Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged Cabin

Big Mountains. Tiny House. Living In The Alaskan Bush

Thanks to Pinterest we now all have a way to keep track of inspiration photos, links of interest, passing image thoughts, and more. Prior to March 2010 though we had to use an RSS feed aggregate or browser bookmarks or (gasp!) just be comfortable with the knowledge that after an initial viewing of something we may never see it again. Such is the case for me when I came across Devon & Melissa’s tiny house in Alaska.

Devon 1At just 168 sq.ft. this one room tiny house (seemingly NOT on a trailer) initially captured my attention as it was posted in 2011 which makes it a predecessor of the modern tiny house movement. Located somewhere east of Mount Foraker in the Denali National Park and Preserve area in the Alaskan Range. As Melissa welcomes us in she immediately notes that not only is the house small but also quite cozy. If the rough cut siding on the outside didn’t communicate ‘rustic cabin’ sufficiently the sparse details yet functional inclusions inside lent to her assessment. Cozy, it is.

Devon 2The kitchen has little more than a small fridge and a propane cooktop with a recent addition of some drawer units. The cooktop runs off a 1 lb. propane bottle and there is no sink evident so one is left assuming there is no running water or plumbing available in the tiny house. No matter though as at just 0:00:19 you see a blue water container which indicates a sort of grey water, off-the-grid, system.

The shower system is quite crude in that it is little more than a circular frame that holds a net or shower curtain for privacy and to keep the water in with the downward runoff being collected in an aluminum water trough that – when not in use – hangs on the wall. The duo also seems to wash their faces, their hands, and take care of other hygiene needs right at the kitchen. This was always interesting to me because as we built our THOW we were often asked where we would brush our teeth even though we incorporated an oversized, double basin sink into our build. The last time I checked brushing teeth ends with “brush and spit.” Who cares what sort of vessel you spit into or if you even use a vessel at all! (NOTE: At 0:01:11 Melissa shows us the 5-gallon water bucket) Further down the wall is the rest of the “kitchen” which features an electric tea kettle, a toaster oven, a small microwave, and more storage.

Devon 3The pots hang from the ceiling as well as some other tools and knick knacks. The entire space reminds me of a birth in a boat or even just a great sheepherders wagon or something similar. The coziness, I think, comes from everything being within reach from one place.

As the tour continues around the downstairs we see a countertop with stools which is presumably a spot to work and eat. Melissa points out it is a storage unit as well. We get our first glimpse at the stairs to the sleeping loft which is clearly used as a great dog bed. The footage even allows us to see that the walls are sheetrock and painted and that the windows are trimmed in pre-scrolled, DIY-type window trim.

The stairs are nothing fancy and, in fact, the rise is quite steep. However while being simple the stairs serve great double duty as storage areas for gear, shoes, and books. The steps are like a deep ladder that lead up to a nice sleeping loft that runs almost the same dimensions as the “downstairs” yet offers tremendous storage (through a closet rod, some storage boxes, etc) for both Melissa and Devon. The best part is yet to come though.

Devon 4The mountains out the loft window! WOW! Now I remember why I mentally bookmarked this video in the first place.

Devon 5No spot goes unused in this tiny house. To view more and to hear just a couple minutes more about the tiny house you really owe it to yourself to visit Devon & Melissa’s tiny house in Alaska on YouTube.

Your Turn!

  • Would that view be enough to convince you to move to Alaska?
  • Are your stairs pulling double duty or do they have designations?




From the British Wild: The Lodge at Edenhall

With it’s unique tapering design and rich, golden timber, you expect to see a cabin like The Lodge at Edenhall in a vast Wyoming landscape stateside rather than riverside on the The River Eamont (a river in Cumbria, England and one of the major tributaries of the River Eden, situated in the Northern part of Great Britain). But there it does sit with its intelligent combination of rustic frontier and stylish modernity.

The Lodge is a basic one room cabin with open flooring downstairs and a sleeping loft above. The sense of openness is provided by the single-pane, muntin-less, windows on all sides of the tiny house. Resting on what seems to be large skids made of the same logs as the beam system, the cabin sits isolated in a clearing by a wide sweep of woodland directly on the river bank. Just looking on the cabin you can almost see a rocking chair, lap blanket, and warm cup of coffee and chicory waiting. Likewise, the cabin seems perfect for a small family gathering with a supper of fresh, open-fire grilled, fish, mixed greens, and a bottle of Wrothham Pinot.

