It’s a happy day on happy mountain!
The exterior of my Tiny Cabin is finished and I am happy happy happy! I’m sitting here in LA waiting for the arrival of the new wind turbine and I thought it might be a good idea to answer some common questions that have popped up in e-mails.
1. Have you drawn any plans for the cabin so I can build one?
WOW, I am WAY flattered! Since I made the cabin up as I went along, I don’t have any actual plans. I started with a 10′x12′ footprint and some reference pictures of modern sheds. I played around in SketchUp and PhotoShop until I came up with a simple design that looked nice and would be simple to build. If you read through the whole blog, I think there should be enough pictures and notes for someone to build a similar version. The main points I learned in “building-as-I-go” were to
A. follow the framing book and use 16″ on center construction (for maximum efficiency in materials)
B. design the framing plan around whatever materials I had in hand. All my windows were free (as well as some of the lumber)
C. it will take longer than you think
D. I underestimated costs for things like replacement tools, blades, nails, screws, band-aids
E. bring a friend, even if you’re building it by yourself. It gets lonely out there and since cows make lousy conversation, having someone to talk to (and drink beer with) is a God-send (drunken cows will never leave)
F. When in doubt, look it up on the Internet!
2. How much did it cost?
So far with the exterior finished I am in for a total of $3,640. This takes into consideration that the large and small windows were free, The deck lumber was free, and I already own a good tool kit. I’ll post the line-item budget at the end of this post in case anyone wants to see the details.
3. Where is your cabin?
It’s just outside metro Los Angeles, a modest drive from Hollywood. I’m keeping the location a secret for a few reasons. As I’m dancing on the permit line with the county’s building department, I need to stay under their radar. While the cabin…I mean “storage shed”…stays within the letter of the law, I really don’t need any unwanted attention from my neighbors or the inspectors.
4. What about a kitchen and bathroom?
My plan is to build a larger, adjacent cabin which will house the kitchen, bathroom, dining/living room. In order to do this, I will need a building permit (another reason to keep the tiny cabin “street legal”), a water system installed, engineer-stamped seismic-4 compliant plans, and, the money to do it.
5. What’s next?
>My immediate “to-do” list is… to re-build the small nearby tool shed. In order to finish off the interior of the tiny cabin, I’ll need to relocate and store the stuff cluttering up the interior. I need a real storage building to avoid everything getting chewed up and covered in mouse urine so I’ll close-in and mouse-proof my open-air 6′x8′ tool shed.
>Next I will finish off the drywall, install a T&G pine ceiling, install a proper floor, paint and add furniture!
>Build a battery house and install the wind turbine. I’ll need to buy a tower pole kit (about $400) so I’m currently sourcing them and trying to figure out the most affordable option.
>Build an outdoor shower pavilion. Currently I take showers using the outdoor shower on the back of the trailer. I need to set up a semi-enclosed stall so I can shower regardless of the time of day or temperature. The cold and wind often make it unpleasant to be naked and wet on the hillside.
I cannot express how grateful I am for all of you reading, emailing and being so supportive of my crazy scheme. It’s been a rough year for me career-wise. Money is so tight and paying work has been very hard to find. The tiny cabin has been a therapeutic adventure for me as well as a source of pride, solace and security.
Thank you all so very very much.
My hard costs…
|LUMBER- 2X6X10 PRESSURE TREATED||14.94|
|LUMBER- DECK FRAMING/T&G PLYWOOD/NAILS/TARP||301.21|
|LUMBER-ADDITIONAL SHEET T&G||20.87|
|GRAVEL-3/4 TON /BAG DEPOSIT||93.02|
|GRAVEL BAG DEPOSIT RETURN||(21.65)|
|LUMBER/HARDWARE/HAND TOOLS/FRAMING HAMMER||118.89|
|USED 6500W GENERATOR||325.00|
|PLASTIC SHEETING/NAILS/SCREWS/SAW BLADE||152.63|
|FRAMING LUMBER- 46/2X4X92″||75.69|
|FRAMING LUMBER- DIMENSIONAL & ROOF OSB||199.76|
|LUMBER- 16′ RAFTERS/GRAVEL/SAW BLADE||112.16|
|ROOF FELT/STAPLES/TAR PAPER||64.00|
|16′ LADDER RENTAL (FOR ROOF)||20.00|
|NAILS/ROOF BLOCK LUMBER||29.03|
|RETURNED ROOF FELT/WRONG TYPE||(71.21)|
|RETURNED TAR PAPER/OVER-BOUGHT||(13.45)|
|TAR PAPER/WINDOW FRAME LUMBER/CAULK||78.85|
|RETURNED TAR PAPER/OVER-BOUGHT||(24.38)|
|DOOR HARDWARE/INSTALLATION MATERIALS||67.36|
|STEEL & GLASS ENTRY DOOR||335.84|
|METAL ROOF/SAWZ-ALL BLADES/ROOF SCREWS||450.56|
|RETURN 2 METAL ROOF PANELS||(68.11)|
|SCREW GUN SOCKET SLEEVES||10.79|
|HARDI-PANEL SIDING (2 WALLS)/SIDING NAILS||182.38|
|EXTERIOR TRIM PAINT/SIDING STAIN/BRUSHES||88.85|
|SIMPLE BOARD SIDING/EXTERIOR SCREWS||133.67|
|PHONE LINE BURIAL SUPPLIES||27.85|
|STORE CREDIT/RETURNED INSULATION||(108.08)|
|SAW HOLE/TELEPHONE/ELECT INSTALL EQUIP||55.94|
|STORE CREDIT/RETURNED TOOLS INSTALL||(34.75)|
|DRYWALL, SCREWS, JOINT COMPOUND, UTILITY CONNECTORS||158.63|
|RETURNED DRYWALL, EXCESS HARDWARE||(57.24)|
|UTILITY BOX SPACERS||3.20|
|SIDING STAIN, EXTERIOR SCREWS||77.41|
|DECK FOOTINGS, EAVE SIDING PANELS||74.16|
|DECK STAIN, PAINT, SIMPSON CONNECTORS||71.66|
|DECK NAILS, SIMPSON CONNECTORS, TRIM BOARDS, FOOTINGS||114.94|
|TOTAL SPENT SO FAR||$3,635.97|