The Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses: Build your own guest cottage, writing studio, home office, craft workshop, or personal retreat Info

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Average Ratings and Reviews
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3.80

212 Ratings

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Reviews for The Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses: Build your own guest cottage, writing studio, home office, craft workshop, or personal retreat:

5

Feb 03, 2012

This book is really a 140+ advertisement for Tumbleweed Houses but what a great book it is. Jay Shafer began a movement to create and have people live in little houses. His designs are stylish and cute, like a kitten. He breaks down his own plans so that the reader can build one for themselves but still encourages them to look into his website.
Im not sure what I would do. He sells kits to make the houses and yet I like the challenge of designing my own. I am in love with these houses. They feel This book is really a 140+ advertisement for Tumbleweed Houses but what a great book it is. Jay Shafer began a movement to create and have people live in little houses. His designs are stylish and cute, like a kitten. He breaks down his own plans so that the reader can build one for themselves but still encourages them to look into his website.
I’m not sure what I would do. He sells kits to make the houses and yet I like the challenge of designing my own. I am in love with these houses. They feel like grown-up playhouses.
True to his word, in part 4 Jay offers instructions on building your own tiny house. He starts with prepping the land and foundation. With a small house, you have more variety for foundations.
Jay, then, moves onto a variety of structures you can put on that foundation from gazebos to houses. The detail he has put into this book amazes me. It really is a book for building your own home and outbuildings. I dream of the time when I can lay down some roots on land that I own. Jay will be the first person I call (okay – not really but I will be using his book and perhaps a kit or two).
*Note – those who purchase the book can download a free plan for his Zinn house.
...more
4

Jun 11, 2012

I've always loved the Tumbleweed houses. This "book" was more like a catalog. It has a little bit of Jay's approach to small houses, includes lots of great photos of some of his designs built and deployed on site, shows some rough plans for his box bungalow variations, and describes in text and clear illustrations some basics for building a small structure. The first three sections can largely be found online on his website; perhaps the most useful section is the final section, at least for I've always loved the Tumbleweed houses. This "book" was more like a catalog. It has a little bit of Jay's approach to small houses, includes lots of great photos of some of his designs built and deployed on site, shows some rough plans for his box bungalow variations, and describes in text and clear illustrations some basics for building a small structure. The first three sections can largely be found online on his website; perhaps the most useful section is the final section, at least for people who would have no idea how to approach a project like this. Interestingly, that section doesn't appear to be written by Jay but pulled verbatim from some other publication. I had mixed feelings about that. On one hand, you can't take it and directly apply it to one of Jay's designs. On the other hand, by being general instead of specific, it allows you to take Jay's ideas and build whatever kind of structure works best for you, which ultimately is more useful. ...more
4

Oct 02, 2015

The Tumbleweed DIY Book... This is a great book to read if you're serious about building your own tiny house. It has a lot of floor plans and great photos with design ideas. Some of the houses are on trailers, but some are on foundations. I love how this book gives you options. It has a lot of instructions on how to build a tiny house. It covers clearing the building site, safety gear, cutting down trees, removing logs, stumps and roots, building the foundation on poles, roofing, raising walls, The Tumbleweed DIY Book... This is a great book to read if you're serious about building your own tiny house. It has a lot of floor plans and great photos with design ideas. Some of the houses are on trailers, but some are on foundations. I love how this book gives you options. It has a lot of instructions on how to build a tiny house. It covers clearing the building site, safety gear, cutting down trees, removing logs, stumps and roots, building the foundation on poles, roofing, raising walls, siding, windows, doors and trim. I had no idea how to cut down a tree or remove a stump until I read this book. It doesn't cover plumbing, electrical or finishing the interior, so you'll need separate books for that. I'd still recommend this book to anyone researching tiny houses. ...more
2

Sep 07, 2013

2.5 stars, at best.

Alas. The Amazon reviews of this book are overwhelmingly negative, so I decided to check it out from my library before I purchased it. I'm really glad I did.

So, first, not every book can be everything. Not every book can be an detailed account of framing, electrical, and plumbing. I am totally aware of this and I did not have any expectations that this book would be the "only book I'd ever need to buy" to build my own tiny house--definitely not!! I had only hoped that this 2.5 stars, at best.

