Relaxshax's Blog

THE BOOK’S FINALLY HERE! “Gary Larson meets Bob Vila” housing/fort/small house/shack book
January 14, 2010, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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…

81 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Book looks great- and certainly a different approach and very fun. Thanks for mailing it so quickly Derek!

Comment by Jacob Keller

No, thank YOU- I appreciate the comment/support

Comment by relaxshax

Like Tom… I’m Jealous of the “Bort” myself.. Cool idea for a kids bedroom and would be useful for storage even!! Book looks amazing and I’ll have to trouble you by ordering a few. You have any additional projects that you’re working on? Are you following through with any of these sketched plans? Any for sale for the not-so-handy? -J.A.

Comment by Aaronson, J.

Saw your article in your “gypsy junker” looks great! I am interested to see the progress on the micro-stove you plan on installing.

Dumpster diving isn’t a hobby. it’s a lifestyle. Keep it up.

Comment by Larry Dalphino

… I want it! *starts counting pennies*

Seriously, I probably do have $16 in pennies if I decided to count them all. Keep meaning to roll them up and take them to the bank. However, I hope you have a copy left when I get paid.

Comment by Ocean

Hey, pennies work too, I suppose, although shipping them as payment would add quite the extra-cost on top!
Thanks for the comment! You can email me at if you want to order one ultimately (after you’re finished counting!).
Take care

Comment by relaxshax

Ordered! Can’t wait to get it!

Comment by Rickles

Being a big fan of CARtoons magazine growing up, your work reminds me of my favorite, “Krass and Bernie”. Being a fan of small houses, ill be buying the book! Keep up the good work!

Comment by JC

thanks JC! appreciate it- sent you a reg-avenue email as well….keep an eye out.

Comment by relaxshax

[…] Relaxshax's Blog Just another weblog « THE BOOK’S FINALLY HERE! “Gary Larson meets Bob Vila” housing/fort/small house/sha… […]

Pingback by How’s THIS for a tiny porta-cabin! (“The Wooden Cocoon”) aka Cocoon III- no accos. with Ron Howard’s old folks flick! « Relaxshax's Blog

[…] Derek Diedricksen’s new book is everything I expected it to be and more. It’s also got what might be the longest book title in history, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck …. […]

Pingback by Tiny House Design , Archive » Book Review: Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here!)

I NEED THIS BOOK! how can I order it??

Comment by aram

hey Aram! I think I replied to your email from my other account- but just in case…
Derek Diedricksen
31 Bradford Street
Stoughton, MA 02072
or paypal to the id/account senorsell@hotmail (and add $1.00 to the total to cover fees, if you’d be so kind- although I won’t force you).

Comment by relaxshax

Received my 2 copies of this wonderful little book …. many thanks.

Well done!

Keep up the good work and let me know when you have another tome!


Comment by Dan T

thanks so much Dan- and glad to know that my book may sit in an Ohio library at some point….
Take care

Comment by relaxshax

Hi Deek.

The address was ON not OH. It may be in an Ontario Library one day.

Do you have plans for a sequel? We all hope so.

Regards from Toronto,


Comment by DanT

Sorry Dan- either a typo….or brain damage on my end. Lol. thanks again

Comment by relaxshax

Hi Deek:

I received your book today and lost over an hour of work time going through it! Several people in my office saw me reading it at lunch and thought that I had drawn the pictures! I already have a dozen Post-It® Notes sticking out of highlighted pages.

Thanks for getting the book to me so quickly. I hope you sell thousands of them!


Nice to see that you are an Eagle Scout (as am I).

Comment by Rick

I can’t wait to obtain this book. My daughter and I have been obsessed with tiny, hand made houses for decades and have a library full of books about them. I have the address and am sending a check.


Comment by Kathryn Gray

Thanks so much for the support Kathryn- you’re site’s great too! I was just checking it out- some beautiful homes!

Comment by relaxshax

I’m a little slow ordering the book, finally did it today and also published Amanda’s great book review on the blog. So hopefully some other tiny house enthusiasts will check it out.

