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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Does anyone live full time in their small cabin?
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# Posted: 26 Dec 2019 20:02

And my second question is, in what climate? Because having the luxury of time when it comes to deciding what to build on my retirement property, has me thinking lately a big pole barn for my crap and small energy efficient cabin might work out. Or maybe it was after last weekend where my GF and I decided we'd both like our own cabins. lol.

Anyway, are there any folks here who live full time in their small cabins, and do you have any tips or comments regarding it? Do you live in multiple cabins?


# Posted: 27 Dec 2019 00:30 - Edited by: darz5150

Yes we live here full time. There are others that live full time at their cabins on this forum also.
If you have questions. Post them one at a time. You'll usually get several answers to choose from. Everything from power supply to outhouses. If you are planning to live full time at your future place. There is no one size fits all. But....
Quoting: rebar
a big pole barn for my crap and small energy efficient cabin

That's a good start. I've realized it takes a lotta crap. To live in a small cabin full time. Lol

# Posted: 27 Dec 2019 05:58

Yep, living in the offgrid cabin located in North Eastern Ontario not far from Algonquin Park. One cabin 500 sq feet, one 20' sea container and one pump/power house. Does an 8x12 woodshed count ?

Need a garage / shop and a small greenhouse and all done....

# Posted: 27 Dec 2019 13:39 - Edited by: rebar

Hi and thanks..

I figured if I did live in a small cabin, i would need another building or two for me to be comfortable, and it sounds like others do as well. Sometimes more than two..

The only advantage I see is ease of DIY buildings like pole barns and small cabins.

But my idea of a cabin isn't logs, but a small house built to passive standards.

But I'm jumping to extremes because I already have drawings of a small house with large attached garage, but it would require a basement foundation.

I guess what I'm wondering, is if i can save allot of money building two (2) his and hers 800' cabins and a storage pole barn, instead of a conventional 1600' house with large attached garage.. I seem to think building small on poured piers is more economic than a poured foundation, but it probably isn't. And I don't like rolling around under a cabin trying to insulate and install and fix utilities like my Trailer, but here I am asking anyway.. lol

Thanks again..

# Posted: 27 Dec 2019 21:17

I don't live in our cabin full time. However, my suggestion would be one larger structure over two smaller ones. Any residence is going to need heat, water, and sewage disposal. It is easier to go bigger on each and just one system for each than two.

It is also more efficient material-wise to go with one residence.

# Posted: 28 Dec 2019 11:02

We live in our cabin continuously for about 4 months/year (late spring-early fall) and have found that having multiple buildings makes sense for us. Main cabin for living, garage for storage, workshop for working and laundry, and a small guest cabin. More materials, yes, but simpler to build by oneself and less heating etc. as we can just not use one or more buildings. It can also be better tax-wise. Our taxes are based on the square footage of the main house with all other buildings (even if habitable, heated etc.) taxed at a lower rate. Your situation may be different but worth considering the taxes as part of the whole picture.

# Posted: 28 Dec 2019 12:44

Every year I get closer and closer to living full time at the cabin. this year I built a 2,000 square foot carport/storage area and will be moving much of my shop/garage junk out there soon. We need better electricity and some pavement on our driveway and that might do it.

# Posted: 29 Dec 2019 00:32

We've lived here full time since 2007. We did modify our cabin once we moved here. Our cabin/home was built in 1912 as a carpentry shop. Our living space is about 500 sq. ft. We added a large laundry room/closet space/pantry area/room for large fridge and freezer. That was our lifesaver. Without that room we would not have been happy. It added about 300 sq. ft. to our place.

We also have a double garage/shop. We have a shed for the lawnmower, etc.

We are not off-grid. That isn't practical where we live. We get quite a bit of snow annually. We get our water from a dug well and this not only services us but our small 3-unit motel (that we also built on our property to bring in some income).

We grow our own fruits and veggies in the summer and do quite a bit of canning. We have a greenhouse and a cold cellar. We also utilize the space under our cabin and motel for storage and this is much needed space as well.

If you want to make your cabin a full-time residence for when you are older, I highly recommend NO STEPS. Build it all on one level. The only steps we have are to our cold cellar. We are getting older and greatly appreciate everything on one level.

# Posted: 1 Jan 2020 09:47

Thanks again everyone..

Quoting: paulz
This year I built a 2,000 square foot carport/storage area and will be moving much of my shop/garage junk out there soon. We need better electricity and some pavement on our driveway and that might do it.

Do you wish you built bigger from the beginning?

I cant believe how indecisive I am.. I made up my mind I want everything under one sloped roof. Now I'm thinking multiple flat roofs and roof top terrace. Wow..

