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Small Rustic Cabin: Materials Reclaimed from 100-year-old Barn

This small rustic cabin was recently featured on NY Magazine and Apartment Therapy.

The materials used were reclaimed from a barn that’s over 100 years old.

It really doesn’t get much simpler than this. There’s an outhouse with a composting toilet and an outdoor water heater in case you want a warm shower.

When the weather’s right the owner takes his baths in a nearby river with a small waterfall.

There are concrete piers that support the house and the deck which is hidden by stacked local bluestone.

Newkirk, the owner, travels frequently so he’s outfitted the house with furniture and decorations from all around the world.

The home is totally off-grid with no electricity or plumbing. It’s a great place to live peacefully and get away from it all with beautiful views, a nice breeze, and a wonderful outdoor space.

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Small Rustic Cabin Completely Off-Grid

Photographs by Dean Kaufman for New York Magazine

Small Rustic Cabin Completely Off-Grid

Photographs by Dean Kaufman for New York Magazine

Small Rustic Cabin Completely Off-Grid

Photographs by Dean Kaufman for New York Magazine

Small Rustic Cabin Completely Off-Grid

Photographs by Dean Kaufman for New York Magazine

Small Rustic Cabin Completely Off-Grid

Photographs by Dean Kaufman for New York Magazine


  • nymag.com/homedesign/greatrooms/07/07/unplugged/iframe.html
  • nymag.com/homedesign/greatrooms/07/07/unplugged/iframe6.html
  • http://nymag.com/homedesign/greatrooms/07/07/unplugged/iframe2.html

Originally seen on Apartment Therapy and New York Magazine (sources).

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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!
{ 22 comments… add one }
  • October 27, 2012, 9:32 am

    This one was in a book too- released this year “Handmade Houses” (I believe that was the title)= which was released without much fanfare, but is VERY good….

    • October 27, 2012, 3:27 pm

      Sweet I’ll have to order that book I haven’t got to go through it yet. Thanks Deek!

      • Gale
        January 24, 2014, 12:16 pm

        There are a lot of Handmade houses books! But the most recent one I found was : Handmade Houses A Century of Earth-Friendly Designby Richard Olsen, Lucy Goodhart and Kodiak Greenwood from 2012 and can be found on Amazon.

    • Loraine
      February 1, 2014, 11:11 am

      Does it show build photos and a floor plan by any chance? I’m fascinated with this house

  • Olive seeker
    October 27, 2012, 12:04 pm

    beautiful design AND rustic. That makes this one unique.

    • October 27, 2012, 3:28 pm

      Hey! Glad you liked it!

  • Mark Schwartzkopf
    October 27, 2012, 12:46 pm

    Does anyone know anything about that water heater? I’ve never seen anything like it.

    • October 27, 2012, 3:28 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. Pretty unique.. Hope someone can fill us in on it Mark. Thanks!

    • Theo
      January 24, 2014, 6:07 pm

      Looks like a Zodi Extreme. Basically a pump sprayer with a propane heater on bottom.

  • October 27, 2012, 3:53 pm

    Wow, I fell in love with this cabin from the first moment I saw it some years ago. You see, the “recently” featured in NY Mag is not so recent, if you check the date. It’s actually 2010. What amazed me was that one day I found out totally serendipitously that very soon after the article was published the owner sold the property.

    Apparently since Aug. 14th 2010 it has changed owners and Zach, the new happy dweller has named it Beaver Brook Camp [he has a blog dedicated to it http://beaverbrook.com/ also showing some new construction of a cabin/bunkhouse and a shed].

    He also has a flickr set with more photos of the surroundings http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachklein/sets/72157624609537359/with/5422866242/

    Not much [ie nothing] has changed on the blog since I last visited it some months ago, so maybe they are just happy camping off grid 🙂

    • October 27, 2012, 4:15 pm

      by the way, zach is the guy behind freecabinporn.com! That’s how I found out the story. He first featured the NY Mag article on freecabin in may http://freecabinporn.com/post/590333754/one-room-cabin-in-the-woods and then in august he posted one photo with his gf http://freecabinporn.com/post/960502492/beaver-brook-camp with a link to his own blog where he stated: I fulfilled a dream and bought some land Upstate. I call it “Beaver Brook” for the Delaware tributary that runs through it. I took possession of it yesterday and Noah came up with us to explore the property together. There are a few cabins dotted throughout and the three of us slept in the main cabin shown above. BTW, on the beaverbrook blog they call the Newark building “the summer cabin”. I think that the construction site isn’t actually theirs, but some neighbouring friends’

  • CPF
    October 28, 2012, 1:06 pm

    I’d like to see how one would actually live in this — especially in winter. Don’t see a kitchen…

    • Linda Webber
      June 24, 2013, 10:42 pm

      I love small houses but I love at least “some” conveniences also – like an indoor bath!! CPF needs a kitchen – so do I! If I built this house I’d put it closer to “civilization” in order to have my toilet and kitchen.

  • LaMar
    January 24, 2014, 11:30 am

    I love old barnwood but can be hard to find. Check your recycle and second hand stores. This appears to be more of a retreat or summer cabin but could be converted to full time living. Thanks for the tour guys!

    The pump shower is probably from Zodi:


    They make good products but a little pricey. you can use any clean hand pump sprayer to make a nice shower and just fill it with water to the temp you want.


  • Phyllis
    January 24, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Is it the angle from which the photo was taken, or is the ladder access to the upstairs something you would need to be very slender and careful to navigate without sucking in your tummy or slamming the top of your head, or your face, into the floor support beam, going up or down?

  • Jennie K
    January 24, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Really love the deck and front of this house, the shape, and all those windows. Perfectly suited for that piece of land, too. It blends in and just works with the surroundings, and that is important to me when considering building a tiny house. But it’s too rustic, for me anyway.

  • Sammie
    January 24, 2014, 2:02 pm

    I agree with CPF. Based on the photos I see it would need a lot of changes to actually be livable. First of all it could use a soft surface to sit on. I’d get tired of all those hard benches and a good mattress might be nice to sleep on. Hopefully the new owners are making changes to actually use the place and not just stage it for a photo shoot with NY magazine.

  • Michael
    October 28, 2018, 11:28 pm

    I saw where someone was asking about the water heater and then the link to the probable manufacturer. I’m sure that’s a nice one but rather pricey. For what it’s worth, I recently was at an off grid home evaluating the site for solar power and the owner had taken a standard gas water heater and mounted it on a masonry firebox. He built a wood fire under the water heater when he wanted hot water. He got the heater for free because the gas burner was burned out. Didn’t matter because he cut the bottom off and removed the gas burner anyway.

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