Of all of the projects that we have taken on at the new farm in the last year, there is little doubt that the small cabin house that now sits in the woods on the back of our property is our personal favorite.
At just a fraction over 600 square feet, it is certainly one of the smaller buildings on the farm. But although it may be on the smaller size when it comes to living space, is it ever jam-packed with everything you could need to live large!
Cabin living can certainly be rejuvenating. It can take you away from busy streets and traffic jams. One thing is for sure, it can be a great time to read, think, plan – or simply catch up on some much needed rest. Especially if you can still have all of the comforts of modern living at your fingertips – all with nothing more than the woods and nature as your backdrop!
Without a doubt, the little cabin, or “The Cottage” as we now refer to it, has become one of our favorite spaces at the farm. Not just for friends and family to stay, but for us to get away to as well. Today, we are excited to show you the finished build out, complete with a video tour link near the bottom of the article.
“The Cottage” – Building The Perfect Small Cabin House In The Woods
More than anything else, we wanted to create a highly efficient, self-sufficient, low-maintenance structure that would stand up to the test of time. As we love to do, we once again modified an existing Weaver Barns plan to create exactly what we wanted!
Although an all-wood cabin may look incredible when first built, it can require a lot of maintenance! In fact, without continually painting, caulking, and sealing the wood, an all-wood cabin can go south quickly. Especially when you put it in the middle of the woods where moisture, mildew, and the elements can take their toll much quicker.
To accomplish that, we used textured metal board and batten siding along with a stone wainscot and ledge to clad the exterior. And to keep it entirely maintenance free, we topped it all off with a metal roof. We used the same material combination on our barndominium home at the farm, and absolutely love it! See: Barndominium Project
The stone wainscot fits the wood setting well, and we can’t say enough about the textured board and batten siding. It looks nearly identical to wood siding but comes with a maintenance-free 50 year warranty. Most importantly, they both are termite proof!
Foundation / Floor – The Perfect Small Cabin House
The cabin’s foundation is created of a simple concrete pad poured with a footer and cement block perimeter. Within the concrete, there is pex piping that allows for radiant floor heat throughout the cabin. The radiant heat is powered by an on-demand gas fired hot water heater. It heats the cabin both comfortably and economically – and provides endless hot water too.
That is really important as a space saver for a cabin. There is no need for a furnace, or for a hot water tank. Just a small tankless hot water heater that fits in the tiny control room on the wall.
Another big savings is that the concrete pad also serves as our final floor. We had the concrete scored with saw cuts into 2′ x 2′ sections. To finish it all off, we then acid-stained the concrete to look like marble tiles.
The radiant heat provides incredibly comfortable warmth, and not having to put a floor in saves big on the construction budget. It also makes keeping it all clean a breeze. For air conditioning needs, we installed a split A/C unit. By using the two systems together, there is no ductwork at all in the house – and energy costs are extremely low.
The Perfect Floor Plan – A Small Cabin With Big Space
One of the things that can really make a space feel big is the height of the ceiling. We learned that when building our first home. Small ceilings can make a small room seem tiny. But soaring ceilings can have just the opposite effect.
The cabin’s two-story plan sits at a total height of 18 feet. When you walk into the first floor, the tall ceiling above gives the space a huge feel. Even though, of course, the entire cabin is only a little over 600 square feet!
That openness is also very helpful with the upstairs loft as well. By having it open to below, the upstairs area feels much larger than it is. Large enough to hold a king size bed and a small desk as well. You can take a video tour of the entire space on our YouTube channel here : The Cottage Small House Cabin Tour
Making The Most Of Available Space
The floor plan of the cabin really makes great use of the available space. It all starts with a full bathroom tucked behind the kitchen and under the stairs. The space is easy to get to with a pocket door.
The pocket door helps conserve on space, eliminating the need for an area for a swinging door. It’s also wonderful to have a full size toilet and a shower in such a small cabin. The access to the mechanical room underneath the stairs is also in the bathroom.
The kitchen and living room areas all connect and are open. As for the kitchen, we were able to include both a full size refrigerator and regular stove. It is just another way to make the space feel “normal” and large.
The main living area is large enough for a full couch that also pulls out to an extra bed. The living area also has a recliner and a small kitchen table for two along the front window area. We could have put a fireplace on the main wall, but opted not to with the woods so close by. We may put a gas fired stove in at some point in the future.
Last but not least, we really wanted to have a space for a small washer and dryer. As we travel to a lot of Airbnb’s – it is always such a nice perk to have a washer and dryer. Especially if a guest is staying for an extended time. The space backs up against the shower wall, so plumbing for it was an easy task.
Upstairs – A Small Cabin With Big Space
The upstairs loft area has a large and spacious feel as well. Once again, it helps that it opens to the main room below. But with that said, the railing and size allow the bedroom to sit back a bit, so there is still a lot of privacy from the area down below.
Finally, the one part of the cabin house we love the most is the outdoor covered porch! The porch is accessible through a 6 panel glass door off of the main living area. It really makes the cabin feel large with its big views of the woods and ravines below.
One thing is for sure, the little cabin house has all of the comforts of a home – but with far less space to maintain! Here is to building small but living large – Happy Living! Jim and Mary.
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