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Tommy’s Tiny Blues Cabin: Living Mortgage-free in an Amish Log Cabin

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This is my tiny blues cabin. I live in the Tennessee hill-country but my musical tastes are more in line with Clarksdale, Mississippi Delta country! It’s about 70 miles south of Nashville (which is a great place) and I’m a bluesman at heart (even if not by talent!). I have this cabin because I wanted a get-away place to enjoy my blues music all night if I wanted to, to study, and also just to relax.

I bought this little log cabin from an Amish company in Kentucky. The outside was already finished, but my dad finished the inside. A friend of mine also built the front steps. The cabin is 14×20, but the front porch takes up 4 ft, leaving the actual living space at 200 sq. ft. My parents did all of the inside work to this place, including the electric blue paint and the Mississippi Mud paint!

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Mortgage-free in an Amish Log Cabin

Tommy's Tiny Blues Log Cabin

Living Area Kitchen

Here’s my little kitchen area with my microwave and small fridge.

Entertainment and Living

It has a little living area with electric fireplace and air conditioner.

Beside the staircase (leading to the loft) is a handrail which is actually my great-great-grandfather’s walking cane.

Cane Handrail

There is also an “indoor-outhouse”. The top of the outhouse is home to my collection of cigar box guitars.

Indoor Outhouse Bathroom

I have no running water, so water is stored in jugs. There is a water jug in the outhouse with a sink that drains underneath the cabin.


The toilet is a self-composting toilet.

The inside walls of the outhouse are papered with newspapers and a collection of blues paraphernalia.


I enjoy playing those guitars but it’s best in solitude so my playing doesn’t give people the blues!


Stained Glass Window in the Loft


The loft has a stained glass window, which was crafted by my mother.


My Electric Fireplace


This is my little blues haven (or heaven!). Thank you!


Quick Q&A with Tommy

Q: How much did you spend for it?
A: I purchased the log cabin itself from an Amish company in Kentucky for $7000. An extra $1200 for the self-composting toilet, and $3500 for the inside (paint, insulation, flooring, air conditioner, heater, ceiling fan), for a total cost of  $11,700.

Q: How long did it take you guys to set it all up?
A: It took the Amish company around 4 weeks to get it to us. It took around a month for my dad to finish the inside.

Q: How did you arrange the land deal?
A: Well, I have my cabin set up on my parents’ property. The cabin can be moved if I ever want to purchase my own land.

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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!
{ 26 comments… add one }
  • LaMar
    November 20, 2013, 10:54 am

    Very nice!
    I am a folk guitarist and song writer and I see a lot of musicians and artists are drawn to the small house movement probably because we don’t make enough for rent or a house payment lol!

    I think small places are great for the artist lifestyle that needs solitude to percolate ideas and isn’t into glitz and glamor or trying to impress people with stuff.

    Keep on blues brother!


    • Rita
      April 17, 2016, 11:35 pm

      Hey Lamar…You are the inspiration who first helped us to decide to work toward our goals of efficiency and being self sustaining. You’re one of our heroes!! You are totally awesome!!

  • Freddie
    November 20, 2013, 11:12 am

    Very cool! Ya gotta love the posters and little guitars. I’m a blues man myself, but I play harp (harmonica). Thanks for posting.

  • Janet Cook Sanchez
    November 20, 2013, 12:54 pm

    We have 4 acres for sale in Helena, ARK. which is about 30 miles outside of Clarksdale, MS. The land is 64 miles SW of Memphis, TN. It’s valued at 19K but we are very motivated to sell because we need money for a legal matter. We are asking 10K, but we will take 3K down and arrange payments. If interested, please contact Janet at 615 439-7920. We live in Murfreesboro, TN, but could take you to the property so you could see it. Thank You. Absolutely LOVE your cabin, by the way, love how you have put the things that are important to you in it.

  • TomLeeM
    November 20, 2013, 8:56 pm

    I think that is really nice. I like the way the inside is done.

  • deborah
    November 20, 2013, 9:50 pm

    Very nice!~ Did you do any of the work? How do you like that composting toilet? I am planning on building one soon; can’t afford the “ready-mades”. The newspaper is a nice touch. Did that to an outhouse back in 1960 in WV when I lived in a log cabin with my mom and siblings. Two thumbs up!!!!

  • Thor
    November 21, 2013, 8:42 am

    Not the best one but, it is pretty good. I would go for the one that is $190. It looks a lot nicer than the other ones.

  • Patricia Allen
    January 17, 2014, 5:32 pm

    This MAY be the company the young gentleman went with. http://www.amishcabincompany.com/ Awesome construction and models. Delivered too. I’m excited.

    • Alex Pino
      January 18, 2014, 10:17 am

      Thanks Patricia

    • hunter
      March 17, 2017, 9:41 pm

      that company is way to expensive..the writer said he paid $7000. for the cabin I believe.

  • Jim
    January 17, 2014, 5:35 pm

    Great story!! I live about 80 miles south of Nashville, make cigar box guitars and love the blues. It is really great to see others in the area doing the small house lifestyle even if it’s just a private getaway. There are several Amish / Mennonite companies around that build similar structures that can be dropped on your site. I am seeing a lot of them in the country where folks have settled.

