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850 Sq. Ft. Modern Cabin in the Forest

This is the story of how this 850 sq. ft. modern cabin in the forest came to be.

Maricela Salas and Mary McGoff admit they were “naive” about buying raw land before making their purchase of a hillside lot in the Berkshires. It turned out to be too steep and rocky for a traditional foundation. To avoid “blasting” and ruining their beloved refuge, their contractor Arthur Jackson (of The Small Building Company) created piers to perch their cabin like a “treehouse” above the rocky ledge.2

Before they designed and built the cabin, they lived in an Airstream on the property to get to know the land better. Smart! Learn all about the cabin and get the full story by watching the video below.

Related: Modern Cabin in the Brazilian Rainforest

Modern Cabin in the Forest

Photos via YouTube/Kirsten Dirksen

Related: 624 Sq. Ft. Energy-Efficient Modern Cabin

Video: Modern Cabin Hangs Like a Treehouse

Resources

  1. Faircompanies
  2. YouTube
  3. The Small Building Company
  4. FrameWork Architects
  5. Dwell

Related: Modern and Minimalist Tiny Oak Cabin

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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!




{ 43 comments… add one }
  • keepyourpower December 29, 2016, 2:39 pm

    Is there any way to get your newsletter with only Tiny House on Wheels info?
    I could not afford the treehouse above. I don’t want to pay taxes on the land either. This obviously is owned by well to do people…and I would say, most of us, who read your newsletter, are not monetarily rich folk.

    • MareM December 29, 2016, 3:14 pm

      The entries in the newsletter are pretty descriptive, including whether it’s a THOW. Just click on those if you don’t want to look at anything else. Many of us like the range and variety the newsletter offers.

    • kim December 29, 2016, 7:56 pm

      I like to hear more of tiny houses that are not on wheels. So, please continue.

      • Jamie December 29, 2016, 9:19 pm

        I like to here about tiny homes that hover in the sky…..still waiting 🙁

        • Diana January 15, 2017, 12:38 pm

          This is my favorite comment in this thread. <3

    • Silver Gypsy December 30, 2016, 7:34 am

      I’m with keepyourpower. I’m only interested in THOWs. Most of the small foundation homes seen for sale are not so tiny and are usually rather run down. I’m not interested in paying taxes on a foundation house. The whole purpose of the Tiny House Movement was to make things affordable. Most of these “cabins” and (not so) tiny houses run up in the hundreds of thousands. There should be a separate newsletter for things that aren’t THOWs.

      • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 2, 2017, 10:13 am

        We have a very wide range of readers. Some say they don’t want us to post any THOWs at all. So we are just doing our best to cater to everyone at least some of the time 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

        • Silver Gypsy January 2, 2017, 1:57 pm

          The whole Tiny House Movement (THM) began with Jay Shafer and his tiny house that he built for around (a very affordable) seven thousand dollars. This movement did not include all of these other forms of small housing. (I’m tempted to believe the business that the THM has grown into is getting listing fees for all of these other types of buildings and this is what accounts for all of this.) The thing to do is to have a THOW Newsletter and then another one for everything else. People who want small foundation houses have the MLS system. We Tiny House-ers don’t. If you don’t want our support for THOW’s say so and we’ll leave.

        • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 3, 2017, 9:48 am

          We absolutely want to support THOWs. I write at least two posts a day on THOWs. However, that’s not all there is, and we have a 200,000 people + readership who have diverse wants and needs. Our goal is to help and support all people to downsize to the home they want. 🙂 If you think there is a market for a THOW-only newsletter, I’d encourage anyone to start one, but we want to provide a wide selection. Trust me, I get angry emails all the time from people who think we post too many THOWs haha — Tiny House Talk Team

      • Sandi B January 4, 2017, 2:09 pm

        I find it interesting when people say they do not want to pay taxes for land or a “foundation house”. Everyone pays one way or another — if you do not own your land, you are renting a space that probably costs more than the taxes on the land would be on a monthly basis. If you are renting an apartment or house the taxes are incorporated into your rent. I personally do not see where one does not pay. Perhaps many, many years ago when there was still a wild west and people had not yet come up with the idea of charging people to use their own land — now a days even if you have your own private well and a septic system or composting system — you still have to pay to use your land even though you do not use public utilities etc. One still has to pay for police protection, garbage pickup, fire departments etc., etc. etc.. It is just a pay to play world we live in.

        • Silver Gypsy January 4, 2017, 9:35 pm

          I don’t know why you would find any part of my post to be “interesting”. Is that sarcasm for you find my desire not to pay property taxes ridiculous? For your information, I have owned a four thousand eight hundred square foot home on a 30 acre parcel in a very upscale central NY city, an eighteen hundred square foot home, and currently two buildings contiguous by a breezeway for a total of eighteen hundred square feet. I am more than familiar with property taxes. By living in a THOW, I have the option of going off grid and moving around. I also have the option of moving to another country with a THOW. If you don’t have anything of value by way of constructive, helpful contribution, please do us a favor and keep your own council.

        • Sandi B January 4, 2017, 11:55 pm

          Silver Gypsy — I stand by what I said, from your nasty response to me I am assuming you think you do not have to pay to park a THOW somewhere. However, unless you are freeloading off of someone or parking it illegally, then you are in fact paying a monthly fee to park it — or perhaps a huge fine if you are caught parking it illegally. There is no difference in paying taxes which accrue monthly or paying to park a THOW somewhere and RV spaces, in most places are not cheap — you pay to park in a city, county, state or national park, if they allow overnight parking etc. I could not care less what size house you live in. not is that relevant to what I said. Your are more than a little sensitive. Also, you seem to think you know all there is about THOW’s, but you do not — many of us have been living in them for years. Do not bother to respond. My point was whether you are paying property taxes or space rent you still pay a monthly fee for the privilege of living where you choose to live. I also think you should pay attention to your own advice! Enough!!

