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Eastwood123
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Posted: 10/9/2011 2:49:09 PM EST
Shopping for some land soon. I dont have 200K for an elaborate cabin, but instead am seriously considering a small (16x20 or 16x24) size storage shed type building to turn into a cabin. What sort of things would need to be added? Insulation in the walls & ceiling?
Ive seen some really nice small cabins on youtube that were really nothing more than storage sheds turned cabins.


rusteerooster
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Posted: 10/9/2011 2:58:30 PM EST
make sure the framing will support some type of covering be it drywall or paneling (max 24" on center) insulation some electrics and plumbing,,shouldn't be to expensive if you do most of the work yourself.

rafters and joists need to be 2x6 or better, if 2x6 they need to be 16" on center. Shingle or heavy gauge metal roof.
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ksstargazer
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:01:49 PM EST
1) You will need a water source
2) A septic system or lagoon for waste
3) A heating source (wood stove)
4) Insulation is a great idea
5) Electricity is a bonus (if remote you might consider solar or a generator)
6) A window would be nice

I think a storage shed could make a small cabin - its just how comfortable you want to be. If you are good at getting cheap lumber and siding, you could build yourself one for a couple thousand dollars. A concrete floor would add quite a bit to the cost.
TheWarHound
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:03:26 PM EST
I have been reading up on the subject, planning on building a 12X16 fishing cabin on Cumberland River. I would put in a smallish wood-burning stove, insulate the walls, ceiling, and floor, with a waterproof barrier under the floor. http://vimeo.com/20404596 is a great link, shows the original Alone in the Wilderness, and 2 other documentaries featuring Richard Proenneke. He made a log cabin in Alaska by himself, using just hand tools, and lived in it until he was in his eighties.

JMHO, YMMV

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die-tryin
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:14:06 PM EST
Dont ask me, I just took a chainsaw to the last structure I built.
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Chris0013
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:16:59 PM EST
How high would it be....could you put a battery bank in the "loft" and charge off solar and wind? Sink well for water?? Outhouse??
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rusteerooster
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:18:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By Chris0013:
How high would it be....could you put a battery bank in the "loft" and charge off solar and wind? Sink well for water?? Outhouse??


that would be way to much weight for a standard built frame...batteries are really heavy
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azratt
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:24:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By die-tryin:
Dont ask me, I just took a chainsaw to the last structure I built.


Lmao...
jcncc
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:42:05 PM EST
Consider a dividing wall/ load wall disecting the cabin lengthwise down the center. This will allow you to support your ceiling joists. It could even be a couple of large beams supported on posts.
Tula1953r
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Posted: 10/9/2011 3:48:36 PM EST
Trooper Dan over at www.whenSHTF.com is doing this exact thing and documeting it every step of the way.Its the first sticky in the Shelter section of the forum. He is using an Amish built shed as the base.

countryplans.com is another great resource for do it yourself cabins small and large,on or off the grid. Check out the owner/builder projects section of the forums for a wealth of info. There are many,many pages of these types of builds so you can build it right the first time and avoid the mistakes that others have made. I am looking into a small cabin project myself and have been lurking over at countryplans.com forums for months.
PeteCO
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Posted: 10/9/2011 4:24:32 PM EST
countryplans.com

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uncool
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Posted: 10/9/2011 4:26:35 PM EST
Im not sure if the are available in TX but I bought a 12x30 building from Graceland buildings...........its built way better than any of the others ive seen........would make a good starting point
thorshammer
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Posted: 10/9/2011 4:30:17 PM EST
what about a 20 ft steel shipping container ? buy one drop it in your driveway , build it out in your freetime. load it up with your old /found furniture, then pay to have a trucker drop it on your property.
frozenny
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Posted: 10/9/2011 4:44:21 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/9/2011 4:45:16 PM EST by frozenny]
I bought 72 acres. It came with a primitive 12x16 cabin. I also grew up spending tons of time in a tiny island camp that had a 'living room/kitchen/dining room" that measured 12 x12. I have some 40+ years experience living in small spaces.

My observations:

Keep furniture and clutter to a bare minimum. Keep it simple. Place furniture on walls, leaving center of room open for combined use as travel space from area to area, and visually 'open' area. My 12x16 contains one sofa, one daybed/matress, one small table, two chairs, a woodstove, a small cabinet (on which I place my cook stove) and at 4 foot long piece of countertop. I love the day bed since there is storage space under it. The table stays pressed up against a wall, and is only pulled into the center of the room if there is company. You want to be able to move and reconfigure furniture on an as needed basis. I frequently end up moving furniture on a daily basis (pull a chair by the window to read, pick it up and set it outside for a sunset, move it in my the woodstove for heat, then tuck it away near teh table for then night).

