by Caroline Stilwell
This is our 24 x 14 foot shed being pulled up the narrow mountain road. It is paved, barely, and about the width of one good truck. The final resting place was a former potato field (1940-1950) and our little house was dropped in place with minimal damage. The house was placed on a gravel pad which we later reinforced with concrete footers and 4 x 6s.
We had purchased the 24 x 14 foot shed the winter before and had the inside modified. We enlarged the windows and added French doors in the back long wall of the cabin. The interior, walls, floor, and vaulted ceiling are wood.
We considered solar, but after much debate we decided to go on the grid for power. We did not a well, which would have been very expensive. So we have baseboard heat, lights, and an electric composting toilet. We bring water in for the kitchen, which has not been a problem, and supplement for washing and showering with a rain barrel. We built an outdoor shower, great for summer, but a bit too cold when it snows!! Winter showering is done at our friends’ house just up the road.
Above all we wanted the cabin to be easy and accessible to us as we aged. We were almost 65 when we bought the cabin and we want to be able to come and stay here as long as possible. So a loft was out and an outhouse might be a little uncomfortable at 80! The composting toilet, which has a fan to speed up the process, is working great and a source of wonder to our visitors. We are close to the road so we feel that we have years to look forward to enjoying the cabin.
We installed a kitchen counter and sink, which drains outside so we do not have any messy sloshing of waste water. We have a small fridge under the counter, a two burner electric hot plate and a much used electric skillet. Everything fits in the base cabinets or hangs on the walls.
The cabin has a living area at one end, dining area in the middle and kitchen, bathroom and sleeping in the other end. The sleeping area is currently a fancy electric air mattress but we are considering switching to a built in with a full size mattress. It will take up less room and allow storage underneath.
We have adequate storage with a cedar chest, storage in and above the bathroom and are going to add a storage box of sorts outdoors. Our next project is a deck to sit on and enjoy a view of those beautiful Appalachian mountains.