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Picture of A Cabin in the Woods

I have always wanted to build a cabin in the woods, a getaway from the rat race. We bought our farm in 2001 and lived on it for about 4 years. We bought another house in a nearby town and moved there. We actually had our farm up for sale for about a year, but it was back around 2009 and the real estate market was flat. In 2011, my wife bought a 3 bedroom brick ranch house at a auction for $5000.00 We had it jack up off it's foundation and moved to our farm. We spent the next year rebuilding it (that is another story). We moved into it in 2012 and I have wanted to build our cabin ever since.

Fast forward to summer of 2014. I spent about 3 months drawing up plans and eventually finalized on my current design. The cabin itself is 12' x 12' and has a 6' x 12' covered porch on the front of it. The cabin and porch roof is vaulted with a 8/12 roof pitch.

I had a spot picked out to put the cabin back a year or so ago and in July of this year, I took my auger up and and tried to auger 12 holes. Being in middle Tennessee, it was Murphy's law (amazing how that damn Murphy always gets in the way during projects) that I hit rock at about 6" depth of drilling. I had to abandon that site and I took off with my track mounted motorized auger up through the woods looking for another spot. After a couple of days of drilling pilot holes, I finally found a place where I could auger down 36". So, I took my tractor and cleared all the underbrush off and started staking the cabin out. Here is my documented build progress.

Note: All photos were taken using a Nikon D7000, a Nikon S9500 or a Galaxy Note 3....which ever one I had with me at the moment....

Step 1: Looking for a Suitable Building Site

Where my farm is located, we have a lot of soft limestone close to the surface of the ground. It is hit-n-miss when auguring a hole. You never know when you will hit rock @ 3" or be able to go half way to China. My original site selection was a bust when I tried auguring the holes and hit rock at around 6". So, I took the auger and went on a search through my woods looking for a new construction site. 2 days later, I found just the site after drilling many pilot holes. I started clearing all the under brush and scraping the ground down. Half of a day and the site is cleared, ready for the post holes.

EricS1003 months ago
One thing I might add would be to wrap the posts that keep the cabin off the ground in aluminum. This will keep the mice and squirrels from climbing up the posts and chewing into your cabin. Of course, you'll have to figure out a way remove the steps so that they can't climb up those as well.
Squirrels don't need steps!
" a factory plywood panel is not parallel on both long edges"

Take it back! It is defective!

Nice job on the cabin.

dkimbril3 months ago
What program did you use for your conceptional sketches?
Apretext dkimbril3 months ago
its AutoCAD lt. you can see if you zoom in. There was a program called draftsight which was free which was very similar, but they’ve now decided to start charging for it. Still probably cheaper than autoCAD though

nice build, color me jealous.

hobbybuilder (author)  TheUglyBarbarian2 years ago

Thanks. I have finally finished it as of this spring and have added some more pictures and storyline in my document. Check them out.

I'm not exactly getting how your floor is set up. What supports the middle, under the house? I see your pictures, but I'm just not getting it.
hobbybuilder (author)  incensedpanther2 years ago

It is a 10'-10" open span between the 6 x 6 posts. I ran 2 x 10' treated floor joists on 16" centers, which were fastened to the front and back outside 2 x 10s which were then fastened to the 6 x 6 vertical posts via 5-3/8" x 4" lag bolts per landing.

After 3 years of it being constructed, I can make 1 recommendation of a change I wish I had done originally. I would have set each 2 x 10 out to air dry individually for about 2 weeks before I built the floor joists with them. Reason being, the front 2 x 10 I had left out and it dried in the open air for 2 weeks while it was being used to hold the 6 x 6 posts square while I set the posts in concrete. The back 2 x 10 was "green' when I set it. First that would make the floor joists a lot lighter when assembling them. Second, The back 2 x 10 bowed about 3/8" in the middle when I put the walls and roof up until it had a chance to air dry. It hasn't settled any more since then. I sprayed window and door expanding foam between the sub floor and the wall plate to seal up the small gap on the back wall.

I could have run a girder beam down the middle for extra support, but being there are no internal load bearing walls, I didn't see the need for it and the floor is very solid.

bonmom2 years ago

You mentioned your budget - what are you expecting this to cost?

hobbybuilder (author)  bonmom2 years ago
The cabin materials has cost me around $5200.00 to build. Of course, my labor is free. I paid to have the metal roof put on and metal flashing installed. Other than that, It was all free labor. Could I have built it cheaper? Yes, probably by close to 25%, but I used professional grade lumber and materials. I want the cabin to outlast me and also my kids. I also want it to be as maintenance free as possible. Who wants to have a cabin back in the woods, where you can escape from everything and relax, only to have to spend your whole time that was slotted for relaxation, doing maintenance on it, because you skimped on cost on the front end of the build.

If you have a contractor build it, plan on multiplying that cost by a factor of at least 2.5, depending on square footage, location of build site, availability of power grid and ease of bringing in building materials and equipment. Think of what it takes to build a house and cost associated. This is basically a house, but on a small scale.
Corvidae3 years ago

I like the beams on the front porch. Reminds me of a hayrake table.

zacker3 years ago

nice... my property here in the North East is all ledge and you cant dig a hole anywhere without hitting some boulder or You should have seen me trying to hand dig the post holes for a split rail fence, I dug up more rocks... its no wonder why there are so many rock walls in the woods around here. I couldn't imagine being a farmer back in the day using horses to plow fields full of stone! Great job so far on the Cabin..its an inspiration!

thanks for posting this, your size looks perfect to me. We are restoring an old 350sf cabin and I was looking for inspiration. I wish you had built our original as it would be in much better shape than what we are dealing with now. Hope you post some updates, we will start following your progress.
SIRJAMES094 years ago

This is just so awesome!!

Talk about secluded....just the way I'd like to live the rest of my life!

you mentioned hungry squirrels in the area....them squirrels could be put on the dinner menu! Squirrel stew is delicious!

Were it me building this cabin, I'd need it bigger(claustrophobia) least 1000 sq. ft. or I'd go nuts inside it...but that's just me.

You have built an awesome cabin!! :)

hobbybuilder (author)  SIRJAMES094 years ago

Thank you. I could probably fill up a chest freezer with squirrels, if I hunted. Yes, it would feel a bit claustrophobic if it were not for the vaulted ceilings. From the floor to the peak of the ceiling is 12 foot.

Speaking only for/about myself, It is the length & the width that would bother me...the height of the ceiling would have little or no effect on me....

I once lived in a trailer park & the trailer I live in was 500 sq. ft....after 2 months, I HAD to move into a bigger trailer....
the panic attacks, hot & cold sweats, the anxiety of living in such a small space was taking a toll on me.

So please do not think anything negative about what I said about your cabin, I think it looks cool as all get's just way too small for me...

Sir I wish you the best with your new cabin, may it give you many years of peace & joy.

Have a very Merry Christmas Sir
God Bless.

This is awesome! My dream is to build an house or cabin and you have done it. I always had my eye on one of those micro cabins on a trailer but this is very cool also. Keep us posted!

hobbybuilder (author)  dustin_little4 years ago

Thanks. It has been a lot of fun to build . As of last weekend, the inside is pretty much finished, with the exception of putting down the hardwood floor. I will have to get some pictures of it this weekend and get them posted.

Wow it looks great so far, definitely a lovely place to stay for a while. I can't wait to see what it looks like finished!

Thanks for the welcome.