While the simple log cabin fits perfectly in its natural setting the feeling inside is simple, cozy, and inviting. Prominently featured in the corner of the main living area is a wood-burning stove with tall pipe and pebble hearth. But rest assured the cabin is far from archaic with its well-equipped kitchen, masterful bedroom, and beautiful wrought-iron spiral staircase. There are comfy armchairs facing the wood-burner, a double sofa bed and sliding doors which open onto the porch to let in cool summer breezes from off the water and, quite frequently, the unfiltered sounds of nature.

The terrain surrounding The Lodge is perfect for hiking both on flatland and foothills as well as mountain biking and light rock climbing. The immediate stretches of river are perfect for fly fishing and potential salmon suppers. If for some reason the immediate area grows old the nearby Lake District offers a variety of outdoor activities ripe for exploration!

What The Lodge lacks in square feet it makes up for in charm and comfort. It’s log cabin design makes it sturdy and economical for most seasonal weather. The mixture of natural logs and timber with milled 2’x4’s and even some sheetrock give the home stylishness and modernity. Perhaps no place more comfortable and no more inspiring exists outside the quaint Lake District of Great Britain.

Your Turn!

  • Have you considered living in a log cabin?
  • Can a log cabin only be in undeveloped areas?



A Cabin In Six Days

There is perhaps nothing better than a simple cabin tucked away in the woods. That is not true. There is nothing better than a simple cabin tucked away in the woods, built by hand in less than one pay period at a corporate job, and large enough to satisfy the desires of those that live within it. The Six Day Cabin – like the Baubit Mini Cabin before it – is one of those cabins. Build by a set of friends who in the fall of this year ditched their cramped conditions in New York City, Chicago, and Raleigh, to meet just outside of Portland, Oregon, the Six Day Cabin was, in fact, built in just six days so these buddies could give up the rat race if even for a few days and trade in their laptops for hammers and mouses for nails.

In only six days a group of four twenty-somethings manage to turn a week of vacation time into a 200 sq.ft. cabin. By the numbers the project took 40 working hours, 264 – 2x4s, and about $6,065.62 in materials (excluding the land). The group leader is a builder by trade so he had the right experience. The others? Not so much. A group of young, corporate types, they are self-described “novices.” But where there is a will there is a way and these fellas wanted to “use our hands for something other than tapping away at a keyboard or smartphone; to be directly responsible for building a place that we can enjoy together in the coming years; to use vacation for creation rather than escape; and, above all, to learn something new.”




There is nothing inherently special about the cabin. It is a square living space with no visible plumbing or electric. It features a sleeping loft and not much else. But in the case of this project it seems that some of the lessons the guys learned are even more important than their finished project.

In building (as in anything) mistakes are inevitable, and most can be fixed!

The team – at one point or another – managed to make quite a few mistakes. They bought the wrong lumber from Home Depot. They hammered nails crooked. One of them even fell from a stepladder. They did danced with their reciprocating saw. They measured improperly for door and window cutouts. And these are just the ones they mention on their website. The remarkable thing is that after every mishap the builder of the group, William, would show how to fix the mistake and then tell a story of how he had seen the same mistake before and assured the team they wouldn’t be the last to make it.


Behind any finished product are dozens of provisional steps no one will ever see.

A foundation and framing are carefully measured, cut, plumbed, leveled, etc. only to be hidden with sheathing and a roof. You put an entire sheet of plywood up where you will eventually carve out a door. Roofing felt is laid down only to be covered by shingles and hidden forever. But in true fashion sometimes creation rises out of destruction.




 A shared goal, even briefly held, can deepen long-term friendships.

The build team all agrees that while friends may hang out regularly or go out to dinner or go to a party there is something inherently different about a shared goal. While best buddies may have years’ worth of stories to tell and experiences in common they all too often become “normal” and less than spectacular. But when you are mutually invested in a project with a singular goal there is an intimacy that is built and a bond that is made.




Your Turn!

  • Have you ever built something with your best friends?
  • Do you long for a place of your own where only nature surrounds you?



A Tiny House On The River

Not all dreams of life on the water involve sails, starboard bows, trolling motors, or pontoons. Some, like that of Margy and Wayne Lutz involve just a floating foundation of cedar logs, a modest 675 sq.ft. cabin, and a secluded spot on the water in Hole in the Wall located on Powell Lake in Coastal British Columbia.

Floating CabinLike This Old Boat – a project by John Kolsun – the Lutz cabin was designed and built to be moored. While it can move it is not truly designed to. Rather it is designed to take advantage of a location more or less created by substantial logging and mining in the region.

