Here’s the books we used and read (and drooled over) that informed our choices, along with our favorite blogs:
– A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander, et. al. The book is huge, and looks really intimidating and pithy. Read a chapter a day and then observe the everyday world around you. As the wonderful review said, it describes the world as it should be. Required reading as a human being.
– The Small House Book by Jay Shafer, the founder of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, now the innovator behind Four Lights Houses (all good websites to visit, too). This book has tons of inspirational pictures, information about legal issues, and is something of a manifesto for the tiny house movement; however, the number of pages devoted to the actual how of tiny house building are very few, with little detail for those that need hand-holding on construction issues. No information in there about wiring, plumbing, or gas, as “Experts” are recommended for those things, which I find really annoying and contrary to the spirit of the movement, but ah well. A great book to start with.
–Go House Go, an e-book by Portland Alternative Dwellings, for $20. Well worth it. Dee Williams wrote it, and based on all of my obsessive review of the different methods of construction, has one of the best, described in detail within. It’s what we’re working off of for our house. Not as pretty to look at, but something you’ll have with you on the construction site. Also bails on description of utilities installation.
– Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn. If you haven’t read his original book Shelter, you really need to. He is a legend from way back. This book, like all his others, is about documenting the grassroots movement with personal stories and LOTS of pictures submitted by those living the dream and their friends who volunteered them. I just love to look through the pictures when I am feeling alone and defeated in my efforts.
–Rolling Homes: Handmade Houses on Wheels by Jane Lidz. Published in 1979, it is a great picture-book featuring awesome hippie houses made out of schoolies (school buses), logging trucks and what have you from the 70′s. Great inspiration.
–Tiny Systems for Tiny Houses – by Abel/Zyl Zimmerman, perpetually in a state of almost being published, when it does come out I’m sure it will be good, since it is the ONLY book thus far that claims to tackle tiny house utilities. Zyl is something of a Renaissance man, and makes beautiful wooden vardos and lives in one, so you should check out his gallery. He also does consultations.
www.tinyhouseblog.com – probably the best and least commercialized tiny house website, with pictures just for fun, blurbs on new tiny house businesses, and lots of articles submitted from readers all over the world. Kent Griswold does a great job with this blog.
www.tinyhouseswoon.com – ’nuff said. Some of the best pictures out there of tiny houses.
www.pinterest.com – search “tiny houses” and you’ll find all those plotting their escape in pictures.
On MCS and building:
– Pharos Project, a group seeking to publish actual chemical content of various building materials. Since carcinogenic/allergenic/nasty content is actually protected by the Trade Secret Act regardless of health risks (just like plastic!), they ask for voluntary information from the manufacturers, and when they can’t obtain that, they provide educated guesses. They give ratings on VOCs, environmental and person health risks, as well as renewability or organic source usage. Will scare the pee-waddin’ out of you. www.pharosproject.net
-Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners by Paula Baker-Laporte includes essays and articles by building biologists, architects, and doctors who don’t believe MCS is mere superstitition. Still haven’t quite figured out that the best method is not to engineer their way out of nasty artificial products but to just use natural stuff in the first place, but a great book to read nonetheless.
– And a research paper written by a tiny houser graduate student: http://staff.washington.edu/jhemsley/papers/OneStudentsSolutiontoLowCostHighQual.pdf
–www.mychemicalfreehouse.blogspot.ca/ A tiny house blog by a fellow MCS sufferer in Canada
–http://www.safespotcottages.com/ A tiny house builder and MCS sufferer in Washington
– And on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, from a professor of biochemistry, who is also a MCS sufferer