Author Diana Lorence of Innermost House To Speak Of Her “Walden Years” At Berkeley Public Library

September 19, 2016

Contact: Wendy Hyman
Reference Librarian, A&M
Berkeley Public Library



In celebration of the upcoming bicentennial of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, Diana Lorence shares her experience of seven years in a tiny, un-electrified cabin in the woods of California, in the manner of Thoreau’s life at Walden Pond. On this special occasion she will be accompanied by her husband, a director of the Thoreau Society of Concord, Massachusetts.


Berkeley, September 19, 2016 -- For seven years Diana Lorence lived a hidden life in an un-electrified, twelve-by-twelve-foot house she built herself, hidden in the woods of Northern California, in a world lit only by fire. Ms. Lorence will be accompanied by her husband, a director and ambassador of the Thoreau Society, as they speak of “Tiny Houses and the Legacy of Walden” on Saturday, October 1, at 3:00 PM at the Berkeley Public Library at 2090 Kittredge Street, in Berkeley.

Three years ago Diana Lorence emerged from her seclusion to give a talk at Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Representatives of the Thoreau Society, the oldest and largest author’s society in the country, have since said that, “If we wish to know what Henry Thoreau would have to say about our modern world, Diana Lorence and her Innermost House are perhaps our best answer.” 

At Innermost House Ms. Lorence heated her home, cooked her food, and boiled her water over an open fire, illuminating the dark woodland nights with beeswax candles. Like Thoreau before her, she “went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

She writes, “Through the many years before Innermost House, I moved many times and lived in many different very small houses. I moved something like twenty or thirty times, living in Spanish houses in California, in salt boxes in New England, in an 18th century servant’s quarter in Virginia and a log cabin in the Alleghenies, forever seeking some simple spirit of American place I could not see.”

“I learned at last that simplicity for me lies in loving those few things that matter most as if nothing else mattered at all. I found my home in the woods among the permanent things that do not change—day and night, summer and winter, growth and decay. I lived among the ancient oaks and redwood trees, the living bearers of our oldest memories.”

When Ms. Lorence began to build her house in the woods twelve years ago, there was no tiny house movement. Innermost House has since been judged the World's Favorite Small House, the Most Beautiful Tiny House in the World, and the Most Inspiring Small House Ever.

Diana Lorence speaks across the country at universities, libraries, historical societies and environmental associations. Her Innermost House has been featured in House Beautiful, Fine Homebuilding, The Oregonian, Mother Earth Living, Green Style, The Examiner, Furniture and Home Fashion, Yahoo and AOL Homepages, Kiplinger, Tiny House Blog, Fair Companies, and hundreds of websites, books and newspapers around the world in languages from French, Turkish and Pakistani to Japanese and Chinese.

Diana Lorence's appearance in Berkeley is generously made possible by the Berkeley Public Library and by the Innermost House Foundation. Seating is limited, so please come early.

To learn more about Diana Lorence's Innermost House, please visit

For questions regarding this program, call 510-981-6241.

The Central Library is located at 2090 Kittredge Avenue and is open Monday, noon – 8:00 pm; Tuesday, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm; Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; and Sunday from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Wheelchair accessible. For questions, to request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for this event, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY); at least five working days will help ensure availability. Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs. Visit the library’s website: