Cabin in the Catskills

Shelley and her husband are building a tiny house based on one of my free plans, the 8×16 Tiny Solar House. They made some modifications like building it on the ground instead of a trailer – and adding a deck. You might also notice they’ve replaced the large south-side windows with a sliding door.

Here’s what Shelley says about the project:

“After a weekend in the tent with temps dipping below 20 degrees, my husband and I decided we needed something a little more substantial to enjoy our new Catskill woods in the winter. Our vacant five acres didn’t come with a driveway or utilities; we liked the idea of preserving everything we could by only developing foot trails. That meant to get any privacy for our tiny cabin, we would need to hand carry everything 400 ft down into to the heart of the woods. Our friends thought we were crazy.

A friend referred my to and I fell in love. We’ve lived in a 350 sq ft apt in Greenwich Village for 8 years so we weren’t afraid of a 128 ft getaway. What I like most about the 8 x 16 on wheels is the high wall of windows and the simple division of space. After checking in with the local bldg inspector, I modified the plan for a simpler entry and drew it on blocks instead of wheels. Sheds in our area can be built up to 144 sq ft without a bldg permit. Someone on small cabin forum drew up a little plan that placed a 6′ slider on the tall wall going out onto a deck. Perfect! I get a lot of good information from the friendly folks at small cabin forum.

For frigid temps I wanted to insulate everything and install a direct-vent, wall-mounted LP heater. The research said 18k BTUs would do it – we’ll see! I changed the framing to 2 x 6 everywhere. I scoured craigslist all of March and April for lumber, doors and windows – found a complete set of beautiful thermal windows with screens for dirt cheap and stored them in my brother-in-law’s basement. We also rented a truck one weekend and picked up a craigslist generator and recycled framing lumber.

My lovely brother in Florida agreed to take on our construction project, provided all the materials were at the site when he arrived. With one load of new materials from the local lumber yard delivered and some help, we carried everything down in two weekends. My brother solicited his friend in Ohio, they loaded their tools into the Honda SUV and drove over. They worked like crazy in a window of six perfect days of weather. My brother cartwheeled his way down to the creek to cool down a case of beer and then couldn’t remember where he put it!

Team two is coming tomorrow to tie up loose ends and build a 8 x 16 floating deck. I’m excited about putting up the interior shelves that divide the space. There will be a small but complete toilet and closet area on the end, true to Michael’s original plan.”

Thanks for sharing the project with us Shelley! It’s always exciting to see people make good use of the free plans available here.


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