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$1,200 Transforming A-frame Cabin

This is the $1,200 transforming A-frame cabin designed by Derek “DEEK” Diedricksen.

That’s right! It’s a tiny cabin that you can build for only $1,200 in materials. You can take the full tour below and if you want, you can even buy the plans from Deek in case you want to build one for yourself.

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

$1,200 Transforming A-frame Cabin

1200 transforming a-frame cabin by Derek Diedricksen 001

Images © Derek “DEEK” Diedricksen

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Images © Derek “DEEK” Diedricksen

=> Get the plans here

The $1200 Transforming A-frame Cabin by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

This little cabin plan set is available on www.relaxshacks.com and we do (soon) have a couple of other SUPER-affordable cabin build plans we’ll be offering up.


Affordability and ease of completion/construction was the goal with “The Transforming A-frame”. The framing plans are easy to decipher, and a few dozen of these have already been completed all around the US, and beyond. When I designed it, with new materials, it clocked in at just under $1200.00. However, versions have been built for less, and fancier ones have been built for far more. It takes little time and skill to build this cabin, and that was the whole point, to make it a widely accessible build.
While I’ve never really called it a “Tiny House”, it could be outfitted for full time use (and has been) with some bathroom ideas below. It could also easily be fully insulated for very little money (many of them now have). Kara Reed in Oklahoma built a great version using one of our recommended alterations. There’s a video showing her build (which she has been living in full time) on my youtube channel.
My intention was mainly for it being a weekend getaway cabin though, a backyard art or music studio, or a backyard guest space- one with good lighting, and a few fun little elements like the long hinged skylight in the peak, and, of course, the entire flip-up Tuftex polycarbonate wall.

Yes, drop-down mosquito netting is to be added to the swing wall in its “open” mode. The Tuftex could also be doubled up, with a padded air gap, for better R value, but that would reduce the swing walls translucence, AND add weight to the wall. The wall doesn’t have to be built to swing either. My aim was for a simple seasonable cabin, but yes, again, it can be insulated, and winterized.


While the A-frame shown (the very first one built/tested to make sure the plans worked) does NOT have a bathroom (as I know that’ll be comment #1), several versions have been built with an easy modification we recommend. Its simple really, as you can permanently frame the swinging/opening wall into its lifted/upright position (while still maintaining a slight slope for drainage), fill in the wall spaces (16″ or 14″ o.c.), and add a tiny back corner “wet bath” (a water proof stall one can shower in, and use a composting toilet in). This space would take up the outdoor deck space the structure once had, as well as some of the indoor space where the rolling bed would have sat (you still have the built-in bed on the opposite side). On the other hand, you would now gain some space for an armchair, or for other uses/furniture, and still have room for the bathroom’s small door to swing into the main living space. A small window in the bathroom (ventilation) would be a VERY good idea as well. Additionally, with your new framed walls, you easily have room for two more windows, if you desired.

ANOTHER BATHROOM OPTION could be achieved by eliminating the back central window and replacing it with a door to an added-on/bump out bathroom- even a mere 4′ by 4′ wet bath. Depending on the climate you’re building in, an outdoor shower could also be a possibility.

Note: In the photos shown the loft is built almost 18″ shorter than it should be (the prototype was built with limited/salvaged materials). At full plan length, the loft could also be a sleeping space for some, and a removable small ladder could be used to reach it, or a small step system built into or on the “kitchen” counter.

The door should have swung OUTWARD too, to save space, as the plans do show.

A nod to a friend:
This is the ONE time I designed something and didn’t have the time to build it. At that time, as we had a Memphis Relaxshacks.com workshop on the horizon, Joe Everson of TennesseeTinyHomes.com and his crew built the first prototype from my plans (it took them about 2.5 days). They did a great job, used a good deal of recycled materials, and while their version has a rustic look, we’ve seen many styles completed since- from modern to tudor-styled.

If you ever build one, please DO send me photos- I’d love to see it, or your take on it!

Also, while I designed the cabin and sketched all the preliminary drawings and worked out the measurements, David Stiles (of the architect-author duo David and Jeanie Stiles) is responsible for the final sketches- which I just love. David and Jeanie have authored almost twenty DIY and cabin books and are just incredible. “Rustic Retreats” is my favorite of theirs.

This cabin (not the plans) are also featured in my newer book “Microshelters”, and will be shown in the next book from David and Jeanie Stiles.

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

=> Get the plans here

Deek’s Latest Book… Micro Shelters Available on Amazon

microshelters new

=> Order your copy of Micro Shelters

Upcoming Hands On Workshop with Deek in Vermont

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=> Learn more about attending Tiny House Summer Camp 4

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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!
{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Marce
    April 9, 2016, 7:55 am

    Where’s a box of Kleenex? To wipe drool off my chin.. This is perfect for the boys!!! Each gets their own space and hubby’s and mine tiny home can be used as main spot…outfit with solar panels…yes!! (Trundling off to check budget…)

  • jake
    April 9, 2016, 9:33 am

    Pretty cool. I like the creativity, sensibility and honesty.

