Jon's Cabin in Wisconsin
October 19, 2010

Jon’s Cabin in Wisconsin

Jon Giswold sent me some pictures of his cabin being built by an Amish company called Cabins To Go in Wisconsin. Jeff Cline the owner of the company just contacted me and said the base price for the 12 x 20 cabin is $18,000. Jon added electrical, plumbing and furnishings which are not included in that quote. I will let Jon tell you more about its final destination.

My cabin was built by a modest Amish community in north central Wisconsin. I had it delivered June 2010 and it is finished as of Oct 1, 2010. I had septic installed and a well dug and all that goes with that. Electric had to be established and phone service.

This was a completely undeveloped piece of land on the lake I was raised.

Now I have my own version of my childhood dream. What I learned in this process is that if you want something bad enough, you will make it happen. I have this now for my future and for my soul.

The cabin is 12X20, the porch adds another 8′ to the front which I screened in, and the loft is about a third of the footprint. I am in love with it.

Loft Bed


Living Area


View from loft

Porch View


Final setting

Cabin delivered on flatbed truck and than porch added

Cabin Pre-built at Cabins To Go and than relocated to final setting

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Tahira - October 19, 2010 Reply

I just bought the same cabin, and i am very excited!

    Kent Griswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    Please keep us posted on your cabin too, I would enjoy sharing it here also if you like.

      Tahira - October 20, 2010 Reply

      Will do! I am having trouble finding a contractor to move it. My contractor fell though. I am still hoping to get it moved this fall.

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    Did you buy from Cabins2Go? They were easy to deal with and wonderful. I went to their workplace and spent about 3 hours learning about how they construct their cabins. This is old world artistry. I am so proud to own this cabin. It was built with humility and such skill.
    Stay in touch with me about your cabin. Are you in Wisconsin?

      Jodi Malcom - January 23, 2012 Reply

      Lovely lovely lovely.

      The house is beautiful. I’m happy for you.

      Does Wisconsin have a black fly season?

        Jon Giswold - April 22, 2012 Reply

        Yes we have black flies and they are amazing. Ridiculous as a matter of fact. It happens twice a year.

PJ - October 19, 2010 Reply

I am in love, this is magnificent in every way. Just pure genius.

Tara - October 19, 2010 Reply

This is gorgeous, congratulations Jon on making your dream come true. Where did you get the kitchenette?

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    I got the kitchenette from Acme Kitchenettes.
    They were incredible to work with and I love this kitchen. I have recommended them to several people now. I would buy another one in a minute.

      Sarah L. - October 19, 2010 Reply

      I also love the kitchen, but where did you get the plate rack?

        Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

        The plate racks came from IKEA as did the couch. You can find them on the web. Very inexpensive and totally functional. In such a small space, function is everything. This is the best couch for the money and has storage for all the linens. I have slept on it and it is almost more comfortable than my bed in NYC.

          Abi - October 20, 2010 Reply

          Agreed – that is the same couch we have in out little apartment and it’s perfect. Love the storage, love having enough seating for 4 people (cozy-like, but we don’t mind) and having an extra bed for visitors.

Nan - October 19, 2010 Reply


I just played hocus focus on the overhead shot of the kitchen/living and the shot of the kitchen and things seem quite different. Is this the same cabin or just way different dates?

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    no – one shot was at night and the other was another shot during the day. The photo of the overhead was taking from the sleeping loft.
    I glad you like it enough to look closely.

MJ - October 19, 2010 Reply

Pretty much a dream cabin for anyone who likes this style…that would include me! Well done – I’m big on your philosophy that if one wants something enough, it can happen! Congratulations.

alice - October 19, 2010 Reply

Nice open layout. That screened porch is worth it’s weight in gold as a relaxing place to shelter from weather and bugs and a great place to sleep in hot weather. All that function and it looks good too.

kk - October 19, 2010 Reply

Hi, I also live in WI and am hopefully buying a little piece of land to fulfill my tiny cabin/house dream soon. I like the look of log cabins, but am wondering about the insulation. It seems that it would be good while the heat is turned on, but not hold heat well. I wonder how you would get a better insulation without ruining the beauty of the cabin and how the logs function with absorbing heat. Finally, I’m looking for about the same size cabin and wondering about how much it costs with the screened-in porch. Thank you for sharing!