Insulation helps a LOT. My current cabin is not insulated and its very hard to heat.

Windows help a LOT. In small spaces you feel closed in. Big windows allow gret views out, which reduces the closed in feeling.

Gable roof is preferrable to shed roof (flat). More overhead space makes for an airy, less closed in feeling.

Good lighting helps alot. I use mantle-type propane wall mounted lamps.

Basically I like a wood stove in a cabin. Woodstoves need some clearance from furniture, etc. Use that necessary clearance area as your open space in the cabin.

Running water is a real luxury. Running water is a 50 gallon barrel on the roof for dish washing, and hand washing, plumbed to a simply faucet, and a skingle bowl basin plumbed to a drain. Nothing fancy.

Out door spaces help make indoor spaces more liveable. A porch or deck effectively doubles your floor space during good weather.

if its occasional use cabin a primitive privy works fine.


Ignorance can be cured......... Stupid is forever......
machinegunseabee
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Posted: 10/9/2011 6:39:21 PM EST
check out tuffshed.com they allready make what you seek.
big-Al
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Posted: 10/9/2011 6:56:08 PM EST
Originally Posted By Eastwood123:
Shopping for some land soon. I dont have 200K for an elaborate cabin, but instead am seriously considering a small (16x20 or 16x24) size storage shed type building to turn into a cabin. What sort of things would need to be added? Insulation in the walls & ceiling?
Ive seen some really nice small cabins on youtube that were really nothing more than storage sheds turned cabins.




Heres a link to a storage shed used as a hunting cabin, It looks to be a nice set up, I seen it on yahoo real estate a few weeks ago.

http://realestate.yahoo.com/Indiana/Freetown/0-buffalo-pike:31e88c69e793808cf3d613ff1f126ba1

Macumazahn
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Posted: 10/9/2011 7:05:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/9/2011 7:13:55 PM EST by Macumazahn]
Originally Posted By frozenny:
I bought 72 acres. It came with a primitive 12x16 cabin. I also grew up spending tons of time in a tiny island camp that had a 'living room/kitchen/dining room" that measured 12 x12. I have some 40+ years experience living in small spaces.

My observations:

Keep furniture and clutter to a bare minimum. Keep it simple. Place furniture on walls, leaving center of room open for combined use as travel space from area to area, and visually 'open' area. My 12x16 contains one sofa, one daybed/matress, one small table, two chairs, a woodstove, a small cabinet (on which I place my cook stove) and at 4 foot long piece of countertop. I love the day bed since there is storage space under it. The table stays pressed up against a wall, and is only pulled into the center of the room if there is company. You want to be able to move and reconfigure furniture on an as needed basis. I frequently end up moving furniture on a daily basis (pull a chair by the window to read, pick it up and set it outside for a sunset, move it in my the woodstove for heat, then tuck it away near teh table for then night).

Insulation helps a LOT. My current cabin is not insulated and its very hard to heat.

Windows help a LOT. In small spaces you feel closed in. Big windows allow gret views out, which reduces the closed in feeling.

Gable roof is preferrable to shed roof (flat). More overhead space makes for an airy, less closed in feeling.

Good lighting helps alot. I use mantle-type propane wall mounted lamps.

Basically I like a wood stove in a cabin. Woodstoves need some clearance from furniture, etc. Use that necessary clearance area as your open space in the cabin.

Running water is a real luxury. Running water is a 50 gallon barrel on the roof for dish washing, and hand washing, plumbed to a simply faucet, and a skingle bowl basin plumbed to a drain. Nothing fancy.

Out door spaces help make indoor spaces more liveable. A porch or deck effectively doubles your floor space during good weather.

if its occasional use cabin a primitive privy works fine.




All good advice, and I would add that solar power can keep things simple. Just be careful of fire, the batteries will need to be in a vented area.

And as already mentioned, why not consider 2 steel shipping containers.
NAK
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Posted: 10/9/2011 7:27:01 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/9/2011 7:29:21 PM EST by NAK]
You can definitely make the portable building thing work. When we bought our river property, there was already a 12 X 20 (outside dimensions) portable building that was unfinished inside. We would have gone with something slightly larger, but it was already there.

