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11.04.2014
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In response to shifting fundamentals in the ways people are wanting to live, Texas-based Kanga Room Systems has created a variety of tiny portable buildings that can be used as tiny homes, personal or office spaces, and investment properties.
Kanga chose the kangaroo to symbolize their company and product because of its strength, agility and the ability for a kangaroo mother’s pouch to be a natural portable home. Kanga currently offers several options: the Kanga Studio is available in the The Modern and The Country Cottage styles and the Kanga Cabin is a larger structure that can be constructed to accommodate a bathroom, kitchenette, a separate bedroom and a loft. The Modern design offers clean lines, a progressive style and can be constructed to sizes large enough to accommodate a bathroom and a kitchenette. The kits come delivered with instructions and can be assembled with basic tools such as a shovel, level, hammer, circular saw and power drill. I love this house and was wondering if small changes can be made to unit as they are made aor do they all have to be exactly the same in all ways. This company, KangaRoom Systems, produces such a beautiful product, it’s a shame that the workmanship is so shoddy! Hannah grew up in a home her parents built (her father is a boat builder), so it was only natural for her to follow in their footsteps. Tucked away amidst a dense forest and surrounded by wildlife, Tim and Hannah's tiny cabin boasts a storybook view of treetops and purple-bluish mountains.
The cabin's modest footprint meant the couple had to create smart storage solutions and keep only what was needed. Less maintenance and fewer repairs, along with the couple's sustainable living style, makes it less costly to own a home.
Tim and Hannah's refrigerator consists of a cooler and ice packs, which, in the winter, they easily refreeze by keeping the water packs outside. Biggest Challenge: Carrying all of the material for the entire cabin down a trail through the woods to the building site. We scored a mis-sized alder door from the local lumber yard and stained it to match the roof trim. Our Ikea table can fold up on one side for two, slide out and fold up on both sides for four people, or collapse completely for activities. We love to cook, so we had to make sure all the necessities were there, but nothing extra. The loft is just big enough for our California king bed (some things can't be downsized) and has a beautiful birds eye view of the mountains.
The deck is about the same square footage of the entire house, which makes it very easy for outdoor living and entertaining. You finally have land for a rustic escape, or maybe you’re thinking of a quaint guest house or a small cottage kit. To view other videos like these ones, please check our 3D Tour section or our Youtube Channel!
We are based in beautiful Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and serve the following surrounding Canadian cities: Alax, Whitby, Oshawa, Pickering, Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Burlington, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener and Barrie, to name a few. Sono tube footings are ideal for uneven terrain and to elevate your cabin for a better view.
In this article, I’ll show you how to build a 14-by-20-foot cozy cabin featuring a sleeping loft over the porch for about $4,000. My own cabin adventure began in 1986, when I built one as an inexpensive place to stay while constructing my house — that’s when I began learning what makes cabin design and construction successful. What follows is a cabin plan (I’ve included a full Cabin Assembly Diagram) with the hands-on know-how I wish I had 20 years ago.
Cold climates are a different matter, and one of the best cabin foundations you can choose is established easily with minimal tools and time. In this cabin design, you need one pier at each corner of the cabin, one in the middle of each long side, three piers spaced evenly on the front of the porch and one in the middle of the rear wall. The best way to mark your foundation outline is with 12-inch spikes pushed into the earth and connected with nylon string. When setting concrete pier forms in the ground, dig the holes large enough to allow room for side-to-side adjustment. There are many ways to frame a cabin floor, but I favor the timber-rim approach for a couple of reasons.
Measure, mark and drill 1-inch-diameter holes in your 6-by-6s for the five-eighths-inch threaded rod anchors you embedded in your concrete piers, then settle the timbers in place over the rods.
