Tiny House in a Landscape - Tiny House Blog

Tiny House in a Landscape

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This week’s Tiny House in a Landscape includes some photographs take by Linda Lacy from California. Linda says: I took these photos at Malakoff Diggins, a California State Park that has been “cut” from the state budget. This is a wonderful area with lots of tiny houses.

It is so sad seeing so many of our parks being closed to the public. I hope these tiny houses are not vandalized because they are no longer protected. Thank you Linda for sharing these pictures with us.

Photo Credits: Linda Lacy

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Tiny House in a Landscape – Malakoff Diggins | Tiny House Living - August 11, 2012 Reply

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KathyG - August 11, 2012 Reply

Tiny House in a Landscape is one of my favorite features on this blog. Sometimes I question the inclusion of places like this, which I would more properly ‘Tiny Shack in a Landscape’. From the park name and the location, I imagine this place is in an old mining town, and I can well imagine the crudenes….. I mean, simplicity, of this little building.

It probably wouldn’t get very far in 21st century building codes or homeowner preference lists, but wee primitives like these are a good reminder that our assumptions about ‘how small is too small’ are very new in history, even in our ‘young’ country.

    LAURA - August 11, 2012 Reply


    You have never had to rent a house I am sure Kathy because if you had you would know many people rent far worse than this to people in many places in this country… this is why home ownership is so important for EVERYONE

      jipsi - August 15, 2012 Reply

      And, Laura, in defense of Kathy (perhaps in “support” of Kathy would sound better), it should be noted that this is why STANDARDS of livability should be better-adhered to, and by both owner AND renter, as well.

      Yes, there are, unfortunately, many ‘slum-lords’ who would think nothing of renting a house or apartment to a tenant in a less-than-habitable condition and appearance. But home OWNERSHIP does not fix that, sadly. There are many ‘new’ home owners who have purchased a home needing major improvement, looking like the shacks, above, but then fall short of doing the repairs, instead continuing to live in the dwelling despite the barely (if at all) habitable conditions.
      So ‘ownership’, per se, will not eradicate the ‘tiny shacks in a landscape’ problem.

      I always say live and let live, but it MUST fall within REASON: slapped-together, shoddy carpentry, haphazard ‘found’ materials in building are a BLIGHT, not indicative of a ‘creative’ or ‘green’ lifestyle! And they HAPPEN, whether as rentals or owned homes.

      This subject has come up before, here, and it’s a sensitive one, because some of us believe people should STILL adhere to a kind of ‘curb appeal’ building (you DO NOT have to be ‘rich’ to keep a yard neat, the siding of your home uniform and painted/stained, some nice extra ‘touches’ that are more attentive and creative than costly) rather than the ‘let it all hang out’ (plastic milk jug container-skylights and Pepsi-can-roof tiles, bare particle-board walls with no paint, rough-cut/sawn ‘windows’, etc.), over-grown (natural??) grass and weeds, cluttered yard style of building and ‘living’…
      It’s called pride in self… pride in workmanship… self-respect and civility.

      SO when some of us mention our distaste and/or low praise of a pictured building, beit a ‘landscape’ or member-contributed project, citing …. ummm, well… appearance issues, and such… it’s NOT because we are ‘snobby’ or ‘rich’, not at ALL (I really cringe when responses go that direction, because they do miss the points, and a lot of pain and conflict result).
      It’s because there ARE people ‘out there’ who denigrate the whole ‘tiny house movement’ as ‘shack builders/shed dwellers’, in a fashion mobile homes/trailers were (and still are!) denigrated. And we all know that’s just NOT TRUE!

      HOWEVER, and I capitalized that for a big reason: when ‘tiny houses’ are built ingeniously by a clever DIYer who literally puts a liveable dwelling together out of materials onhand/found, it HAS TO BE just as cleverly ‘neatened’ and ‘nicied’ up, at least on the outside, or the nay-sayers are only being given more fuel to stoke THEIR hurtful (even damaging, to the industry!)’fire’ – and NONE OF US want THAT, I feel I can safely say. Right?

      A tidy ‘outside’ appearance matters, especially when it’s not too far off (like REAL tinies, in another topic, the rustic-looking Texas houses) from the appearance of a bona-fide ghost town cabin/shanty/cottage (like those in THIS article).

      Most importantly, I believe it’s not a matter of ownership OR rental: the inhabitant is the one responsible for making their ‘home’ look like a ‘sweet little cottage/cabin’ OR allowing it to look/be a ‘shabby and broken-down shack’.
      And it’s directly relevant to one’s own self-respect/pride of ownership/tenantship.

      Just my (long, sorry, I’m horrible at this) take on the matter of appearance, especially where tiny houses/spaces are concerned…

jet - August 11, 2012 Reply

i love those vacation houses.
It remembered to my childhood, only those “tent”houses ( the roof was of the fabric of cotton tents) could stand during the spring till autumn time, and then i they must broken off till the next year.
those picts are remembering me off those days it’s all end but… you know you come the next year and you must fill the days with great summer adventures.
I hope those tiny houses will be remembered in their owner thoughts.
Thanks for sharing this.XD

Donna McFarland - August 11, 2012 Reply

One man’s “shack” is another’s “paradise”…Ohhh, what’s happened to that sweet lil dwelling?? How very sad to see this. I for one can only hope that some deserving soul will rescue this oh so time/neglect ravaged home sweet home.

