Check it out: 'Box bungalow' a perfect retreat





“Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses: Build Your Own Guest Cottage, Writing Studio, Home Office, Craft Workshop, or Personal Retreat”

By Jay Shafer; Tumbleweed/Fox Chapel, 142 pages

I have always had a secret desire for a small, private writing studio (well, not so secret anymore). Not that I spend a lot of time writing -- although I would like to -- but I like the idea of a cozy, personal retreat built just for me. Of course this fantasy of mine usually resembles a hobbit-style cottage such as you might see in the "The Lord of the Rings," so you can probably understand why this hasn't come to fruition.

After happening upon this week's book, "Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses," two things occurred to me: I'm not the only person to daydream about having a special hideaway; and, hello, this book could help me build that magical hobbit-writing-whatever-I-want-it-to-be sanctuary. Or, more accurately, it could help my husband construct such a paradise. He doesn't know this part -- yet.

If you're in the market for a small structure, and, unlike me, you have your building crew all lined up, this book can offer some fantastic options. To get the imagination going, a photographic gallery of petite dwellings shows what you can create in less than 100 square feet. Once you've found your perfect wee abode, flip to Part Two for detailed plans, then to Part Four for helpful construction guidance. The author, Jay Shafer, knows what he's talking about: He has spent many years building and living in tiny houses, and he has developed his own tiny home business called Tumbleweed.

While I would find it difficult to reduce my living space to something resembling a large closet, I think a box bungalow (a term coined by Shafer) would be a charming retreat. If anyone knows a hobbit with a tool belt, let me know.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at She blogs at