Before bolting down the timbers, double-check that the top surfaces of the 6-by-6s are level to within one-eighth inch of each other. The timber rim you just installed supports floor joists and headers (the frame around the joists) that in turn form the cabin and porch floor. Now’s the time to apply a floor surface to your joists, and that means you have a decision to make: If you want flooring that’s easy to build, inexpensive and requires no maintenance for a cabin that won’t see much cold weather, then three-fourths-inch softwood planks are the way to go.
Start by cutting one top and one bottom plate for the rear wall — the one opposite the door. With the pair of plates on edge, use a carpenter’s square to draw lines across the edges of the plates at the same spot. Remove the screws that temporarily held the top and bottom plates together, separate these pieces about 8 feet apart (with the bottom plate near its final place on the wall), and then position your wall studs between them. When you’ve framed the last wall (the one with the door) and raised it, check and adjust all walls so they’re straight and plumb. Our Post Top Diagram shows you how two 6-by-6s or log posts should be installed extending from the top corners of the side walls to provide support for the porch roof. What you should have at this stage is the four walls of the cabin raised, with an additional 4-foot frame extension from the cabin’s front wall, which will support the porch roof. For siding, I recommend wall planks because they look so much better from the inside of your cabin.
There are many ways to frame a roof, but when you want to create usable loft space, you need to address a few design issues. The parts of your cabin that form the slope of your roof are called rafters, and cutting them accurately will be the most challenging part of building your cabin.
The first step is to take another look at the Rafter Detail Diagram, which shows a side view of the rafters you need to build.
Start by marking rafter locations where they will sit on the top of the side walls, ideally atop wall studs. When you’re satisfied with your pair of test rafters (and have adjusted their size if necessary), make the entire batch of 34 rafters.
Total length of the cabin’s ridge is 22 feet (20 feet across the building and porch plus 1 foot of overhang at each end). When it comes time to raise the rafters and ridge boards, do one half of the cabin at a time.
Once your cozy, affordable little cabin has become part of your life, you’ll realize something that many folks never understand: Small really is beautiful! Right from the beginning, you’ll be faced with the challenge of creating an outline for your cabin that has truly square corners. The overall width of the cabin is 168 inches, and the overall length (including porch) is 240 inches. Length of diagonal = length of one side squared + length of the other side squared (then take the square root of this sum).
It works out to be 293 inches for the length of the diagonal side of the Pythagorean triangle when the corner is square. Start by laying out one side of your building, with a spike at both corners, and another spike at the porch corner — that’s three spikes in a row, connected by a string.
Hook one tape measure to each corner spike (you’ll need some help holding them there), and then extend both tapes so the 168-inch mark on one tape intersects the 293-inch mark on the other.
If you’re building on bedrock, lay out your cabin footprint and mark the corner points with a stout felt-tip marker, then rent a hammer drill.


The exterior wall treatment you choose for your cabin matters a great deal because it sets the tone for how the place looks and how much maintenance you’ll be saddled with over the years. The exterior of your cabin can be made of wooden shingles, board and battens (as pictured), wooden panels or other materials. Cedar shingles are a terrific option because they look great in a rural setting, last many decades and are lightweight. Windlock asphalt shingles interlock physically, allowing you to install them vertically without the usual flapping you’d get if you tried the same thing with regular shingles. For a low-cost approach to exterior siding, use either board and battens or 4-by-8 wooden panels. Many people dream of building a cabin or cottage in the woods, beside a lake, along a bubbling brook or on top of a mountain with sweeping views.
The cabin kit manufacturers listed below are divided into three construction categories: log, frame and panel. To find the cabin that best fits your budget and construction experience, read each company’s literature carefully and then ask lots of questions before you buy a kit. Decisions you make about your family's healthcare are important and should be made in consultation with a competent medical professional. Carpenters and artists are, perhaps, among the most popular types of individuals who require a specific are for all of their woodwork, artwork, and supplies.
This is also the case for those who do carpentry and woodwork inside their vicinity as it is expensive to lease a spot. These are all set-made constructions that can fit any backyard or tiny region that is adjacent to any element of your house. Using measurements in your yard is also important at this stage, so you will know proper forward what size, dimension and fashion to look for.