      • Kim January 6, 2017, 10:16 pm

        Silver Gypsy, odd comment that you are only interested in THOWs. And I for one, don’t look at this website for affordability. You can look at the ones that interest you, and I can look at what interests me. How difficult is that? Please don’t speak for me when you say we tiny house-ers don’t want to see some slightly bigger houses in the mix. I really have enjoyed seeing all of these.

  • Tom December 29, 2016, 3:10 pm

    It’s not clear to me where the rooms are. Where is the bathroom, upstairs or below, or both? And is there 1 bedroom or two? I really like the design & feel of this house, just cant place the layout. Thanks!

    • Patricia December 29, 2016, 7:09 pm

      Their bedroom and large bathroom is behind the kitchen area on the main floor and between the kitchen and their bedroom are the stairs to the second-floor bedroom (loft?) and half bath.

    • Donna December 31, 2016, 12:15 am

      It’s worth it to watch the video. They do a walk thru and show both bedrooms, half bath, laundry and the stairs, pretty cool.

  • Carol Perry December 29, 2016, 3:57 pm

    What a spectacular home in the trees! It looks like you put a lot of thought and effort into building on the ledge and it’s so nice that you took into fact not to disturb any of the trees and natural settings that Mother Nature intended on that property! I like the fact you will be able to view any of the animals that coming walking through your property! Just love the woodwork and the windows throughout your home! It’s just beautiful! You get the feeling that your outside even though your inside looking out! Awesome kitchen and bath! What a great idea to hide the staircase! I like how you have the second bath up in your bedroom. That helps out tremendously at night! Saves on going downstairs. Really enjoyed viewing your lovely home! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy all the peace and comfort of Mother Nature!????????

  • Roy Turner December 29, 2016, 4:17 pm
  • Eric December 29, 2016, 4:23 pm

    Personally, I think it’s too claustrophobic. I like a long view. Here’s the view never really changes much. No sky to look at. No horizon. But I appreciate the contribution, as it makes me realize the land I was considering would end up the same way; claustrophobic view. So… you’ve helped me decide against it. 😉 Nice house, though.

  • Patricia December 29, 2016, 7:30 pm

    This is an absolutely beautiful home and we love that it’s in the forest. You did such a wonderful job designing this home. The peace and quiet and lack of outside activity is a draw for us. The only changes I would make would be to put in a walk-in tub for me and drapes on the bottom floor. To us, it is cozier in the winter with drapes drawn against the cold and the stove going, plus with my PTSD I am more hypervigilant than many people so drapes would help me feel less exposed and safer.

  • Jamie December 29, 2016, 9:23 pm

    Stunning, I hope the owners get to enjoy it as much as they can, or even live there full time.

  • Brian Stepanian December 29, 2016, 9:34 pm

    Where is the burks hires, England .

    • Gigi December 30, 2016, 2:12 am

      The Berkshires are a mountainous area in western Massachusetts. Nearby are some amazing cultural venues like Tanglewood (music) and Jacob’s Pillow (dance).

  • Annette Nazari Nazari December 29, 2016, 9:56 pm

    Th at cabin is awesome , I would love to convert some storage barns for my Daughter and Granddaughter , My Lot is 65 ft long by 45 ft wide, I am in love with all the small spaces since in Europe we only use what we need and no more,

  • Dominick Bundy December 29, 2016, 11:37 pm

    What a interesting, and delightful couple. There isn’t one thing I change about their home. Would have like to tour the first floor bedroom. Also their little vintage Airstream had a very strong appeal as well..

  • jm December 30, 2016, 1:44 am

    Scary lots don’t scare me. Some of the best deals are on sites that the seller thinks are un-buildable. Just need the right foundation. I like the forsest views. Privacy for all those windows and you can watch the birds, wildlife and seasons changing.
    And please feel free to post any ufo news. We’ll all be on tiny ships one day…

    • Kevin December 30, 2016, 9:14 am

      @JM: I agree. What one person may consider as un-buildable is simply a doable challenge to a creative mind.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 2, 2017, 10:21 am

      Ingenuity can do a lot! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Donna December 31, 2016, 12:26 am

    This gives me so many ideas. I found a beautiful wooden lot crisscrossed with small creeks where a heavy downpour may be an issue. I’m thinking building on stilts, like river cabins used to be, beefing them up on piers and 6by6 posts would be a great solution. The picture I had in my mind is building amongst the trees with decks around and incorporating the trees would feel and kind of look like a treehouse.
    Thank you for sharing your home!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 2, 2017, 9:55 am

      That sounds so magical!! 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

    • jm January 3, 2017, 5:02 pm

      You need to have some borings done and then have a civil engineer recomend several different types of footings and depths. But wouldn’t it be cool if you had enough trees in the right places to suspend everything from the trees even if it’s only six feet above ground? I would build a raised platform for vehicles with a ramp and compacted soil to drive up during floods.

      • Donna January 7, 2017, 10:39 pm

        I do like the idea of being a few feet off the ground! Thanks for the heads up about the civil engineer, I’ll look into that 🙂

  • Susanne December 31, 2016, 5:52 pm

    Yeah if you can AFFORD the challenge, right guys? Didn’t he say he used an architect? Wonder how much that cost.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 2, 2017, 9:39 am

      If they want to spend it, we can’t blame them. — Tiny House Talk Team

    • jm January 3, 2017, 5:05 pm

      Architects are trained to design to use the most cost effective componants…sometimes…when their contract calls for value engineering. And make it look expensive. But for his own house we can be sure he pulled all the stops out.

  • Brian Hurling March 8, 2017, 6:33 pm

    I wonder how much a home like this cost to build?

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