skills. The do-it-yourself projects include simple solar heater plans as well as instructions on how to paint your house, install your own windows, and easily take advantage of energy from the sun. Follow recipes for making homemade bread and preserving preserve food (including simple ideas for easy canning, freezing, and dehydrating). Discover how to save money with energy-saving tips for your home, and how to cut your food bills in half by growing your own food right in your own backyard.
This set includes:
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Self-Reliance and Country Skills
Whether you live in the country or simply enjoy putting country skills to use in the city or suburbs, you will find many ideas and projects in this issue that you’ll be excited to tackle. Find empowerment and joy in self-reliant living!
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Organic Gardening
Many of us have chosen to use natural, nontoxic methods in our gardens. In part, we’re motivated by a desire for healthy food and soil. After all, who wants to eat food that’s been sprayed with toxic chemicals better suited to chemical warfare than gardening? The good news is many of these sustainable, natural methods are surprisingly simple, as well as low-cost. Find many of these tips in this special issue.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Great DIY Projects
Self-efficiency – doing things for yourself – is a great way to save money, utilize local resources, and create durable projects and buildings. If you’re a new DIYer, you’ll be amazed at how many jobs you can manage yourself. This guide includes information on do-it-yourself skills and projects for those just starting out, as well as those with years of experience. You can save money by doing things yourself instead of hiring a builder, mechanic, or repair technician, plus you will build many items better than you can buy them.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Living on Less
Spending less doesn’t have to mean enjoying life less. So slow down, get out of the rat race, and take more time to enjoy the things that are truly important. This special collection of articles is all about spending less on food, housing, and energy, and simplifying your life without living less comfortably.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Country Skills
Many people dream of leaving the city for a serene life in the country, where they can grow their own food and become more self-sufficient. This guide will help you make that dream a reality, whether you’re starting from a metropolitan apartment or living in the suburbs. And if you’re already living in the country, this guide offers some great tips to help you become more self-reliant.
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Although there is nothing complicated about constructing healthier homes, building for health is still not standard practice, and in fact there are many aspects of conventional home construction that are detrimental to human wellbeing.
From foundation to rooftop, to home care and repair, Prescriptions for a Healthy House takes the mystery out of healthy-house building, renovation and maintenance, by walking the owner/architect/builder team through the entire construction process. Chapters include:
The authors -- an architect, medical doctor and restoration consultant -- bring a singular combination of expertise and perspectives to this book. The result -- now in its third completely updated edition -- is a unique guide to creating healthy indoor and outdoor spaces, including many new resources, as well as specialized knowledge from several nationally recognized experts in the field of building biology.
This unique guide will appeal to architects, designers, contractors, medical professionals and homeowners.
Author: PAULA BAKER-LAPORTE
With Projects to Get You Off the Grid, the Instructables community of do-it-yourselfers have pooled their knowledge into a compact book focused on a series of projects that will get you thinking creatively about thinking green. This collection of 20 projects illustrate just how simple it can be to make your own backyard chicken coop, or turn a wine barrel into a rainwater collector.
Illustrated with dozens of full-color photographs per project as well as easy-to-follow instructions, this Instructables collection uses the best that the online community has to offer, turning a far-reaching group of people into a mammoth database churning out ideas to make life better, easier, and in this case, greener.
Author: Edited by Noah Weinstein
What book would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? Widely regarded as the bible of off-grid living, the Solar Living Sourcebook might be your best choice. With more than 600,000 copies in print worldwide, it is the most comprehensive resource available for anyone interested in lessening their environmental footprint and increasing their energy independence.
This 14th edition of the sourcebook is the ultimate guide to renewable energy, sustainable living, natural and green building, off-grid living and alternative transportation, written by experts with decades of experience and a passion for sharing their knowledge. This fully revised and updated edition includes brand new sections on permaculture and urban homesteading, and completely rewritten chapters on solar technology, sustainable transportation and relocalization. It also boasts greatly expanded material on:
You’ll also find maps, wiring diagrams, formulas, charts, electrical code, solar sizing worksheets and much more.
