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…