Max’s Cabin in Washington

Guest Post by Max Magick

I bought my property in early May 2011. One third of an acre in a town in Pend Oreille County, Washington for $13,000. I am only about 500 yards away from the beautiful Pend Oreille River, but do not have a view of the river.

I had my cabin bulit in May/June of 2011 while I was clearing the property which had an old and dirty shed on it. My builder was Joseph Birky of Birky’s Better Built Barns LLC based in Clayton, WA. Here his website: I highly recommed him and his work.

The cabin is 10ft wide and 20ft long, has a 6ft porch, a 10 X 14 ft living space and two 10 X 6 ft sleeping lofts reached by custom built wood ladder. The cabin is a 2 X 6 construction, is R-21 insulated in the walls and ceilings, and is finished with cedar inside with a 3/4 inch redwood laminate flooring. The floor is insulated as well.

The little green shed next to the cabin is an 8 X 10 ft storage shed with a 8 X 4 ft lofted storage space that houses mainly my Loveable Loo compost toilet, miscellaneous supplies, and garden tools. The shed was also built by Joseph Birky. Both buildings turn key with delivery and set up costs at approximately $12,000. The cabin about $10,500 and the little green shed about $1,100.

So in total my two building tiny house project, including land, clearing the land, and gravel foundations for both buildings had a price tag of about $27,000.

The cabin is my holiday and meditation retreat about 25 miles north of my home in Eastern Washington State, North of Spokane, WA.

I am off the grid, collect rain water, have a compost toilet, and have a kerosene heater if I visit my cabin in the winter to stay warm.

I use candles and wind up LED flash lights for light and reading and a wind up radio for entertainment. 🙂

In the summer, I use a camping shower to shower or I take my car or bike, which I keep in my storage shed, to go to a very nice nearby community center which has showers, a swimming pool, saunas, and steam rooms. It is called the Camas Center for Community Wellness and is run by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, here the link to their facebook page:

I would love to connect with other Tiny House Lovers from the area and show and share my place with them and visit at their places if they have tiny houses themselves.

I love tiny cozy houses 🙂 and I love this blog. I have been a follower and reader for many years and you inspired me to finally go tiny myself after many years of just day dreaming about it 🙂

The following song “You” by Gold Panda represents the energy that I personally associate with my tiny house and tiny living.



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38 thoughts on “Max’s Cabin in Washington”

  1. My folks live near Diamond Lake. They have a friend who lived in a tipi for a while while building his first cabin many years ago.

    We thought of putting a mini cabin on their property as a guest house. What sort of hoops did you have to jump through with the county?

  2. Thank you for sharing your own tiny house story. Your place looks cozy and the setting is beautiful. I am fascinated by the tiny house movement, but I always wondered about the cost to purchase a piece of property on which to place a tiny house. My biggest concern is the sleeping loft because the older I get, the less feasible climbing up and down a ladder becomes. Other than that, I’d love to find a small quiet plot of land and get my own tiny house.

    • Mary Jane where there’s a will,there’s a way!There are alternatives to having a loft. This blog is a fine example,keep visiting it! You can have a built in made with storage underneath to maximize space. You will find an answer to your concern to make your wish a reality! Keep the faith!

      • I have been in old barns that have or had ‘manual’ cranked lifts!! With the correct gearing moving a 200 or more person from the ground and down is quite simple. While the lift is up! It could be used as a small closet for the loft, or what ever! Lofts using ‘Murphy’ bed concepts can be quite roomy! Or less Claustrophobic!! ‘I say; Cluster phobic the fear of all small spaces with junk! Good Junk, but not needed to survive in the wild junk!!

        Other concept I’ve seen but only on large RV is a expanded room that can be moved once again by hand that can stay closed or opened!! I saw this in a 1940 something Mobile home of unknown

        I’m not a builder, of anything, just an old innovator, who likes past innovations and promote others’ to be innovators: in all their works on Earth! We need you and if you are an inventor, don’t stop because I will innovate your invention! Promise!

        Gene Landrum, Author and PhD. in Quantum Theory of Everything!!

