There is in every American, I think, something of the old Daniel Boone – who, when he could see the smoke from another chimney, felt himself too crowded and moved further out into the wilderness. Hubert H. Humphrey
People are buying pieces of land in the wilderness and putting cabins on them in a very economical and creative way. I unexpectedly was able to be a part of this great adventure. For under $20,000 you can create a great living space that will have everything you need.
In October of this year, I was smack dab in the middle of renovating my house at Montauk State Park to be a terrific place for trout fishermen to stay the weekend. I had the goal of sleeping 8 to 10 people comfortably and creating a place that exuded wilderness and peace. The house needed a shed so I went shopping at a place where the Amish make sheds and cabins. They had a 14 by 24 cabin that was a repo and the price was wonderful. The complete cabin shell was only 6600 dollars. It was bare bones so I decided to purchase it, and create a total living space.
I hired an excellent construction person to bring my vision of a warm and inviting space in the wilderness to life.
First, we had to decide how to make a complete and independent living space with a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bath in a 14’ by 24’ space. When you are creating a living space, just as you are creating any other work of art, you need to focus on the mood of the space you want to create. As any interior designer knows, color palette is very important. Color creates a mood. I decided I wanted the place to look warm and inviting, so I decided on a warm color palette of fall colors including brick red, gold ochre, and a variety of shades of brown and beige. Once a color palette is decided on, you can start shopping at thrift stores and flea markets and have the creative fun of finding items that fit into your color scheme. There are surprising finds that are very economical. I found several fisherman paintings and interesting statues that fit in with that particular color palette. The cost was very cheap for these décor items and if I would stick to the colors and theme, I knew I could utilize them in the space. The fisherman, the vase, and the wilderness table in the photo all cost approximately together under $25.00. Interior designers find interesting things in thrift or antique stores.
For some décor items such as rugs or curtains, I ordered from one of several different cabin décor places such as Black Forest Décor or Way or Wayfair.
Electric was an important component of the finished project. Intercounty Electric came out and put a new telephone pole beside the cabin for 300 dollars. The electric box had been installed before I purchased the cabin, so it was a matter of putting in light fixtures in strategic places and connecting them. Once the cabin was well insulated, I purchased an electric fireplace from Wal Mart for heat.
We decided on what area would be the kitchen, so we decided to put laminate flooring in that area, and linoleum flooring in the rest. We used an interesting 4 by 8 wooden siding to come half way up on the walls in the living area. A bunk bed with a full bottom was used with cabin themed comforters, and a single bed in the loft area completed the sleeping space. When you are creating a complete living space, you can vary in the décor of the separate bathroom space. I decided on a color on a cool color palette for the bathroom and a bear theme. Because we have had black bear sightings, I found a great bear picture and ordered a bear themed shower curtain.
The kitchen area required setting up a sink area and my construction person created a great cabinet and sink area. I purchased a kitchen island to separate the kitchen area from the living area.
Purchases of furniture were sometimes made from Craigslist. I wanted the kitchen to be an area separate from the rest of the cabin. Guests could use a refrigerator and microwave and do their own dishes as well.
Guests can sit on the front porch and enjoy a relaxing evening after a day of fishing. They can also sit on a deck with a beautiful view. Creating a house from a shell has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I encourage you to create your own place in the woods and either enjoy it yourself or have the wonderful experience of hosting others.
This article was written by Sharon Jeffus, designer, artist and author. You can go to her website at visualmanna.com. Construction was done by S and S Decks and More located in Salem, MO.