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    The porch came with the cabin, I screened it in. I watched a builder in Florida create a FLORIDA ROOM they call it, where there is no chair rail to interrupt the view and I loved that. I screened in under the floor as Wisconsin in well known for bugs. Now I have doubled the floor plan and have given myself another room measuring 8X20. I just open the front door and have two rooms and a loft. It is ideal. I got the screen from Home Depot.

      kk - October 20, 2010 Reply

      How smart to screen under the porch! I never thought of it. Yes, it is a must, especially after this summer with a lot of rain.

Heather - October 19, 2010 Reply

This cabin is just perfect in every way. I love it too!! The screened-in porch is a must. The metal roof goes so well with the design. The loft looks very spacious compared to some other lofts. Am I correct in thinking the stairs to the loft are over by the kitchen? That seems like a better idea than having a ladder in the middle of the cabin. Very nicely done indeed. Thanks for showing us your special home!

Derrick - October 19, 2010 Reply

Is that a bathroom behind the pocket door? What’s in it?

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    shower pan 32X40, sink from IKEA and toilet. Simple. The door and the wall finishing was with car siding. Insulated and private.

Elizabeth Goertz - October 19, 2010 Reply

It looks like the wall near the stairs was expanded and a door added? Is the bathroom back there? Is there room for a laundry?
I would love to see a floor plan and a sketch of the mechanical s, just to see where every thing fits. Do you have a full bath?

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    I am going to draw the floor plan out and post it or have Mr. Griswold post it. I put the bath in the far corner under the loft. It measures 4 feet deep by 7 feet long. Inside there is a shower, sink from IKEA, toilet. The sliding barn door was constructed by Justin Erickson, my nephew who is a craftsman and an excellent carpenter. I had the vision but he had the skills to execute it.

mike - October 19, 2010 Reply

i like the staircase, how it’s tucked into the corner. much better than the ladders that are usually used…

Dayle Ann Stratton - October 19, 2010 Reply

It’s like a teeny version of a log cabin I once lived in at 9000 ft in the Colorado Rockies. Colder up there than Wisconsin. Wood heat only and it kept comfy. There was an electrical heater by the plumbing wall just in case, but the only time it came on was once when I got caught in a white out in the middle of winter and couldn’t make it home. These kinds of milled logs are interlocked, so there are no air gaps.

I like this layout, with the higher sides making the loft more usable. Looks like there might even be room for my loom in the loft. I think I’d extend the loft and make it the full length of the house, though.

wyndwalkr - October 19, 2010 Reply

In 1999 I had a cabin built and delivered from (different Amish company, I am in south central Wisconsin) and I loved it! I needed it for a getaway from business stresses. Mine was bigger, with an integral porch on one short end and 2 lofts with a catwalk between. It came with a ladder which i replaced with a ship’s style alternate stair, which I built myself. (I am a woman, by the way, age 44 at the time.) I had a wood stove and a privy (contained, pumpable) outside.

About heating, when I went there in late fall or early winter the place was bone chilling cold and I would get a roaring fire going. But it took several hours before those dead, cold logs of the cabin warmed up. But once they did, no problem keeping warm.

I sold the place several years ago and now it is for sale again. $39K and it sits on 2 acres of which the majority is steep wooded ravine. I don’t know if I should put this here, but it can be seen at

My heart aches knowing how much that place meant to me. But now the stressful business is sold, and I have a 945 sq ft house on 30 acres.


    Neil - October 21, 2010 Reply

    Wow wyndwalkr, I’ve been looking at your (former) cabin on the real estate web site, and it’s beautiful too! Did the bedroom over the porch get cold? I’m guessing that you didn’t have indoor plumbing, from the number of water jugs in the photos. How well did that work out?

    Looking at the photos of your cabin and Jon’s cabin, I’m getting some confidence that I could build something like that… hopefully it will happen next summer!

    andrew - January 8, 2012 Reply

    What is the name of the amish builder you used in central wi? We have some land in wautoma and looking for someone. Property is in a place where delivery of cabin not possible. Needs to be built on site. Any log cabin builder info would be helpful. Thanks!

Davidrc - October 19, 2010 Reply

Whoever did the conduit work is first rate. I Like the slightly industrial look it brings and eliminates the need of concealing the wiring in log structures. I’ll have to look up this company, Thank you for letting us see it.