It is straightforward to discover a shed retailer, but it is a challenge to find the best deals on the internet. Because of this, Kanga is also committed to using sustainable materials and energy efficient products whenever possible while still keeping their structures affordable.
I am interested in building a small guest house off of the back of my property for family members to visit and have their own space, and it looks like the perfect size.
This meant Tim and Hannah can spend less time working and more time enjoying the outdoors together. At night, their main source of light is oil burning lanterns, a few LED lights, and headlamps. It won’t replace the need for basic carpentry skills, but it will alert you to the main challenges of framing a cabin and how to clear the most important hurdles.
When it comes to cabins (and everything else for that matter), this means working to the same standards of durability and beauty that you’d apply to a full-size house, even though the style, size and soul of a good cabin are entirely different.
In regions where frost isn’t an issue, site-poured, 6-by-16-by-16-inch shallow-depth concrete pads work just fine.
Concrete piers extending below the frost line, poured within round cardboard tubes, are a time-proven approach to lightweight construction that offers a couple of advantages. In light soil, it’s reasonable to dig the 10 holes you need for 8- to 12-inch-diameter pier forms using a long-handled shovel.
The outside edges of the pier forms should extend a bit beyond the outer dimensions of your building.
Timbers for the ends of the cabin and porch should be long enough to do the job in one piece. Pouring concrete is coarse work, and it’s possible the foundation piers aren’t exactly the same height now that they’ve hardened. By running joists across the 14-foot width of the building, you’ll have the stiffest possible floor for a given width of joist, minimizing squeaks and ensuring long-term durability. Make sure the edges of your floor frame are perfectly straight and use a string as a reference to ensure that this happens as it should.
Even left completely unfinished, these form a fine, rustic floor that’s easy to sweep clean. Stud-frame construction is still the most popular approach for residential projects, and it makes sense for cabins, too. Make these plates out of one 2-by-6 each, then temporarily screw them together so all sides are flush. Begin by nailing the plates to the ends of the full-length studs, then cut and add shorter studs to form the window opening. Brace it with some long pieces of lumber extending to the ground (you’ll take them off later, so use the good stuff), then repeat the wall framing process for the two neighboring side walls. Begin by fastening two 6-by-6 vertical posts to the front corners, then rest three horizontal 6-by-6s on top, extending to the porch posts temporarily supported by props of lumber. If you are looking for inexpensive siding, or you plan on insulating the wall’s interior and adding interior siding (covering the 2-by-6s from the inside), you can use plywood or oriented-strand board (OSB) wall siding panels. That said, if you tackle the job with care — checking for accuracy early on — you’ll succeed.
Use the same “line-and-X” marking scheme you used to lay out the top and bottom wall plates. Although they should fit just right on your cabin, it always pays to double-check your cuts with a tape measure. These support the outer pair of rafters on each end of the cabin, the ones that create the overhang. Raise one pair of rafters at the end of the cabin and another pair in the middle, near the place where the ridge board will end.
Add the ceiling joists that tie the cabin together at the top and form the floor of the sleeping loft. Next, grab two large tape measures and a couple of people to help hold the tape ends on the spike heads: You’re about to mark the other side of the building so the corners are perfectly square.
The spot at which this happens is the place where one corner of the remaining cabin side should be located.
Boring holes in the rock is the best way to establish key anchor points for the strings to define the walls of your structure. The exterior of your cabin can be made of wooden shingles, boards and battens, wooden panels or other materials. They always live up to their reputation on roofs, and on walls, cedar shingles will satisfy those people who insist on wood siding.
Buy all the time you need to get the job done by installing windlock asphalt shingles on walls. Most kits consist of the necessary materials for the exterior walls, interior wall studs, roof and floor, and include windows, doors, fasteners, trim and construction manuals.
