I tell people all the time that it’s a dream of mine to build a tiny house in our backyard to use as a combo writing studio and guesthouse. Will it ever be a reality? Who knows, but Derek “Deek” Diedricksen’s new book, Micro Living: 40 Innovative Tiny Houses Equipped for Full-Time Living, in 400 Square Feet or Less, might help me get there. Building on the success of his first book, Microshelters, Diedricksen profiles 40 tiny homes in this volume, from houses under 150 square feet to “big tinies” that max out at 400 square feet. In addition to floor plans and color photos for each house, readers also get a little bit of each owner’s story along with reflections from Diedricksen. My favorite part: a quote from each homeowner about what they wish they had (or hadn’t) done now that their vision is complete.
CUT AND PASTE
Every so often, a lifestyle book comes along that makes me feel less alone. In the introduction to Lotta Jansdotter Paper, Pattern, Play, author and designer Jansdotter mentions that for her, the process of looking at patterns and working with paper triggers an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): a soothing, pleasurable feeling. I never thought of paper and patterns as one of my own ASMR triggers—but yes! Most of the book’s pages are meant to be removed and used in the projects included, and each features one of Jansdotter’s own patterns, ranging from geometric to floral. How wonderful to have your main materials provided. Projects run from simple, such as paper leaves that can be affixed to bare branches, to more complex, including party favors. I love the way Jansdotter livens up something as simple as a binder clip with a small rectangle of red-and-white paper. “Paper is such a great medium for experimentation,” she writes. “It is low risk . . . and not too precious.” Pass the scissors.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
“Natural ink is a whole landscape condensed into a little bottle,” writes Jason Logan, author of Make Ink: A Forager’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking, a visually rich guide to making ink from foraged materials. We first encounter Logan, founder of the Toronto Ink Company, as he combs the wilds of Red Hook, Brooklyn, for source materials both plant-based and man-made: wild grapes, acorn caps, paint chips, rusted nails. Turning these things into ink is little more complicated than “waiting and stirring and waiting some more,” and his basic recipe for natural ink is indeed quite simple. Logan includes recipe variations for attaining specific colors such as Vine Charcoal, Pokeberry and Silvery Acorn Cap. The final third of the book relaxes into art with examples of Logan’s own ink tests as well as work from others who have experimented with his inks, such as Dave Eggers and Margaret Atwood. (“At least one bottle of wild grape ink almost exploded on its way to Stephen King,” he writes.) A conversation with author Michael Ondaatje rounds out this exquisite volume.