Whether you're a layperson or a professional, novice or longtime aficionado, the Sourcebook puts the latest research and information at your fingertips … everything you need to know to make sustainable living a reality.
Author: John Schaeffer
This definitive manual marks the birth of a new vernacular for the 21st century. More than 400 color photographs and step-by-step instructions guide you through the building of anything from a garden shed to your own woodland house. This practical ‘how-to’ book will unquestionably be a benchmark for sustainable building using renewable local resources and evolving traditional skills to create durable, ecological and beautiful buildings.
Author: Ben Law
Shelter II was published in 1978, five years after the book Shelter. It was a sequel in a sense, but a more sober and practical book (in black and white, not color) for any owner-builder interested in building a simple stud-frame house. The heart of the book consists of an introduction to the principles of house design, followed by a condensed 24-page instruction manual for the novice builder for building a stud-frame home: foundation, floor, wall and roof framing; roofing, windows, doors, interior finish, as well as plumbing and electrical work.
Featured is a section of complete, to-scale drawings by Bob Easton of seven different homes, accompanied by floor plans. These unique drawings allow the first-time builder to visualize each structure as a whole by showing every member of the house frame.
Indigenous builders are studied with an eye to the still-usable skills of the past. There are many photos of North American houses and barns: still-standing reminders of an era of practical building.
Rehabilitation projects then underway in major cities are also covered. There's a critical analysis of domes - they were found to be neither practical nor durable, and there's a detailed critique of America's program in those years to establish colonies in space.
Shelter II tells a story: Practical builders (past and present, in country and city) have always built with time-tested techniques and materials readily at hand: lumber, earth, stone, concrete, brick, thatch or abandoned city buildings. Design is governed by weather, purpose and economy. Building technique is determined by tradition, experience and practice. Then, as now, initiative and hand labor by owners can beat the high cost of building and reduce or eliminate lifetime mortgage obligations.
Out of print for some 20 years, Shelter II is an integral part of the Shelter Publications suite of books on handbuilt homebuilding, and we're happy to make it available once again.
Author: Lloyd Kahn & Bob Easton
Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition presents lively, step-by-step tutelage on building all types of temporary and long-term accommodations from both natural and man-made materials. Originally published in 1914, this practical classic is as essential a guide for today's modern homesteader as it was at the turn of the 20th century.
Included are instructions for dozens of worry-free shelters for you to choose from, including a sod house for the lawn, a treetop house, over-water camps, a bog ken and much more. Satisfying the builder's need for the creature comforts of home, it also provides tips on how to build hearths and chimneys, notched log ladders, and even how to rig a front door with a secret look. Illustrated throughout with a bounty of helpful line drawings, Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition harkens back to the can-do spirit of the American frontier that still thrives today.
Author: D.C. Beard
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Until now, the green roof movement has been limited to large-scale, professional endeavors and public buildings. But homeowners everywhere are catching onto the benefits of a green roof — water conservation, energy savings, and storm water management. In Small Green Roofs authors Nigel Dunnett, Dusty Gedge, John Little, and Edmund Snodgrass profile ordinary homeowners who scaled green roofs down to the domestic level.
Small Green Roofs is the first book to focus on small-scale and domestic green roofs. More than 40 profiles of small and domestic-scale projects of all shapes and sizes include green roofs on sheds, garden offices, studios, garages, houses, bicycle sheds, and other small structures, as well as several community projects. For each project, details are given for design, construction, and installation, as well as how-to tips on how the roof was planted and cared for.
For readers looking for inspiration when hiring a contractor or taking the adventurous step of building their own, Small Green Roofs provides the knowledge and encouragement to make it possible.
This book features homes that are larger than “tiny,” but smaller than the national average. Small homes are less expensive, use less resources, are more efficient to heat and cool, and cheaper to maintain and repair. The homes here (some 65 of them) vary from unique and artistic to simple and low-cost. 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.
This book represents a logical step for Shelter Publications, after their two previous books on tiny homes. (By way of comparison, homes in their Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, averaged 200 to 300 square feet.)
Author: Lloyd Kahn