Off-Grid Cabin in Paradise



Hidden away deep in the Baton Valley, nestled amongst the imposing mountain ranges of the Kahurangi National Park is a tiny, off-the-grid cabin which looks as though it could have sat there for hundreds of years.

Named the Honeywell hut, a tribute to its builder Jack Honeywell, this historic-looking cabin is the pride and joy of its owners Richard and Fiona, who constructed this unique getaway as an escape for themselves, as well as to help provide additional accomodation for their horse trekking business…

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The Sugar Shack by Bill Castle

The entire structure is built with salvaged material.

…The theme of our eco-resort has always been Adirondack Style, which translates to “built with time and no money.” Our resort is surrounded 56,000 acres of New York State Forest lands and each year we renew our contract with the state to harvest “dead and down trees.” It’s like building structures in the middle of Mother Nature’s lumberyard.

The newest edition is The Sugar Shack, nestled in the wilderness, but with homey conveniences. The floor plan is 12′ × 16′, and includes a bedroom/living room, kitchenette, gravity-fed spring shower, composting toilet, and a cozy fireplace…

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Wood and Basalt Stone Structure

Peter Schmidt is a logger and an artist who built his first log cabin at the age of 16.

If you notice, the two basalt posts here are kitty-corner. Over each one are the roots of two trees used for beams. The stone is separated from the tree by a steel bracket. Pete says, “The tree and the stone each have a separate identity, each it’s own presence. The steel keeps the two presence is separate so they are each intact and whole.”

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Beautiful Camper Built by Jay Nelson

…It’s on a 1986 long-bed Toyota truck that I converted to a flat bed; the shell can slide off by removing 4 bolts. It has a basic kitchen: single burner, sink with water pump, and a cooler. The bed cantilevers over the cab: it’s 6 feet long and folds into a sofa. The frame is all recycled redwood; the skin is ¼″ plywood with bio-epoxy resin and fiberglass. It’s insulated and weighs around 400 pounds…

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The Thomas J. Nugget Westfalia

The VW Westfalia is an iconic vehicle, and to me, Thomas J. Nugget, or Nuggs for short, is my symbol of freedom. Nuggs is a 1989 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van.

He is in incredible condition and is equipped with a 2,200 cc, 2.2L Subaru engine, built-in propane tank, two-burner stove top, thermostat-controlled furnace, a 12-gallon water tank, sink, roof-mounted solar panel, a refrigerator/freezer, two full-size beds, a swing-out table, and lots of storage…

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Wooden Home on California Coast

Having some training in natural building, as well as conventional building, and armed with a bookcase full of prior Lloyd Kahn / Shelter Publications books, I began the process of designing and building a small, yet comfortable, home for me and my family. I began salvaging and repurposing that which others left behind. Being a woodworker by trade and owning a sawmill, it soon became obvious that there were tremendous local resources to be had. Although not completely finished (Is it ever?), the house is currently being lived in and fully enjoyed by my wife, two boys, and me.

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Circle Madness

Old guys at work. 153 years of age total here. Billy and I have worked together off and on for 47 years.

I’ve wanted to build a curved roof for a long time. I finally did it, with help from Billy Cummings. For the 6 rafters, we glued together 4 pieces of redwood bender board — 16′ long, 1″ by 4″, ⅜″ thick, using a jig laid out on the floor, with Titebond wood glue, and clamping every foot or so. It was a pretty tedious process, we could only do one a day.

We got the rafters in place, Billy did the blocking on the plates, and we used 1×8 rough redwood fence boards for the sheathing. Yesterday we put down the flooring — used shiplap pine from Heritage Salvage. It looks (and feels) great.

There’s nothing like a curved roof, especially with a tiny home; it gives you a feeling of spaciousness. This is the roof shape in gypsy wagons — vardos.

This is 10′ by 10′. If I did it over, I would make it rectangular, like 8 by 12 or 8 by 14. I’m going to put a bed inside on wheels, that can be rolled out on the deck to sleep out under the stars. I’m still figuring out where to put windows.

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Lovely Cordwood Cabin on Small BC Island

Gary and Marlene Cooper built this lovely cordwood cabin on a small BC island in the 90’s. All the cordwood came off the beach. “I wanted it to be salty,” says Gary.

They used the book Cordwood Building: The State of the Art, by Rob Roy.

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Barn in Nova Scotia

This beautifully proportioned and detailed barn would make a nice house shape. The gambrel shape (where roof changes pitch), give you more headroom for hay (or bedroom space) on the second story. The dormer is simple and straightforward: an extension of the upper roof line and the front wall line. Note slight upturn at roof’s edge to shoot rainwater out from walls.

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