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Riverwood: 700 Sq. Ft. A-frame Inspired Cabin

This is a Reader Submitted Guest Post – Share Your Small House Story Too

Hi Alex,

My partner and I bought this small house as a second home in early 2012, as a retreat from our lives in the “biggish” city of Durham, NC.

The house, located in Blowing Rock, NC (just 3 hours from our primary home) was built as part of a “future” 21 unit vacation rental community.

700 Sq. Ft. Simple Living Cabin


Only 7 were ultimately built on this 3 acre property, with an elevation of 3,300 feet, set on the Middle Fork of the New River (which is one of the oldest rivers in the world; and a unique feature is that the river flows north, and predates the mountains).


The property changed hands multiple times over the years. We bought the house following a complete gut and renovate.


The home is just under 700 square feet on the main and lower level + a loft space.


Main Level Bedroom

By the end of this year, we will have spent 60 days here, which just reinforces the value we are getting out of having it.


The ultimate goal is some day retire to the little house we call “Riverwood”.

Blowing Rock, et al 2012 068

Living Area

Living Area with Fireplace

Loft Space

River Level Bedroom

River Level Bedroom2

Main Level View to LR from BR

River Level Bath

You can follow the link in this email to a blog that I try to keep up.  I have also attached some pictures.  If you think your readers would be interested please feel free to share, and don’t hesitate to let me know.



Love your blog!


See the latest goings on at Riverwood…


Thank you so much for sharing, Adrian!

This has been a Reader Submitted Guest Post – Share Your Small House or Downsizing Story Too

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Alex is the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Jen November 22, 2013, 8:51 am

    I am terribly jealous of you little chalet! New River is beautiful and I’d love to have a little a-frame like that!

  • Doris November 22, 2013, 9:05 am

    Nice house. It’s just a shame someone built it right on the edge of a significant historical river that predates the mountains so no one else can enjoy the river. Sadly typical of what’s happened to NC in the last thirty years.

    • Paul April 24, 2014, 5:33 am

      Yer What!!!???? Methinks that river is a tad longer than slightly more than the width of 7 A frame houses. So, some people “lost” a view of a small section of the river. Whoopdedoo! Get a hold of yourself.

      Come to think of it, ain’t all rivers historical simply by having been there a long time?

      And, could someone tell me how they “know” that the river pre-dates the mountains? Otherwise I say balderdash. Actually I’d probably say something else but the comment would be deleted. ; )

      • Doris June 6, 2014, 8:36 pm

        Ah, Donald Trump Kardashian weighs in without bothering to examine the pictures, and doesn’t care anyway. After all, he is apparently entitled to ruin something for his own purposes, and to hell with anyone else having a view or access. The coast of Maine, both coasts of Florida, Wisconsin’s lakes: the list goes on and on of shoreline consumed by population overgrowth and god help you’re a nonresident trying to reach the water. But why bother, when the only view is of a bunch of houses in what wilderness is left? It’s too late to stop it, but I sure don’t have to like it, or you, so don’t worry about offending me or having your ha ha comments struck. It’s not just the McMansions who are often irresponsible guardians of our remaining wilderness. THers should set a standard for responsible footprints.

        • Paul June 6, 2014, 9:25 pm

          Ah, no, not Donald Trump Kardashian… where did you get that idea?

          Sorry, you make assumptions based on what? That I never looked at the pictures? Sorry, I did, and not only on this page but also on http://riverwoodchalet.blogspot.com/

          …and, having examined from all perspectives on both websites I stand by my comment. It is after all a “small stretch of land” where these houses have been built. All, by the way small houses. You appear to be one of those people who say “hey, I want to see that view forever even though I don’t own the land.” Sorry, but the world doesn’t work that way, nor should it. I’d say that the footprints are small. Certainly not McMansions, which by the way orginated in the US and unfortunately have been slavishly copied around the world. But by your last comment you appear to want to have to slavishly follow the, for want of a better word, dorky dictates of local authorities which often have no sound/logical basis. Things like the house on a section has to be a minimum size, sort of like 3500 sq ft. and has to have the garage as part of the house and not separate, and you cannot plant a vegetable garden in your front lawn etc. etc. etc.

          Fortunately I live in a country where rules governing what you plant in your garden are not around, nor indeed allowed.

        • Jal Para September 3, 2014, 9:18 am

          Definitely with Paul on this one. Shall no one build on a mountain? Shall no one build on a field of wild flowers? Shall no one cut down a few trees in the forest? Shelter is a necessity in life and everyone needs it. Seems like having someone bitch about something is a burden in life.

