• Subscribe to
    Lloyd’s Blog via RSS.
  • Check out TheShelterBlog.com
  • Tools for the
    Half-Acre Homestead

In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide To Turning One House Into Two Homes

In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide To Turning One House Into Two Homes
by Mike Litchfield. Taunton Press, 2011. Paperback, 224 pp., 200 color photos, $24.95

Mike Litchfield has just written a very important book on building, not just for its subject matter, but for its timeliness in this era of tightening incomes. The subtitle says it well: "Your guide to turning one house into two homes."

There's a growing need for sensible and affordable shelter in North America these days, and Mike, the first editor of Fine Homebuilding, and the author of the bestselling book Renovation, has put together an immensely useful book here.

The book addresses a real need. For one (big) thing, baby boomers' parents are aging, and a cottage in the yard or an apartment above the garage beats a rest home or a retirement condo in both financial and human terms.

In many cases, for the cost of renting a house or apartment for a few years, or for the cost of an elder and/or loved one in a rest home, you can create a rent-free or mortgage-free home. The book covers, in this order:
1. Is an in-law right for you?
2. Design of in-laws
3. Choosing appliances, fixtures, and materials
4. Plans and permits
5. Methods of construction, and the pros and cons of each:
a. Basement units
b. Garage conversions
c. Stand-alone units
d. Bump-outs, carve-outs, and attics
6. Current sources for finding architects, green materials, and products

Multigenerational Living in Paradise (Bali)

From Mike Litchfield's blog Cozy Digz at Fine Homebuilding:

"…When it’s time to add a new building—say, when a younger brother gets married and needs a kitchen, the work is invariably done by gotong royong (mutual help). …40 or 50 relatives show up over a period of days till the thing is done. For example, a 2.8 meter x 3.5 meter kitchen constructed for Legut and his new wife took 5 days to complete. In the spirit of gotong royong, there’s no money involved, just two meals a day for everyone who helps. Pitching in to help others pervades many activities in the village."

Dolphins racing catamaran

In the 2011 Van Isle 360 international yacht race in the waters of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

I was on the swimming team in high school (Lowell, San Francisco, class of '52) and a teammate, Mike Barnato, said he wished he would be incarnated as a seal. Funny how you remember some things, isn't it?

Sent by Godfrey Stephens

Spiffy little Boston Whaler

Came upon this when heading out on my bike last week.

Solar bottles of light

From boingboing this morning

"The slums of the Philippians are getting an extreme home makeover in the form of two liter bottles in their ceilings. The bottles function as 60-watt lights powered by 100% solar energy. Refraction is an amazing thing, if you drilled a hole in your ceiling light would drop directly through the opening in a straight line casting a shadow on the ground in the shape of the hole. By placing a bottle filled with water into the hole, the light is refracted by the water and emitted at 360 degrees like a light bulb. Light bulbs are taken for granted in America, yet are luxury item for the Philippians slums. The two liter bottles filled with water and a small amount of bleach to keep algae from growing, act as a light in the often-unlit slums.…"

Lots of Teardrop trailers

American River Sales & Rentals in Auburn, Calif, has 20-30 Teardrop trailers for sale and/or rent. You can see them from highway 80, on the east side of the road.

"Teardrop trailers first became popular in the 1930s, when magazines such as Mechanics Illustrated published plans. The first teardrops were designed around the idea of using standard 4 by 8-foot sheets of plywood with hardwood spars. Teardrop trailers remained popular until the mid 1960s after which they disappeared from mainstream camping. However, in the late 1990s, plans became available on the internet and in recent years teardrop trailers have made a resurgence and are again growing in popularity." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teardrop_trailer

4 baby chicks hatched

For you people familiar with chickens: we have all bantams -- Silver Seabrights and Auracanas. Unlike full sized birds, you can't tell if bantams will go broody. For example, full sized Rhode Island Reds or Auracanas never try to set. With bantams, you can't tell. The non-broody genes sometimes don't get get transferred. (Bantam Rhode Island Reds are persistent and pesky setters.)

This Auracana decided to hatch some eggs, so Lesley put 6 of our Seabright eggs under her, since we have a Seabright rooster (and don't want to get Auracana/Seabright half-breeds). 4 of them appeared a few days ago and they look a lot healthier than the 1-day chicks we get in the mail. Within 2 days their mama had them out in the yard running around like punks (and dodging the pecks of the big girls).