Hut 2.1

When designing Hut 2.0, I went back and forth on the dimensions. Zoning codes allowed for up to 120 square feet without a permit, but I was reluctant to go from Hut 1.0’s 48 square feet, all the way up to the maximum in one leap. After all, that seemed like a case of Biggerism, a pitfall I wanted to avoid since I am trying to strike a delicate balance between minimalism and comfort, according to an aesthetic I might call “Enoughism”. So I settled on a more modest 8ft by 12ft structure, with a total footprint of 96 square feet. While double the size of Hut 1.0, I figured that’s probably be enough.

Of course, the definition of enough, shifts depending on the circumstances. Hut 2.0 was designed for a single primary full-time occupant (me), but was also meant to be large enough to accomodate the occasional guest or two. For instance, the loft is big enough for my full size mattress, and comfortably sleeps two; a considerable upgrade over the 2ft-wide ledge in Hut 1.0. But beyond that, I didn’t give much thought to the possibility of sharing Hut 2.0 with another person beyond a hypothetical eventuality somewhere down the line.

This past week, ever since Kelly decided to come join me out here in the woods, I’ve been eyeing the structure with a new perspective. Also, with the roof done and the exterior structure largely set, I’ve been turning my mental focus more towards the interior, trying to decide how to lay out the different functional aspects of the cabin. Where would the stove go? Where would the kitchen go? Where would the toilet go? Where would we sit and hang out? Suddenly, a structure that seemed big enough a week ago, started to seem a little bit cramped. Yes, I could fit everything in there, but it would be a squeeze.

So I went back to the drawing board (well, SketchUp), and what you see in the picture above is the (preliminary) result. Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to make the “foundation” much larger than the planned structure –the floor beams are 16ft long– , leaving me with room for expansion. So, instead of leaving a 4×8 area exposed for a deck or porch as originally planned, I decided to extend the cabin by 3 feet, to a total of the maximum 120 square feet. The extension will house the toilet (a 3’x4′ enclosure) and most of the kitchen, leaving most of the remainder of the original 8’x12′ structure open. The additional space might also mean I can fill in the wall cavities with insulation, rather than try to eek out every cubic inch of space.

Rough estimates of the material costs for the extension come out to less than $150, and perhaps an additional 3 to 5 days of construction. The latter, actually, presents the bigger issue, since Kelly and I will want to finish the structure as quickly as possible and start living in it before it gets much colder. To mitigate the increased construction time, I’m planning on putting up an uninsulated false wall on the inside of the extension to wrap up the original 8’x12′ first and make it habitable, then work on the extension and take down the temporary wall when it’s done.

On a semi-related note, I recently started looking into chimneys, and was surprised to find out how expensive they are. Maybe the components I was looking at at Lowe’s were overpriced, but $75 for a 3′ section of chimney? And $250 for a chimney mounting kit that doesn’t include the actual chimney? Whoa. If that’s how much it really costs, I’m looking at another $400-500 just for the chimney, and not including the stove. That and the extension will certainly put me over the $2000 budget I started with, but then, that’s still a few orders of magnitude cheaper than most homes…

15 thoughts on “Hut 2.1

  1. I have a new wood stove bought in Arkansas 10 years ago for $125 never used, loocked up last week the same thing you did it will be cheaper to pay the gas bill this winter! Some day i will have a cabin like yours?

  2. R:

    Good write up. I have always admired the goal of flexibility in design and it would appear that you are adapting well to the changing environment. Good work. Let us know how your plans for heat evolve and how you plan to solve the chimney issue.


  3. Great ideas again. I’m in the same boat as far as chimney shopping. I think I’ll be going through the wall then just enough stainless chimney to poke above the eve a few feet. They say it should be 2 feet above the roof ridge but as you say that’s big bux!

    You can use cheap black stove pipe on the exterior but it will only last 2-3 years… might be a good solution for this winter.

    I’m awaiting your next post to see how you put the pipe through the wall. I’m still figuring that out.

  4. RYO, I don’t want to sound negative, but it seems your building methods and research came at a minimum when you started hut 2.0? From unconventional framing, insulation, size, heat, where you plan on placing features. Have you looked at or the many hundred or so web sites or the millions of people who have already successfully built a tiny house?

    It seems like you are kinda just building as you go.
    It is a great structure and I love it, just seems like you havent done any research?

    • If it seems like I’m making things up as I go, it’s because I am. That’s the whole fun of it. If people want to follow plans, that’s fine by me, but I personally enjoy improvising more than following in someone else’s footsteps.

  5. Chimney pipe is that expensive for a reason. And going to stovepipe that does not have the extra insulation but is too close to the exterior of your building is asking for a fire.

    If there’s a local fireplace store see if you can talk with them about what the minimum amount of chimney pipe needed would be and the safest ways to install and vent. (Take a copy of the design for the hut because they’ll need to know dimensions.) For a woodstove you can only have two 90 degree bends without creating a fire hazard from creosote build up. And you have to clear the roof by a certain height in order to make sure not so super heat the roof with the heat exiting the chimney. I don’t remember the average height, normally it’s dependent on the pitch of the roof. And, a fireplace store may be able to get you a better price than Lowes on quality chimney.

  6. I am laughing nicely at the exchange here between you and Jeff. My son-in-law plans things down to the 1/2 cent or last mm. When my husband decided to build his garage it started as a pole barn type carport and evolved “as he went” to a two car garage and then a three car garage (the animals were eating all the wiring in our vehicles and birds started nesting in the carport roof area). My son-in-law remarked to my daughter when he heard it would be expanded to a 3-car garage “how will he do it?” to which my 9 year old granddaughter said “Grandpa will go out and start and then he will have a garage” and that’s just what my husband did. So I guess there are those who plan and those who just go but I think plans are in the mind before they hit the paper so you have some idea of possibilities beforehand even if not the details. As long as you are comfortable with that great. My husband’s garage came out just fine and the rabbits have just had to eat up all my plants instead of the car wiring. I myself am looking at all the different heaters, stove tops and everything else I can think of before I build my tiny house which won’t be built till sometime in the future (my husband doesn’t want one).

  7. Living through an on-going kitchen re-model I’d say there is an important usability issue that has to be factored when two are tasked to occupy the same space and storage or work is limited to certain locations.
    There is a work triangle that occurs between the washing-up sink/counter-space (and storage below it), the stove or cook-top, and the food-pantry (or refrigerator), and you have to separate stuff so the work flow around those nexuses (sic?) doesn’t lead to constant collisions or a choke-point at a specific location. We had to move certain things – knives for instance – so they were more universally accessible and not fixed in a dominant-use corner that prevented dual-access…
    That is unless you WANT a lot of constant closeness and reaching around behavior.

  8. I grew up with only wood for heat and cooking till I was 16. The black pipe is fine and it is cheap. Just clean it out as needed. In my case that was 3 or 4 times a year but we burned 8 to 10 cords of sappy pine a year. In the 12 years in that house we probably replaced half the pipe sections over the years. The double wall stuff reduces the chance of you getting burned on the pipe in exchange wasting heat by keeping it in the chimney. Also you need to put a damper inline w/ the pipe. #2 It is used to choke back the stove and reduce the burn rate if the stove gets to hot. You can also use the damper to make the stove burn slowly at night.

    Have fun.

    I know nothing about these guys #1 except that they come up in a search.


  9. Before we started our cabin I checked with the county for local codes…with out water and electric we could build up to 200 sq ft…that’s inside dims…so I set our perimeter at 11 x 20..with 6″ walls that gives us 190 sq ft plus the sleeping loft.

    I installed a wood stove in our primary home a few years back and the stove pipe alone was $600…so I knew it was going to cost a bit…Single wall blackpipe inside gives more heat and is cheaper.

    you can see pics on the small cabin forum

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