Comment by Kent Griswold

Thanks Kent! Saw your order and recognized the name, as I’ve read and posted comments on your site (which is great) a ton of times. Thanks so much for the support- and anything you need- let me know. I’d definitely appreciate a review, but more-so simply hope you enjoy my hokey little d.i.y. book. Its on its way already- and should be there sometime next week.

Comment by relaxshax

I must have this book to add to my collection of tiny house books! Please, please – what is the cost & order information? I’ll PayPal it today –

Livin’ small –

(Walker’s Tiny Tiny Houses is one of my all time fav boks too, and also my first Tiny House book.)

Comment by Paula McConnell

Hi Derek,
How much should I add for shipping to Australia? Or are you US only at the moment?


Comment by Amy

Just e-mailed you to get order info. Can’t wait to get the book. 🙂

Comment by Alex @TinyHouseTalk

Check’s in the mail. Love the term “Lark”itecture 🙂
Thanks for the inspiration. As a 58yo woman with no real training, but daughter of an architect, the longings to build run deep. I’m on the verge of surrendering my addition to a paycheck and launching myself into a series of building projects. Woo hoo.

Comment by LeeAnn

thanks leeann! i REALLY appreciate the support and the kind words!

-Derek the “Lark”itect…lol

Comment by relaxshax

Saving my pennies. Great sketches! Can’t wait to get a copy!

Comment by Holly

thanks holly! I accept colonial half-pennies too! lol. Take care 🙂

Comment by relaxshax

Very nice!

I am also a small home designer and like to include alternative energy in my designs.

maybe we could collaborate on a project ?

You can see my designs here:

Keep up the good work!


Comment by LaMar

GREAT site lamar- and sure, would be fun to come up with some ideas together down the road. Thanks for the email and keep in touch!

Comment by relaxshax

[…] Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here!”)-… . The hand-sketched 101 page book has gotten coverage and awesome reviews from David and Jeanie […]

Pingback by MAKE MAGAZINE gave me some love (platonically)- AND the hickshaw FOR SALE « Relaxshax's Blog

[…] 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. […]

Pingback by Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages...

[…] drawn up by hand, Humble Homes is a book in the fine zine tradition (remember zines? They were blogs before there were blogs). In […]

Pingback by Friday Houseblogging: The ‘Humble Homes’ Book « ReadyMade Editors' Notes

Hey. This looks cool, I’d love to get a copy but I’m not sure $16 gives enough for posting a copy to the UK. Can you let me know how much it’d be to get one here?

Comment by Stephen Paulger

hey steven- I think I emailed already- but if not, hit me up at for overseas shipping info, etc- Thanks!

Comment by relaxshax

[…] 7. Humble Homes […]

Pingback by Catasterist » Ten Things I Like

Lester Walker’s “Tiny, Tiny Houses” was a seminal book for me, also. I refer to it constantly. The portable shelter cart on pgs. 90-91 is just genius and my favorite thing in the book. Would love to see someone build a full-sized version (hint hint).

Comment by Kay in KCMO

I know exactly which design you’re talking about. My favorite Lester mini-house was the 8 by 8 foot prefab cube….or the gabled vacation cabin with the plexiglass windows……they’re all great though.

Comment by relaxshax

Have you ever thought of replicating anything in the book? I have it open to the Cube House right now and it looks pretty doable. 🙂

Personally, I’m biased toward the shelter cart. Unfortunately, I’ve been an apartment dweller my entire adult life and have no outdoor space in which to indulge my diy fantasies nor do I have the skills/tools. This leaves me to be a tiny structure voyeur.

But, seriously, wouldn’t that be a cool exercise to build something from the book?

