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Small Contemporary Cabin on Orcas Island

This is an 804 sq. ft. contemporary cabin in Eastsound, WA that’s available to rent on Airbnb.

It was designed by Merrill Leonard of Twistoff Homes. You can get the plans here.

Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thank you!

804 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin (Plans Available!)

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

© Merrill Leonard & Airbnb

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

Perch is located on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington.
First built in 2011, Perch was originally designed as a year-round family
getaway and a vacation rental during the busy island summer season. Tucked
into a steep rocky hillside, it overlooks East Sound.

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

The goal was to design an indoor/outdoor great room that provides areas for
both gathering and solo moments. Banks of 8’ tall sliders open the living
areas to decks and a window nook serves as a getaway spot or an overnight
guest bed. Two private bedrooms bookend a full bath and laundry area.

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

Building on an island is challenging with high labor costs, added outlay
for ferry delivery of materials and costly sitework. Leonard went through
three designs and finally a process of value-driven design decisions to
simplify yet keep a cozy comfortable space. By doing so, she met her
$200,000 build budget and spent an additional $30,000 to excavate and pave
the steep driveway. That may sound like a lot for an 800sf home, but on
this island, it is not unusual. The cost could be greatly reduced if built
on the mainland.

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

800 Sq. Ft. Contemporary Cabin

Some of those value-driven design decisions for this stick built home
include:

  • Passive solar – large expanse of glass faces south, minimal windows face north
  • Building Foundation: 28′ square footprint – efficient shape with minimal corners
  • Shed roof: Simplest roof shape. Overhangs create shelter and protective eaves. Insulated joist system with marine plywood ceiling/soffits. Vaulted ceiling throughout rises 8′ to 12′.
  • *Minimize interior walls and doors: *Use of wardrobes in bedrooms opens
    space & saves cost to build closets. Laundry faces into the small hall.
    *Kitchen & bath:* Ikea cabinets and “Paperstone” countertops. Designed with
    straight runs – eliminates those expensive corners and allows the local
    finish contractor to install instead of importing specialty contractors to
    the island. Bath tile installed by the owner.
  • *Low Maintenance:* Prefinished Hardie panel products and standing-seam
    metal roof. Cork flooring. Marmoleum bath flooring. Raw cedar decks with
    hogwire railings.
  • *Heating*: Low profile convection wall units for flexibility to heat only
    those areas needed. Living area has a reversible ceiling fan for summer and
    winter. Through use of overhangs and placement of windows and doors,
    cooling summer breezes move through home, eliminating need for mechanical
    cooling. (Orcas also has lower summer temps & humidity than most US
    locations)

Leonard’s success with the home and joy in living in 800 sf, led her to
start an online site (ilovesmallhomes.com) offering small home plans. Perch
is the first plan with several others currently on the boards. She is
currently researching capabilities of area prefab companies to enable a
plan purchaser to have an option to have it built and delivered as a
modular home.

You can rent Perch on Airbnb and test drive this home plan!

Highlights

  • Eastsound, WA
  • On Orca Island
  • Near Rosario Resort and Moran State Park
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1 bathroom
  • 800 sq. ft.

Quote

Perched over Cascade Bay at Rosario, our contemporary light-filled cabin is a dream retreat that will leave you finding excuses to stay. Great for couples, small families, getaways or writers on the lam. Wonderful location for island activities and perfect for nesting.3

Resources

  1. https://www.ilovesmallhomes.com
  2. https://www.ilovesmallhomes.com/1501-perch
  3. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5359347

Our big thanks to Merrill Leonard for sharing!

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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!
{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Holly Morrison July 11, 2017, 5:47 am

    This is very well done. I really like the usage of space and abundance of windows. Even if the views weren’t this exquisite, the windows give the home a much larger feeling. I think a lot of us, “people of a certain age” are looking at this range in sq. footage, too. We’re planning an 830 sq ft, all on one floor, cottage in Scotland. It’s such a liveable size!

