For the new year, I’m planning on taking some time away from the computer to contemplate the next few months, practice some yoga and do some quiet meditation. While searching around for a retreat location, I kept running into meditation retreats and centers that had some sweet tiny houses, yurts and cabins for rent. Each of them are also located in some beautiful locations.
Staying at one of these meditation or yoga retreats is not only a good way to cleanse your body and soul, but you can also get some great tiny house and small space ideas.
The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California teaches classical yoga, ayurveda, vegetarian cooking, jyotish and vedic sciences, and permaculture. You and your family can stay in several different accommodations including a tent, a dorm and shared or individual cabins located in a beautiful valley.
The El Capitan Canyon luxury nature lodging (a little out of my range) is not a spiritual retreat, but does offer some beautiful cabins and yurts to stay in on the California Coast. The center offers massage, food and room packages and tours of the coastal area. You can stay in safari canvas tents, yurts and tiny cabins with names like “Peace Tree”, “Lone Stone” and “Shaded Creek”.
The San Francisco Zen Center at Tassajara offers an introduction to Zen meditation and has several places you can stay like wooden yurts and Japanese tatami cabins. The center is quiet, rustic, gets its power from solar energy and offers vegetarian meals. The redwood yurts like the one shown above have views of trees and mountains and can accommodate up to three guests.
Affordable retreat cabins which happen to be next to bubbling waterfalls are available at Spirit Falls in Pine, Arizona. The small cabins (Cave of the Heart, Hopi Creek and Bodhi’s Place) are located in the pine trees with views of local wildlife like elk, deer and hawks.
Bill Thomas of Hobbitat Spaces in Maryland developed a passion for small spaces after 30 years of working in the historic restoration and custom home business. With the change in the housing market came a change in his focus of building and he began to develop small, custom homes that are constructed inside and out of the harsh Northeastern winters.
The first Hobbitat (or “Hob”, as they are affectionately called) was constructed using materials from Bill’s grandfather’s barn, windows from his childhood cabin and other reclaimed doors and materials. Hobbitat Spaces then built 13 Hobs for Blue Moon Rising, an ecotourism retreat in western Maryland. Each of the cabins were built with recycled, reclaimed and local materials, giving them a distinct look and feel.
Hobbitat Spaces is now in the process of taking individual orders for their small, hand-crafted homes. Each of the homes are built in a shop and all utilities are contained within the building envelope under insulation. The Homes are built to Maryland State building and energy codes and take about six weeks to complete.
Each Hobbitat contains the following:
• A complete structural framework, built to IRC code, with a Zip system exterior wall sheathing.
• An enclosed floor system that rests on six piers, installed before the building arrives.
• A roof system of hand cut framing or engineered trusses designed to carry a 40 lb. /sq. ft. snow load.
• A 30 gallon electric hot water heater.
• A 100 amp breaker panel and wiring to conform to the current code. Many outlets and light switches as per code.
• Andersen thermal windows. Your choice of 400 or Architectural series.
• A complete thermal cocoon of 2 lb. foam. R-38 for ceilings R23 for side walls and R30 in the floor system.
• A fresh air intake system with an Airetrak 1A control for indoor air quality.
• A plumbing system that allows you to very easily drain the building and walk away for weeks or months.
• Panasonic brand exhaust fans.
Photos by Hobbitat Spaces
The Yellowstone River Lodge is a beautiful bed and breakfast located near the town of Billings, Montana. While the lodge itself is a larger home, tucked behind it are three small guest cabins designed by Josh Sayer, the son of lodge owners Jan and Dan Sayer. The small modern and stylish cabins were inspired by the simple agrarian structures found around the area near Billings and make their own statement in the Montana landscape.
The larger cabin contains a full bedroom and the two smaller cabins have a studio space. All of the cabins were built by Dan Sayer with help from a local contractor. They are just over 400 square feet each and include a covered deck, Jacuzzi tubs, kitchenettes, wood-burning stoves and air conditioning. They were completed for around $25,000 each, but Josh said that if a client were to have them built, they would cost closer to $40,000 to $50,000.
Josh and his wife, both graduates of Montana State’s architecture program, recently started their own design company, Response Design, and the cabins were one of their projects. Josh has long been interested in small homes, prefab architecture and sustainability and made sure to take the surrounding land into account when he designed the Yellowstone River Lodge cabins. The cabins sit up off the ground on piers since the area is prone to flooding. Each cabin is oriented to the south with overhangs over the windows to protect them the interior from the hot summer sun.
Photos by Response Design
Many portable building manufacturers are extending their services by designing and building tiny affordable houses with their current equipment and experienced carpenters. One such company is actually a broker and dealer of the largest selection of portable buildings in the NW Arkansas, SW Missouri and NE Oklahoma area. Showcase Sheds & More sells portable storage buildings, portable storage sheds, cabins, greenhouses and now tiny houses like the Irish inspired Dara.
The Dara is a 200 square foot, plus sleeping loft, tiny house on skids. It comes with a full size bathroom, an on-demand water heater and a full kitchen with built in storage, aluminum brushed counters, microwave and stainless steel appliances. There is room for a two burner gas stove/oven that is not included with the house. The living room has a wall of windows, pine tongue and groove flooring and painted bead board. The exterior of the house is sided in western cedar with a galvanized metal roof, and the entire house is wired and plumbed with Pex tubing. Each Dara can be customized per the customer’s requests. Prices range from $16,000 to $26,950 and the company offers a few rent-to-own options. Each of their tiny homes can be build on-site, on a trailer or prebuilt and delivered to its final location.
Showcase also has a few cabin models and a darling Story Book Chalet which can be used as an office or a tiny house. The Story Book includes a 4 foot detachable deck and a custom storybook door. The cabins are also affordable like the 12×24 foot Lakeside Cabin that retails for just under $5,000 for the basic model.
Photos by Showcase Sheds & More