Note: As with most things, prices vary depending on my mood, your bank account, and available materials, to say nothing of size and features desired. Still, figure an 8' x 12' cabin (the size of Lori's and The Blue Room pictured below) coming in at $18,000 and going up (or down) from there. The "Potomac cabin" seen below with rusted metal siding and loft, would be close to $22,000. Remember these are "commissioned art pieces", one-of-a-kind custom built for you.
the Smith Cabin at its new home
Forklifting it into place
Lori's Cabin: In Her Own Words
I was in the market for a wall tent when I came across Finn and the cutest little cabin I ever saw. Finn was an acquaintance, so I asked him what the structure was. It was positioned up on a trailer and he'd obviously just pulled up at the Saturday craft market where I was headed to sell my lavender goods.
Finn's response; "It's a tiny little house, you should step inside."
Remember when Dorothy ran into the snake oil salesman on the road who later turned out to be the Wizard of Oz? This was me that day...I was in the market to find me that day six years ago, and this cabin has been part of my journey, but better still it has become my home, a place where I have found myself.
I bought the cabin as a playhouse for myself and as shelter; the only shelter and shade to be had on a 20 acre parcel of land in the Mission valley. For a year prior, my then husband, the two dogs and myself would continue our hand at trying to subdue the acreage I was able to purchase with money my mother left me on her death. It was difficult that first year. It was an alfalfa field, wide open to every element, not a lick of shade from even one tree, no out buildings, nothing. I used to set up a triangle piece of canvas much like a Bedouin tent next to the creek for all of us to crawl under, hide from the 100 degree sun and have lunch.
Once I had purchased the cabin, it sat out front of our house in town for a couple months before we could coordinate moving it up to the land. It was that brief period of time that I came to understand the luxury of having a 'room of one's own'. I would sit out there for hours, reading, crafting lavender, inviting my friends to stop in and have tea at my playhouse. Meanwhile, Finn was building me another; a basic shell I could place in the backyard that I could fill with the back stock of my expanding lavender business. I spent many hours out there in my studio. And our little family would go to the cabin on the weekends.
Once the cabin was situated on the land (and when you commission one from Finn, I highly recommend you request the moving team of Gary Delp of Heritage Timbers and Finn himself - honestly, it was entertainment and fun that is rarely encountered but long remembered) the entire dynamic of the place changed. We could cook lunch, we could nap on the single bunk, we could spend the night, sheltered from the dew, mosquitoes, roving coyotes, and even winter winds. But one of my favorite things was the shade cast by even a small building out on that prairie. With it set next to the creek, after 2pm the block of shade grew long as the day progressed. So we set farm chore schedules akin to the Nearings of the 50's and were rewarded with long cool cabin-cast shade, the song of the creek and gazes of the grand Mission Mountains through lazy-lidded eyes in the waning of the day.
Lifetimes have occurred in the years since I acquired the cabin; a divorce after 17 years, leaving my house and gardens in town, a massive crop loss, a mid-life crisis... I have lived in many apartments but have never neglected to visit my cabin for an overnite stay. For awhile, when I could not have my dog in a couple of the apartments I rented, the cabin became the place where I got my doggie fix.
And now it turns out that the first home I ever bought just happens to be this 7x12 one room cabin. When the shit hit the fan; my back stock lavender dwindled as did any and all surplus income, and then I was evicted from my apartment, it dawned on me that as it was all bought and paid for (Thanks Mom!), the cabin was the only thing that made sense. My religious weekend sojourns to it had proved to me that I could exist there. I had downsized my entire life, become quite used to living with less with each apartment I rented. So in October 2012 I moved in. And I realize, that I have not been this happy and content for some time. This is my home sweet home.
I measured the inside when I was trying to figure out the way my necessary things would fit in there. At 6.5 x 11.5 feet it is just shy of 75 square feet. She is, with her arched roof, 6 feet tall. The slight arch makes even taller folk than my 5 foot stature feel comfortable. The wood that lines her insides is warm toned and Finn gave all the nail holes exacting attention with little half round wood caps. There are ample shelves, and storage space neath the bed. The single bunk is nestled at one end, next to a big window and has it's own skylight. There is another skylight above the kitchen. A small wood stove tucked into a corner, is, in winter, more stove than this space needs. Even on a 10 degree day, it warms to 85 degrees in a couple hours. When I let the fire die, heat holds at 60 degrees for hours on end.
I cook marvelous meals on the 2 burner propane stove. I wash dishes in the bathroom size sink with water I haul in. It drains into a bucket under the sink. I use the grey water on my trees. There is ample storage under the sink. I utilize a cooler for a fridge. I have a bucket system toilet in another outbuilding.
The small footprint of it is located in a large swale, close to a small perennial creek. It its obvious that the wild things rule here. And I would have it no other way. I maintain a low and quiet profile as much as possible to avoid disturbing those who were here long before me. And to bear witness to Nature. The cabin with its windows to every direction, including up is like a hunting blind. I see a lot and am unseen.
What I notice most since I began visiting 7 years ago is that I can no longer abide noise - white noise especially. Trains, traffic, tv, clanging pipes, forced air heaters, most electric gadgets, ticking clocks, dripping faucets, buzzing space heaters...my cabin has none of it. I have traded them all in for; a crackling fire on a cold Montana winter's night, the creek outside the door, a caroling coyote chorus running about the valley, a multitude of birds, and occasionally my dog going ballistic at an errant mouse up in the ceiling...
Lori Parr, writing to you from a lone prairie in St Ignatius, MT