        • Dennis Reynolds February 25, 2015, 3:34 pm

          I just had to say one more thing to Doris. I am astounded by the fact that your whole point is that you can’t see every little bit of the New River, or a Florida Lake, because someone else has bought and paid for the land and built a house on it. You mention the “footprint”, who decides that ? You ? In a room of 50 people, you will have 50 different opinions of what the best footprint should be. I hate huge mansions too, that’s why I am so active on these tiny house forums. But your comments take the cake by complaining about this beautiful small home being on the New River and now you can’t see the river there. If you hadn’t seen this post, you would have never knew that spot existed in this world, and you would never have visited that spot to view the river anyway. But since you saw this post, you are upset enough to comment that you can’t see the river there in that spot now. I hate large trashy houses with 1000 acres on a big river, but that is NOT the case here. Get over it.

      • Princess Mom June 7, 2014, 12:38 pm

        They know the river predates the mountains because it flows north, as all the rivers originally did after North American split from Pangea. The rise of the Appalachian mountains caused gravity to reverse the course of the rivers south, toward the brand new (then) Atlantic ocean. Unlike those rivers, the New River follows the crest of the mountain range, continuing north as the mountains grew up around it. http://www.nps.gov/neri/naturescience/the-new-river-fact-or-fiction.htm

    • Dennis Reynolds February 25, 2015, 3:21 pm

      Doris, are you out of your mind ? Haven’t you ever heard of private land ownership ? Well, here is the concept. Every parcel of land has a perimeter or property line. There is a deed for that property, and someone owns that deed. They can sell that land (deed) to anyone they wish ! Get it ? Every river, lake, or forest can’t be off limits to ownership and wide open to simply public use. If you don’t want someone to build on land that you like, simply buy it yourself, allow no buildings, and let the public run around on it. Of course you would be the first to put up no trespassing signs after some un-ethical fisherman, hikers, and ATVs leave trash and rut up the riverbank. (Most wouldn’t do that, but just for the sake of proving a point to Doris I’m telling what the “bad apples” would do) Why do you think that you should have access to this property to “view” the river, and not pay for upkeep, property taxes, etc ? This guy looks like he is taking great care of the place and I see no real disturbance to the river at all ! I don’t understand you. I am POSITIVE you can view the New River in many many places where that beautiful cabin isn’t in the way !

  • Greg Bryant November 22, 2013, 10:00 am

    Love this spot! I live about an hour away from Blowing Rock, it is a beauty and warm community. The river site is so magical and the space looks very livable full time.
    I wish you joy and adventure in this simple and beautiful house.

  • Comet November 22, 2013, 1:58 pm

    It’s—odd—to see how many of these “A Frame” building projects were abandoned. did they go in and out of fashion? We have one in our town (I think the houses are somewhat larger in that one) that sat vacant for a long time and then someone got some of the houses rented and or sold. Don’t know the exact status now but happy to see them lived in and back on the tax rolls!

    And we live near several major Northeastern ski areas and see these all the time–and many are or where abandoned as well! Wonder why? As many of the ski “Get Away” cabins are the size—and cost!!!!—of the Taj Mahal I can’t help but wonder why these are not being bought by regular people or locals either as get aways or actual housing. Maybe these builders are hoping that the economy will get better and people will have money again?

    PS the people who actually HAVE money and ski will always be buying and or building these larger places or older farm houses etc to “fix up” ie rip the guts out of and replace with granite and tile and pale wood that shows every scar of real living—then they rip THAT out—-ugh!

    Meanwhile the people who work in the outlet shops and the restaurants are in older house trailers or double wides—-if they can afford them—- and you have to have REAL HEAT here either from a wood stove or a furnace—which leads to design and build issues.

    I love the look of this place and the one with the snow is gorgeous–I love snow as long as I DON’T have to live with it! So of course–where DO I live???? LOL! Moving South soon!

  • Randy November 22, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Would be interested in buying a copy of the original blueprints if owner is interested in selling a copy!

    • Keith June 18, 2014, 7:35 pm

      I am the co-owner of Riverwood Chalet. Unfortunately there are no house plans for this. It was a pre-fab brought in on a tractor trailer in the mid 1970’s. We’ve tried to identify the maker/builder and have yet to find out who it was. Perhaps if we were present during the renovation we could have looked in door jams or window openings to see manufacturer information.

      • Kathleen Ermini September 2, 2014, 7:11 pm

        Keith – I love your A frame chalet. We spent a vacation near Boone a few years ago so I am familiar with the area. Your home is gorgeous! You have decorated it beautifully and appear to enjoy what outdoor activities the area has to offer. I wish you many happy years in your chalet.

