Steve and his wife moved to a 600 foot cabin on 5.5 acres after living in an even smaller space in town. There was an existing 8×12 tool shed on the property, and his adult daughter claimed the space as her own for when she visits. It was then that he got the idea to finish the space out for guests.
The result is the “Sunflower House,” a simple but awesome build that cost under $2,600! The shed was already wired for electricity, but because it’s not plumbed they have a jug system for water to the kitchen sink, and a dry flush toilet. A futon bed provides comfortable seating.
Enjoy the photo and video tour below, and read all about what Steve has to say about the build out at the end of the post!
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Steve’s $2.6K Backyard Guest Cottage
Open shelving reveals their basic water set-up.
Love that sunflower fabric! So cute.
The other side of the cabin has the futon.
A sheet hides the water closet.
They found the perfect little desk for the corner.
Sconces add some much-needed light.
What it used to look like! Very “tool shed”
Nice front door!
Little TV stand area.
And here’s the dry-flush toilet.
VIDEO: Tour of the Sunflower House
Sunflower House Story:
The previous owner of our cabin in West Virginia used an 8 x 12 building as his workshop. My adult daughter claimed it as her space since the main cabin is 600 sf with one bedroom. So we turned it into a micro cabin for when she visits and for guests. She made all the design and layout decisions. I did the building. We replaced the door, covered the old plywood with luan paneling, installed a tongue and groove pine ceiling, installed laminate flooring, built the water closet, and custom built the kitchenette, cabinet, and shelves. It was already insulated and electric installed. There is no running water.
We chose a Laveo Dry Flush toilet. It’s perfect for a small space that doesn’t see constant use. Our water comes from a gallon jug with a spigot, and we use a single burner butane stove. We keep one of the windows open year round for ventilation.
We designed space so it could be adapted to full-time living. Add some hooks for a shower curtain in the water closet, slide out the current contents, and use a wash tub and camp shower to take a shower. The cabinet that now houses my wife’s trombone could easily be converted into a pantry. And there is a crawl space underneath that could be used for other storage.
Total cost, including appliances and furnishings, was around $2,600, with the toilet, sofa bed and door making up a little over half of the total. Working a little here and there, it took about 4 months to finish. I think I only put in 3 full days on it. The rest was 1-3 hours at a time. I spent a third of my time looking for my tools.
We have been living small since 2014. The 600 sf cabin we now have is bigger than our last home in town. We now have 5.5 acres and lots of room for projects and improvements over the next several years (or longer). We heat with a woodstove and have a rain catchment system and cistern for water. If we don’t get enough water from rain, there is a spring with 30 gallon per minute output just 20 minutes away.
Living tiny or small is simple. Just get rid of most of your possessions. We’re glad we did.
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Our big thanks to Steve for sharing! 🙏
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