Cedar Log FloatThe tiny house is completely off-grid and has water access only through a crude but functional pipe and hand spigot, well system. The remainder of utilities come from solar power, wind power, thermo electricity, and wood (for their heater). The Lutz cabin is the third one built by their friend John back in the mid-1990s. Margy and Wayne purchased the float cabin in 2001 for just $25,000.

While 675 sq.ft. may not sound very big it offers Margy and Wayne everything they need including a sizable living space, a lofted bedroom (with a large, double bed), a full bathroom (complete with compost toilet), and a full kitchen which runs primarily on propane.

Their outside living space is vast and gives them large overhang porches for enjoying afternoon showers and winter dustings, a dock big enough for a couple of boats and several water toys, a grilling and a picnic area.

Living Area

Former employees of a school district in Los Angeles both Margy and Wayne are now able to focus their energies on other pursuits. In addition to keeping many of the systems up and running Wayne is also an author penning Canadian stories of boating, hiking, and survival off the grid in coastal British Columbia. Margy is a consultant in grant writing working primarily for a school system. It can be argued though that their full time employ is the cabin itself. Floating Garden

With a garden on its own floating dock and a potato patch on the hillside, Margy spends a lot of her time cultivating plants and providing food for the couple. This allows John to work more on their experimental thermal electric generator that’s attached to their wood stove. It also allows him to keep their stock of wood tended. The pile itself also has its own dedicated float of cedar logs. The other systems that keep the floating cabin comfortable involve two golf cart batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines.


And while it may not be the ideal home for most it is perfect for the Lutz couple as it provides them a breathtaking view of life from a vantage point many will never experience.

Outside View

Your Turn!

  • Could you live both off grid and on the water?







Simple Is As Simple Does at Ermitage cabin

The idea of how minimal is too minimal is one that can only be answered by the inhabitant of the space. Conversationally speaking there seem to be two major camps to emerge in the tiny house community. The first camp believe in the tiny house as comfy, cozy, cabin comparable to a bird’s nest in that everything is bundled and within arms’ reach. The second camp is the more minimalist of the two holding fast to the notion that way less is way more and a home should have little more than a mat to sleep on and a fuel source to heat and cook with. While the conversation rarely finds itself into polite company it will certainly come to light with the observation of the project “Ermitage” –  a wooden cabin in the woods of Trossö, near the west coast of Sweden.


This black-painted tiny house was designed for a couple by Paris-based architecture firm Septembre and is a study in bare necessities. Described by Septembre as, “Two large windows frame the windswept and poetic landscape: the ocean on one side, pines on the other, with a large sliding door effectively doubling the living area when open.” And nothing more. Upon discover though it actually reveals a number of building principles that align with the modern tiny house movement.


Framed and finished, the interior seems to be little more than 4’x8′ yellow pine with exposed seems. The window casing follow suit with very basic exposed framing. The oversized windows are single pane allowing for an unobstructed view of the outdoors as well as a significant amount of natural (or ambient) light on each side of the house. The window treatment(s) is likely a type of canvas, muslin, or burlap purposely rolled to remain “hidden” to some extent while remaining perfectly functional. The lack of personal touches and photos forces the inhabitant to recognize the natural world around him as art rather than background.


The bed is the focal point of the room as it sits on a risen platform with direct view of the side window and in symmetry with the window across the room. From this vantage point the shape and size ratio of the tiny house is obvious and even allows for a very snug and cozy fit for the bed area. Without large bedding the mattress even allows for a presumed yoga or meditation area without arranging and rearranging. It is what is under the bed that is most interesting about Septembre’s design though.


Rolling storage (drawers assembled of yellow pine with simple casters) divides the space under the bed into three keeping the overall space free from closets and/or clutter. The floor matches the rest of the interior save its tongue and groove assembly as opposed to lumber sheeting. Ermitage also has extra room on the bed platform making a great space for a journal or book or perhaps a midnight snack!


The door to the tiny house is as understated as any door could be. Looking from the inside like a section of the wall and from the outside like part of the exterior line, the sliding opening serves to keep the house weather tight but also to double the living space allowing a fluidity from inside to out. Also obvious is what may be the primary lighting fixture in the tiny house as well as two, utilitarian coat hooks tucked away under the door casing; functional yet not distracting.



The Ermitage is simple. The Ermitage is sparse. And similar to the Sneaky Cabin, the Ermitage is brilliant in that it immerses the inhabitant in the landscape assuring they never forget the human position in the world.

Your Turn!

  • Is the Ermitage too simple?


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