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    Dalles Electric did the work, and I think they did an artful job. They were so mindful of the logs and how it would look. They took great care and pride in this job, as all of their work would be visible to everyone coming in. Thank you for the compliment. The racks on the wall for the plates and glasses came from IKEA and are in the same functional style to work with the conduit.

      Davidrc - October 20, 2010 Reply

      Nice to see the work of pros who take pride in their work, too much slapdash work going in what passes for ‘good enough’ for exposed. Looks like EMT based on the boxes and fittings I can get a good look at, easier to work with than rigid but you still have to know what your doing to make it look right. You did a great job on the place and obviously got the right people where needed as well. Sorry I keep harping on something that most wouldn’t even see, just nice to see something done right after seeing trash for too long. It’s a beautiful house and everything looks like it belongs there, as it should.

        Tim Mc - October 21, 2010 Reply


        You aren’t harping…in fact I was think the same exect thing. Even in these tough economic times there are too many ‘tradesmen’ who still continue to do ‘slapdash’ work…just good enough to pass inspection but obviously lacking in finese and overall pride. i once jumped all over en electrician ‘friend’ of mine who was roughing in our basement with EMT because the work was so horribly atrocious. His reply was something to the effect of ‘what do you’s going to be buried in the wall?’


Derrick - October 19, 2010 Reply

How are going to heat it?

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    I am using electric heat. I don’t plan on using it in the dead of winter. There was the option of a wood burning fireplace, but it would have consumed too much of the footprint. There has to be at least 18 inches of clearance from all walls to pass inspection. That would have eaten up the living area.

ginmar - October 19, 2010 Reply

Boy, I looked at that cabin site and those things are just wonderful! I wonder if the smaller cabins put little sleeping lofts over the porch? I’d so some more insulation on the roof, then cover it with nice unfinished wood paneling. Otherwise, it’s absolutely lovely.

Anne - October 19, 2010 Reply

Absolutely lovely! Loving the mix of old style building and modern elements in the decor. Truly wonderful.

gmh - October 19, 2010 Reply

Ohhhhh… Of all the tiny homes featured here, this is the one that truly meets my needs. I just keep gazing at the pics and drooling.
Some day, some day…

    Jon Giswold - October 19, 2010 Reply

    Thank you for your kind words. It has been like the movie FIELD OF DREAMS. It started out as a dream and the result is exactly what was in my head. I am thrilled.

Chris - October 20, 2010 Reply

Hi Jon, thank you for sharing your home with us. It is one of the most beautiful cabins that I have seen before. I am also interested to get a copy of the floor layout. Greetings from South Africa.

    Jon Giswold - October 20, 2010 Reply

    Nice getting greetings from South Africa. Amazing the outreach of this blog. I am visiting my cabin this weekend and would be happy to draw out the floorplan and submit to Kent for the blog.
    Greeting from NYC and from a slice of heaven in Wisconsin.

Cabaña prefabricada de madera con porche y altillo - October 20, 2010 Reply

[…] Más información sobre estos modelos en Cabin to Go. Visto en Tiny House Blog. […]

Mara - October 20, 2010 Reply

Fantastic Cabin, just wondering where you got that couch from & does it convert into a bed?

    Jon Giswold - October 20, 2010 Reply

    The couch is from IKEA and it is the easiest couch to put together. It folds out into a great double bed. Very very comfortable. I would recommend this to anyone. You can find it online but shipping is very pricey.

Charlotte - October 20, 2010 Reply

Dear Jon,
I have just stumbled upon this site and really love your new home.
I live in the UK, and until about 10 mins ago had not heard of this ‘tiny house’ movement. I think it’s wonderful.
I read there is a bath too which would be essential for me, and I love mezzanine type floors.
I think this might be a new dream for me!

    Jon Giswold - October 20, 2010 Reply

    Thank you for the post. I love the idea of simple. My new mantra is DREAM BIG – BUILD SMALL. The complete feeling I have with something so simple has amazed me. There are so many options now and styles. This one is perfect for where it is and for the lake it sits on.
    Thank you again and happy dreaming. Make it happen.

Pinar - October 20, 2010 Reply

Hi Jon;
So adorable!

I have a question. I could not imagine how the stairs go up. Is it possible to put another photo for the second half of the stairs?


