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Forest Cabin Marlene under the Construction – interview with a skilled DIY builder

Interior under the construction

Where are you building your Cabin Marlene? (a type of building site- sloping/forest/meadow, not address, just country if you want)
In the forest! We had to chop down trees, Make firewood out of them. It was on top of a mountain on my dad’s land. It was the land of our grandparents who used to have all sorts of animals, so I’m sure our grand-dad would be proud

Have you been choosing between more our designs?

I’m not sure i get the question sorry 🙂 
I dug through a lot of plans on the website. It was THE missing push for such project to happen. We ended up modifying a lot of design in the plan to fit better our preferences

Are you living in the cabin permanently or it´s the vacation house?

No! It’s just a cabin to wind off on the week-ends. Sadly, we can’t go now because of the pandemic, and are required to not see family.

OSB sheathing serves as a wind bracing

Have you been building it to yourself (DIY) or with some professional help?

By ourselves! I am with 2 of my brothers, and it required a LOT of research. Youtube has a huge amount of information; the Book “How to Build a Tiny House” helped us a lot… We also asked for advice from a lot of people.

What became the most challenging thing for you during the whole process?

Disagreements. As we were 3 on it, we had of course a lot of disagreements. Either on Design choices, technical choices, where to spend money on… I think we learned a lot on about teamwork!

Another challenge is that everyone has different ways to do it! Don’t do X, do Y, building code requires you to do this that way… It’s difficult to tell someone that you did differently from what they adviced you. I tend to think that there are many ways to do constructions… For exemple, you don’t want leaks from the weather! Those mistakes can be very catastrophic! But I realised after a lot of research that there are many ways to do it properly, but you better learn and understand how NOT to do it. 

Nearly finished wall framing

Have you read our book How to Build a Tiny House? If yes, did you find the content helpful?

Yes, very!
I would say it was inspiring. Because here in Canada, the materials aren’t always the same. Also, we would often go for the cheaper choices material, sometimes more expensive if it allows us to avoid big problems (moisture, for example)… As I said before, it helped me to understand how to avoid huge mistakes!

step by step guide how to build a tiny house
How to Build a Tiny House

Have you considered equipping the cabin with grids? (Water installation, electricity, …)

No. I’m 28, now was the moment to build a cabin. I won’t invest much more money in it as now my focus would be on buying a house. We will rely on propane for BBQ, wood stove for heat, and this is also an occasion to disconnect from the world, use the phone as few as possible also. 

How do you plan to manage the heating?

We had a wood stove. We used this wood stove, and it’s doing a fantastic job. We’re lucky to have my little brother who worked in Tree cutting, so he knows how to handle chainsaw safely and how to identify what trees to cut that would also help the neighbors’ trees to grow stronger and healthier.

Wall Framing + OSB Sheathing + Rainscreen + Buttens

How long did it take to build your cabin?

Haha… about 10 times longer than expected?
We spent about every second week-ends on it from March to September. It’s not finished yet, but it’s resistant to weather. The Indoor is barely started, and outside it missing roof covering and exterior siding.

Any recommendations to new cabin builders who are just about to start their building journey or are deciding to buy our plans?  

Don’t underestimate the time it takes, do a lot of planning and research, and plan twice the budget on it. 
We did 3D plans using SketchUp to study as well as how to frame walls, windows and plan accordingly all the material we’d need. And we busted our budget. Luckily I could afford it, but for some, it could be a deal-breaker and kill the project. 

We were also lucky to all have tools, a ATV, trailers, given windows,… Consider all these in your expenses!