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Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses: Build your own guest cottage, writing studio, home office, craft workshop, or personal retreat Paperback – Sep 23 2011

3.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing (Sept. 23 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565237048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565237049
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.5 x 27.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #244,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Ran a story about Jay Shaffer and the small house movement

The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company's Pompano model was featured on Fox Business News

Whether you really want to downsize or just want to fantasize about living in a small, exquistely-constructed, simpler bungalow, Shafer's book will be a treat. Stunning photos of the small Tumbleweed houses in many natural settings will entice readers into learning more. The first half of the book focuses on the styles of homes available, and the second half has illustrated guidelines for preparing a site and building a home. Highly recommended.

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a personal tour from Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, of his new tiny home. Jay has completed and moved into the Gifford Box Bungalow. This house is one of the designs featured in his latest book called Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses. Jay agreed to do a video walkthrough of the Gifford explaining his thoughts behind the design of his house. These homes were recently featured in HGTV Design Star's contest but I prefer Jay's design and I think the designers could learn a lot from him.

From the Back Cover

Good things do come in small packages.

Just ask internationally recognized small living expert Jay Shafer. His small buildings have appeared on CNN, Oprah, Fine Homebuilding, and This Old House. Ranging in size from 100 to 120 square feet, these tiny backyard buildings can be used as guest cottages, art or writing studios, home offices, craft workshops, vacation retreats, or full-time residences.

Filled with photos, elevation drawings, and door/window schedules for six Tumbleweed box bungalows, Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses also includes extensive how-to instructions that can be applied to any backyard building project. These handsome little buildings are filled with interesting and practical details including real doors, windows, and skylights. With extra design attention to energy and space efficiency, these tiny houses can help us onthe road to a sustainable world.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book did not include the plans that it alluded to and if you wanted the one plan it did provide you had to go online and download. Not a helpful book at all for a do-it-yourself project.
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Format: Paperback
This book is not bad for what it is - I have purchased both versions of this book and have now promptly donated them to my local library. the 'free plans' are for something that is no longer available from Tumbleweed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great. It is laid out well and there is very little space that isn't full of good ideas, pictures and illustrations. Glad I bought it.
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Format: Paperback
Look up the authors name. He has re-released the book without Tumbleweed in the name and at much less inflated prices.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa27b7294) out of 5 stars 45 reviews
117 of 117 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa298306c) out of 5 stars Not a DIY book Oct. 5 2011
By Tyler Hutchison - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love tumbleweed houses, and I bought this book to get a better idea of the interiors and how to build shelves and closets in small spaces. This book is first and foremost an advertisements for tumbleweed homes. It gives a lot of very basic layouts for the houses and then tells you to purchase the plans from the website.

The parts that did contain DIY information looked to be taken straight form a generic source. None of the DIY pages had people working on tumbleweed houses. Instead you will get some illustrated how to pages of people working on large structures. I was very disappointed by this. In one DIY page it shows you the proper way to cut down a tree... WHY!?

Overall I think they were stretching to get enough content for this book. I was hoping to get a lot of nice how to info on tumbleweeds, but I ended up getting a few pages of useless DIY. For the same money I could have bought a more comprehensive how to book form Home Depot.
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2986e88) out of 5 stars Don't get roped in by the freebies! May 11 2012
By Charles L. Clark II - Published on
Format: Paperback
While I'll agree that some of the book is nothing more than a catalog I will say it is more than that. They give a walk through, starting with how to cut down a tree. Why? How many people do you know that have EVER cut down a tree? The idea is to expand the minds (and the market) of tiny houses and I appreciate that Jay Shafer didn't leave anything to chance.

What I didn't like was that the instructions, on the last page of the book, were for two great offers. One was the ability to purchase a set of six bungalow plans for only $49.95 (a roughly $500 savings) and the other was a code (found in a well sealed flap of the last page) to be used to download the Zinn bungalow plans for free. However, when this reviewer went online to take advantage of both of these, neither link was available on the Tumbleweed site. I emailed the company but didn't get an answer so I messaged them through Facebook and got a prompt response that I want all of you to know.

They did email me the plans for the Zinn bungalow (nowhere near as convenient as the book alludes to). The offer for the six bungalow plans for only $49.95? I'll quote them here, "That offer is no longer available." Where I live that is called false advertising, but I understand laws vary from state to state.

At any rate, if you get joy from looking at tiny houses - get the book. I'm keeping mine, despite the misrepresentation.
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa29835f4) out of 5 stars Not Bad But Mostly A Catalog Sept. 23 2011
By Baja James - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have Fox Chapels book on small cottages a cabins then you have most if not all of the practical content of the book. The remainder is a catalog with great pictures and floor plans for Tumbleweed Houses. The book is usefull in that aspect and for getting ideas but know what you are getting.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa29832a0) out of 5 stars Cut and Pasted April 8 2012
By Daniel Amoni - Published on
Format: Paperback
My impression of the book is that Jay Shafer wrote a couple of pages about designing and living in a tiny house and the publishers pasted together some generic info about building small structures. There are many drawings of boring bungalow style mini-cottages that don't seem useful for anything. Overall, it is very uninspiring. I returned my copy.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2f78f54) out of 5 stars There are much better books already available. July 25 2013
By Greg Scheuer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I recently ordered, "Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses." The book is terrible. It is a complete waste of money. I expected the recapitulation of the Tumbleweed catalog as filler but at least in, "The Small House Book" there was some interesting information. The "Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses" book is a vastly inferior version of a basic construction book. There appears to be no effort to tailor any of the basic construction information to tiny dwellings.

Basic construction books that I would recommend are, "Building Thoreau's Cabin," by Stephen Taylor and "Habitat for Humanity, How to Build a House" by Haun. "The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses" by Lester Walker is not a construction book but it is great to get you dreaming.

Tumbleweed has some attractive models. The over priced Tumbleweed plans may even have a place if you have to build an RV (as in... on a trailer) and you don't want an Airstream. However, if can build on any kind of foundation, it makes more sense to use traditional design in dimensions that are multiples of 4, with standard 2x4s. If you have never built anything you may not understand why this is so important but it is. Tumbleweed could easily adapt their designs and they would be just as cute; just cheaper, easier and more efficient to build. If you are not building an RV I would wait. I heard Tumbleweed hired a school-trained architect and I would bet money she will address this sooner than later.