Ryo contacted me about his project in Northern California. Ryo has put together a shelter for a very small amount of cash and I think we can all learn from his experience.
Ryo has a very interesting blog and you will enjoy reading it. It is a journal of his experiences in building his hut, so make sure you go and visit it here. I’m going to let Ryo tell his story now.
This past summer, I bought 60 acres of vacant land in northern California, and have been living there part time since August. Sleeping in a tent was fine while it was warm, but as the weather turned colder and wetter, I decided I needed something bigger, warmer, and dryer. I knew I didn’t need or want much; just something big enough for me to relax, cook, and sleep in comfortably.
In keeping with my theme of “minimalist comfort,” I decided to go for something small, just 6 feet by 8 feet, though with some insulation for warmth, and windows for light. Of course, it also had to be sturdy enough to not collapse under the weight of snow. I looked at pre-fab sheds at hardware stores, but even the tiniest, most shoddily made ones cost $500-600, with no windows or insulation. Naively, I figured that I could build a nicer hut for under $300.
With only a rudimentary (and incomplete) design I put together using Google SketchUp, I began construction in late October when a couple of friends came out for a weekend to help with the raising, and then worked on it alone for another 7 or 8 days before it was ready to be moved into. I built a loft for my sleeping pad, which left all the floor open for use, and left enough space for me to put in a small counter table for my propane stove.
The actual cost has since ballooned past $500, but it’s mostly done, and has been more or less comfortable enough to live in through rain, snow, and 20 degree (f) nights. It’s not the prettiest thing, but I’m proud of the fact that I designed and built a nice, cozy and sturdy hut for relatively cheap, despite not having any formal training in carpentry or architecture.
Ryo’s hut is not quite finished as he still needs to finish off the roof, be sure and follow his blog to keep up with his progress. Thanks Ryo for sharing your story.