Oh, and don’t you love the Handmade House? The story behind it just gives me goosebumps. I’m geeking out, I know, it’s just that I’ve never come across anyone else that was impacted by this book. I’ll stop now. 🙂

Comment by Kay in KCMO

[…] No, he didn’t have it published, he published it. This guy is DIY through and through. “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck …” was hand produced by [Derek] himself.  It includes plans for a number of different shacks, […]

Pingback by Humble Homes, Simple Shacks - Hack a Day

[…] No, he didn’t have it published, he published it. This guy is DIY through and through. “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck …” was hand produced by [Derek] himself.  It includes plans for a number of different shacks, […]

Pingback by Humble Homes, Simple Shacks | Video Game News, reviews, and information.

Nice. Do you ship to Australia?

Comment by Jack

yes- anywhere, even to pluto! (although, its technically not a planet anyone, so I’ll have to check with the protocol of the USPS)….

Comment by relaxshax

You mentioned above that you’re offering an updated version with some more drawings. Does that include any drawings of the vegetable heater? This page is huge, so if it was mentioned somewhere I flew past it.

Comment by Anne

yeah- the new version of the book has a few additions/extras- one being the veg. oil heater….

Comment by relaxshax

Can’t wait to see it, Deek!

Comment by Cathy Johnson (Kate)

A subject that has always fascinated me.


i’ll be sending you a money order this coming friday. i want this book, bad!

Comment by kelli cox

thanks- hope you enjoy it- and all its hokiness! (sp?)

Comment by relaxshax

[…] Tammy: Tell us about your book, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck …. […]

Pingback by Building Humble Homes, Simple Shacks & Cozy Cottages: An Interview with Deek Diedricksen

what is the average shipping time. I ordered it just over 2 weeks ago and still haven’t got it yet. I live in WV and am named Stephen (pronounced Steven) Keller. Please I really want to start reading it.

Comment by geoslim16

its been shipped- as I mentioned. All shipping, as I don’t charge for it- is media mail- which takes some time, especially this time of the year. The book in stores is actually more than online (and I don’t have to ship it- pay for shipping)- so the shipping isn’t actually even “built-in” (the reason I have to send media). Anyway, thanks for your patience. Again, if its not there soon, let me know. Have a great holiday

Comment by relaxshax

okay, i posted a comment in oct ’10 about ordering this book. then i got cat scratch fever and forgot about everything for the next 6 weeks. sorry, hope you weren’t waiting on that one! i’m leaving this computer and going to get a money order Right Now! i’ve been showing anyone even remotely interested the reviews, website, etc and now, soon, i will shove the actual book into their hands. thanks for your contribution to humanity, deek!

Comment by kelli cox

hey- thank YOU Kelli! Have a great holiday!

Comment by relaxshax

Congratulations on your book! It reminds me of the “How to keep your Volkswagen Alive” book that I had in the early 80’s, trying to keep Chugger, my 1971 squareback VW on the road. 🙂

Comment by Sandy DJ

Thanks! Never seen that book- but you’re the second person who recently emailed me saying that- I’ll have to check out that VW book sometime….thanks again!

Comment by relaxshax

I believe there is a grass-root campaign to persuade Volkswagen Corp. to go retro and build modern versions of the Van and also the Bug. But the company is now richer than God and I don’t think they pay any attention to ordinary mortals. The drive is on to make the company the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Anyway, anyone who goes to Europe should arrange a side trip to their Headquarters which is like a fantastic space age museum. Great for kids.You can watch the vehicles being built. And by the way, Volkswagen has hired the brilliant young American engineer Martin Eberhard, who designed the Tesla all electric Sports Roadster and invented invented the space-age battery system that powers this fantastic car.

Baden-Wuerttemberg, GERMANY
Rockcliffe Park, CANADA.

Comment by C. Alexander Brown

Hi how do I get a copy in UK. Great work by the way- I love it!!

Comment by Tim

Hey Tim- thanks- I do ship the book to the UK (have done so many, many times- which is great- the UK seems real open minded to this kind of stuff….)- on my site- you can click on the photo of the book- where it asks that you add $12.80 USD- shipping for overseas priority (which actually costs me MORE than that)

Comment by relaxshax

[…] So how does the mind of Deek work?  I’ve never met him in person, but I bought his book! […]

Pingback by Deek and Relax Shack. |

Just came across this and it made me think of your book.

