In preparation for building my own straw bale home, I have been spending a lot of time flipping through a few specific books for inspiration. Lloyd Kahn‘s series of titles, Shelter, Home Work, and Builders of the Pacific Coast (affiliate links) are three great books that document folks all over the globe who build their own homes, many of whom adopt recycled, reclaimed, and natural materials. These are some of the best books for getting a big inspirational kick in the pants when it comes to creative and eco home-building.
3 Great Books Feature Eco-Friendly Homes & More
Kahn’s owner/builder documentation legacy began with Shelter, first published in 1973, but by no means dated even today. This oversized book is packed with over 1000 photographs and tons of stories from all over the world, centered on the people who build their own shelter with their own hands. The range of styles is mighty and hours will be spent soaking in every rich detail.
Next came Home Work in 2004, a sort of spiritual sequel to Shelter, packed with more of the same, but tons of fresh new perspectives. Straw bale, cob, timber frames, treehouses, greenhouses, and gypsy wagons are just some of the styles represented. One of the big draws of Home Work is that it is in full color. Gorgeous photos abound, and it has perhaps an improved style over Shelter, even.
Most recently released is Builders of the Pacific Coast, which, as you can imagine, is more regionally focused than the previous titles. Beautiful, handbuilt homes featuring driftwood and other reclaimed wood are the stars here. Kahn continues on with his idiosyncratic, intimate style here with the builders he documents and the stories he shares about his travels on the road while discovering nifty homes and their equally nifty owners.
I cannot recommend Lloyd Kahn’s books enough for anyone interested in traditional and modern green homes. These are very down-to-earth stories, not far-flung green hype stories that architects sitting at computers fantastically create on-screen, but never actually build.
If you have any notion to learn more about natural and green building, check these wholesome books out.
Image credit: Shelter Publications
p.s. Lloyd is currently working on a book about tiny houses, which I’m sure is not to be missed!
p.p.s.: Want to get learn how to build your very own natural home? Check out these exciting natural building workshop opportunities: a 2012 timber frame workshop, and straw bale workshops at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri.