Relaxshax's Blog


A "Floating ‘I’ (Eye)" micro-cabin or sleep pod (tiny housing takes the the trees"
July 25, 2011, 7:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Possibly a shelter for short weekending trips? A kid’s fort? An ultra tiny micro home-office for those not so claustrophobic? An affordable hut for the homeless? Something to hide your collection of stale waffles in? (Just making sure you’re paying attention!)

“The Floating “I”‘- for lack of a better name currently. A late night cabin sketch/concept by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

Whatever its eventual use, who the heck knows?

I was just bangin’ out ideas the other night, when all I could find in immediate reach were a few busted up crayons….above is one of many sketches/ideas I was throwing around.

Perhaps I’ll build one of these someday….although “satisfaction is the death of desire”- as the old saying goes…not that it really applies too fittingly in this case (it merely makes for a blog post that is 38 words longer than it needed to be!). 39! ha! Damn, 42…..

This one WON’T be in my new book by the way- its a pretty cruddy sketch (aka a “slop sketch” as I call ’em)- Book’s out on pre-order now though- only $11.53! Which means I make like $0.13 by the time royalties filter down to me! After the sale of 4000 copies or so, I’ll have enough money for that dream vacation in Newark, NJ! No, its not THAT bad (not good either)- I’m just trying to get the word, ideas, and recycling mindset out there! So I DO HUGELY appreciate your support if you pre-order a copy and help the cause. Thanks!

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen
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MORE new tiny house/cabin/fort/shelter designs concepts for my NEW book….
July 21, 2011, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 First off, a middle-man book order site botched my account, and its FINALLY fixed– so the existing, hand assembled, version of my tiny house design book is now BACK up for sale (what copies I have left). Sorry, to those who emailed and said that they couldn’t purchase it.
    As for the NEW edition of the book (LOTS of new designs, photos, interviews, guest designers/builders, and more): again, its actually been kickin’ ass (A recent 2-page COVER feature in the Boston Globe on my workshop and projects certainly helped!) and ranking real high on the amazon charts- which is going to show that people’s tastes in shelter n’ housing scopes/shapes/budgets is certainly changing! The book isn’t even out yet too! Oh yeah- July 29th- 7:30 on CBS (Boston Area- WCVB)- a show called “Chronicle HD” will also be re-airing a piece on the structures I build, design, and write on- called “Eye Candy”- it was REALLY fun and well done!

 You can grab the book on pre-order at a very, very discounted price…if you don’t mind waiting for it. I TRULY make JACK on each copy, but its good to know that enough interest in the book will allow me to put out another entirely new book down the road (which is already pretty much finished). The book advance also allowed me to fund several shoots/episodes of my show, and to buy some equipment we needed (because in this economy, its damn hard to find any backers- if interested- kidcedar at gmail dot com)- we reach ALOT of people….)

Better yet, my editor keeps asking for MORE new sketches to possibly fill out this newer version of the book (which is done- but they say there’s still room to squeeze in a little more)….so the sketches you see are a couple cabins and concepts you just MAY find in print down the road (OR ones I might actually build for Make Magazine and/or “Tiny Yellow House” TV.). Again, I have more than enough for ANOTHER new book….but lets not get ahead of myself here….

 -Derek “Deek” Diedricksen


The Bolt-Together House 1972- a prefabricated tiny vacation house HIT from Jeff Milstein
July 19, 2011, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
For any newcomers to the site (Make Mag, etc.) our NEW, very-expanded edition of our Tiny House/Cabin/Fort/Shack Design book is available for order at the end of this post…)- at a REALLY discounted price. Thanks! 
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I’ve been asked many times before by people “Just what IS your favorite small house style of design?”, or “What’s the coolest tiny home you’ve seen?”….in interviews, in casual conversations…..
Realtor’s Photo- from Deer Island, New Brunswick (if the new owners EVER see this post, we’d LOVE to come up and film/interview you guys for our show! PLEASE don’t buy this place for the land and tear down the cabin!)
Well, one of the reasons I hesitated on posting these photos and this info, is because the cabin in this blog post was actually recently for sale, and Dustin, Dawn (my brother and my sister-in-law) and I were actually contemplating buying it so that we could shoot a documentary film on it, and occasionally use it. The price (and its WATERFRONT, ON an island in New Brunswick)- a mere $18,000.00. The ultimate reason on us passing and making an offer was that it was just too far away- AND we already have our off-grid cabin in Vermont (See “Tiny Yellow House: Vermont Cabin” episode on youtube).

A shot of the micro-loft

THIS is definitely one of my favorite cabin designs and concepts- and it ties right into the Lester Walker book (link below) which was my FIRST tiny housing book I was gifted at age 10- back in the mid eighties. I STILL haven’t tired of this book, and as I’ve slowly been piecing together a “Deek’s Top 15/20 Tiny House Design Books” for an eventual post here, Walker’s book will easily be in my top five. Again, check it out below….

Lester’s book has some schematics and measurements/multi-views of how to construct this simple cabin. 

Exterior- overall length is just 16′- (four sheets of plywood/T-111)

Dustin “Dr. Demolition” Diedricksen actually had a chance to step inside this place on his way to Nova Scotia a few weekends back and has quite a bit of footage he filmed showing the interior, exterior, and surrounding landscape of this cool little cabin. Once he gets it edited down, we’ll toss it up on my relaxshacksDOTcom youtube channel.

The History on this cabin design– Architect Jeff Milstein came up with the pre-fabricated concept of this vacation house (in 1972, which could be fully built for $2500.00), and released the idea through Family Circle Magazine- it not only became a huge hit, even with a cult-following to this very day, but still stands as THE best selling blueprints that the magazine ever carried- selling out its 25,000 copies.

And my book (above- Lester Walker gave me a very positive write-up/review on it as well- which didn’t suck).  -Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



Relaxshacks.com Tiny House/Shelter Workshop 2011- Photos part 2 (and a Tiny House Music Video!?)
July 19, 2011, 1:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lots goin’ on here at the “Relaxshacks.com Camp”- as usual….(AND NEW photos of an unseen build are below- its NOT finished though– so I’m unsure as to whether or not I should have posted anything yet…too late…).

“The Little Blue Bump”- a micro-escape/single sleeper cabin (to be placed in the shade, or if not, roofed in WHITE poly panels) that we built at the workshop. This IS NOT done- and the paint and windows are all additions I personally added after the workshop concluded (the photos below). Still a ways to go on this one. The attendees did a great job on this (based on a sketch I handed ’em). This will have a tiny front deck, solar lights, interior paint, flooring, and more- ultimately. I’ve added FOUR makeshift “windows” to it so far….
The rear-side- at the conclusion of the workshop day (14 hours of speakers, cabin tours, building, eating, and demonstrations). “The Simple Shell” is/was another name for this easy-to-build (and afford), plywood disaster relief, or homeless shelter.
Dustin’s (my brother) group came up with this scrap material door, complete with a cut-wine-bottle knob, a “chinese star” door latch, and the use of some scrap aluminum screening I had from my radiator cover-building days. Some scrap wood was worked into the mix too.
A close-up of the rear window….which utilizes a sash/glass pane that we grabbed from a dump (while at the Cape Cod Eco-fest).

 Also, I just spent a very late/long night dropping some new vocals on a song my band wrote (Age Against The Machine/Anklelock) and recorded called
“Pullit”- this being a parody “how-to” instructional video/version (the lyrics ARE the directions) that we’ll soon film a music video for- for Make Magazine- another exclusive edition of “Tiny Yellow House”.

Me, on the mic, over at Media Boss Studio- I look kinda evil in this one….

 We recorded over at “Media Boss” Studios with Jim Foster from the bands Nullset/White- he also has produced albums and recordings for Godsmack, P.O.D., Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen), and more….the guys REALLY good at what he does.

Can’t wait to finish this one- ONCE we film “The Krunk Bunk” for Make….

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



"My Side Of The Mountain" Review (before I try to post some NEW workshop photos, and more, soon)
July 18, 2011, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

File under: A no stress, highly entertaining read, in which a boy runs away from civilization and fashions a cabin/home out of a HUGE hollowed out tree (in the Catskills).
      Also, for those who don’t dig the book recommendations (sorry!)- I’ve just been gearing up for another filmed edition of “Man with the Ugly Hat”- my tiny housing/small living side-jaunt episodes about literature. 

     ‘Been feelin’ lousy- prob. workin’ too hard, AND have to hit a recording studio for a VERY late session tonight, but before I gear-up to head out….while feelin’ cruddy, last night I finished the young adult novel “My Side Of The Mountain”. Now I picked this book up for about $2.00, while staying out in Lincoln, VT (at that blog-aforementioned tiny used book shop (love those places)), and while gazing at the cover of the book, which I thought I had never heard of, somewhere deep in my memory, I completely remembered the cover-art from middle school books fairs. I also recall assuming the book was about wizardry, or had a medieval slant, as judged by the cover art- but no….

This little “easy-reader” was penned by Jean Craighead George- who was a Newberry Medal recipient (for “Julie Of The Wolves”), and “My Side Of The Mountain” was a runner-up to the very same award (a different year). The book was originally written in 1959, and has been a HUGE worldwide seller, so most of you might already know of it. It somewhat reminds me of the Gary Paulson HUGE-selling young-adult novel “Hatchet”- another one I never read until now- in my 30s. Both are quick, yet pretty phenomenal reads if you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, and a “Get away from it all” motif. 

