Relaxshax's Blog

Big Thanks To Lloyd Kahn n’ Michael Janzen- AND my fold-up SOLAR SHOWER
January 28, 2010, 4:59 pm
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A huge thanks to Lloyd Kahn, who posted a link to this blog and my brand new book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here)”.  The guy’s like the small-housing “Godfather”- minus all the whack’s n’ piano-wire stranglings, or course.

Also HUGE mega-thanks to Michael “Pallet-Man” Janzen of and (and 78.3 other assorted small living sites….

He JUST reviewed the book too- and a hugely flattering review at that….this guy’s a small-house saint! Look for a shrine to be built fo him one day- out of recycled fork-lift pallet wood, naturally. Check it out….(the review- he made my week!)

Both of these guys have posted links/features on my brand new book and have been incredibly supportive. LLoyd was one of the big inspirations behind my doing this book at all (I own four of his books), so stumbling upon his blog link/feature was incredibly thrilling. If you don’t own any of his housing books, you’re really missing out! I especially recommend “Homework”. One of the best I’ve EVER read- and WELL worth the price, as its loaded with hundreds of beautiful color photos. My copy’s been read so many times its falling apart.


"The portable/folding solar shower by Derek "Deek" Diedricksen. Perfect for beach/seasonal houses and for sale (for 12,000 Yen! No, I'd work something out)...

 This solar shower design is in my new book, alongside a few other solar ideas and water storage creations….(click the far above book review link for info- or dig elsewhere (lower) on this blog for several illustrative peeks).

Anyway, here’s a color photo of the fold-up solar, recycled-water-jug, shower that I built last summer (one of two different-approach units that sit in my ever-crowded yard). A few people have emailed about it (for a clearer color photo (this design appears in my brand new book- again, see the other posts for info on THIS site/blog)), so here ya go.! The whole thing was made from on-hand, and some salvaged lumber, alongside some inexpensive box-store plumbing fittings, for about $15 or so. Its kick-stand leg folds outwards for support and stakes into the ground. Off season, the unit folds up, and is lightweight and easy to transport- mine sits in my shed. Its also for sale, to any interested (or closeby in MA)- pretty darn cheap, as I plan on making a bigger model soon. Also, if you build one, MAKE SURE to use FLAT black paint, and NOT glossy black paint, as the reflective qualities of the gloss, will reflect some of the sun’s heat AWAY from the water you intend on warming. Ultimately, as I used this shower many times this past summer, it makes for a single soakin’ of decent length, is refillable by a drilled, hose port (or could be rigged to a rain collection barrel), and certainly does the trick for HOT water.

There’s nuthin’ quite like shower-singing (WITH a bathing suit on, don’t worry…) in the front of my suburban yard, as pedestrians pass, wondering if I’ve lost my mind. One of my later projects is for a simple, wooden privacy screen- also sketched out in my book.



How’s THIS for a tiny porta-cabin! (“The Wooden Cocoon”) aka Cocoon III- no accos. with Ron Howard’s old folks flick!
January 25, 2010, 5:08 pm
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(based on one of the drawings/designs from my book- link below)

     Here’s what I’m currently working on, although I’m hesitant to post on it until I get some REAL, decent photos,  as this single pic does this tiny mobile, multi-use, shack little justice. I will post updates soon, as the construction of the “Wooden Cocoon” is nearing completion. I am splitting my time between another mobile unit in my yard, and my own Vermont Cabin, so gimme a little time/cut me some slack.

AND Yeah, my small shack/fort/house/shanty book is now out- with 2 brand new added cabin designs. Here’s the link- its all d.i.y., so if interested, thanks in advance for the support!

The ultra-tiny "Wooden Cocoon"- 14 square feet with standing room (for some, Sorry Shaq) on one end.

It was designed to be multi-faceted in that it can work as a reading retreat, a single “cabin” sleeper, a portable structure for concert festivals (Burning Man, etc), an ice-fishing shack, storage shed, a greenhouse, and/or a hot-rocks sauna.

Built (its base) from a discarded cedar deck-lounge chair (reinforced a little- and FREE- Thanks Scituate, MA Transfer Station!), this cabin is made from a good deal of recycled wood and cedar mill extras. It will eventually be outfitted with a solar light (from a junked kit I rewired), a few bookshelves, and will be absolutely filled with stray throw-pillows to aid in its nest or cocoon-like feel within. It also wheels around, wheel-barrow style, and is so positioned and balanced over its fulcrum that it can be lifted on its end by one arm. ]

The structure is so light that I’ve considered sitting it up on a platform in a tree….making it a cool little pre-fab treefort/treehouse.

I will post some more photos or its completion REAL SOON….thanks for looking. This cabin, might eventually be for sale, all depending (on my wife wanting to KILL me for continually filling my backyard with Sanford N’ Son like contraptions and projects). Its ALL cedar, by the way. And EASILY fits in a truck bed.

