Builders of the Pacific Coast

"What a fabulously inspiring piece of art! Truly amazing !”
Sim Van der Ryn
“..a lovely masterpiece”
Kevin Kelly, kk.org
“Wild, woodsy, whimsical. And profoundly West Coast.…”

Katherine Dedyna
The Vancouver Sun

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Builders of the Pacific Coast cover
by Lloyd Kahn
256 pages 9" x 12" Trade paperback
$28.95 2008 ISBN 978-0-936070-43-8

In 2004, Lloyd Kahn discovered a group of unique carpenters along the Pacific Coast of North America. Over a two-year period, he made four trips north from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area, up the coast, shooting the photos that appear in this book.

To preserve homeowners’ privacy, specific locations are not given, but suffice to say this book focuses on the Pacific Coast north from San Francisco up to and around Vancouver Island, British Columbia, latitudes 37 to 49 degrees.

There’s been a vortex of creative carpentry energy in this part of the world over the last 30 years. Many of the builders shown here got started in the countercultural era of the ’60s and ’70s, and their work has never been shown in books or magazine articles.

As in the author’s previous books Shelter and Home Work, there are three featured builders: Lloyd House, master craftsman and designer who has created a series of unique homes on a small island; Bruno Atkey, builder of a number of houses and lodges built of hand-split cedar on “The Wild Coast” (the Pacific Ocean side of Vancouver Island), and SunRay Kelley, barefoot builder tuned into Nature, who has designed and built wildly imaginative structures in Washington, California, and other parts of the country.

In addition, there are working homesteads, sculptural buildings of driftwood, homes that are beautiful as well as practical, live-aboard boats, gypsy-type caravans, and examples of stunning architectural design.

The two predominant features of the landscape here are water and wood. Most of these buildings are on or close to the sea. Islands are reached by ferries; it’s a marine environment. And, there’s an abundance of wood. Trees grow fast and tall in rainy Northwest forests; many of these buildings were constructed entirely from logs off the beach or trees from adjacent land.

You’re invited to come along on these trips up and down the coast: going down these roads, riding the ferries, camping on the beaches, meeting these builders, and seeing their unique creations.


“To document this riot of creativity, Kahn took 10,000 photos and selected 1200 for the book. On every page is something shocking and delightful. A boat with legs. A roof like a leaf. A caravan with eyes. A split-cedar woodshed shaped like a bird. Stair rails so sinuous and snakey they might come to life and grab you. Sculpted earth walls. Round windows and arched doors. Roofs curved like seagull wings. Grottos choked with ferns and flowers. All that’s lacking is a hobbit with a long clay pipe.”
Mike Litchfield
West Marin Citizen
“You don't just read this visual extravaganza of Lloyd Kahn's magnificent discoveries of the homebuilder's art and imagination in the hidden byways and buried inlets of the Pacific Northwest. You deep-breathe your way through its full-color page-spreads with mounting delight, excitement, nostalgia, and a deepening admiration for the diversity of the unfettered expression of the human spirit that the much-distorted 1960's inspired and allowed, and with a re-fired commitment not to let that spirit wither.”
Peter Nabokov
Click for a slide show of photos from the book

Click buttons for a slideshow of several 2-page spreads from Builders of the Pacific Coast.