This area also shops and organizes any hobbyist’s things, creating them more available and straightforward to locate. For a hobbyist like those who love quilting, stitching, and other Do it yourself stuff, there is obviously no earnings from carrying out all of those crafty tasks. It is your small escapade or nook if you want to be still left by yourself with your assignments and for you to maintain your equipment and provides in an orderly manner.
It is also a good idea to check at this level if it is possible to connect or contain in some additional storage space this kind of as racks and cupboards.
Nonetheless, all in all, you can conserve a handful of hundred bucks given that these sheds can also be really cost-effective. With that in mind, Tim and Hannah started out with 20 acres of land and no blueprints, and built one of the most impressive houses I've ever seen in my life — not to mention it's fully off-the-grid. The two integrated as many recycled, salvaged, low-impact materials into their design as possible.
Choose from beautiful cabin styles then customize with design options you’ll only find right here. I fondly recall the simplicity of waking each morning with the sole purpose of building my own house, working well into the evening.
And even if you never build a cabin of your own, these basic instructions will be useful anytime you need to build a garage, shed or other outbuilding. I’m sold on durability because it takes such small amounts of extra care, materials and money to yield a huge increase in longevity. If this is similar to the approach used on new houses in your area, then it’s OK for use under your cabin. A laser level is easy to use and even allows a person working alone to level a foundation successfully. As inexpensive insurance against frost jacking of foundation piers (when the piers are pulled toward the surface by seasonal freezing, even though they extend below the frost line), wrap the outside of each pier tube with black polyethylene plastic before setting them into the holes and packing soil around them.


It’s better than a continuous foundation wall because it eliminates the need for lots of block work or a poured foundation, and it offers great stability. As a rule of thumb, 2-by-10s spaced on 16-inch centers across the span of this cabin will give you a good floor. Over time, bare wood like this also takes on a burnished beauty that’s as pleasant to look at as it is to live with. They’re one step up from square-edged planks, offering all the same advantages as plain boards, while also preventing board-to-board gaps.
Although you can save money by framing with 2-by-4s, I recommend 2-by-6s instead, even if you won’t be insulating. Raise the frame with a couple of helpers, then push, pull and pound it into alignment with the edge of the floor frame. Use taut strings (as you did when assembling the floor frame) to make sure the top edges of the walls are truly straight. Here’s a tip: In general, you can use 12-inch spikes to hold together large framing posts, such as the 6-by-6s described above, but you have to drive them into pilot holes. This includes 30 that span the cabin itself, and two more pairs that extend to create the overhangs at the porch and the rear wall.
Chances are good that your cabin width across the front and back walls will match this measurement, but maybe not across the middle. The best way to cut these notches accurately and quickly is by temporarily clamping two sets of six rafters together, marking each set as a group, then cutting the notches with multiple passes from a hand-held circular saw. Prepare these now, arranging the joint between them so it lands in one of the spaces between rafter pairs.
Fill in the spaces along the wall with more rafters, angling screws so they penetrate the ridge board and sink into the ends of the rafters, then repeat the process for the second half of the roof. Bore oversized holes, then tie a mason’s line to half-inch-wide, 6-inch-long bolts and slip them in place. Research the pros and cons of each material before choosing one for your cabin, and choose a material that won’t burden you with much maintenance. Hand-split cedar shingles taken from your building site are ideal if you’re lucky enough to have them, but commercially sawed cedar shingles also work well.
These interlock physically, allowing you to install them vertically without the usual flapping you’d get if you tried the same thing with regular shingles.
They also can offer cozy space as a guest room, an artists’ retreat, a craft center or a small office. Verify if the get rid of has accessible area and be personalized to accompany a handful of additions in the inside.
