Guest Post by Travis, Cabin Owner
Meet Travis. He designed and built his own prefab tiny cabin to later move and put back together on a coastal river in Oregon.
The process in which he designed and built it reminds me of Michael Janzen’s Tiny Prefab Building System.
The great part about this tiny house offer is that it includes both the land and the 196-square-foot cabin located on the small lot.
You’re covered in wilderness and nature, and it’s all set up to be off-grid. There are nearby hiking trails, rivers, and even a mountain lake.
I’ll pass it over to Travis right after I show you the first set of photos and construction process.
Thanks so much for reading.
- Alex, TinyHouseTalk.com
The sketch below shows the complete capability for the cabin and everything that can be done with the space provided.
Here’s Travis getting started by building the panels for the cabin at the construction site.
He used a recycled door and built a frame around it.
Travis putting the cabin panels together to make sure that it all fits.
Below is the cabin fully assembled. It worked!
Since it worked, now it’s time to disassemble and get it shipped to the river for reassembly!
Below you can see the cabin happily and fully assembled on the river. Travis says, “Cabin likes the river spot MUCH better!”
Okay now I’m officially passing you over to Travis.. :)
REASONS THAT MIGHT PERSUADE:
-It’s on a coastal river in Oregon that has a Salmon and Steelhead run.
-It’s located smack in the coastal range, in a landscape dominated by wildness.
-The property is small, yet there are a multitude of places inside and out to nestle oneself with the main presence always being that of the river.
-There is nothing but forest in every direction, except for my splendid neighbors place upstream, which I can barely see through the trees.
-Alternative construction process: It’s built modularly with as much recycled and local materials as I could scrounge (more details in Building section). I used a vegetable oil powered truck to acquire materials and haul them there.
-It’s off grid and needs nothing, yet there are endless creative projects that could be explored, like installing a hydropower system and a water catchment setup.
-There is a forest maintained hiking trail one mile away.
-There is a wild river located a few miles away (river with no road along it -very rare in the US).
-There is a mountain lake located a few miles away with a healthy fish population.
-5 miles away is a small general store with everything from food and wireless internet to pipe fittings and gas/diesel. There’s good cell service there. It’s nice to be able to go to the cabin and have a focused removed time, with the option to leave and check up on any real world commitments if need be. I like that I have to leave the cabin to do this.
-Depending on water level the river offers between a meandering float downstream to some class II and even a little class III rapids.
Let’s head inside so you can see the kitchen, shower, and gravity fed water system which I’ll give you a closer look at later.
REASONS THAT MIGHT DISSUADE:
-In Oregon, no permit is required for structures 200 sq. ft. or less, this one is 12’x16′ (196 sq. ft): It’s not permitted.
-It doesn’t have a driveway. My neighbors allow me to drive through their property on to mine, but that’s not something I can promise will be in place 50 years from now. There’s not a good place to park on the section of property that borders the country road, but there is space 20 yards down the road (please see OUTSIDE VIDEO for footage of this). It’s a 4 minute walk down the road to a pull-off with enough parking for a small family reunion. If someone really wanted, a parking platform could be built into the slope.
-It’s off grid. There are no public utilities to the place. Power is a stone’s throw away. There are innumerable water sources, and it’s only a matter of determination if you’d want to harness some alternative energy
-Cell service can be spotty.
-Propane stove / oven.
-Gravity pressurized water for a mini 3-bay stainless sink.
-Gravity pressurized shower (heat up water on stove first for hot shower)
-A heavy duty battery powerpack comes with the cabin (mainly for the electric safety valve on the propane oven), but is also useful for lights and small electronic items. It can be recharged by a vehicle or a traditional wall socket.
-I haven’t minded enough to put in a heat system. It’s a decently insulated small space and heats up significantly with body heat. Would be prime for a mini wood stove or one of these mini marine style propane heaters: http://www.dickinsonmarine.com/propane.php
-Composting toilet under the cabin (Best view I’ve ever had from such a seat).
-I’ll continue to update this document as new questions come in.
-I own the land outright (no loans on the property)
-The sale includes the land and cabin together.
-It’s zoned “agricultural residential,” and since this land was sectioned prior to the zoning, it comes with paperwork from the county stating: “it’s developable” (can build a permitted structure as well one day).
-Property taxes were $68 this past year.
-The lot size is .12 acres. There’s a nice open flat spot next to the cabin with plenty of room for people to gather round, have a fire, and throw up some tents. In the winter there is a welcoming sandy spot next to the river; in the summer, when the water level drops a few feet, it extends into an excellent spread of rock and sand that juts out to near the center of the river. The rest of the lot has varying slope to it.
-The cabin is approximately 9 feet higher above the water than the house upstream from me, and approximately 12 ft above the river at high level.