  • Ralph Sly November 22, 2013, 2:41 pm

    This is tasteful and cute, pointed beautifully and the color is great, again with the ladder but younger it wouldn’t be an issue so should probably shut up already. There are easy ways to put DIY cable elevators in but getting them inspected and passed would be the problem and you would have to be vigilant about inspecting and maintenance. Truthfully if the ladder passes, I would replace it later on the QT, Yep, I am a cad… Now, what a dumb idea putting that balcony off the bedroom, what gives these pompoms snots the right to wake up in the morning and go out there fist thing, breathe that beautiful fresh air overlooking the river and say good morning world, hi God, when I can’t. I hate you. That in its self would have me there in a heartbeat and screw the ladder. All I can say is it is totally off the mark of what I am trying to do but in dreamland, it’s OK. I imagine this is a second little hideaway retreat for someone who is still cluttering their lives with things and at least they have class. For a couple, healthy and into sports, it’s the ideal place.

  • Kari November 22, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Help! I need it now. Must get more building skills. Must keep building. Must stop writing like a Neanderthal.

  • Maureen November 22, 2013, 5:43 pm

    So sweet! And beautifully decorated! What a relaxing retreat. Would love to come visit. :-)

    Thanks for sharing the post and gorgeous photos.

  • TomLeeM November 22, 2013, 8:13 pm

    I think that would be a way cool place to live in. I like how the balcony overlooks a stream and how it is among the trees.

  • alice h November 23, 2013, 11:41 am

    Waaahhhhhhh! I want one too! Amazing the way it all opens up at the back, and the decks and the river, and, well, just the whole aesthetic. Getting up and down all those levels would kill my knees but you would definitely get your daily exercise. Beats exercise equipment any day!

  • velvetanne November 24, 2013, 2:52 am

    Its stunning and perfect – thank you for sharing and so many great pictures. I have never been in an a frame where the roof goes to the ground and always wondered how it looked on the interior. I live about an hour south in the Winston Salem area and the area between Boone and Blowing Rock is my ideal location as well. – it is one of the coolest locations in NC during the summer. Blowing Rock real estate is typically extremely expensive because it is so desirable – pricey I suspect. I love the idea of the view of the river but like a previous poster mentioned, it is troubling how close it is to the water but I know you had nothing to do with this. Snakes, mosquitoes and flash floods would also be a concern but awaking to babbling water might make it worthwhile. Enjoy – it is beautiful!!

    • Alex Pino November 24, 2013, 6:59 am

      Glad you enjoyed it too, thanks for leaving your thoughts!

  • Brian June 6, 2014, 5:49 pm

    Wow, the house is so tasteful and with a very usable floor plan. The site is also quite beautiful. I bet you enjoy living there. Thanks for sharing

  • Michael Young June 8, 2014, 8:37 am

    Where can I get construction blueprints/plans to build one like this?

  • Elle August 8, 2014, 3:24 am

    I’m wondering if the house was built before we were as cognizant of our responsibility to preserve these treasures. Still I’d rather see a residence on it than a resort, apartments or commercial property -what developers want, developers get. They wave their money under the collective noses of our elected representatives -city council, etc., and what was once a beautiful meadow or historical region is history -no pun intended. I despise them.

    At least the builders took the environment into consideration and blended it into the surroundings. I like A-frames but they leave with very few choices for windows.

    I have to say, oooooh, myyyyy, gaaaaawd this location is gorgeous! It’s like walking into a picture.

  • Deborah Hirst September 2, 2014, 3:59 pm

    Are there anymore for sale I go to blowing rock all the time and would be interested in purchasing one thanks for any assistance also do you ever rent yours out thanks

  • Comet September 2, 2014, 8:57 pm

    Can’t see the dats on these comments but know my prior one was at least a few months ago—Wow what a fire storm of criticism for these has erupted!

    IS there a date or time or kind of structure that would NOT be making some one unhappy here? As some one above pointed out–at LEAST it is not owned by some “Nature Resort: that would have immed torn these down and built some sort of faux-green “cabin” style places with steam showers and a sauna and a hot tub and a heart shaped bed and mirrored ceiling–all to “enjoy” nature.

    I admit–I was thrilled when the farm next door to us was sold to out of towners who do “weekend farming” and was NOT sold to some one who would build 27 McMansions and obscure OUR view of the Green Mountains. But–it would have been their right if we could not afford to buy the piece of property ourselves.

    This is BTW the exact REASON we have National Parks etc–so we can ALL enjoy these beautiful places. But to argue over whether or not the river is OLDER than the mountains as a talking point of IF we are ALLOWED to have a house somewhere in proximity–well,. If the house was 100 years old—would THAT be OK? 200? A Longhouse???

  • LK September 4, 2014, 2:41 pm

    This is cute without the feeling of visual distractions – which is a good thing if you have issues with concentrating. Too many things in a space can break my train of thought. Love the outdoors. And I learned something about rivers, too.

  • Linda February 7, 2015, 10:25 am

    LOL!! Fishing right off the deck! TWO decks!! Nice home but I’m a little leery of the foundation at the creek’s edge.

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