    • Merrill Leonard July 13, 2017, 12:42 pm

      Hi Holly, I started designing larger homes for this site but frustrated with cost, I reduced the size to the minimum allowed in the area which is 800sf. Now, I can’t imagine why I would need something bigger – if it were a full time home, maybe more storage… do you think this plan needs a half bath, too, to feel more comfortable with guests?

      • Otessa Regina Compton July 13, 2017, 12:47 pm

        A HALF BATH IS ALWAYS BENEFICIAL IN ANY KIND OF HOME. THE REASON FOR THIS, IS THAT IT PROTECTS THE HEALTH OF HOMEOWNERS, IN THE EVENT OF UNEXPECTED GUESTS. IF THERE IS A HALF BATH, EXTRA CAUTION MAY BE USED IN CLEANING OF UNKNOWN ILLNESSES OF UNEXPECTED GUESTS. A HALF BATH IS BENEFICIAL, BECAUSE IF THERE ARE BUSINESS MEETINGS, IT PROTECTS THE PRIVACY OF THE ACTUAL BATH OF THE HOMEOWNER(S). THIS IS ALWAYS AN EXCELLENT AND ACCEPTED SUGGESTION.

  • Kathy Khoshfahm July 11, 2017, 1:08 pm

    Beautiful tiny home…

  • Helen July 11, 2017, 1:55 pm

    Wow! This is absolutely stunning! Really love the asthetic!

  • Liz July 11, 2017, 3:49 pm

    Very nice home with a spectac-u-lac view!!

  • S Robers July 11, 2017, 4:26 pm

    This is my new favorite #1 home….I now have 2 favorite #1 homes!!!

  • Otessa Regina Compton July 11, 2017, 5:28 pm

    THIS IS FABULOUS!!! I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HOMES LIKE THESE BECOME WHEEL CHAIR FRIENDLY. THE ONLY THING I WOULD DO IS ADD A TROPICAL ATMOSPHERE AND TROPICAL COLORS. I LOVE FLORIDA AND HAWAIIAN TYPE HOUSES.

    • Merrill Leonard July 11, 2017, 6:45 pm

      Hi Otessa, so glad you love the house. I am working on making future plans on ilovesmallhomes.com friendly to all users. I tore my achilles tendon a couple of months ago and got a firsthand look at why we all should have a home with minimal barriers. (No more curbs on showers!) It fits into my mantra of “small smart and simple”.

      • Otessa Regina Compton July 11, 2017, 8:17 pm

        THANKS A BUNCH MERRILL!!! WE NEED TO GO NATIONWIDE WITH THESE HOMES. PEOPLE MUST HAVE CHOICES!!! TINY HOMES CAN BE MADE TO LOOK LIKE MANSIONS, AND THEY CAN COME IN A VARIETY OF STYLES AND TASTES. THEY CAN BE MADE TO LOOK ANYWHERE FROM BLAND TO LAVISH. IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT THE HOMEOWNER(S) WANT. THIS IS WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE.

  • sara July 13, 2017, 9:11 pm

    I love this. Could I have it please?

  • cynde July 21, 2017, 12:41 am

    I have to tell you that I have probably looked at more than a 1000 pictures of “Tiny Homes”. We are realistic that we would never last in 200 t0 700 square feet. We really want a “Small Home”. We currently have a 2000 square foot main floor home with a half above ground basement with about 1800 square feet. We live on a hill. We purchased 4 acres about 8 years ago. The septic, the well, 200 amp electric, driveway with cow gates are all completed. I own my own propane tank. So it is basically finding just the right home for us to have built on “the land” as we call it. I think we would have to have a higher roof pitch due to codes for snow loads in winter, but this is the first house that made my heart just jump! I have a “must haves” list…. like a windowed nook area to lay and look outside and read, work on my art, or take a nap. I am disabled and I can easily see this house being adapted. We might add a loft area for kids that visit, or maybe a shed with beds in it out back!! LOL! The railings on the deck are what I have dreamed of, the two different deck areas. I might enclose a small all glass room as a sun room, as that was on my list also. I did not want to build a box or a rectangle. I wanted something with character and that stands out against the “monster log cottages” that seem to be built up in our area. It has shape and nooks and all the things I have been searching for, for so long. Thank you so much for sharing the photos. You made my day! We are about two years out yet from building, because I am just going to be 60 years old in August. We have a 1800 square foot house close to the town that is our Office/Home up in the north area. That home is about 15 miles from “the land”, which sits out on a private road abutting State land, thus it is so quiet and peaceful out there. I want to sell the big house that is 160 miles south of “the land” after we do a few more improvements so we get top dollar. We will have the BIGGEST garage sale ever. The goal is to live out our years simply, peacefully, and with nature. My dream.
    Again, Thank you so much for sharing the first house I feel like I could breathe in and not feel cramped or like I am going to be hitting my head or bumping into everyone and has space for me to do the things I love to do. WOW! I want to build now!!! Have a wonderful rest of your summer .

