Buildings under 200 sf

Started by jraabe, July 10, 2005, 10:07:46 AM

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This is a link to an online article about a very cute tiny summer cabin built in Canada. I thought folks on this forum might be interested.
I hope it's ok to share it in this way.


hi jpatti, you rock!  i was just browsing a place called little house on a trailer, its in northern calif.  same idea.  after finding my building permit would run us about $20,000 i was looking for a option until we could manage the permit fee and build too.

i went back into this thread to re-think what we are doing, and was amazed to find your post.  thank you so much.

paul s

has anyone ever buit the wiining entry or the second place one.  would like to see photos o the irst place one  mostly the interior.


Woodsprite your build looks awesome.  I once in a while check your site , i guess you have been progressing..nice job.


This is pretty cool....add a little more space, like 4m x 4m and it could be luxurious. 


Don't know if these have been mentioned yet & I can't say I like the looks, but in reading some of this thread, folks mentioned the concept of the rv type structure to get around building code obstacles. I believe the architects put these cabins on wheels so they could get around the building codes in Okanogan County. I think it was something about building in a flood plain, but am not sure on that.




soomb Nido "Bird's nest" a young designer from Finland.
Live- Phoenix, Relax- Payson

Solar Burrito

Here's an update on our 200 square foot cabin. It's mostly done (a little more done than this picture from last year). It's 200' minus the deck you see here.

You can read more about our cabin project here, and watch a few videos. I used this countryplans site to learn how to build it.

Small Shelters, Off Grid Living, and Other Neat Stuff



John Raabe

None of us are as smart as all of us.

John Raabe

OK, the point has been made. Thanks for your input and your interesting design but don't overpost the same links as you wear out the message.

There was a design, I thought it was by Les Walker (American Shelter) in the late 70's, but it may be in Lloyd Kahn's "Tiny Homes" book. The idea is for an "inside out house" that had a tiny core house with sleeping quarters but the mechanicals were all positioned on the outside and the roof panels over the kitchen and bathing areas folded down and locked up when leaving the camp. Everything was out in the open and living was outside most of the time - Gypsy type living. There wasn't room for chairs inside. This was a very compact design and would work as a small trailer.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

John Raabe

Here are some solutions to the 200 sf limit that are being done as kits and prebuilt designs.

None of us are as smart as all of us.


Hi. I'm posting to this thread since it seems to largely concern the topic of my question. If a mod thinks that it is more appropriate (or would get more/better answers) elsewhere, I invite relocating it. I want to build a simple, 192 sq ft (12' x 16') multi-purpose, one-room building on some off-grid land I own in the Virginia mountains. Building is to serve as temporary shelter (camping-style; I currently have an old, beat-up travel trailer there that has become hopelessly mouse-infested) for the next couple of years, then long term storage. The roof is to be 12:12 gable with the ridge beam on the 16' dimension. I would like to have a partial loft (no knee walls) with portable ladder access. Metal roofing is desired, with a high probability of adding some photovoltaic panels, post construction. I intend to put the building on concrete piers. I would like an 8' wall using 2 x 4 studs 16" OC, and to use T111 for sheathing and siding. I want to build something that will last more than a few years with adequate maintenance, but economy of construction is essential. I intend to do the final design myself, but I would like to buy a good set of plans to crib from for a building reasonably similar to what I am planning as a sanity check. From a brief perusal of the Country Plans site, I've tentatively concluded that the Victoria Cottage plans would serve this purpose. If there is a plan set better suited to this application, I'd appreciate some guidance. Other observations and comments are welcome, however, the basic parameters of my building are somewhat fixed, for a number of reasons relating to the site and situation. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.

John Raabe

I would suggest the 12' wide version of the Little House plans would be closer to what you want to build than the Victoria plans. For your project I would suggest using deeper concrete piers to get below frost line and you may have to size the ridge beam for the local snow load, but you would have most of what you need (and it's a less expensive set of plans).

John R
None of us are as smart as all of us.


Fantastic. Exactly the advice I was looking for. Thanks!

P.S., bonus materials look very useful as well - ordered.


I have posted the details of this build  at   on this site. 

It was a lot of fun to build this little house during the summer of  2014.   Its intended use was a place to call home base and maybe stay a night or two a week  at my in-law's  orchard where my wife works, but it turned out to be much more permanent than that.   We have actually been there almost full time since July of 2014 with the exception of the month of December.    The dimensions are  8 by 16  with a loft that is  a little more than half of the total footprint.     It does not have a bathroom because we are able to use the  orchard bathroom which is close by.    We do have a portipotti  for middle of the night needs!    There is a 14k vented gas heater installed which turns out to be way more than necessary - very toasty in the loft!   

Since the photos, I have installed a sink with a pump faucet that is connected to a 5 gallon water jug.    Don't hesitate to ask any questions!   jt

John Raabe

A handsome project and a very workable small house. Congrats!
None of us are as smart as all of us.


Jason the cabin turned out great.  Have you ever figured out a ball park figure of the cost?


Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


thanks guys..   we spent around 10k altogether..     I was trying to keep a detailed account.. but  i tend to lose interest in things like that. get back from the  lumberyard and stuff the receipt in my pocket as I quickly get back to work  :)      and then I say,,  "next time I will be a little more organized..  "    maybe that will happen next time!  :)   jt

paul s

exactly how big is the gas stove for cooking, even the model and mfg would help me, great job