Judith’s Pole Barn Cabin

It is going to be my full time home as soon as I get the propane hooked up. Right now I live next door with my parents during the work week and at the cabin on the weekends, as my original farmhouse burnt down. This cabin is on my farm property. It is 10 x 12 with a 4 foot overhang porch. It is heated with a small woodstove and I have more than enough wood on my property.

The cabin is insulated inside and out with isoboard, and the siding is 12 inch rough lumber board and batten. The roof is metal and is insulated conventionally with battens.

The cabin was built in the pole barn fashion, not framed. I started it in September ‘11 and was putting the roof on in December. The hardest part was getting the framework square and it is not 100% square. The floor is a raised platform suspended from the poles, it is rough lumber with isoboard and vapour barrier over, and then plywood and clickflooring. The space under is gravel with a plastic barrier over it.

side view of cabin

The 4 foot loft over the porch is used for storage and there is a 6 foot bedroom loft on other side. The kitchen is a converted cabinet with an RV sink and 2 burner propane store, there is a closet/pantry beside it. There are drawers mounted between the upper floor joists which hold all my dishes.

The rest is living space. All the furniture is folding except the bench on the wall which is high enough to be either seating or a table, and the space underneath is good for the dog beds. The railing for the loft is rebar with a shelf, above and the door on the wall is all shelving. The access to that loft is a barn-style wall ladder made of 2×4, below which is the doggy door, and behind hangs a shoe bag containing slippers, a whisk broom, and dog brushes, etc. There are also hooks here for winter coats. I have a wire trellis suspended above the woodstove for drying clothes and herbs. I heat water and soup on the woodstove.

interior of cabin

The cabin has eavestroughs and rainbarrels and I am building an outdoor solar shower by the outhouse which will use rainwater. I also plan on digging a root cellar directly in the ground near the cabin. A propane fridge will be housed in the back lean to, which shelters firewood, tools, generator and a small propane bbq.

I have no plans for electricity beyond maybe a small solar setup. Right now, I have battery lights in the bedroom and solar rechargeable lights and oil lamps downstairs.

interior of cabin 2

The outhouse is not dug, it is a sawdust composter, just a bucket whose contents is buried into the horse manure pile when full.

Can’t think of anything else right now, other than I loved building this and that something of this size is doeable by anyone with basic carpentry skills and a little help from friends!


24 thoughts on “Judith’s Pole Barn Cabin”

  1. Very nice, it is interesting to see alternative construction methods in use and this looks to have turned out very well.

  2. I love this! Is there any way to see larger photos of the interior? It looks like you’ve been so creative with your use of space & I’m actively looking for space-saving interior details for my own cabin, storage & kitchen area particularly.

    • check my website for more photos. If you have any questions ask me here. Most of my storage is in the ceiling between joists (old drawers) and baskets on shelf. Extra clothing in storage loft in Rubbermaid bins.I found out right away that anything edible has to be mouseproof, so all dry goods are in seals jars and canisters. Makes you be a better housekeeper, LOL.

  3. If there is one thing women need to realize, as a carpenter myself, there is very little in brute strength that’s needed in carpentry. Women can do anything that’s required, it’s hard work for sure but any woman that really wants to, can build anything they set their mind to. I’ve seen scrawny men with half an ounce of common sense who were damn fine carpenters. Pick up a book and volunteer at habitat for humanity if you want to get a better feel for some of the basic skills but for sure go for it if you want to do it.

  4. Good job, Judith! Practical, warm and enough. I really like the ladder (along with much more, but the ladder struck me for some reason).

  5. I just want to say, I think what you have made is AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL.

    I want to build my own also, but haven’t gotten the belief and trust that I can. I am looking at working on builds so I can learn. But maybe the best way is to just go do it! Buy a book and go!

    Really, great job, I am so impressed. It looks wonderful.

  6. What a beautiful cabin! I wouldn’t change a thing; the builder’s loving touch is seen throughout. And the design incorporates what I have long considered the minimum width and depth dimensions for a comfortable, permanent structure. Good job! (Also, as a dog-lover/owner, I have to echo some previous comments: a dog or two makes even a small house a home.)

  7. Judith thank you, thank you, thank you. Not only for the indoor pics but the in depth explanation of the build. I’m thinking post and beam for mine but may go with natural logs after reading the first article and yours. It looks fantastic, and beautiful dogs

  8. Thank you for all the complements! I actually have 4 dogs so a little cramped at times, but I have huge outdoor space. I am currently building a large dog abode with a living roof, and adding a deck to the cabin for more outdoor comfort. Just got to scratch that building itch once you get started!

  9. Great job on a substantial-looking cabin. People are right to encourage others to just go ahead and build. Many years ago I did a lot of carpentry, picking up tips from watching people work. I also re-wired an old house, with the aid of a book and the wiring code manual. Now, with the internet, a person can watch instructional videos. Soooo, don’t be afraid to try, as Judith did.


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