Deep in the woods of Massachussetts (not quite, but it sounds intrepid), lives Derek Diedricksen, the world’s most innovative scavenger. Littered (‘scuse the pun) around his backyard are a whole host of characters from the diminutive, shy “Boxy Lady”, to the rather more audacious “Gypsy Junker”. This is a veritable wonderland for those who enjoy cozy, confined spaces, and the womblike comfort of the ‘curl-and-nap.’ In short: Agoraphobics Welcome!
Diedricksen’s imaginative creations can all be described under the broad umbrella of compact living spaces, yet they each have a unique reason for being. His first creation, the “Hickshaw” (a rickshaw for hicks!), was born to be a sort of bedtime disposal locker, where Diedricksen might stash unwanted or riotous guests. It’s not as sinister as it sounds: “I built it thinking it might be a place for people to stay who were drunk or annoying,” he says, “so I didn’t want them staying in the Vermont cabin with me.” Yet the Hickshaw’s potential stretches far deeper into the imagination: a hot rock sauna, a festival shelter, a greenhouse maybe?
While the idea of building recycled, portable, affordable (most of his constructions cost less than $200) is remarkable in itself, it is the details which Diedricksen includes that transform his works from a daydream to a living fantasy. The glass door of a front-loading washing machine makes for a magical porthole, while its neighbouring side panel has been trasformed into an exterior flid down counter, or picnic table you might say. One common feature of his structures is the transparent ceiling, a romantic nod to the simple pleasure of observing the heavens above.
Similarly, Diedricksen’s every invention is married to his ethos of wasting nothing and re-using everything. The funds to publish his mind-bendingly mischievous design-cum-comic-book, “Humble Homes Simple Shacks Cozy Cottages Ramshackle Retreats Funky Forts and Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here”, (yes, that is the unabridged title) came solely from bottle refunds which Diedricksen collected on his woodland hikes.
Needless to say, with Diedricksen, the possibilties are endless. Although his structures are even more whimsical than their names, his work is far from frivolous. His most recent project, the $100 Homeless Hut, is exactly what it says on the tin.
As is the case with most spellbinding ideas, it is the man behind these microdwellings who is even more mesmerising. Diedricksen’s previous occupations include comic book writer, DJ, home inspector, and a member of the tribute band “Age Against the Machine”. You could even call him producer as well, as he gives tours of each creation on Youtube in the series “Tiny Yellow House.”
To fully describe the cheeky yet miraculously-talented Diedricksen would take years, so all I can say on the subject is, this is the man I want to find my trash!
For more information:
NY Times Online: “The $200 Microhouse“
Diedricksen’s Very Own Blog: Relaxshax
Tiny House Design: “The Hickshaw by Derek Diedricksen“