  3. Beautifully built cabin. Loving the porch and the lifestyle you lead when staying there! It’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle.


  4. Super cozy and affordable getaway! Thanks for sharing specific info on costs of building…and the song is very cool too.

  5. I bought a place in Metaline Falls to retire to, but alas the economy has done me in and I can no longer consider retirement. Hope you enjoy your place for many years as it is just drop dead beautiful up there in the forgotten corner!

  6. Thank you all for your positive and supportive comments and feedback. I very much appreciate it. I am happy and grateful that I had this opportunity through Kent and Tiny House Blog to share some of my inspirations and creativity with you all. This is actually my main intention in life in general, to share the Love and Inspiration that I am fortunate to have and inspire others to realize that they can do the same and even more. Like Gonzo said above where there is a will (or a dream) there is a way, even if that dream is very tiny and seemingly distant in the beginning or at the moment.
    Keep dreaming and following the call of your Joy and Happiness and take the daily practical steps you can and you will get there.
    It is never too late to start following your passion and what you really want to experience in Life.
    Keep the Faith!

    • Max; Great Goal, keep the faith, and you will never fail on Earth! Keep the Faith of One God, with many names, spelled differently, but still the same and you will not fail for an eternity!! Gene Landrum, PhD Quantum Theory of Everything!! Read heed and believe!! Everything is possible with the One God, and Quantum!!

  7. I think these are a good idea. No big mortgage payment to be saddled with for 20 to 30 years, energy efficient, low maintenance. We have an old house, which was inherited from my girlfriends parents. This is in need of a lot of repairs, not being a big house, it is costly to try to keep warm. I’d rather have something half of this size. Ideally I’d have one of these houses you are showing.

  8. Max,
    Kudos to you for following your dreams. It is very encouraging to see a number of folks right here in my own back yard 20 miles north of Spokane, sharing a common interest.
    I’ve been living in an off grid 14×20 cabin for 2 years. I use a small gasoline generator–not green but an unfortunate necessity for now when my small array of solar panels and bank of 4 batteries do not get enough sun. I collect rain water and have a wood stove for heat, cooking and hot water. I work full time which is the real challenge–trying to compelte my time consuming chores around someone elses time schedule.
    The biggest issue I have dealt with is the Northeast Tri County Health district. They went too far and lost my cooperation by threatening to condemn my cabin and evict me if I did not put in a septic system. I don’t generate enough compost for my large garden as it is. They were not impressed with my argument that “absent some credible showing that what I am doing harms or threatens the public, I decide, within the bounds of my private property what is waste and what is a resource.” They have finaly backed off after I told them the price of the easement they tried to sneak into their rules (which we agree to follow and become bound by once we apply for a permit) would be the cost of the unwanted and unneeded septic system.
    Because I am a creative type I love the challenge of trying to figure out how to make this off grid life style more convenient, comfortable and fit around working. I would be delighted to hear from others.
    Dennis Patterson

    • I want to put a tiny home on my property, How hard is it in Newport Wash. Being on wheels I wouldn’t think they could do very much.. Any help with this would be appreciated.

      Thanks Laura

  9. Nice setting.. I just feel bad about the old building. It had such character. Maybe should have saved it as a second homesite or garden shed? Part of living green is preserving what is here. The wood itself could tell a story. I think to eleiminate something because it is old it the problem in the world. Why should things be new?
    I think the only fix I would make on the place is the front doors.. study the surroundings then make the front door inviting and unique.. not something from Home Depot that was on clearance..

  10. We too are working on a “get away” which we hope will one day become our permanent home and a spiritual retreat. We are just about 4.5 miles NW of Newport. We purchased our land about ten years ago and its really been taking shape over the past four years. We had Pitts Well Drillers do our well – awesome crew to work with AND we got LOTS of fresh water without having to go too deep. So far we have our foundation work done….but after looking at some of the links on this site, we are considering a 12 ft add on before we continue work this summer. We love the joint venture of ideabox and ikea! Those plans have been inspirational as well. Thanks Max for sharing a part of your journey…

  11. Is $13,000 for a third of an acre the going price now for land over(I live in Western WA)? Seems a bit steep for undeveloped property. However, I think you got a great price for your cabin and shed. I am glad that you are realizing your dream.
    Nice article.

