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Friday, April 19, 2013

EIGHT Simple Space Saving Approaches from Deek's Rustic VT Cabin

EIGHT simple space saving approaches, in one photo....

This is a cabin I started building at the age of 21 (with my brother Dustin, when he was 18) deep in the woods of Vermont. Its off-grid, and was almost built entirely without power tools. You can't drive up to this cabin- you have to walk down a trail to get to it, thereby keeping it out of sight, and making its whereabouts less known (less prone to vandalism).

Its also the main cabin for my "Tiny House Summer Camp" workshops- and I just may have another one down the road. Possibly a tiny house-slash-tree house building workshop- with camping, tiny house touring, and more. We did our first one last year and it sold out, with attendees coming from as far away as San Diego, Kansas, The Carolinas, Texas, Pennsylvania, and beyond.

Anyway, I use this Bruce Bettis photo in a slide show I do for both my workshops and the ones I do for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop, and while showing it recently (Austin, TX) a few questions came up on the "built-ins" I had designed into it- things that I've taken for granted, and almost forgotten about over the years.....

So, as I look at the photo a little more myself now, here's what's going on....

1. The Table (Ikea- $20 at the time, a little more now) folds down against the wall when not in use, thereby freeing up the main room of this cabin (only 10' by 10') when its not in "dining room" mode. I use it as a mini work table at times too.

2. The last step of my home built stairway/ladder, if you'll notice, is built out more than the others, and doubles as a seat, when the Ikea table is set up. It has worked really well in this dual capacity.

3. The coffee table, made entirely from FREE cedar from a local mill (their kindling scraps), is hollow (not rocket science), and stores/hides many things within. Putting it on lockable wheels is something I've always wanted to do, in case I want it for use in another part of the room, but I just haven't gotten to it.

4. The framing pockets over the windows (free from a dumpster) were built in a boxed-out fashion (almost like flower boxes) to additionally hold and store small items.

5. The back wall is a self-built murphy bed, made entirely from junk/scrap wood. I rarely use it, as I prefer to sleep on the floor in the loft "room" above, but its there, and so hidden, I forget its even there. It drops down from the wall, and harbors a thick foam pad as a mattress, and the dart board on the front, takes the ride downward as well, and ends up on the underside of the bed.

6. The ladder/staircase, or "galley-style stairway" as I call it, is angled enough to make climbing up into the loft easy, but steep and narrow enough so as to not waste space. It was self built from local lumber.

7. Behind the stairway, in space that might otherwise be wasted, or neglected, lies a built-in bookcase. This shelving unit is where I harbor not only my books, but my lanterns, candles, and other camping supplies.

8. The entry hole to the loft itself was intentionally kept small. Up above (See the video) its not a standing room area, and its only used for sleeping, so I felt that a restricted size opening wouldn't be so problematic, as weighed against my not having to sacrifice more floor, and sleep, space up above.

The chairs, if I wasn't so attached to them (they were the chairs my brother and I grew up with, and ate cereal on, watched cartoons from, etc. at my grandparents cottage) could also be homemade instead, with boxed bases for storage. Just another means of hiding your stuff.

HERE's a video we shot a few years back, giving you the general tour of the place, and camp.....This cabin has since been added onto. Its a grand total of about 300 square feet, and used for group camp-outs, my workshops (especially in inclement weather), and family excursions. 

As the taxes keep going up on the place, I am considering renting it out for one single week each year to help me cover that. If interested, let me know- its bare bones, off grid, and way out there, but a gorgeous area of the country, with lots to see and do. kidcedar at gmail dot com.

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

This cabin is shown, and talked about a bit in my book as well- especially my dealings with porcupine out there, which have been SO damaging and problematic to my lumber supplies.