Melvin - August 12, 2012 Reply

My sister was born in one of the tent houses in a logging town called pondosa in Northen Calif. That was before the building codes people. Actualy many people in Oregon Calif used to live in the tent houses year round and were happy to have them. When I was little the women would show each other how they made cabinets and firniture from fruit crates in homes that were an ongoing building project by the men. People visited each other more then and shared ideas.
I join the others in hoping someone finds and take care of these historical homes.

Kurt - August 12, 2012 Reply

Their website doesn’t say anything about it being closed:

    Matt - August 13, 2012 Reply

    I find it interesting that that we don’t have anyone stepping up with a non-profit type solution to help maintain these parks and structures.

    Surely, we can gather a solution outside of government…?

alice h - August 12, 2012 Reply

I lived in a tent house in the Yukon for a while, summer and winter. It had a proper roof, floor and small side walls that raised it up enough to make a loft. A lot of the smaller old houses there are actually just a tent house that people gradually boarded over and insulated. Having lived in many a rustic shack I can honestly say you can have a happy, healthy, comfy, esthetically pleasing life in one.

Dee Ann Guzman - August 13, 2012 Reply

We have lost so much in this society of McMansions and plastic. The very simplicity of living has become illegal in many localities! We say we’re helping as we shove poor people into the housing authority, and then congratulate ourselves for our charity. I would rather live in a shack like this on a tiny piece of land than in some government approved wasteland. Maybe it’s time for the government of California(my native state no longer. now in Oklahoma, the land of the free!) to turn it’s land stolen from it’s population to it’s citizens, along with the ghastly amount of money they have pilfered from the pockets of every man, woman, and child!

    Matt - August 13, 2012 Reply

    That would be nice Dee, unfortunately…politicians are given power by those that keep voting them in. The same “poor people” are promised every two years that things will be better and they keep pulling the lever. Education is the key, yet we know who runs that system too!

    Congratulations on your escape from CA!

jipsi - August 15, 2012 Reply

Just a PS, to my earlier response to Laura (on Kathy’s comment): the house pictured above are IN A PARK (State or National), and are true relics from another age. As such, they should be MAINTAINED as they are, NOT ‘fixed up’, as some commenters have suggested. If these were abandoned real estate, sure.
But because they are original dwellings, looking much as they did when built over a hundred years or more ago, the stewardship of them lies in the care and maintenance of them as they ARE.

Cabins built in Northern California before the turn of the 19th/20th Century generally were built of local timber, planed and constructed by hand, and very few were ever painted or ‘gussied up’. To ‘rehab’ them now, in this way, would forever change them from their value as historic dwellings.

I DO hope something is done in a manner that will help look after them, and keep them from falling into further disrepair, so that people could continue to visit and delight in them in the century ahead. They are priceless reminders of how our Country grew, from pioneering settlements to the contemporary cities of today, and how rustic and simple peoples’ lives were ‘once upon a time’ in America’s history of the west…

wanda huddleston - August 16, 2012 Reply

i would gladly take any of these to live in and make my own…….i would enjoy taking care of a home again……people just don’t realize until it happens to them what it is like to not have after having.

Cyndi Leonard - September 25, 2015 Reply

I lived in that cabin! Way back in the early 80’s with my family. There were five of us a large dog and a cat. Our family was the last family to live in that cabin.. It was a very rough life but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My Mama could bake bread on the little wood burning stove. ???? The ranger who took over the park deemed it as un inhabitable. I went home a couple years ago and the door was open. Walked in and found my dogs collar on the counter!!

Pete Peterson - October 18, 2015 Reply

I randomly came across these pics and read all the comments, then went to respond and found that my sister (above) had beat me to it!

We indeed lived in the first cabin ~30 years ago! The 2nd (red) one was right next door and was occupied by a seasonal state park worker named Ken, who was also a great musician (and turned me on to a lifetime love of Jimmy Buffet).

Many of the structures in the park were used as housing for park workers at the time, and these two were the smallest of the original building still habitable.

There are several small “rental cabins” in a cluster closer to the center of town, but they are all newer recreations of originals and fairly rustic/barren “miner’s shacks”.

These two structures however are original to the era and indeed tiny houses. While they have fallen into sad shape today, they were quite well built (they have survived 100+ years of weather in the Sierras!), finished inside and very comfortable.

The 1st one has a main room, a small bedroom and a loft (where our parent slept). There was propane lighting & cook-stove, cold running water, wood burning heat stove and an outhouse (no longer there). The nearest phone was a payphone about a mile away on the side of the General Store, as was electricity. The park’s maintenance shop had a hot shower.

While they have fallen into disrepair (due to several decades at the hands of a somewhat antisocial ranger who’s vision for the park was to let the entire thing decay into another Bodie?!?), at the time they were well kept and cute.

Mom was fond of “Glamping” and always kept things prim & proper. We had many family reunions, BBQs and gatherings in the front yard, usually with some silly extravagance like fine linen tablecloths with centerpieces on the picnic table.

Entertainment was limited to old radio shows on tape like the Lone Ranger and such on our battery powered tape player, and once a week we would watch football on the hood of our T-bird via a small battery powered TV set.

The rest of our entertainment came from the great outdoors and our imaginations…….

We might go weeks in the winter without seeing any cars, and often got snowed in. Out nearest neighbors with kids were 5 miles away, and the bus stop was 7 miles away over the ridge, from there it was another hour into town.

We embraced our pioneer style living arrangements and made the best of it. As a result, we have some CRAZY stories to tell… and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Mom recently passed, and she is now resting at the cemetery nearby, within view of our favorite trees surrounding our favorite cabin.

(P.S. Cyndi, I can still smell mom’s bread)

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