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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My project will be a 12x12 rustic cabin, on the property of our lake house in Michigan. The inspiration comes from the Bushradical video "Simple off grid cabin that anyone can build and afford."


One of the ideas is to modify the design to accommodate a small loft which will have room to sleep 1 person. Main level will also have room for a rustic futon which sleeps 2.

Running water/restroom unnecessary because occupants can go to the main house.

Tire Wheel Plant Tree Car


The slightly cleared area is the anticipated placement of the cabin. This gives a view of the lake. Vehicles can be parked in the back of the property (off-picture, to the right) to increase the view.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Toying with the possibility of making the cabin solar powered. Such a system would need to be sized to support a ceiling fan, LED lighting, energy-efficient HD TV/DVD player. Would like to figure out a way to initially power the bunkhouse conventionally, even if with a long heavy-duty extension cord, and to design so that solar could be incorporated later.
 

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If you plan on solar power, you'll need to plan on where you will put your battery bank and inverter system, OR plan on running everything on direct current. Running an extension cord to a permanent fixture is not in the plans as it opposes code. You'll need to plan on permanent power from somewhere, possibly the toilet big house. I can think of nothing more inconvenient than having to get up out of bed in a loft, traipsing down stairs and making it across cold ground to a house a number of yards away just to go to the bathroom, waking everyone up in the meantime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Reading through the International Residential Code, they have a section about tiny homes and subsection about lofts. It says the loft should be no less than five feet wide, which is a bit wider than I'd planned (12x12 total.) In the locale where I'm building this, I don't need a permit or an inspection because it's below a minimum number of square feet. I of course want the structure to be safe, but also don't want the loft to take up nearly half the space. Wondering if stuff like this is approached as a guideline, or a hard-and-fast rule?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
sounds like a plan.

what is the purpose of the cabin and what times of the year ?
Extra bunk room for visiting family, with a rustic experience. We typically close down the property during the winter months (a final family get-together around the beginning of November and then re-opening in March or April.) But use might increase if we get the fireplace working with a wood insert in the main house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I can think of nothing more inconvenient than having to get up out of bed in a loft, traipsing down stairs and making it across cold ground to a house a number of yards away just to go to the bathroom, waking everyone up in the meantime.
It's rustic!

But a solution:

Also thinking if I want to run power to the tiny cabin, it could follow this walkway as well, and eliminate the need for trenching...
 

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If you're going to the effort of building a 12x12, adding 4 to 8 feet to each dimension won't be much more work, but it'll be a LOT more livable. I share the concern of no bathroom. Even an outhouse would be better than nothing.

A lot can be done with solar. But from the pic it doesn't look like you've got a very sunny location. In the end it'll be a lot easier and cheaper to connect to "normal" AC power. That opens up all kinds of possibilities. Microwave, coffee maker, lights, entertainment, smart plugs, security cameras, WiFi, etc. Don't forget everyone needs charging outlets for their tablets and phones! Put a full solar installation on the main house some day if you really want to get off the grid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you're going to the effort of building a 12x12, adding 4 to 8 feet to each dimension won't be much more work, but it'll be a LOT more livable. I share the concern of no bathroom. Even an outhouse would be better than nothing.
Actually there is an outhouse, although it's not in use. But the bathroom in the house is only like 60 ft away... really not all that much different from camping, all things considered.

One of the reason for designing at that size is, in our area if it's < 200 sqft, a building permit isn't necessary and we like to avoid all of that nonsense.
 

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... really not all that much different from camping, all things considered.
My point exactly.

One of the reason for designing at that size is, in our area if it's < 200 sqft, a building permit isn't necessary and we like to avoid all of that nonsense.
12x16 works. One extra 4x8 sheet on each wall and the floor. Personally, I'd go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
12x16 works. One extra 4x8 sheet on each wall and the floor. Personally, I'd go for it.
A possibility I've toyed with, but I need to get back on-site and measure some more to see if it's feasible. Property line in the picture I posted is off to the left, and there are minimums for how far a structure needs to be from that, which we're already pretty close to. Expanding it from front to back isn't feasible because there's going to be a shed.
 
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