Email me with any comment/questions/queries about my book, etc- at

AND BIG THANKS to MICHAEL JANZEN for the post on my book and other-cabin updates-

-derek “deek” diedricksen

THE BOOK’S FINALLY HERE! “Gary Larson meets Bob Vila” housing/fort/small house/shack book
January 14, 2010, 8:23 pm
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ORDER DETAILS ARE BELOW… (as is contact/interview/general press info).

NOTE- book is now $17.95 – as the cost of printing it (printer’s fees) have gone up, and since the book has now been added too (a few new sketches/pages since its initial version/release, etc). The $15.95 was, as mentioned, for VERY early orders only (the first month of 2010). Thanks/Sorry.

After well over one year of hand sketches (close to 50 small cabin, fort, cottage, shack, and shelter designs from the basic to the VERY bizarre- and THEN some), my indie/d.i.y. book (from Tiny Yellow House Press) is finally out!

“Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here)” is a culmination of my love for ultra-tiny living, and covers some of the small houses and cabins I’ve unprofessionally built. “Lark”itecture is my self-coined/invented term (never seen it used anywhere else) , as I have no professional training, and have instead built my “abilities” off of years of simple and unschooled fort building, chicken coop construction, and small cabin erection.

"THE INVERTED A-FRAME"- one of a few "A's" in the book.

“Humble Homes…” a coffee table sized book, clocks in at 101 pages, and is LOADED with and eye-tiring array of illustrations which took HUNDREDS of hours to draw. In fact, the book is more or less laid out as a “small housing” comic book, which owes in influence to an upbringing on punk rock and hardcore indie-zines. It also owes in part to the inspirational work of Lester Walker (“Tiny, Tiny Houses” was my first housing book- gifted to me by my father Glenn, when I was ten), Lloyd Kahn, David and Jeanie Stiles, Dan Price, and many others.

"The author's cabin in the deep woods of Northern Vermont. From age 22 to the present (age 32), this cabin has been constructed using a good deal of recycled and salvaged materials at a total cost of somewhere in the ballpark of $4000.00"

"The Mini-Shantyboat- a plausible nod to Harlan Hubbard"

So far, some intial reviewers have described the work as “D.C. Beard on Crack”- lol, “The Small House Version of an ultra-busy Building 19 flyer (a MA chain of comedic discount stores)” and “Gary Larson meets Bob Vila”. I’m more than flattered by all these comments.

"The Bort"- A Simple Indoor/Affordable Twist on The Murphy Bed (with a built-in study loft/fort).

In anycase, this coffee table sized book (which costs me a small fortune per issue to print (entirely in thick, durable/lasting, cardstock (67# and #90 paper)) is now available for purchase in an initial run of hand-assembled editions at $15.95 each for a short time. If you buy more than one, I can cut you a deal in some way (a free slice of past-prime bologna in your envelope perhaps, or a colorful array of dryer lint…..kidding.). You can email me at and send any paypal payment via – although those paypal bloodsuckers take a hefty cut- so check, cash, etc- is prefered- where possible (but if you must, wampum, aboriginal shell-cash, and foodstamps will be considered).

"THE FORTASAURUS"- WHY NOT? It'll be the envy of all other neighborhood kids!

Here’s a little early related press/mentions concerning the book and my past and present art:

WORCESTER PULSE MAGAZINE (30,000 issues around greater Boston and Central MA)

MICHAEL JANZEN (on 2 of the created-from-junk cabins I’ve built)


Other interest points of the book:

– A large portion of the initial run of these books was paid for by littering losers, during my “one man clean-up” while hiking several trails and conservation areas around Massachusetts. The deposits from aluminum cans paid for the books, related materials, and even the binding machine I utilize.

-There are many hidden animals and objects within the book, serving as a multi-purpose time-killer/activity book for kids, as well as adults. Why the heck not?

-Aside from cabins, forts, and shacks, the book devotes a large portion of itself to “redneck ingenuity”- the construction of solar showers, makeshift bridges, homemade windows, cabin heating, salvage-built shelving, d.i.y. cabin furniture, a shantyboat, the utilization of recycled material within construction, and more.

-The book is not being shipped out and printed utilizing any outsourcing. Unfortunately, this is also one of the reason’s that it costs me close to $10 per EACH copy to create each hand-assembled, thick-papered, edition- nevermind the shipping costs. time, and my labor.  I’ve kept the printing and materials with U.S. companies (mom n’ pop ones!) where possible. Thanks to Michelle, Lisa, and the crew at Copy Inks in Stoughton, MA for all the friendly help!

-If you don’t enjoy the book, its paper is quite flammable, and makes for great kindling! Litter for your gerbil cage might be another option.

Thanks for your time!

Derek “Deek” Diedricksen-

And yes, I’m always open to freelance illustration work and have designed several logos for clients in the past amongst other things.

And one last illustrative peek…..

"Livin' The High-Life- A more-protected/exclusive tree fort."

Over n’ Out…