I’ve never been one of those people who dream of building their own dream home. I’ve always been too much of a realist to think that I could pull it off without going crazy, broke, or (most likely) both. Sure, there’s the fun part of coming up with a playful and practical design, but there’s also the permits, contractors, construction equipment, laying foundation, building codes — all the headaches.
Thankfully, Derek “Deek” Diedricksen has opened my eyes to a new approach to dream home construction he calls microshelters. These tiny one-room buildings are typically built on an equally micro budget, and can often run under the radar of construction permits and all of the aforementioned headaches. They’re like tree houses on the ground, or tool sheds with aspirations of sheltering humans.
In his Microshelters book, Diedricksen profiles 59 adorable, imaginative, building code-skirting structures. And I have to admit, his obsession with them has infected me as well. Mind you, I probably can’t convince my condominium to allow me to build a shack in the courtyard, but building a microshelter is now on my bucket list of Maker achievements.
More than just a coffee table book of hip, shanty architecture photos (which are gorgeous) Diedricksen also packs Microshelters with all of the knowledge and building techniques he’s gleaned over the years. Block planes, generators, claw hammers, and push drills are all given an explanation and a context. Diedricksen even offers tips on where to salvage construction materials, what to look for at yard sales, and what’s not worth your effort to fix up.
Near the back of the book, Diedricksen gets into the real nitty-gritty with six detailed micro shelter plans created by some of his favorite practitioners. Here’s where I suspect many of Make: magazine’s readers would get a real kick out of looking at the construction diagrams and illustrations that can turn a casual fascination into real-life backyard sanctuary.
So, check out the book if this sounds like your thing. I also recommend Diedricksen’s web site RelaxShacks.com where you can see a bunch of video clips from his travels to document many of the shelters and makers included in the book.
Microshelters by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen is available now from Storey Publishing.