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Small Cabin Forum / Properties / Looking for experiences and advise on a small cabin
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Mikep123456
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2017 00:13
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Great site, just started exploring the forums.

So I recently purchased 30 acres of land which butts up to a couple of my friends properties. In total we have over 100 acres. Our front borders a maintained road which during peak hours sees about 3 cars every 5 minutes. Not the most secluded but nice none the less. It is bordered by federal land and another private acreage. It's primarily hunting property. The area offers beautiful rivers and lakes within driving distance. My wife and kids (16 & 21) like the property but without a cabin it's not very comfortable. It is located 3.5 hours northwest of my home. Building restrictions are strict. <200 sq ft shed but not to be used as a residence. If I obtain a permit I can build <1500 sq ft barn without electric to be used for storage only with cement foundation and < 10ft walls with intentions of a primary dwelling.
Of coarse a primary dwelling is ok but must have a Michigan occupancy permit. I.e. >780 sq ft full blown house.

I want to stay under $15000 and $10,000 being the target. I could add well and septic at the start or later or later.

Ultimately looking for a small cabin with some comforts for my wife and kids. Ultimately a "camp" that my family can enjoy. We have considered prebuilt 1 room sheds, log cabins and travel trailers. My wife and daughter like the idea of a travel trailer for the bathroom and shower however we are concerned about the longevity of it. None of us personally care for the looks of a camper and would much prefer a cabin of some sort.

Any ideas, experiences and suggestions would be appreciated.

Mike

DaveBell
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2017 00:57
Reply 


Have you read the entire building code? Are you capable of building a small house? Do you have access to skilled help? Can you operate a backhoe? Do you have all the tools? How many square feet are needed/wanted for four people? Are you heating with wood stove? Do you want trusses or a beam? Will you use the cabin year round or only in summer?

Quoting: Mikep123456
My wife and daughter like the idea of a travel trailer for the bathroom

Who will empty it and where?

I'm planning on permitting a 22x24 storage building on slab to store my wood stove in. Built to code in case I want to convert it to living space in the future.
Powdered lime stops the smell in the outhouse.

brooksm29
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2017 05:22
Reply 


where in michigan is your cabin? I am about 1.25 hours north of Grand Rapids. I would go the less than 200sqft route. If its secluded. My county allows 2 small structures without a perminant home. Build a really nice, high, shed for storing a cpl beds, a woodstove, etc...lol

brooksm29
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2017 05:30
Reply 


Do a 12x16 with lofts on both sides for storing mattresses etc.... Use the main floor for keeping the furniture etc out of the elements. I was only allowed 100sqft to do the same thing. 200 would seem like a mansion.

creeky
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2017 09:31
Reply 


I did the travel trailer for two summers. The bathroom was pretty small. Go for a unit that has the largest washroom possible. smile. Emptied the grey water to a ground line. Black water went by truck to a sanitation facility. Using a RV porta tank. Can't say that was ideal.

From my experience. Build solar first. Cheap power. Then a washroom. Then a barn.

I built my barn last and paid the price. Tools all over. Working in the rain. So next time I do this it'll be barn and then buildings.

I find bokashi, a Lactobacillus based pickling agent, to be the best solution for black water odor management.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2017 22:40
Reply 


The 2 things that stick out to me the most are: 3 1/2 hours away, and $10,000 budget.

In general the farther away a place is, the less it gets used. This is a good haul every weekend, more so with a camper in tow. Do you have a tow vehicle? A camper for 4 adults would need to be about a 30 footer. Would need to be older to be under $10K. If you leave it on site they tend to deteriorate and depreciate fast. If you haul it back and forth you suck up alot of fuel. Do you have a place to store it off-season? Been here, done this.

In my opinion you would be much happier with a building. However, there is no way to make 4 people happy in a small shed. If it is "primarily a hunting property" i don't see the family using it enough to justify the expense of a full blown small house with septic, electric etc. Your kids are at the age where they may lose interest for a while until they become mature adults. Then they may want to go there more often.

You may want to sit tight and let things play out. Try to save more, and learn more, so you can do what you want the first time. Follow the code.

Remember, Rome was not built in a day. Most of the people here have spent MULTIPLE YEARS getting their place as they want it.

I suggest you read, read, read the past post here.

Good luck!

fiftyfifty
Member
# Posted: 1 Jun 2017 10:08
Reply 


If your property is near lakes, won't you be needing an ice house for when you go ice fishing? Or maybe 2? Not the expensive commercial kind that look like aluminum trailers. More like the traditional homemade kind with T1-11 walls, shingled roof, a few windows, on skids or maybe on wheels. A generous size so everybody has room to fish without bumping elbows, no? Make them yourself, or buy them on Craigslist cheap from some guy who is getting divorced. A good ice house will need insulated walls, a vented propane heater (or maybe a little woodburning stove), a small closet area to put the bucket toilet (pack it out or look up the Humanure method), some fold down bunks or a dinette-to-bed conversion unit. Probably a few cabinets, a counter, maybe even a propane cook stove. Of course there's no need for you to be dragging this thing back and forth 3.5 hours. Store it on your land. Maybe you can even install a Mustee shower stall. Heat the water up on the stove. Nothing like a hot shower to clean off after a long day of ice fishing.

brooksm29
Member
# Posted: 2 Jun 2017 05:34
Reply 


I am betting that he is allowed 2 buildings on that property without a primary residence. Pretty consistant here in Michigan and the further north you go...it gets more lax. You cannot call it a cabin or anything other than a shed. SO you build 2 200sqft sheds and come up with whatever reason you can. You make one into your cabin/living space and make the other into your shower/composting toilet/spare bedroom building.

Mikep123456
Member
# Posted: 2 Jun 2017 17:24
Reply 


I like the way you think.

Mike

Mikep123456
Member
# Posted: 2 Jun 2017 17:27
Reply 


Well the township I'm in only allows a single accessory building. I'm leaning towards a small cabin built to code.

Mike

brooksm29
Member
# Posted: 5 Jun 2017 04:33
Reply 


A few words of caution...Whats the minimum sqft requirement? Will count as recreational building thus more property taxes. Probably will have to have a well, septic and electricity. All built to code and inspected. That budget you are on will be tough. Thats why I went the "Shed" route. I didnt want my away place becoming a financial burden.

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