Anyway, I’m not going to give too many book write-ups afterall, but I HAVE been compiling my list of top ten or fifteen all-time tiny house/alternative shelter buildings, and if any of your readers have any input/suggestions- feel free to add them in the comments section, or on our “Tiny Yellow House” small housing club/group.

AND…

AND (yeah, I gotta mention it, because I killed myself creating it, AND would love for it to do well enough for the LYONS PRESS to sign me to a follow-up design book……only $11.53 right now- damn cheap….

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



THE SKULL CAVE for kids (a folding play-fort/clubhouse)- but could it work beyond??
July 17, 2011, 8:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 First, my apologies- as a few readers pointed out that my (“old”) book order link is not working. Its being worked on, and will be fixed in a few days. Again, the NEW, expanded edition of the book is now up for pre-order on amazon.com- at a REALLY reduced price- if interested…. the link is at the end of this blog entry…..
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Could something like this- as it loosely resembles a tent in structure/form- be built in a larger model for emergency shelter usage?

I just LOVE this tiny “Skull Cave”, and it reminds me very much of one of the designs I penned a ways back, which I just may have to build soon, either for Make Magazine, or JUST for “Tiny Yellow House” TV….we’ll see….Think: The book “AKU AKU” (a lousy clue, and one where you’ll have to do some literary online-digging (By Thor Heyerdahl)). That book is AMAZING by the way….a total gem, and I found it for $1.00 at a used book store! -Another reason I’m very partial to printed books/matter.

“Indy, Cover your heart!”- it looks like something out of “The Temple of Doom”. 

This lil’ contraption is made by the company “Our Children’s Gorilla” and I initially saw this over on A PLACE IMAGINED– a great blog run by Holly Gomez.

She had a very fun/kind review of my tiny house, fort, shack, cabin book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” recently too. Thanks Holly! You can check it out here… 
http://aplaceimagined.blogspot.com/2011/03/build-fort.html

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



Kill Your Television- finding time to build YOUR tiny dream house- and other projects
July 15, 2011, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
My backyard with SOME of my micro-cabins- the locale for the recent Relaxshacks.com Workshop- photo by Bruce Bettis

 Alot of people have asked me over the past few years “Deek, how the heck do you find time to do any of these projects?”- to which I reply “Little Sleep n’ Lots of Coffee!”- kiddingly- well, somewhat. Honestly and simply- and it ties right into another part of today’s ramblings- one of the things we DON’T have in our household is cable tv, and the lack of that temptation has freed up quite a bit of my time both day and nights.
    Beyond that, we recently purchased a Vizio flat screen tv so as to gain some needed space in our modest/small home (small by US standards- four of us, and a huge dog, in approx. 1000 square feet or so- and lovin’ it), and after mere months, the thing has crapped out (a recurring problem with their sets apparently). In the meantime, while we’re wrestling with the warranty, the botched service jobs, and lousy customer service, we now haven’t had tv AT ALL for almost a month now. Honestly, by day three I stopped instinctively reaching to turn it on while eating a bowl of cereal, or working on my blog, but beyond that, while already a total bookworm, I’ve not only had more time for reading and sketching, but for many other things as well. Ultimately, family-wise, the tv will be back, but I have to say, through this little unintentional experiment (and given that its something I’ve been wanting to kick for awhile), I can’t say I’m in a rush to get the ole beast back. I do miss PBS and Create though…

Here’s a few of the random things I’ve done recently, when I would have been watching re-runs of “Green Acres” instead….and its with little changes like this, that you might be able to find more time to plot YOUR next project, or future tiny home. Your tips and ideas are ALWAYS welcome too…

-Picked several pints of raspberries from the canes/garden in my yard.
-Went to a local pond to go swimming
-Visited a local farm I found by accident- where I discovered a new, closer, source of farm-fresh eggs.
-Worked on gussyin’ up cabin #2 from our Relaxshacks.com building workshop the other week (pix soon- once I’m done painting it). “The Little Blue Bump” might be its name- you’ll see…
-Took the communter rail into town to check out the Boston Common/ride the Swan Boats with the family
-Baked a HUGE homemade lasagna
-Made donuts from scratch with my family (something I’d never made before)
-Read a heck of alot more than I usually do (which is ALOT)- in fact, right now I’m reading a really cool book by NICK ROSEN- Called “Off The Grid”– kinda historical and political, while giving narration to the author’s travels through several off the grid communities worldwide- and showing what worked, and what didn’t, and how to potentially make such situations work. The book is pretty dang fascinating so far! I added a link below if you want to check it out….

And of course- my own book is out on pre-order now….at a really reduced price…..this edition has LOTS of new, unreleased stuff, art, designs, tiny house design advice from some BIG names in the game, TWO color photo sections, and more!
-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen