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Alaska Man Builds Tiny House on 35 Acres in Colorado

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“Hi Alex, not sure this will fit into your site mainly because its an ongoing project and is unfinished. We bought 35 acres in Colorado in an area that does not have building codes. They do require septic when inhabiting a structure. This was all started in June 2013. I have not included interior photos because only one wall is done.

Man Builds 8’x12′ Tiny Cabin on Acreage

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I encourage you to read the rest of the story and the rest of the tiny cabin photos below:

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I became interested in tiny houses a few years ago after reading Lloyd Kahn’s Tiny Homes. I can do a little cowboy carpentry so decided to buy some land and give it a whirl. Our tiny house is 8 x 12 feet built on a 6 x 6 treated pier foundation. It is tall enough for a small loft, I lowered the ceiling height to 7 feet below the loft to give it an extra foot of head space. It has a small deck in front and a small troll bridge across the gulley in front, kinda hard to see, yeah I said troll, not toll. We put the windows in to both take advantage of the sun and the view.

We built a small fence around it to keep the cattle out, as this is all open grazing area. Oh yeah, we live in Alaska and this has so far been done in two trips totaling about 15 days of work. I mainly say this to let folks know you can do something long distance if you want it bad enough. That is where the internet really helps. Anyways here are a few photos too. Thanks, Allen Davis”

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Allen- thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Talk about inspiring!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 30 comments… add one }
  • LaMar Alexander LaMar June 3, 2014, 4:29 pm

    Looks like it will be a fine cabin!

    Lowering the ceiling is what I did with my own cabin and what I recommend for getting more headroom in a loft. Most people are under 6 feet and you quickly get used to 7 foot ceilings. That extra foot is wasted above cabinets and is better put to use as headroom in a loft.

    LaMar

    • Marsha Cowan June 3, 2014, 5:28 pm

      I had 6’3″ ceilings in my tiny houses and it never felt cramped, probably because of the exposed joists. I am fixing a bus now with a 6’2″ ceiling, so it is about the same, and I don’t miss the height in it either, but the lack of joists does make the “lowness” of it stand out more. Have to do something about that. Hmmm. This house you have built is adorable, and I can’t help but agree about more windows to catch that view, but then I guess in the winter, you will be glad you don’t have more windows when the “wind comes rolling ‘cross the plains…”. Lol!

      • LaMar Alexander LaMar June 3, 2014, 5:51 pm

        Hi Marsha, if you paint that ceiling white it will appear to be farther away. I left my floor joists open and I use the space between the joists for pot hooks in the kitchen and to run wires for my solar system.

        One way to have more windows but still keep high insulation is to make the windows inset and in winter you install an insulated panel over the window that can be removed in summer.

        I have found as long as you have one window near where you sit and sleep you don’t need more and the more you have reduces efficiency in a small house. If I need more light I usually head out to the porch and my rocking chair even in winter.

        LaMar

        • Amy June 3, 2014, 7:28 pm

          Great suggestion on the inset windows! I enjoy reading your comments. Hoping someday to be able to do more than just look and dream of being a tiny homeowner.

        • Marsha Cowan June 3, 2014, 7:32 pm

          You are so right! I did paint the grey interior white and it did open up the space quite a bit (and attracted an interesting array of insects), so I think that when I actually get the furniture built and stained, the whiteness and openness above the stained furniture and floor will really stand out. I painted the outside roof white, also, and was amazed at how much cooler the bus was inside. I could leave it in the sun all day, and reach up and touch the inside ceiling and it would still be cool. Thanks! And have fun on all that land!

        • Cosy September 8, 2014, 10:52 pm

          Marsha about the insects. A solution you might try is mixing a little blue in the white paint for the ceiling. I read that insects won’t light or try to nest on blue ceilings because they mistake it for the sky. They do this on porches but probably would work elsewhere too. Of course, you would have to like blue to live with it daily. Just a thought.

      • Marsha Cowan September 9, 2014, 12:20 am

        Cosy, I never heard that about the blue ceiling before, but it explains why so many older houses have blue porch ceilings. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alli June 3, 2014, 10:59 pm

    “Oh yeah, we live in Alaska and this has so far been done in two trips totaling about 15 days of work. I mainly say this to let folks know you can do something long distance if you want it bad enough.” I love how Allen says this! Thank you, Allen, the encouragement for all of us out here who are wanting to do this. 🙂

    • Scott May 26, 2015, 9:50 am

      I’m curious what county you are in, all the counties I have looked at buying in Colorado do have building codes. Could you provide the county you are building in? I’m looking to build and would like to start this year, but so far most I’ve looked at have stringent codes.

  • Chas June 4, 2014, 5:08 am

    Allen…

    How do you get there? I can see what looks like a possible road in the last photo, but I’m not sure… Can you drive right up to the cabin?

  • Allen June 4, 2014, 1:29 pm

    Thanks folks for the positive response , the road is just across the field out of sight but has good access, but maybe not in the winter. It’s all off grid in this area and most of our work was done by hand. Yes the fence is a bit rough but done quickly only to keep stock out, as I say, working long distance you have to prioritize. I hope to get much more done as time allows, it’s in a beautiful area and I like the idea of trying to go green and light on the land and Alex’s website here is full of great ideas and stories, Allen

    • Ruth Vallejos May 26, 2015, 5:07 pm

      Is this meant as a cabin-cabin, or a home on the range? That is – vacation vs. year round living? It’s a pretty spot, and it is gorgeous country. Harsh, sure. But gorgeous.

      I’m interested: did the land come with the proviso that grazing be allowed? If you get a few goats will you be allowed to graze too?

  • Ken June 5, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Lots of room to breathe.
    Nice job….I’m envious.

    Ken

  • Glema June 8, 2014, 5:30 am

    Congrats! Might want to build a walkway with a gate so ya’ll don’t drag cow dung in the house. Maybe just some old pallets or some new ones for that matter hehehe. Just an idea, thought it might be nice to go with the fencing and practical considering the herd. God bless and Happy trails!

  • Adriana August 24, 2014, 11:02 pm

    What area of colorado?

    • mountaingypsy September 9, 2014, 4:27 am

      I agree that the area is the San Louis, southwestern part of CO. It is really pretty, but somewhat desolate. The land is probably the best price of anywhere in the state and least restrictions. I have been in the area. The Great Sand Dunes are close and great views, flatter rolling land. There are several land sale sites, like ‘Land Watch’. Just always do your research. Access and water availability necessary. Congrats to Allen and his new place, lovely. Park county has similar land.

  • Martha September 8, 2014, 2:27 pm

    I love the looks of it so far, and hope to see photos of the interior eventually.

  • Elle September 8, 2014, 4:33 pm

    Geography appears to be along the San Luis Valley over the pass from Walsenburg, CO or very near there. Wondered if it was, given the lack of restrictions? Anyone?

  • Wendy September 8, 2014, 4:54 pm

    I think I’m in love:) It is awesome and I haven’t even seen the inside.

  • Lady Strawboss September 8, 2014, 5:39 pm

    cowboy carpentry? That must be like a shade tree mechanic… necessity is the mother of invention… and she is a lot of fun!

  • Cynthia September 8, 2014, 6:32 pm

    I agree with those that think this is in the San Luis Valley. I lived in the San Luis Valley, in Blanca, and our 5 acres were not far from the base of Mt Blanca, a fourteener, and the views there are unbelievable. You can walk all over that area and pick up pinions for roasting. Mountains encircle the Valley giving it a big hug and there are no bad views of mountains in the Valley, either. There were supposed to be some building restrictions or codes but that is not enforced at least it wasn’t when we were there just the septic codes are enforced. Yep it is open range for cattle and horses and if you want to keep them off your land, any or all of it, you need to put up a fence. The mountains are amazing and the people are dear souls. You have to depend on each other out there as the weather is harsh in the winters but so nice in the summers. We had to leave due to my husband’s onset of leukemia but I do miss my 5 acres and my view of Mt Blanca. Our property sat at about 8,000 feet. The farmers markets are wonderful and the potato crop companies employee many people during harvest. I truly hope this couple can make it a permanent place and I love their tiny house. It is a lot of desert out there but the desert holds its own mystery and beauty. The stars at night just mesmerize you and the sounds of night animals and insects can lull you to sleep. Many people get all their meat from hunting (I have developed a real fondness for fresh elk) and the fishing is good too. I hope and wish them all the luck and good fortune in their endeavors. There are or were so many tiny house type structures out there that inspiration abounds. If you want to live simply and simply live this is one good place to start!

  • Candide33 September 9, 2014, 12:43 am

    Just got the good news this morning that we got the farm we wanted in CO, we are going to build tiny houses!!! Yeah!

    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  • Tena Northern June 5, 2015, 1:11 pm

    Yes inspiring! We have just over 25 acres in Central Oregon, I am seeking the plans for the 1967 Jens Risom cottage, if anyone has or knows how to obtain them:-) This 700 sq ft. Cottage is really awesome! Mr.Risom was ahead of his time!

  • SteveDenver June 5, 2015, 8:00 pm

    Many of my friends with remote acreage have built container homes.
    1. Easy to secure
    2. Withstands most fires and blizzards
    3. Cheap and fast
    Some rural and pasture communities limit the definitions of “shed” versus “dwelling” or “abode;” but don’t seem to bother container structures.

    • M June 6, 2015, 7:33 pm

      I am currently building a container home in the BVI and I assure you container homes are NOT cheap building blocks. I had the same impression prior to starting this project but I scoff now everytime I hear someone who has never built a home using containers say that.

  • Steve June 6, 2015, 6:44 am

    wow… incredible. what a great project. doing it without living fulltime on location inspires me to look at options i haven’t considered. takes me out of the cookie cutter ideas mode. thx for the great pics and for your boldness to get out of the box. i love owning what is under my feet.

  • Nancy June 6, 2015, 9:59 pm

    Wow!!! What a view! Would love to see it once it’s completed.

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