Sometimes I wonder if I'll get anything done..

# Posted: 1 Jan 2020 21:43

I bought a seasonal cottage and have done a bunch of work and have lived there full-time going on 10 years. And in the process of building a small cabin north of me. I'm in northern ontario

# Posted: 3 Jan 2020 18:06

We don't stay year round, the community water system is shut off and the road closed for the winter, but we're usually there for 6 months... my wife (with kids when they were younger) stays full time, I still have to work which is two hours away so I'm there on weekends, Friday evening through Monday morning, with as many long weekends as I can manage. In the winter it's a matter of hiking in for the weekend whenever we can.

# Posted: 4 Jan 2020 09:06

Not yet but i will be !
Its in NW Michigan. Beautiful 4 season paradise.
I bought a 16x24 shell on 5 acres 10 yrs ago as a fixer upper. I added a 12x16 addition... A comfortable kitchen. Well and septic. Nice bedroom..knotty pine throughout. A 12 x 16 garage and a horse barn. Ive added a gravel driveway... A small orchard..10 blueberry plants and lots of nice perrenials. My goal is to move fall of 2020 but i have a few more things to finish up beforehand.
Life is short. If you can do it go for it.
I will work part time and finally enjoy nature
Good luck ! Lisa .

# Posted: 4 Jan 2020 20:05

Hi Lisa,
Wow. I remember when you bought your cabin. I’m amazed at all the updates you’ve done. It sounds wonderful. Congratulations.

# Posted: 5 Jan 2020 10:45

I was living full time off grid. Of course I have a snazzy solar system for electricity and have dug power lines to my 5 buildings. Long gravel road I built myself.
I built 5 buildings: a winter bedroom 10x14. Aka the hay rack. Its got a small heater and built to somewhat passive standards. Very easy to keep heated even in very cold weather (-30C).
I have a converted 12x20 Amish shed as the great room/kitchen. Heated with a small propane heater and a wood stove. Easy to keep warm as its pretty well insulated. Its also the only room that needs a/c in the summer.
I have a 8x16 washroom with big shower, composting toilet and laundry/storage. This building is a bit underinsulated. Pole barn construction it needs another layer of insulation. Still it stays warm with a lot of passive solar and a small propane heater.
I also have unheated solar shed (10x10) for the solar system and storage. And a tractor run in with workshop.
Couple of notes: I built multiple buildings because I wanted to be forced to go outside. My washroom is a hundred feet from my bedroom. In the winter I have a composting facility in the bedroom. But having to get up and go outside at night is a great experience. Walking in the wet grass with fireflies, northern lights, critters rustling in the trees.

That said. Having lots of systems (3 propane heaters!) means more work and overhead costs. The wood stove could easily heat all 3 buildings if they were joined together. And the gf would certainly appreciate if the washroom were closer.

Small buildings keep your diy labour down too. No fancy foundation required for a 10x12. Skids on gravel or, as I used in the winter bedroom, screw posts. Cheap and easy.

# Posted: 5 Jan 2020 17:58

Hi Silverwaterlady .
Thank you and Happy New Year ❤
I have high hopes for the year 😁

# Posted: 25 Jan 2020 15:03

I just bought my cabin a few months back but do live full time off grid. Absolutely love it! Being so young in it my advice can only be of such value..but like others have said, a larger outbuilding or multiple small outbuildings are very necessary when living such a lifestyle. Right now I’m desperate for spring to come to start on one.

Another thing if living off grid (no air conditioning), to me an outdoor kitchen or some decent cooking set up is paramount for the warmer months.

# Posted: 26 Jan 2020 20:09

We just moved to our cabin this May. Before moving I put up 24 x 40 pole shed which I completely insulated and finished inside. Since I’ve put a 10 x 24 lean to on one end and 8 x 40 lean to on one side which are not closed in YET. Cabin was 20 x 30 with superior wall basement finished off and before moving ended up adding 12 x 32 on end of cabin. We had to get washer dryer in and a little more space. We had too many outbuildings closets before moving and we still have totes that need unpacked , throw away or whatever. I would suggest starting as large as needed right away because it seems every body adds on. Better to do it right from the start , if you have any questions , let me know.

David Santiago
# Posted: 27 Jan 2020 23:57

Hi everyone,
New to forum. I would like to know if anyone knows of zoning regulations in Aroostook County, Maine. I am interested in living full time on my newly purchased acreage and am concerned if it is ok to put a camper on the property as permanent residence. Thanks in advance.

# Posted: 28 Jan 2020 04:55

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