Although a cabin certainly can be framed less stoutly than the design I’ll show you here, I’m convinced the wisest use of resources often means going beyond what’s merely good enough. You can use 8-inch concrete piers, but the larger size is more forgiving if you don’t get the alignment just right. You don’t need to buy a laser level for this project, but it’s definitely worth borrowing if one is available from a friend or neighbor. While the concrete is wet, vertically embed five-eighths-inch L-shaped threaded metal rod anchors, extending at least 7 inches above the concrete, short end down.
For this project, it provides continuous support for a building that’s held up at only 10 points around its perimeter. But because the type of wood affects the total allowable span — building codes may vary where you live — double-check floor joist sizes with your local authority.
The best floor option is five-eighths- or three-fourths-inch plywood, though this makes sense only when you’re planning to apply a finished floor material over the top.
The extra 2 inches of frame depth is stronger, looks better and offers greater storage opportunities for small items sitting on shelves between the studs.
If you’re planning to build insulation into your floor, add a second bottom plate to the wall to raise it up.
Use your level to help align the wall so it’s perfectly vertical (plumb), and then drive two nails into each space between the studs on the bottom plate, extending down into the floor boards and header.
When you’re satisfied, get ready to cut and apply another layer of 2-by-6s over the existing top plate.
Although spikes aren’t strong enough to resist shear loads, they do an excellent job holding one part in place over another. You could use 2-by-6 rafters, but if you plan to insulate, you’re better off using 2-by-8s spaced on 16-inch centers. What you’re looking for is a gap-free fit where the rafter meets the top of the walls, and where they come together at the peak. Next, lay the ridge boards end-to-end on top of one wall plate and then transfer rafter locations onto these boards. I strongly recommend using solid-wood planks that are three-fourths inch thick, not the more expedient option of plywood or OSB, unless you are building in a hurry.
Repeat the process for the other side, then double-check that the opposite sides are the same length.
Seconds, mis-sized, and salvaged materials were sourced from their local lumbar yard and the Restore. Another plus is that timber-rim construction is durable and simple for first-time cabin builders. You might consider using 2-by-10 joists across the porch and 2-by-12s for the main floor (but if you do, remember to use a 12-inch-wide header for the main floor, or your joists will be taller than the floor frame). Plywood keeps drafts out and adds an element of rigidity that dimensional lumber can’t match, but it also looks unattractive, especially in a cabin. This way the completed front and back walls will measure 14 feet wide when flanked by the two long walls that will go up on each side of them. Before you frame openings for windows and doors, you need to know the sizes of the openings required for them.
Now gather some eager volunteers and get ready to heave the wall upright and into position. You’ll need to arrange these parts so they overlap the joints between wall segments (see “Post Top Detail,” at the bottom left corner of the illustration), but there’s another detail you need to address first.
In other words, the slope is 45 degrees from horizontal, with a 90 degree angle formed at the peak. Although it costs a bit more, the extra wood actually makes it easier to create the required notches and angles because there’s more wood with which to work. Take one or two spare planks, rest them across the top of the building and spike one end of each in place.
While you’re working, test the location of the rafter pairs at various places across the building.
The underside of the roof plays a large visual role in this cabin, and sheet woods never enhance the natural backwoods aesthetic. As long as the bottom of the timber rim is at least several inches above the soil, natural ventilation should keep this structure strong for many decades. Using 2-by-12s raises the cabin floor slightly, creating a lip at the door that helps repel water and snow.
Make window openings 1 inch wider and 1 inch taller than the overall size of your window (1 inch wider and a half inch taller for a prehung door, when you get that far). As with the floor joists, check with local building authorities on exactly what size of wood is required where you live.
Get some help wrestling the walls inward or outward (whichever is needed to get a 14-foot building width), then spike the second end of your brace planks down. If they fit in one place and not another, that’s a sign the width of your cabin isn’t consistent after all. These will come off later, when the rafters and cross ties are added, so don’t pound the nails all the way home. Furthermore, they lift the home off the ground to prevent snow drift during cold winter months and heat retention during summer months. Also, make sure these temporary braces are well away from the rafter locations you marked earlier.



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