  • Ronna Baird Sommers
    April 9, 2016, 10:46 am


  • Kathleen
    April 9, 2016, 11:21 am

    I like how he refers to those wooden boxes as ‘beds’. :o)
    Though I do understand that they are beds in the sense that that is where mattresses could be placed to make sleepable beds.

  • Sparrow
    April 9, 2016, 12:31 pm

    I think that house might be more suitable for that dog than for an actual person.

    • Kathleen
      April 9, 2016, 12:48 pm

      That’s funny! I don’t like this house either but I didn’t want to be the first to say so. Though it’s fine for what it is . . . wooden tent with a sink. A shelter from the rain.

      • April 9, 2016, 1:00 pm

        Rarely is someone else ‘s idea completely suitable for everyone, but that’s what’s great about building your own….you don’t have to worry whether anyone else thinks it’s great, as long as it suits your own needs & requirements. I always appreciate seeing other ideas because I take a little piece of inspiration away, even if it’s only one aspect. =)

        • Kathleen
          April 9, 2016, 1:07 pm

          I agree Erin. To each his own. Like the lady who said it would be great for her two sons to each have their own space and then congregate at the tiny house for dinner/family time. — I think one of the reasons I don’t like it is because I don’t like the look of ‘reclaimed’. I’m not a fan.

          To each his own.

        • April 9, 2016, 1:13 pm

          Ha ha and I’m the opposite……I love the outside best, but inside I don’t dig the white paint, and of course I’d change some things up according to my own requirements….I’m just good at keeping in mind that the person really isn’t getting to “sell” or “convince” us, but rather, share their little piece of accomplishment…. =) Exactly. To each his own..

      • M
        April 11, 2016, 10:00 pm

        Well I think in the article portion he clearly stated that the original idea was basically just that, a tent with a roof – to use as a gettaway, fishin’ shack, art studio (how I’d use it) and not so much as a permanent home except for those rare individuals who would enjoy that very thing. To each his own. I love how he did the inside using the framing for little shelves, and where did he find that gorgeous piece of art? Looks like it might be a VanNature. 😉

  • April 9, 2016, 12:54 pm

    That is seriously the cutest A-frame I’ve ever seen. Myself, I’d stick w natural wood or even stained, in place of the white, but that’s just individual preference. Looooove this…excellent job, and thanks for showing us this! God bless you ♡

  • April 9, 2016, 2:50 pm

    This is the perfect synthesis between Art and Minimalism. Successful is agile slender synthetic development, surrounded by the essential materials “Spartan”, the simple and sober decor with a hint of sophistication. OK , I Like It. Gabriella Farella gARY

  • Denise
    April 10, 2016, 12:40 am

    As usual, Deek did it again – clever, smart with resources, and inviting to stay in. I love it.

  • Megan
    April 10, 2016, 8:54 am

    Here’s the link to Kara’s a-frame…

  • Robert Worth Jr
    April 10, 2016, 9:58 pm

    Why have a door when you have a swing out wall?

  • M
    April 11, 2016, 10:04 pm

    What no one has mentioned is that all that adorableness only cost $1200 but looks like a lot more.

  • sussane davis
    July 20, 2016, 12:51 am

    Excellent post ! Coincidentally if you are looking for a HUD-92544 , my business edited a fillable form here https://goo.gl/7yfjB8.

  • July 20, 2016, 2:30 pm

    I have been trying to download the free book of house plans, and get a revolving verification that I am not a robot, and never get past it to the download. If I go back to where it says “download”, it takes me on the same round robin trip of the robot verification. Please email me the download, or fix the page. I have been trying this for over a month and cannot spend anymore time with your website if I cannot obtain what I want on it. Thank you

    • Alex
      July 20, 2016, 6:03 pm

      Hey Cheryl just emailed you!

  • Large Marge
    July 20, 2016, 7:38 pm

    Great concept, and all for 1,200 smackeroos!

    This reminded us of staying in the A-frames at vintage Ranch Motel in Rice Hill (in the valley below Rice Valley at the top of the hill) (I kid you not!) (it’s Oregon. What do you expect…)

  • Robin smitj
    September 17, 2020, 8:54 pm

    I love this it may well work as a shelter for my incline table and a meditation space!
    I do wish someone would make an easy small tree house for those without a tree large enough for one…maybe with tiers planters for greenery!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      September 21, 2020, 2:40 pm

      I build a similar A-frame based on this for my chickens and ducks. I’m no carpenter but it came out great! I definitely think you could do it.

  • Scott Bailey
    February 2, 2023, 9:03 pm

    Where do you find recycled materials?

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