Alas. The Amazon reviews of this book are overwhelmingly negative, so I decided to check it out from my library before I purchased it. I'm really glad I did.

So, first, not every book can be everything. Not every book can be an detailed account of framing, electrical, and plumbing. I am totally aware of this and I did not have any expectations that this book would be the "only book I'd ever need to buy" to build my own tiny house--definitely not!! I had only hoped that this would be a *tiny house* building book, but alas. It wasn't really.

So, first the book technically has 4 parts but honestly it really only has two: the first part is where Tumbleweed shows off their products (photos and plans, with suggested layouts) and the second is where the author goes over building techniques.

The first half is what one would expect it to be: an advertisement for Tumbleweed Houses. That's nice, I skimmed it but skipped past it because I wasn't looking for eye candy to dream over. Even though I wasn't interested in the first half of the book, I'm not taking any stars off my rating because of it's existence, or even because of it's length (greater than 50% of the book).

My actual problem with the book is in fact in the building half. They include a very brief overview of what you need to do to build a house (any house): Chop trees down, level property, frame, put the roof up, install doors and windows. And that is exactly my gripe: a brief overview of *Any* house. I happen to know from my own research watching youtube videos of other tumbleweed home owners and builders that there are a lot of tiny-house-specific building issues. Like, for example, condensation. Apparently tiny houses have a condensation issue (much like tents) and you have to be careful about what kind of insulation you use in the house to help deal with the water retention issue. By giving completely generic instructions for house building (that you can find it literally ANY DIY house building book, from readers digest books to framing specific books) I feel like this book becomes nothing more than an advertisement for Tumbleweed houses. Had they included more info that specifically pertained to tiny houses (like the stuff they talk about in their classes) I'd be more into this book. But I guess there's a reason why they don't write more about that stuff: the book is $30ish, their 3 day classes are 400ish. I suppose it doesn't make financial sense for them to write their trade secrets down.

And thus, I suppose it doesn't make financial sense for me to buy this book. I recommend skipping this all together: there is literally NOTHING in here you can't find on their website for free, with the exception of the house building shit. However, as I stated, that's useless for any practical purposes.

So, like I said: in a thumbs up or thumbs down vote I give this one two thumbs down. ...more
2

Aug 16, 2016

This is a book written by a man in the prefab tiny house business so it is heavily promotional of his products. If you don't feel up to construction, or don't want to hire someone to do it from scratch ( you probably won't want to put his pieces together either in that case) this book can serve as a purchasing guide. Or you can use it to gain ideas about how tiny spaces can be organized. Personally I would want to visit some of these tiny spaces, perhaps using AirBnB or something similar before This is a book written by a man in the prefab tiny house business so it is heavily promotional of his products. If you don't feel up to construction, or don't want to hire someone to do it from scratch ( you probably won't want to put his pieces together either in that case) this book can serve as a purchasing guide. Or you can use it to gain ideas about how tiny spaces can be organized. Personally I would want to visit some of these tiny spaces, perhaps using AirBnB or something similar before committing to any of the brilliance I see before me.
The book is very useful in describing the achitectural terms for various gables, the components of raised floors, etc. Since I have never constructed anything bigger than a treehouse or childhood fort, I cannot comment on the construction processes described, but my tendency would be to call an experienced construction person before committing to this slender book as my expert. Especially with the fenestration chapter. On the topic of windows, I'm not so sure about the number of windows depicted in these tiny houses-do you want to see your house from your back yard structure? Do you want to sleep in a tiny house full of windows? In both urban and rural settings I'd consider leaving at least one wall "blind" for simplicity of structure.
Some off the cuff observations-why do people put tiny porches or tiny columns on their tiny houses? So they don't resemble the shipping containers also in the grungier aspects of this trend, says one part of me. Or so they stop resembling trailer park homes. I'd suggest having a patio outside your tiny home, with a canvas shade that stores when not in use. Part of the point of the tiny house is that it folds in on itself when not in use, and it should have a private aspect, landscaped to be discrete, unobtrusive. It would be easier to erect a trellis and gain another few cubic feet of space than have those cutesy columns that make the prefabs "craftsman style." It may also be said that I don't live in snowy climes and I don't require a place to park my skis or snowshoes, so a mini porch doesn't serve much purpose.
More reading on the topic required. It is not a great resource in telling you how to deal with your local building statutes. ...more
1