    Cynde
    Wisconsin

  • cynde July 21, 2017, 1:43 am

    I wanted to add for others if they like this home or a small home that would be located in a “Snowy” area, a lesson I learned on our home 15 miles from “the land”. Have a least a small basement area built into your plan. The expense between no basement and a partial basement is not enough to quibble about. Locate your — On Demand water heater, the well pump, the water lines in and out of the home, the septic lines into the house and out to the drain field, the pressure tank to keep from having those pressure blasts that spray you… and a whole house filtration system due to the minerals in the water, all located inside the insulated basement area. If you plan to have heat and air that could be located there also. I don’t even want to tell you how many frozen water lines and septic lines we have been through. Propane is nice because it still flows when the power goes out!! As global heating has increased, the storms we get in northern Wisconsin are a bit more wicked than they use to be. So to have a safe place to huddle is a good idea.
    My parents had a home on the water in Northern Door County Wisconsin when I was growing up until I was in my 40s. They had two faucets outside –hot and cold that then went to a shower head. We used clothes washer hoses to hook and unhook the water for the seasons. We built a little (and it was little) room around the shower and we dug and dug and filled the hole with rocks, a drain, and concrete. It was located under a canopy of trees and the forest wild flowers surrounded the shower stall. It was private, yet you got the experience of being one with nature. Never used chemical shampoos or soaps!! So I would add an outdoor shower as we have access to a beautiful swimming beach just down the private road from “the land”. I think I might just make that shower stall a tad larger. We planned on 900 square feet. That would give us enough space to add my small little sun room area… a second full bathroom for guests, and a bit more storage area. I would like to put in floor heating. I am not sure what that is called. It has gotten so hot & humid up there over the past 6 or 7 years that it would be miserable without air, especially for myself who has autoimmune disorders. So I would have to adapt a few things from the plan as it is, but not much. The loft is not a “have to”. I will build a “she-shed” for my art and other interests. Easier to access. Cheap window air conditioner and heater and I would be all set! Keeps my art clutter out of the house!! LOL!! I just thought I would share my experiences. Oh yes, if you have a dog that is on the smaller side, do not let it run loose. Wolf packs… Bears… most people fence an area in with the bottom of the fence buried into the ground and the fence at least 6 feet tall. I would put in an 8 foot fence with spiked pickets at the top, and fence an area big enough for the dogs to be able to run. We have had sightings of mountain lions, moose, and a few other critters I don’t want to cross paths with. The good thing is that living on the edge of state land, the animals tend to stay in their forest area. Except the Bears looking for bird feeders. I carry a lighter and some fire crackers in my pocket. Light those off and they run and run and run the other way and are not real excited to return! I love the deer and the little foxes and those naughty raccoons. We also have albino white tailed deer which are extremely rare in our area, and sacred. Eagles will swoop down for tiny doggies if they see an opening. I make it sound so dangerous, yet I have never lost a dog or seen Big Foot or anything else creepy. But I do take precautions to keep everyone safe especially during deer hunting season. I just leave the north for those 10 or 12 days. Too many drunks in the woods and on the roads with loaded guns! No thanks! Stay safe and enjoy the whisper of the trees and the leaves as they dance in the wind!

    Cynde
    Wisconsin

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