We are starting another large-ish project! We are building a tiny cabin in the woods and going to rent it out as a short term vacation rental. This idea came to us this summer when we were thinking about what our next big project would be. It had been our plan to buy another income property like we did just over a year ago. However, the pandemic happened, the real estate market went crazy, and another income property seemed like too big of a risk at this time.
We live on 30 acres of treed land in the country in a somewhat touristy area of eastern Ontario. Tony has always wanted a cabin on our property, so when I threw him the idea to build one as a vacation rental he was totally on board. This is our plan:
We’re going to build a 256 square foot cabin (16 feet by 16 feet) with a loft above half the cabin. The structure will be post and beam with wood cladding on the inside and outside. We’re going to reclaim or reuse as much of the building materials as possible. There will be a full bathroom, kitchen, and living area with a propane wood stove on the main level of the cabin. The loft above the bathroom and kitchen will be the bedroom area.
On our 30 acres of land, we have a separate entrance just east of our house already with a laneway.
After about 300 feet down the lane way there’s a turn off to the right.
A little way down that path is where we decided to build the cabin. It’s mostly a lot of poplar trees, but there are many small maples and birch that will be beautiful in a few years. Tony already started taking down some trees to make a nice clearing for the tiny cabin.
Pond for the tiny cabin in the woods
Did I mention we are also going to have a pond dug for us? The driveway up to the cabin is very low and gets pretty muddy in the spring and fall. Rather than bringing in fill to raise the driveway, we decided to dig a pond and use the fill to raise up the driveway. If you follow the path from the cabin a little more it leads to this clearing. The pond won’t be too big, but big enough to play some pond hockey on and maybe to stock a few fish in the summer.
We hope to get the cabin mostly framed and closed in before the snow sticks. Over the winter we’ll work on finishing the interior, and we hope to have the cabin ready for renters in early spring 2021. Rather than posting weekly as I usually do for big projects, I’m going to break this project into phases:
Phase 1: Site prep and excavation
- This includes digging a trench out to the cabin to get water and hydro there, as well as creating a “basement” and a gravel pad.
Phase 2: Framing
- Build the floor using pressure treated lumber, and then the posts, beams and roof structure using reclaimed spruce lumber. We’ll also be adding an insulated tin roof.
Phase 3: Closing in the cabin
- I’d like to add lots of windows, a front door, and then close in the sides with wood as a shiplap siding. Hopefully we can get to this stage by Christmas.
Phase 4: Interior finishing
- Finishing generally takes the most time, but I think this will be the most fun stage. We’ll have to add insulation, add wood paneling to the walls, probably whitewash the entire cabin, finish the bathroom, and add kitchen cabinets. It would be nice to finish this by the end of February.
Phase 5: Furnishing
- This will be the fun part. We’ll have to get furniture and dishes and linens and all that kind of stuff that you need for a vacation rental. If everything goes according to plan this tiny cabin in the woods will be ready for visiting by April 2021.