Here is what we started with:




We put in one of these

and then one of these


The girls celebrated when this was installed...they just did not appreciate the solar shower & the 5 gallon bucket with a seat

It was a big moment for me when this was installed...no more hauling gas for the generator!



A few thousand dollars & a couple of hundred hours later we have:



There is a 6' deep sleeping loft in the rear of the cabin. Bathroom is 6' X 3' with a pocket door. The entire room is the shower




A pivoting ladder leads to the front sleeping loft (6' X about 8' of usable space) .



Queen size bed, plus the futon, two twin beds in the front sleeping loft and two in the rear sleeping loft. Comfortably sleeps seven...all fighting over one bathroom.

Wall mounted propane space heater (with low O2 shut-off and a CO alarm) and a tank less water heater share a 100# propane cylinder.
Two small window ACs, mounted through the wall. One in the rear sleeping loft, one by the frig.
No cook-top. We use a food service grade one-burner butane stove, a crock pot, and the gas grill (outside)

A screened porch and a big fire pit finish it off.
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EXPY37
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Posted: 10/9/2011 7:36:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/9/2011 8:08:07 PM EST by EXPY37]
Sitting in a 20' container right now with all the comforts and planning how to put a complete living accomodation into a 22 by 17 foot space.

The bathroom with sink, RV toilet and 3 x3 shower is proving to be difficult.

The black waste will be run into a small holding tank and pumped into a larger tank outside with a macerator pump, for periodic disposal.



NAK, what kind of propane wall heater did you use?

That's a very nice outfitting of your cottage and shows careful and creative planning!






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Posted: 10/9/2011 7:50:20 PM EST
We moved permanently to our 'BOL' (which actually puts me much much much closer to my work) last week. I had a contractor friend build a 32'x20' two story cabin on steel piers for about 25,000 and we've spent the last few months making it minimally livable. I've still got a long ways to go but we are here now and on slow days at work I can work on it and my commute went from one hour to 3 minutes. Instead of converting a storage shed I would seriously look at designing something simple like we did and see what prices you get. Because I used things my friend has had sitting around his warehouse we got really good windows and a Class 4 Mueller steel roof.
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jcncc
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Posted: 10/10/2011 2:35:55 AM EST
Wow you can get a 16x24 Tuffshed delivered for 8900 bucks. Buy a pair of them and connect via enclosed hallway like a hamster habitat.
NEJDAT223
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Posted: 10/10/2011 3:21:10 AM EST
Originally Posted By Eastwood123:
Shopping for some land soon. I dont have 200K for an elaborate cabin, but instead am seriously considering a small (16x20 or 16x24) size storage shed type building to turn into a cabin. What sort of things would need to be added? Insulation in the walls & ceiling?
Ive seen some really nice small cabins on youtube that were really nothing more than storage sheds turned cabins.




Opinions may vary, but I would consider buying a decent used travel trailer to park there. Instant comfortable living quarters, and they can be had for reasonable in the winter months. Frame a roof over it for weather protection that can later be turned into an out building when funds allow.

Save your money and build a cabin the way you want it when you can afford it.
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SouthHoof
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Posted: 10/10/2011 4:05:46 AM EST
My dear wife's "Dear Blind" is very similar to the pics NAK posted.

12"x16" with stand up loft for sleeping. Wood stove for heat. Cedar siding, insulated 2x4 walls, 4 windows, plywood floor & a nice to get away for a day or two. My young sons & I build it during a weeks vacation. The only change I'd make if building from scratch again would be to use a metal roof.










I even built her an outhouse for our anniversary.



Total cost in 2001 dollars was about $2500. Before 'decorating'.
EdHaney1
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Posted: 10/10/2011 5:09:48 AM EST
I live in Pa and bought 20 acres "Retirement Land" in the Mo. Ozarks about 5 years ago. Some folks from Minnesota bought an adjoining 20 acres and put up a 20'x24' pole barn and have been living in it and adding on for the past 3 years. I stop down once a year normally to check in. The bathroom is detached for now. The property already had a well on it and electric running to it. They grow what they eat and eat what they grow. I've never seen so many different things canned and jarred before. Occasionally they'll hire out to local farms to pay their taxes and keep fuel in their vehicles and tractor. The properties do have county road frontage. It is far from being wilderness. These folks live on a subsistance level. Initially I was amused by them and how they lived. Now I try to communicate more with them to learn how they do certain things.