  12. Greetings Max,
    Beautiful space. I can feel the serenity. Your passion for life is evident in your post, space, and response above. I agree whole heartedly that it’s never to late to follow your passion while discovering what’s meaningful and passing on inspiration to others at the same time.
    I also love this blog for bringing people and their beautiful small spaces together.
    with gratitude,

  13. Max. Place looks great. We to purchased your exact building from Birky’s but got the pitched roof. Two summers ago, with the help of my uncle we framed in a small bathroom in the back left corner and installed wood vanities from home depot as kitchen cabinets. We put a counter top on the top and installed a sink and stove made for an RV. We purchased a two panel solar system and am able to run a small fridge, lights and a ceiling fan. We are on 20 acres on top of a mountain in sandpoint idaho with a fantastic view of sweitzer. We have a 55 gallon drum we pump water from the local fairgounds into and use a motorcycle battery to power our water pump. We pump water into a propane heated shower we have hooked into a tree oit back. We also use the propane to heat the stove. We bought a 30 gallon RV portable storage waste container (on wheels) and piped the toilet from the bathroom under the shed to it and about every 2 weeks we roll it out to a remote site on our 20 acres and dump it. Like you we have all of the comforts of home. We have about $7000 invested in the building and all of the extras. We bought the property 8 years ago for 40 grand. So we have about $47 grand invested in our 20 acre retreat. Next we are picking up a birky built outhouse to house the shower unit until we can find a unit small enough to fit in the 4X5 bathroom. Would love to hook up with you and compare notes. We will. E in the area until august 3.

  14. So I’m more curious what your counties outlook is on the tiny cabin living? Our county does not allow building one. Shhhhh……It doesnt fall into the size requirement category, off the grid water, septic, nor power are allowed. Does anyone have information on this that I’ve missed?

    Flyin Under the Radar

  15. Hello Max,

    I spoke to your builder Joe Birky, seems like a great guy. I have not seen any updates recently on your home…How is it going? I’m in the Spokane area and have two small off-grid cabins…I’m curious how many others you have made contact with?

  16. Where is the kitchen? I’m looking at a 12X20 with the lofts. I had already planned on a different structure for the bath but where did you put your kitchen?

  17. I loved your article and am hoping to find my own place to call home in the eastern part of Washington later this year. I’m in the beginning stages of researching the laws and regulations for building off the grid.If anyone has had any experience with building in spokane county or the surrounding areas please reach out I’d love to hear about your experience.

  18. …… Just to prevent future crimes to decent people wanting to go off the grid and who may move into dangerous predatory crime communities filled with government corruption, like where I live in NE Washington. I am in a rural area in Ferry County (very close to the Canadian Border).

    I have been targeted for ongoing surveillance burglaries, vandalism, pet torture and poisoning, including drugging and a hip fracture while unconscious/asleep this year. I’ve also been poisoned with drug, chemical or biological agent(s) which produced rare blood antibodies and an incurable disease that requires expensive IV treatments to try to put it into remission (this illness, Microscopic Polyangiitis, is known to be caused by Levamisole, a drug used to “cut” other drugs with, including 70% of the cocaine trafficked in this country)…..

    It is very dangerous for people to move into some areas in Washington state because of the terrible organized criminal activities involved in rural areas and the victimization of unknowing people coming into these areas. There has been known people involved in drug trafficking for years and years here… and people involved in crimes and covering them up get promoted and rewarded with government jobs and into high positions, while victims like me get persecuted and harassed by law enforcement. They can steal everything valuable you own, in ongoing burglaries for years in Ferry County.

    I have to hire a house-sitter whenever I leave the house, even for very short time periods.
    Also, My Seattle high school social studies instructor and the debate team coach became an attorney in Okanogan County (next to Ferry County) and he said the drugs are even worse there than they are in Seattle.

  19. What kind of hoops did you have to go through in Newport to live in this? I hear they don’t like tiny homes. And I want one


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