Jan 11, 2018

This is an advertising brochure for Shafer's shed-building company that he managed to charge €25 for. This isn't even hyperbole: the first two thirds of this is an overview of the company's products, including schematic plans of the various models they sell (not detailed enough to copy, of course, just enough to give you an overview of the look and some of the buzzword materials used) and a portfolio of pictures. Apparently he charges $12,000 or more for a shell (which is a kit that doesn't even This is an advertising brochure for Shafer's shed-building company that he managed to charge €25 for. This isn't even hyperbole: the first two thirds of this is an overview of the company's products, including schematic plans of the various models they sell (not detailed enough to copy, of course, just enough to give you an overview of the look and some of the buzzword materials used) and a portfolio of pictures. Apparently he charges $12,000 or more for a shell (which is a kit that doesn't even come with doors or windows), and you can build a complete one-bedroom house for ``as little as'' $20,000 (without sewer access).
Shafer seems to be aware that these prices are beyond ridiculous, so the remainder of the book pretends to be instructions for building your own while in actual fact being just a mess of drawings trying to convince you that sheds are far too difficult to attempt without his company's help, even taking care to show over a dozen different workers clearly distinguished by race, hair colour, and gender, to get you to believe subliminally that you need that many people. It's genuinely impressive, given the sheer volume of illustrations, that there still isn't enough information there to build your own shed.

There are a lot of problems with the tiny house movement, and Jay Shafer embodies at least 80% of them: it's fundamentally just a scam designed to separate trust-fund hipsters from their money.
If you want to build your own house, read something by, say, Larry Haun, and make your own decisions as to where you want to go cheaper or greener. If you want a garden shed, buy a garden shed. Either way you'll save thousands of dollars. ...more
4

Oct 26, 2013

A great book from the creator of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. If you're into the tiny house movement, you've probably heard of them and you've probably seen most of the houses featured in this book. However, if you're really into the tiny house movement, this is probably worth picking up for the additional information it contains.

The book is broken into three sections: part one is a description of the tiny houses and their construction (why they recommend a metal roof, for example), part two A great book from the creator of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. If you're into the tiny house movement, you've probably heard of them and you've probably seen most of the houses featured in this book. However, if you're really into the tiny house movement, this is probably worth picking up for the additional information it contains.

The book is broken into three sections: part one is a description of the tiny houses and their construction (why they recommend a metal roof, for example), part two includes plans for the actual houses, and part three is step-by-step instructions on building your own. Part three intrigued me the most; to a layman they seemed really well-written. Instructions to lay a foundation or erect the walls are juxtaposed with detailed drawings of each step. I still feel like I could never build a house, but for someone a little more handy than me this might be all you need. ...more
3

Jun 02, 2014

The content rates at least 3 stars, but the author gets -1 as a human being.

When someone sets themselves up as an authority--it is human nature to poke at it. So, sorry--I've got to vent.

This author has set himself up on an environmental moral high ground pedestal while he spends all of his time (including some nights--true, read the book!) letting his wife deal with their child in a spacious 500 sq. ft. shack. Nice.

As someone I really respect said--when someone has holes in their morality you The content rates at least 3 stars, but the author gets -1 as a human being.

When someone sets themselves up as an authority--it is human nature to poke at it. So, sorry--I've got to vent.

This author has set himself up on an environmental moral high ground pedestal while he spends all of his time (including some nights--true, read the book!) letting his wife deal with their child in a spacious 500 sq. ft. shack. Nice.

As someone I really respect said--when someone has holes in their morality you can drive a truck through, they tend to hang their hat on their accomplishments.

Just me? OK. ...more
5

Oct 11, 2014

Jay Shafer is the guy behind the tiny house movement, I believe. Reading this book makes me understand why.

Not only are there pictures, plans and explanations but there are detailed instructions. This is the ultimate handbook - you can find the perfect tiny building and then walk through how to build it yourself.

This isn't a book for people thinking about downsizing, or who want three bedrooms or a full kitchen. If you are looking at a way to live in a space under 120 square feet, however, Jay Shafer is the guy behind the tiny house movement, I believe. Reading this book makes me understand why.

Not only are there pictures, plans and explanations but there are detailed instructions. This is the ultimate handbook - you can find the perfect tiny building and then walk through how to build it yourself.

