Tiny House Summer Camp 4

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I've been long intending to post this list, as workshop attendees for both the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company Workshops I host, AND my own workshops (I have another in late October in New England- details to come- or email me at kidcedar at gmail.com) ask, and re-ask, about this list (most just forgetting to jot down the names when I go through them and pass them around).

SO, here it is! -And a sentence or so as to WHY....
I have amazon links to each book and their reviews below as well.....

NOTE: I own 100+ tiny house and alternative-building books, and some of the other titles make their way in and out of this list on occasion, so this is no end-all, be-all list....just the pile of ten I've been hauling around most recently- books that I collectively feel give a well rounded look at the scene and its many approaches, styles, and offerings. 

1. "HUMBLE HOMES, SIMPLE SHACKS"- By Derek "Deek" Diedricksen. Wait, a sec, that's me!? Yeah, I felt I'd start off with my own book, simply because it IS the embodiment of all my past tiny house influences and interests, AND has a heavy emphasis on building with "NOTHING"- meaning, with salvaged, recycled, and free materials. Its not a conventional build book, and more an idea book, but LOADED with information if you take the time to go through it, and all its captions.

2. 'TINY HOUSE FLOOR PLANS"- by Michael Janzen. This book delivers exactly what the title suggests- over 200 floor plans for a variety of different sized tiny houses. I recommend this book for those who aren't as good at spatially visualizing things- this book lays it out for ya. There's almost no text at all, but the layouts are pretty clever, and helpful to many. Where the heck can I fit a bathroom, or a dining table in 120 square feet?? This book kicks many an idea your way.

3. "The Small House Book"- Jay Shafer. I've become jaded over the years, having seen the photos of the work of Tumbleweed so frequently, but the first time I opened this book- "wow". This one has gorgeous layouts, given via some great photographic work, AND the basic bones of what you need to know to build a good chunk of your tiny house on wheels.

4. "Tiny Homes, Simple Shacks"- Lloyd Kahn. These top ten are in no particular order, but if so, this one would be near the top. 1600+ color photos, coffee-table style, showing you the ins and outs of some WILD micro dwellings, are bound to inspire anyone. Its a dang-dazzlin' array of funky craftsmanship- in the mini sense. If you don't dig this one, have your doctor make sure you're not dead from the neck up.

5. "Tiny, Tiny Houses"- Lester Walker. This was my FIRST introduction to the world of tiny houses back in 1986 or so, and I've been obsessed since. Its a little more expensive than the other books, but VERY, VERY worth it. This book also gives mini layouts and floor plans of each featured cabin, and covers some classics, from The Thomas Jefferson honeymoon suite, to H.D. Thoreau's Walden Cabin, The George Bernard Shaw revolving hut, and even some great designs from Walker himself. It also has my all-time favorite tiny house- Jeff Milstein's "Bolt Together House".

6. "Cabins" (or "Rustic Retreats")- David and Jeanie Stiles. I only wanted to pick one book from the Stiles duo (they're all great) and it was a toss up between these two. The drawings are straight-forward, unbelievably solid, fun, and the ideas are very creative. These books are laden with concepts for building on a budget too! I'm currently working on a tiny cabin plan set with David Stiles ta' boot....coming out soon!

7. Sheds: The Creative Homeowner Series. This book is out of print, but can be found easily online- and cheap! Since tiny houses parallel shed structures in several ways (at least as a starting point) I feel this is a great book for those who haven't built before. "Sheds" offers some easy to follow concepts, directions, and great sequential photos. This book shows you how to build a small handful of sheds from start to finish. Its an easy read, and full of information for any novice- but not in an intimidating way.

8. "Compact Cabins"- Gerald Rowan. 60+ cabin concepts- many designed for off-grid use? Need I say more. This is also not a "step by step" book, but has some really decent ideas, and is a fun book to flip through time and time again. The back of the book has a really good chapter on ideas for space efficiency too!

9. "The Tumbleweed Books of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses"- Jay Shafer. Its an expanded edition of "The Small House Book"- again, with some great photos, and some preliminary layouts for several of the then-newer models from TW.

10. "Cabins and Vacation Houses"- Sunset Press/Books. This books is dated in most of its styles and decor, but there are still so many incredible space saving, and funky ideas, within. Its another book that is sadly out of print, but can be had for very little on amazon, or elsewhere. Black and white photos, but they still are great!

If interested, here are the links....

                                                        Derek "Deek" Diedricksen


  1. I want to let you know I am anxiously awaiting my copy of YOUR book, coming from Amazon on Tuesday. I can't wait. That and a french press coffee maker, (starting my downsizing :)
    I can't wait to dig in and gather all kinds of cool ideas from you. I've been wanting your book for a long time, and now I'll finally have it.

  2. Your book isn't available as a kindle version :(