This group of friends decided to leave their cramped apartments in NYC, Chicago, and Raleigh to meet in a tiny town 40 minutes away from Portland, Oregon to build a tiny cabin together.
The goal was to fulfill their shared dream of building a cabin in the woods. So when they got there, they worked for six days building a 200 sq. ft. tiny cabin and got it the shell done for about $6,000.
For six days, we worked to turn a small clearing situated in a stand of stately Douglas Firs into a place of our own. Our fearless leader, a builder by trade, had the right experience to guide the project. But the rest of us were total novices. The project consumed 264 two-by-fours, ~40 working hours over 6 days, 3,000 photos, and about $6,000 (excluding the land we built on). We left Oregon convinced that there is no better way to spend a week with close friends — a cabin build will beat a week in Cancun every time.” — The Builders (Mac Bishop, Geoff King, William Dickerson, and Aaron Flack)
Friends Build 200 Sq. Ft. Tiny Cabin in 6 Days for $6K
Images © Aaron Flack and Mac Bishop
Images © Aaron Flack and Mac Bishop
I took a moment to interview the guys because I was curious about how and why they did it. You can read the quick Q&A below.
An Interview with Aaron Flack, Mac Bishop and Geoff King
Are you going to build any more cabins? What do you guys plan on doing next? Will you build more cabins on the land?
We haven’t started planning the next one, but we know it’s going to happen. Just a matter of finding the time and place. The land we built the cabin on is a family farm and probably doesn’t have the need for another cabin. We’d like to get more people involved with the six day cabin concept and help others that have land in need of a cabin.
How did you guys figure out the land/lot situation?
The land is Mac’s family farm. There are multiple shareholders and Mac submitted a proposal for a vote at the shareholders meeting and it passed!
In what ways is this tiny cabin helping to improve you and your friends lives?
Every stage of this project was both fun and a great learning experience. We planned the design, supplies and timeline. We built for six days. And we documented the entire process with a timelapse video and photography. In addition to the learning, the project brought us closer together. And we have plenty of nights in the cabin to look forward to.
What are you most grateful for about this project?
We are grateful for any chanced to escape the urban grid. Because we all live in cities (New York, Chicago, Raleigh) for the diversity of creative and job opportunities, chances to head off into nature and conquer a challenge with great friends are few and far between.
It’s also a blessing to have friends who are willing to use up vacation days for a week in the dirt. We packed light and stayed on a simple farm. On the worksite we wore one or two t-shirts, one pair of work pants, and one pair of shoes each. We used our cell phones sparingly. We cooked for each other and ate well. It’s not glamorous, but that’s how we like it. Building a cabin and living simply go hand in hand.
What are some things that you learned by doing it?
It’s a long list. Aaron actually wrote a post listing everything we learned. Some highlights include:
-the “a place of our own” ideal is totally achievable
-a lot can be accomplished in the absence of a computer
-a shared goal can make strong friendships even stronger
If you could go back, what would you do differently?
A lot! But that’s the beauty of doing something like this. You learn and get better every time. Over planning in some places and under planning in others. I don’t have a carpentry background, but bought a bunch of hurricane ties and then when William (our woodworking-inclined leader) saw what we needed, he just notched out space for the main floor supports to sit in. I think we could have built this cabin in 3 days if we had all the materials from day one. And having a budget to start on the interior would have been nice too.
Our big thanks to Mac Bishop, Geoff King, and Aaron Flack for sharing and for taking the time to answer our questions.
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I love this whole project. It didn’t appear that you did any waterproofing on the roof in rainy Oregon, though. Did I miss that? Did you add insulation later that wasn’t shown in the video?
Gary the felt or tar paper was put on under the shingles, they did it as they went along. You can see my pictures where I also used it but put it all on at once to protect the wood until I could return with roofing a week or two later.
Is the inside finished?
Great project, great friends! Angle roofs are more attractive to me, and the interior ceiling. Hope to see the inside soon.
Good to see a rapid work in progress. Useful for planning our own builds. Nice simple style. I expect they will be bringing their kids here when they have them.
This is only the shell. The interior can be done as and when under shelter. Lots of space for insulating the walls too.
There is a waterproof membrane on the roof – plywood seen from inside, then a layer of OSB, then waterproofing under the tiles.
What a great way to spend time with friends.