    Jon Giswold - October 20, 2010 Reply

    Hey Pinar,
    There are three steps up from the main floor and then a right angle turn to the left and three more steps up to the loft. The photos are up to Kent, but I could send you photos to your email if you want. I am going there this weekend.

      Pinar - October 21, 2010 Reply

      That’ll be great Jon. Could you please send me the floor plan as well, if you can?

      I believe, you can see my email from the comments, can’t you?


        Jon Giswold - October 25, 2010 Reply

        will need your email to send floorplan

          Pinar - October 28, 2010 Reply

          Sent you an email.

jay - October 20, 2010 Reply

man — this right here begs to have a hammock slung across that open floor.

    jay - October 20, 2010 Reply

    Absolutely stunning home by the way. I love every thing about it.

      Jon Giswold - October 21, 2010 Reply

      Thanks Jay,
      I love it too. The hammock is a great idea and I love them. I will have a vintage glider on the front porch with the deck chair or possibly a swing. Old School and low key.

Wally Krause - October 21, 2010 Reply

looks great Jon, you must be very happy there! congratulations, Wally

    Jon Giswold - October 25, 2010 Reply

    You are going to have to plan a visit. It is right up your alley.

Kelly B - October 29, 2010 Reply

Love it – perfect size for one (or two). Keeps you grounded on what’t important – all the clutter we accumulate is not necessary. I wonder if you could customize something like that with barn doors like Woodstar Products has and “add them”? Thanks for sharing the great pictures.

    Jon Giswold - November 5, 2010 Reply

    We created a barn door inside for the bathroom – but the barn door for the front would be great too. Thanks.

Leigh lambert - April 30, 2012 Reply

Beautiful. You did a wonderful job finding furniture and fixtures.

Jimi - May 5, 2012 Reply

I have wondered about these tiny cabins for awhile now and find that yours is absolutely stunning in it’s simplicity and craftsmanship. Do they make a little larger size? I am a musician and have to have room for my gear. This would be an inspirational place to write and record my music. Congrats, this is a wonderful place.

JJ - October 26, 2012 Reply

Hey Jon, nice place. I’ve got a 12×34 cabin in SW WI and we really love ours too. I’m always looking for ways to make it more comfortable, can you tell me where you got your:
corner sofa
approx cost to tie electrical service in
approx cost for the well

I’d welcome the chance to have off line conversations with you, nice to keep in touch with a fellow cabin dweller.

Thanks JJ

Linton Wells - May 14, 2013 Reply

Hi, our Kentucky company Amish Cabin Company also offers pre-built Amish cabins and delivers them ready for same day use. Our cabins are made in an off-grid Amish facility on a Kentucky Amish farm, with heating provided by in floor radiant heated fueled by outdoor woodburning furnace and equipment powered by onsite generator. We build up to 14′ x 40′ pre-built cabins. We also make cabin kits and custom onsite built cabins. Please see for info or email or call 606-922-8401.

kayla - February 2, 2015 Reply

Can someone tell me where I can get floor plans? I absolutely love this little cabin!

Lawrence Buck - June 5, 2016 Reply

I’d love to speak to you about your project. This is exactly what I want to do on my own Wisconsin lake property. I have no idea how to get started.

MARK RECTOR - January 26, 2017 Reply

Self-propelled/mobile Log Cabin Hunting Lodge. I want to build a ‘hunting and fishing lodge’ on my flatbed truck. Does anybody know how to do this? From the outside it will look like a small log cabin, truck cabin will be painted camouflage. Behind the cab: (i) 8′ x 8′ log cabin on 8’x12′ bed; (ii) 4’x8′ open air duck blind with 1,800 pound hoist (for field dressing deer/elk). Interior: Two drop-down bunks, propane heater, 2,000 watt inverter, cookstove/oven, etc. Above the cab: an 8’x4′ storage or sleeper over the truck cab. Truck is a Chev. Cheyenne R3500 customized by Knapheide for Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Engineered payload: 14,000 pounds in the bed or on the rack. Rack is engineered to support 7 tons taking heavy loads up mountain roads without turn-around space for conventional truck + trailer rigs. This truck was (real price on bid contract) $30,650 in August, 1989. Not a spot of rust anywhere, still has the original WA-DNR teal paint job. Anybody who has suggestions please feel free to drop a note.

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