This isn't a book for people thinking about downsizing, or who want three bedrooms or a full kitchen. If you are looking at a way to live in a space under 120 square feet, however, pick up this book. ...more
4

Feb 15, 2016

A very quick reada substantial portion of the book is dedicated to photos and architectural plansthis is the real deal when it comes to building your own small home. While much of the knowledge in this book will come in greater use during the actual planning and construction phase, the first half of the book provides incredible inspiration.

Minus one star because this book is essentially an ad for Jay Shafer's company. Could have read a littttttle bit less like a catalog. A very quick read—a substantial portion of the book is dedicated to photos and architectural plans—this is the real deal when it comes to building your own small home. While much of the knowledge in this book will come in greater use during the actual planning and construction phase, the first half of the book provides incredible inspiration.

Minus one star because this book is essentially an ad for Jay Shafer's company. Could have read a littttttle bit less like a catalog. ...more
1

May 22, 2017

The author completely lacks integrity. I stopped reading this book at page 13. The author boasts about designing and writing about having "socially responsible, environmentally sustainable shelters". Yet when I stopped to research online how much he charges for his less than 500 sq ft dwellings, the base price is $60K. Complete lapse of integrity! Houw is charging people $60K, especially those who are seeking to live more simple and sustainably, socially responsible?
5

Jan 03, 2013

While the book is really an advertisment for a particular brand of sheds/tiny houses, the ideas abound creating a new itch to begin planning my new home; one I hope with have a smaller carbon footprint.

Page 61 is my favorite. Called the Bodega it has a carbon foodprint of only 261 square feet, but has all the comforts...fireplace, full bath, and even a laundry.
4

Jan 13, 2017

for a beginner, this gets five stars. it's really beautiful and useful as a primer. personally, I need a book that covers plumbing tiny houses and wiring in tiny houses, as these are my weak points--this book covers none of that. I would recommend as a first-to-read to the construction clueless, though.
4

Jan 23, 2013

Great plans. I got this because we are going to put a small studio in our backyard. I love the Zinn cottage in this book! So cute. Great plans, descriptions and directions, though not complete. I think the point of the book is to drive traffic to the site so people purchase plans and sign up for courses. Even so, very inspiring with great graphics.
1

Jan 06, 2016

I skimmed this book in less than an hour. It was basically a fancy catalog of all the tiny shells you can get from Tumbleweed. Then it was about how to literally build a house yourself, from how to fell a tree through how to make a door jamb from scratch.
3

Apr 15, 2013

Helpful for someone who wants to build. I would have enjoyed full interior pictures too or putting the layout drawings on the pages with the structures. A lot of flipping back and forth to decide if the layout was good.
5

Jul 31, 2012

I found it informative and the photos and illustrations were very nice. I am currently building my own mini house and I am sure the information I gained from this book is invaluable to me. I feel confident that this is doable after reading this book.
3

Jul 30, 2014

I hadn't expected housing plans in this book...I also hadn't expected this book to just be what is on the website. This is an extended commercial for the housing plans that Shaffer has designed. There are great ideas and how-tos in the second half of the book. Lovely for inspiration and reference.
0

Jan 17, 2013

After a lifetime in homes too large for my comfort I am drawn to the simplicity of a much smaller one. This book is part essay part promo for Mr. Shafer's work but I am glad to have read it. The creativity to reduce the square footage while still retaining a vibrant personal space is inspiring!
3

Mar 15, 2018

I liked looking at the pictures and plans for the tiny houses. I also liked the chapter on how to build a few types of buildings. Or was it one building.
3

Feb 18, 2017

Gorgeous pictures. All the houses are pretty similar, but the locations are fantastic. It makes living in a tiny house seem like a beautiful endeavor.
4

Feb 25, 2013

while I have no desire to live in a 100 sq foot house; it is an interesting idea and I enjoyed looking at the different styles and building techniques.
5

Jun 20, 2014

Very detailed, step-by-step instructions for building a small house or backyard shed. A large section of photographs as well.
0

Sep 07, 2016

I am starting to gain interest into Tiny Homes. Good book to get your idea juices flowing.
4

Aug 22, 2016

Includes how-to instructions for six of Shafer's box bungalow designs. The gorgeous color photos are sure to inspire tiny house dreamers!

4 stars

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