    • Alex Pino
      January 18, 2014, 10:17 am

      Thanks Jim I’m happy you enjoyed it!

  • Lydia Frey
    January 18, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Tommy’s Tiny Blues Cabin, what was the name of the KY Amish company that he purchased it from? Can you give me contact information?

  • Lynnette
    April 17, 2015, 5:41 pm

    I’m absolutely in love with any space someone makes personally their own. You are surrounded by things you love and the comfort in that is priceless. I already have my furniture picked out in my head what I want to put into my home. My tiny home, rather lol

  • David Jamarusty
    April 17, 2015, 6:08 pm

    Hi I’m looking to build a tiny house as a house boat, can you give me any info on how to do it I have built my own log home so I have quite a bit of experience. Do you know where I can get plans or just pictures?

  • casandra
    April 17, 2015, 9:16 pm

    Love this. Irs my next goal to put on my land here in nc

  • treehouse in paradise
    April 18, 2015, 2:29 am

    Very cool! Love the way you’ve done it up.

  • Sarah
    April 18, 2015, 12:29 pm

    I’m not into the blues myself and have to plead ignorance here, what is a cigar box guitar? I do think it’s a cool retreat for you. My favorites are the blue color and the cane railing.

  • Trinity
    April 18, 2015, 6:29 pm

    I live on the MS Gulf Coast, but spent my college years in Northern MS, close to Tennessee, and so I’m familiar with your area. I love hearing that the ‘tiny house movement’ is making its way to MS, and hope to have a small place myself someday soon. Your home is lovely, especially since you’ve included so many elements that are significant or have meaning for you. Speaking of, your mom must be one talented lady because that stained glass window is gorgeous! Do you know how much you would have paid for something like that? Better give dear ‘old mom’ a big hug and kiss. Thanks for the chance to take a look around your home-Love it!

  • JanneZack
    April 20, 2015, 1:15 pm

    It’s a bit too rustic for me…. not the outside, that is perfect! But the insides, it appears that you are living on TV Trays inside. The frdge sits on one, the micro sits on one… I think a proper counter top, even if it is a piece of plywood, would be a bit more secure. It appears that you have to carry water to the place. I currently have an office (most would consider a tiny office) with no water or restroom access, and it is a pain to bring water in. I know it’s just once a week or so, but to lug a big container of water around just for coffee and watering my plants is combersome. Then to take my dirty dishes to another location to wash up is not fun either. I’ll admit, it is a long time between washing, and to have all my meals there would be a MESS! I only eat lunch in my office about once a week, and that is only something quickly heated in the micro. (Soup, Stew, Frozen Dinner, etc). To actually MAKE something fresh in there would be too hard to do without running water.

    My clients laugh when I tell them about the need to go outside my office to get to the restroom… they look at me like I have an outhouse, which I don’t have, they simply must exit my building and enter the main building to get to the common area restrooms, my suite has been “land-locked” for the past few years since I didn’t need so much space, I sub-let part of it… and that part led to the indoor restroom path.

    SO, to not have running water would kill the entire project for me.

    One other thing, you couldn’t store anything there, such as instruments for fear they would ruin without insulation. It gets REALLY cold in central TN in the winter (down to at least the teens if not lower) and equally HOT in the summer (upwards of 90). Wooden instruments, such as guitars and fiddles, and such would ruin in such extreme conditins if you don’t live there full time and if it is not climate controlled all the time. Inside definitely needs help.

  • Peter Piper
    April 17, 2016, 2:18 pm

    Nice cabin… except that I would have the sink in the kitchen instead of the bathroom. I don’t fancy the idea of washing dishes in the bathroom. My guess is that it was set up so that all the plumbing would go to one room.

  • Peter Piper
    April 17, 2016, 2:21 pm

    Addendum: When I said my guess is that it was set up so that all the plumbing would go to one room, I meant later when he does some plumbing. Right now there is no running water at all in the cabin.

    March 17, 2017, 11:18 am

    The Amish always build things well and solid to last a long time. I love the furniture especially. My sons ordered theirs from the Amish in Kitchener/Waterloo Ontario!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 19, 2017, 5:29 pm

      Such a good idea!

  • Mal Smith
    November 21, 2018, 4:37 am

    To Alex: I had no idea what to expect of this post. But i was a little disappointed. We all have different interests concerning tiny structures and I know a lot of people seem to be very interested about internal ‘decor’. Some projects posted have even shown two or three slightly different angled shots of the same kettle on a worktop with jars or a tea caddy on shelves above!! Or a zoomed in shot of a designer soap dish,in a bathroom you can’t really see! As far as I am concerned these sort of arty pics and posts are best left to the glossy ‘interior and soft design’ mags. Personally,I am more interested in form,structure,build design,function,practical use of internal space etc. Unfortunately I couldnt really see the internal layout,how things work etc. It was mainly showing Tommys taste in decor and a few of his personal prized possesions. So for me this post is a thumbs down because it felt like I was just having a look around someone’s house and nosing at their possessions.

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