I just ordered a copy of this new book by “Deek” Diedricksen so cannot do a personal review yet. In the meantime I thought I ought to get the word out and Amanda Kovattana wrote this wonderful review over on flickr and I thought I should pass it on. Here is Amanda’s review of the book.
I felt so compelled to merge with “Deek” Diedricksen’s uber building gene, after reading his self-published book, that I got out my highlighter pens and helped him out by adding some color to the cover.
Printed at a local Ma and Pa printshop, then assembled by hand with a garage sale velo binder, this is a true Do It Yourself venture in bookmaking, financed, he points out, by dumpster diving the trash of others to sell stuff people were too lazy to fix. The marketing he leaves to us micro housing enthusiasts for there is a growing population of would-be tiny home dwellers who can’t get enough of this under the wire lifestyle.
Thus Deek’s book is important not so much because it is another entertaining zine produced by an overly creative young person, but because he is both fed by a movement and contributing a large chunk to it with his mind bending, Houdini like acts of radically small, home-built shelters.
The casual observer might have suspected that there was a backlash to the decades of MacMansioning, embodied by the books of Sarah Sussanka and her Not So Big House concept, but on closer inspection I was personally aghast that most of these books were about living well in less than 2,500 sq. ft. I beat a hasty path back to books published 20 and 30 years ago for it was there, in the wake of the counter culture movement, that I was first informed of the idea that what held people enslaved to corporate jobs were their mortgages. Thus the path to freedom lay in finding a way to live without one.
The live-lightly-on-the-earth simplicity movement revived this concept, most popularly exemplified by Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed, a tiny house on wheels making the rounds of eco minded publications and fairs. And while Jay argues that $150 per square foot is justified in light of the quality of materials used in his beautiful handmade house, the $10,000 to $30,000 cost of materials, plus copious amounts of time aspiring to such perfection, imposes restrictions on the mind that, practically speaking, have more in common with a mortgage.
Freedom being as much about where the mind can go as how one actually manages to escape the shackles of one’s obligations, it shouldn’t be surprising that so many are fascinated by the possibility of truly accessible housing even while living comfortably in a suburban ranch. Enter the DIY backyard tinkerer and consummate recycler constructing tiny free houses from discarded pallets and sidewalk trash much like those who convert gas cars to electric while awaiting a more affordable Tesla roadster. Carpentry, however, is the domain of conventional thinking. We all know what a house is supposed to look like. Scores of books fill the need for constructing sheds, playhouses and tree houses that look just like big grown up houses.
Derek’s book is a far cry from anything so conventional. He aims to inspire with his ideas, ideas that may well earn his book a place in tiny house history. What he ends up doing is reconstructing the mind into accepting what constitutes shelter. Could I sleep in that I asked myself of several drawings that borrowed quite a bit from Japanese capsule hotels. On the other hand I could certainly build it with the space, time and materials I had available.
Having, himself, been inspired by a copy of “Tiny Tiny Houses” by Lester Walker, which he received for his tenth birthday, he understands the importance of such books at a young age and includes a number of whimsical structures and indoor forts that would appeal to a child builder.
On his website, the drawing that convinced me to order the book (which he will mail wrapped in recycled cardboard or whatever lying around) was one showing a tree house platform with a ladder enclosed in a shaft so as to have a locked door for security. Such attention to detail, I realized with delight, promised practical follow through that would further my search for a hut I would be able to and want to build.
In the end it is his more loosely worked out ideas that compel my mind to take up pencil and paper to figure out how I could work it up into something I could use. My mind needed the exercise, but my soul needed the freedom of such thinking to expel the limitations of a system that does not aim to set us free. For such an experience at $15.95 (for a limited time only) this book was a bargain.
by Amanda Kovattana