Lucy Junus
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The ecological awakening of the American 1960s and 1970s was born out of growing concern for the quality of life inside inner cities and suburbs; many found peace and a more genuine sense of community and home in rural areas. An aesthetic grew out of the “back to the land” philosophy, toward building homes that were made iconic in books such as Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art by Art Boericke and Barry Shapiro and Shelter by Lloyd Kahn. Northern California remains an epicenter for the creative, courageous and industri­ous efforts of artisans and citizens alike, who choose to locally source and creatively construct the places they call home on their own terms.

From hippie coastal cabins with Redwood barn-shake siding and reclaimed windows to Japanese-inspired bungalow homes nestled in the forests of West Marin, Handmade Houses showcases the West’s unique and inimitable style. The book also features historic structures and designers who have helped shape the homemade aesthetic, from the stone and redwood Tor House, built on the Big Sur coast by famed California poet Robinson Jeffers, to the perfectly imperfect Lake Zurich home built by thinker and psychologist Carl Jung. Featuring amateurs and professionals alike, Richard Olsen’s collection has provided us with an insightful and inspiring exposé of a creative human tradition in architectural living. James and Anne Hubbell built their home in the hills east of San Diego in 1958 with $3,500. Sculptor J.B. Blunk and artist Nancy White built their Inverness home in 1960 with only $1,000 to contribute to the project, in no small part aided by their lum­ber finds at a Point Reyes beach. Throughout each journey, Homemade Houses explores the earnest and lifelong efforts of individuals dedicated to a new and organic approach to their living space.

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This article was published:
Art & Design Issue - Released July 2012
Issue 11 / Version 2 | Buy print copy here
Issue 11
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