Comment by Kyle

[…] are many. There is his self-published graphic instruction book, “Humble Homes Simple Shacks Cozy Cottages Ramshackle Retreats Funky Forts,” the first edition […]

Pingback by » The $200 Microhouse

I commend you for putting out these ideas, but could you get a bit more serious? Freezing your butt off in a cute wooden box is still freezing your butt off in a wooden box. And where are the toilets? Suggestion. Get a copy of the original WHOLE EARTH CATALOG and build some of the structures shown there. Okay?

Comment by C. Alexander Brown

the article failed to mention that their intent is seasonal- AND that they could EASILY be insulated in many cases…, its not really a problem, nor as absurd as as you jumped on it to be. Anyway, thanks for checkin’ it out- I do appreciate it.

Comment by relaxshax

saw ur article in the times im home sik but feel ok anyway ur shaks,shelters,stuctures are the best i built a mancave in our woods here in N.e.Pa, w/a set of star plates the wife bought me 4yrs ago still standing been thru harsh winters still totally cool ill send u pics,would love to take a trip w/my 5 yr. old girl to meet u &see ur stuff its inspirational,i lurv it.

Comment by roberto parraga

[…] those interested in following his footsteps, Diedricksen previously self-published a book, Humble Homes Simple Shacks Cozy Cottages Ramshackle Retreats Funky Forts, that will be reissued by the Lyons Press next year. (As the Times notes, the initial run was […]

Pingback by Flavorwire » Would You Live in This $200 House?

Hey Katheryn, Do you have a list of your books on tiny, hand made houses? It’d be appreciated. asupearteaATgmail… Thanks if you can. Thanks if you can’t. Just thanks. Thom

Comment by Thom Parkison

[…] are many. There is his self-published striking instruction book, “Humble Homes Simple Shacks Cozy Cottages Ramshackle Retreats Funky Forts,” a initial book of […]

Pingback by The $200 Microhouse | Daily News

I love tiny houses! It’s always been a dream to build one or a few connected together up in the trees. Swiss Family Robinson style!

Cool Springs, TN

Comment by Franklin Cool Springs

I just read the artical in the Mineapolis paper. I have a cabin in the woods up north and I need a guest cabin or two. (I have no where inside for people to sleep and we’re getting too old for tents). I love to build things and you have just given me new inspiration.
Thanks…. Fred

Comment by Fred Vollbrecht

thanks so much Fred- best of luck with the future projects

Comment by relaxshax

If you want to see a really beautiful job of tying together some “tiny” houses, take a look at Jim Thompson’s house in Bangkok. I went there earlier this month and he could be a model for creating a fair-sized home from tiny (Thai) houses.

Comment by Thom Parkison

Hey just got the book yesterday. Amazing stuff and a ton of fun! I’ll post the link to your site on facebook.

BTW if I can remember right I heard of your book through about a year ago, just had to save the money.

Comment by Chris de Montigny

Wow, pretty interesting book. I like how you approach you designs and illustrations. Is your book only available online?

Comment by Robie@ shed plans

Nice artwork, funny, and shows a lot of skill…

Comment by me

I really enjoy your ideas and the way you put things together. I’m on a fixed income due to being disabled but hope to be able to order your book in the future. Thanks for all the cool ideas you put out there…they’re great!

Comment by Ca Montgomery

[…] his website, , the drawing that convinced me to order the book (which he will mail wrapped in recycled cardboard […]

Pingback by Humble Homes, Simple Shacks… | Panic

I’ve been following your youtube channel, and eagerly awaiting a retail release of this book. I guess I will probably be buying from the website because I really want my kids to know what they can do as far as building something, and being frugal. I think that growing up with this mentality can change people’s perceptions, and I love what you do.

Comment by Andrew

thanks so much Andrew- a belated thanks!

Comment by relaxshax

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: