Tiny Homes on the Move Book Review

Click to buy this book direct from SHELTER PUBLICATIONS

Click to buy this book direct from SHELTER PUBLICATIONS

This year SHELTER PUBLICATIONS released a new book, Tiny Homes on the Move, written by Lloyd Kahn, celebrating houses that, well, move! With more than 200 pages of color photographs and words detailing a variety of portable houses - from ones that are towed to ones that roll on their own or even float - one finds an eclectic mix of converted buses and pick-up trucks, pop-up trailers, hand-made RV's, sailboats, tiny houses on wheels, vans, motorcycles, bicycles, gypsy wagons, and more. It's definitely a fun book to browse.

In addition to tons of photos, there are plenty of entertaining stories to tell. Lloyd often finds people (and their "homes") in unexpected, out of the way places. For example, while swimming off the Costa Rican coast, he stumbles onto an Argentinian couple living in a converted VW van, traveling Latin America and selling hand made jewelry to fund the adventure.

Worthy of note too are wholly unexpected structures like the Chinese Tricycle House, a polypropylene "house" that unfolds like an accordion and uses a modified bicycle as its foundation. The entire structure is "human powered and off the grid." Or how about a horse-drawn house like the Whinny-Bray-Go  (you'll have to get your hands on the book for an explanation of that one!). And, if you're a gardener, Eliot Coleman's Veggie Wagon will make you smile.

Tiny Homes on the Move is an amusing book that's part documentary, part-journal. If you know and enjoy reading Lloyd Kahn's works then I bet you'll you'll like this book too. If you're less familiar with the author and expecting to find a collection of portable full-time houses or tiny houses, then this may not be the book for you. While I enjoyed browsing the great photos and reading some free-spirited stories, I found few "homes" in the traditional sense of the word, and by that I mean houses, structures where people actually live. Most of the book is comprised of temporary structures designed more for short-term travel and weekend getaways. There's much more attention given to the portable nature of the featured structures than to, say, their livability or enduring quality or craftsmanship.

To be fair, there are liveable structures - homes - in this book. And there are some cool hand-made, well-crafted ones to boot. However, there's plenty of cobbled-together trailers and just downright poorly built structures as well. Featuring a 5' x 8' trailer built of recycled plywood and calling it a "home" is to me, well, a bit silly. It's perhaps even a bit disingenuous since no one actually lives in the ones featured in the book. Besides, building something of value from recycled materials is one thing; but jerry-building something with recycled materials and junk for the sake of doing it is little more than entertainment (I guess) or a goofy sales-pitch (which it is was in this book).

So, if you're looking to add to your library a new book detailing progressive houses or if you're hoping to see pages of how-to information then I recommend checking out some of SHELTER PUBLICATIONS other books, like Shelter II, a DIY classic, or the stunning Builders of the Pacific Coast, one of the first au naturale architecture books I ever stumbled on, and passing up on this one.

If, on the other hand, you love nutty, whimsical and adventurous boats, vans and trailers, liveable or not, and the people who own them, then I think you'll find this a very cool book.

By the way, if you're looking for a portable house, why not check out our FREESHARE PLAN, it's free and can be downloaded here.