With lots of hard work, and determination, we created the perfect little cabin!
We have been blessed with such a great opportunity to give homesteading a try. Granted we are not full-time homesteaders, we are learning and trying so many different ways to be self-sufficient. From learning which types of poultry we enjoy to what grows best in the garden, every step is truly an adventure. It had been a goal of ours for 3 plus years to build a small cabin in the back of the property for a place to getaway. At the beginning of 2021, we decided this is our year, we are building the cabin or it will never get done.
Our first step was to figure out how to get started. We read so many books and looked at too many photos online to decide how we would like the “mini-cabin” to look. We spent going back and forth do we build one, do we buy a building structure already done. Finally one evening we purchased a shed building kit off Amazon, and there was no turning back! We learned so much throughout the building process. Here are some important points we learned!
Tools, Tools, Tools
We learned very quickly we were lacking in the tool department! Having the proper tools is everything. This is definitely something you need to incorporate into your budget. A portable circular saw, a screw gun, and drill combo, and a way to power everything are a must. Add a hammer, staple gun, utility knife, and of course your handy level to keep the job moving along. Above all the biggest tool to use is your own mind. Be well-rested and ready for your building adventure.
Shop Around For Materials
Depending on the kit you use, you will need various materials including wood, roofing, screws, glue, and so much more. Take your time when buying supplies, and shop around. We spent a lot of time jumping from store to store, and doing our research. Looking online at the best deals out there, any coupons we could find. In the end, we saved a ton doing this. Also, check with your family and friends too to see what supplies they have available they want to get rid of. Seriously, if you can help someone clean the garage, they will be happy to help! We were very blessed to get some awesome donations from our family to help us with this project.
Not All Kits Are The Same
When shopping for a kit to build your cabin, make sure to remember not all kits are the same. If you do a quick search on the web, lots of different options come up. Try to find a kit that has really good reviews, and comes with durable parts. The kit we purchased did work great, but not going to lie, we ran into a few issues with misprints in the instructions. It’s ok though, we are flexible and were able to adjust.
Since we were beginners, we went for the kit option. If you are more experienced, you can certainly make your own small cabin with your own plans you may have.
Keep Your Building Dry
We were blessed with a warm Spring, so we were able to get our project started much earlier than we originally thought. The only downside of that was we experienced some April showers while building and even a freak snowstorm! We learned quickly that you need to cover up your project while building. Dealing with moisture is a big problem for any building project. The cabin build was not exempt from that. We picked a spot on a higher bank near a pond. It was the driest spot on the whole property and the pond’s water level is maintained by a larger size culvert pipe.
From the very beginning when we had our base deck made of pressure-treated 2×4’s on the bottom and 3/4″ plywood for the flooring we covered it with tarps that were weighed down with old pallets. A snowstorm showed up shortly afterward. We continued to use tarps weighed down, and/or screwed into place until we had a weatherproof roof installed and the walls painted with exterior paint. Don’t forget to add your door and window and close them when done working for the day. Keep the wood dry during the build at all costs to avoid warping and permanent damage.
When your building is done, be sure to seal it thoroughly with caulking in any place moisture or vermin might try to get in. You don’t want rain or bugs in your little abode! Paint it thoroughly on any outside surfaces and add a good roof. We used tar paper and then added roll roofing to keep the weather out.
Keep it Level!
We spent a good amount of time finding the perfect spot. We finally settled on a spot that was extremely level to start. The location is also really protected from the elements thanks to some pine trees. When building your cabin, it is so important to start level, because fixing that after the cabin is built would be very hard! We set up paving stones on hard (and dry) clay ground and placed pressure-treated 2×4’s over them. With a small trowel, we leveled under the stones until our level tool showed it was level. Take your time with this part because it will play a huge part throughout the build and afterward.
Don’t Be Afraid To Improvise
Well, the plans we received with the building kit were just plain awful. The more we read, the further we understood that whoever wrote the instructions had zero building knowledge. This is where improvisation comes into play. How can you make the build work? Sit down for a minute and look at the problem. Figure out your very own solution and carry on. That is how we began to put the cabin together in our own preferred fashion.
Remember this is a fun adventure, so give yourself a break, and be sure to laugh. There was were some days, we weren’t sure how this whole project would turn out, but we were determined. On the hard days, you step away and come back the next day with a refreshed mind. Once again, make sure your project wood stays dry between workdays.
Decorating is So Fun!
After the cabin was all built, it was time to decorate. We knew the cabin would be multi-purpose, woods-office, camping, and even a “fancy” blind during hunting season. We kept our decorations very simple. Our dear friend gifted us some paintings that were just perfect for the inside. Our original plan was to finish the walls, but after we decided we loved the rough look inside and left the wall plain wood. We added a beautiful window overlooking the pond and a cabin-themed curtain. For the flooring, we sealed the wood floor, and scored an amazing deal on some carpet that works perfectly in the cabin! Throw rugs keep muddy boots off of the good carpet and are easily cleaned.
Keep adding and improving on your little cabin to suit your needs. This spring we will be making a custom screen door for help with those warm summer night camping trips.
We absolutely love our little cabin and are so blessed to have this fun place to escape to. It’s not huge, not super fancy, but is beyond perfect for us. We know we built it, and it makes the cabin all that more special! You will see our cabin throughout the blogs coming up!
We hope you take on that special project you have been wanting to build, it just takes that first step to get started!