-There is a culvert on the property that drains a few creeks off the mountainside. It flows all winter and there is minimal-no flow during summer. Micro hydro could be explored for rainy season as there is significant vertical drop, could be complemented by solar in the summer.
-My neighbors have be most gracious and welcoming to me. At first I was concerned that they would feel I invaded their space. On the contrary, they said: “This is America, a guy should be able to buy a piece of land and build a cabin on it!” They initiated the idea of me driving through their property to get to mine. Again, you can’t count on this relationship to be in place in 50 years, and I’m seeking to find someone who will appreciate and respect these people.
Looking down from the loft.
I lead backpacking expeditions for a living. On one trip I dreamed up this modular cabin idea. On the following trip, I drew up the design. On the next trip I made a complete materials list. When I came home I didn’t have a good reason not to build it. I’ve been doing small scale building projects since I was a kid, so I setup shop in my backyard in Portland. I spent much time sifting through recycled materials: All 9 windows and the door were acquired from recycling centers. I got all the insulation from a demolition crew that tore down a newer house. The entire deck platform, stairs, and upper decking rails were all made from lumber that I recycled from a garage roof in Portland. I got most of the heavy duty roof felt from a guy down the street who ordered too much. The sink was purchased from a local pub, the range from a local farmer, the shower basin from a recycling center. I bought all the lumber from a local mill that acquires wood from the Northwest. As I began to assemble the pieces I found a small patch of land out by the coast! So I arranged the windows to overlook the river. I assembled all the panels together in my backyard in Portland and put the roof on. Then I disassembled it and hauled it out to the coast and put it back together. For all structural pieces I used tork drive screws for ease of disassembly and modification. There is not one nail in the whole structure. I designed it modular for its portability and strength. Unlike a traditional home, which has structural integrity as a whole, each piece of this cabin has its own structural integrity. It’s strong. After much thinking about foundation options, I chose pier blocks and posts. I concluded that any structure built on the base of a coastal mountain is going to shift at some point, so why pour a bunch of concrete? The cabin currently sits on a stout, cross-braced, post and pier foundation. And, one day, when it does shift, someone can get out a couple hand tools, some bottle jacks and spend the afternoon leveling it out for years to come. One corner actually sits on a massive old growth stump; I don’t think that one will need attention any time soon.
WHY WOULD I SELL IT?
I’m looking to engage in some long term far away adventures starting this fall. I’d like to bask in it for the first part of summer, then pass it on to someone who will cherish it.
This is an uncommon setup, so here are some similar structures made from raw new materials:
-Here is a significantly smaller structure kit that you have to construct for 15k:
-Here is a comparable structure, that comes with barebones walls (uninsulated or finished), however they will build it for a total of $13,700 + the cost to house a four man crew during construction and 4$/mile shipping from michigan
-Here is a baseline tumbleweed house: price is 48k constructed, or materials only for 23k: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/products/weebee/
-This company sells the same size cabin as a kit that you have to construct. It does not come with a floor, has less windows and the price starts at $20, 350 with a metal roof. (knotty pine model #2): http://www.panelconcepts.com/priceitKP.htm
CABIN -The modular cabin for sale is fully insulated, fully constructed, has places to cook, shower, and go to the bathroom, has a deck overlooking an Oregon river, and it was made utilizing reclaimed materials. What is it worth to you?
LAND -The lowest priced lot on a river in the same county is 50k. The county values this one at 13k due to its smaller size and no driveway. They also didn’t deem it a good size for a “normal house.” I believe it to be worth significantly more than 13k, due to its unique removed setting with excellent access to the river, the coast and Portland. A Portlander could easily drive out on Friday and cruise back to work on Monday morning.
CABIN PLUS LAND: I am currently open to offers starting at 33k and hope to accept one before September.
For good measure I will be using a title company based in Portland. The sale is for the deed (ownership) to the land, and the land includes the cabin. Once I verbally accept an offer I will direct you to the title company to sign the sale contract and pay a $1000 nonrefundable deposit to the title company. Once deposit is made there will be 20 days to pay the full purchase price to the title company.
It seems inevitable that random people at random times would end up strolling around my neighbor’s place if I were to list the location -and I don’t want that. I will be showing the cabin to people after speaking with them on the phone and setting up a time, until then, it’s about an hour west of Portland, and about a 1/2 hour inland from the coast.
VISITING THE CABIN:
Please be sure that this is something you are serious about: read over the entire sale listing, look at all pictures and videos, and be prepared to drive about an hour west of Portland, out hwy 26. Then email me your phone number, and the best times to call in the next few days. I’ll be showing it this August 26-27 and attempt to give each interested party an hour to view the cabin alone. If you are seriously interested and can’t make it during that time, contact me.
Please email me with any questions. I will get back to you as soon as I’m able.
All the best in your search for a tiny home,
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