Their place had an old livestock barn on it. They fixed that up and moved in some critters. Pigs, chickens, goats and a couple horses. We let them graze their grass eaters on our 20 acres until we move in a few years.
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Posted: 10/10/2011 5:22:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/10/2011 5:26:32 AM EST by ar-jedi]
Originally Posted By Eastwood123:
I dont have 200K for an elaborate cabin, but instead am seriously considering a small (16x20 or 16x24) size storage shed type building to turn into a cabin.

you don't need to pony up US$200K for a 16x20 cabin. lol.

for less than one tenth of that you can get a weather-tight structure (including a proper foundation), along with doors/windows and a few accoutrements include water/drainage management. once completed, the interior finish work can be done as time/money permit.

now then, even though my example "cabin" below is set up to be used as a utility shed/workshop, i offer the following advice if you are going to live full time in a small structure:

1) put the biggest double doors possible on, and have them open up over a living surface –– this way during nice weather you can open the doors up fully and "extend" your living space onto a finished surface (for dinner, guests, projects, etc). this is not unlike what folks do with their seasonal single- or double-wides, with a 10x16 piece of indoor/outdoor carpet rolled out in front of the entry door.

2) create storage space outside the structure for weatherproof, seldom-used items. a 3' wide slab, and a plastic or steel tote-box (aka site box or jobber's box) creates a lockable storage area. i suggest a slab because otherwise the boxes will sit in mud, could become corroded, and it will messy for you to put/take items.

3) even if you don't have capability at the outset, plan for external utilities right from the outset. 30 feet of 1.5" electrical conduit, elbows, and LB's costs $40; leave a string in it, and sometime down the road you can build a small generator hut away from the living quarters (increased safety and reduced noise). similarly, 30 feet of black sprinkler pipe costs $15; sometime down the road you can put in an external water tank next to the generator hut, and if needed a pressure pump. drop a piece of CAT5 in the same trench and you can put an alarm loop on the generator hut door, and also monitor the water level.

4) take care of drainage right from the outset. excess water undermines foundations, creates rot, attracts wood-destroying insects, and generally creates a mess. it is a pain the butt to always have muddy shoes, when going in and out of your living space. so at the very minimum –– plan for water when the foundation is put up –– french drain the high side, and direct the water away. then put gutters on your structure, and pipe the water away. a 10' piece of 3" or 4" DWV (schedule 20) is about $5 and can save you hundreds/thousands in termite and foundation damage.

ar-jedi
































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Posted: 10/10/2011 8:36:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By NAK:
You can definitely make the portable building thing work. When we bought our river property, there was already a 12 X 20 (outside dimensions) portable building that was unfinished inside. We would have gone with something slightly larger, but it was already there.

Here is what we started with:
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6154/6229110048_41e66522f5_z.jpg
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6232/6228593085_a7c6cf766a_z.jpg


We put in one of these http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6212/6228630645_33d2bdfc21.jpg

and then one of these
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6057/6229149716_fbc0ea6ffc.jpg

The girls celebrated when this was installed...they just did not appreciate the solar shower & the 5 gallon bucket with a seat

It was a big moment for me when this was installed...no more hauling gas for the generator!
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6163/6229148422_cc9c1e044f.jpg


A few thousand dollars & a couple of hundred hours later we have:

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6155/6228610689_7ba0169c0e_z.jpg

There is a 6' deep sleeping loft in the rear of the cabin. Bathroom is 6' X 3' with a pocket door. The entire room is the shower

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6099/6228594351_84f43dbeb9_z.jpg


A pivoting ladder leads to the front sleeping loft (6' X about 8' of usable space) .
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6227/6228608079_24ea7edeec.jpg


Queen size bed, plus the futon, two twin beds in the front sleeping loft and two in the rear sleeping loft. Comfortably sleeps seven...all fighting over one bathroom.

Wall mounted propane space heater (with low O2 shut-off and a CO alarm) and a tank less water heater share a 100# propane cylinder.
Two small window ACs, mounted through the wall. One in the rear sleeping loft, one by the frig.
No cook-top. We use a food service grade one-burner butane stove, a crock pot, and the gas grill (outside)

A screened porch and a big fire pit finish it off.
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6167/6229127390_32c75d2ca6.jpg


NAK, that's VERY NICE!!! I like that setup a LOT!!!
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