Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Tiny Lake Cabin Rental Experience

Well, it has been several years since I have posted on our website.   Frankly, we have not had much to post.  After we lost the opportunity to live in the cabin that was being built (by the way it has sit empty since it was finished)(just a shame) we decided to keep looking in the direction of the tiny house lifestyle.

Years ago some friends of ours built two lake cabins on stilts.  They are 550 square foot and sit about 12 foot off of the ground.  As you can imagine they were built so if the water gets high they are protected.

This lake cabin has given us the opportunity to experience the tiny house life even though we will never own this property.  It did save us $100 per month off the rent versus our old duplex.  All in all it has been a fantastic "trial" run for what needs to be incorporated into a cabin when we get around to building our own.

First, we realize it has a lot less to do about square footage than it does with how the property is laid out.  The "lake camp" as I like to describe it is a studio.  That in itself has presented some challenges.  We rescue animals so the importance of having a separate bedroom with a door that will actually close is a BIG DEAL.  We have found out on many nights that as animals want to play you lose sleep.

Couple of the other things we have learned that we will most definitely put into practice when we build a cabin is having a more full size kitchen versus having a large living area.  Frankly, a large living room has proven to be frankly overrated.  We think we could easily have lost a foot or two inwards on the living room.

Now storage is a real challenge.  We have a 5x10 storage unit that has basically a bedroom worth of stuff in it that runs about $40 per month.  Part of our we did not save as much money as we thought we would thing.  We will get to that later.  There is a pretty good sized closet in this unit.  It is about 3 foot deep and around 10 foot long.  Most people would consider this to be enough space.   It has not been.  We could have used about another 3 foot in length to the closet.  For what it is I am not sure you could ask for another much more though.  It is huge by tiny home standards.  But, we will put a larger closet in ours.

Now for the kitchen.  It is a partially functional kitchen.  It has a great full sized fridge.  And it has a smaller stove but, plenty big enough for us.  Unfortunately, what it does not have is cabinets.  It has the open shelves like many of the tiny homes you see on TV.  Our personal opinion is there is a real reason you have cabinets in a kitchen.  Things need to stay out of sight.  And you want things covered from your pets.  If you have them.  We have since invested in a pantry that cost about $150.  Better than nothing.  But, you can bet we will spring for at least some cheap cabinets in our cabin.

The other thing we highly recommend is having a full size sink.  This unit has a very small sink in the kitchen and no dishwasher.  So as you may imagine you can soak yourself and the floor doing dishes.  So having a full size large kitchen with a double sink and/or a dishwasher is going to be a must.

Again, we understand there are some cost involved in some of these items but, boy it makes things much more functional.  There could have easily been a wall put up for a separate bedroom.  Just from the sheer lack of need for a large living room which we have. We have a living room as big as the one we had at the duplex which had a oversized living room.

Some other things to consider is when you move to a more rural area look at the internet situation.  Yes, there is internet.  For the same speed as I had in town it is $70 a month more expensive!  At the end of the day we have not saved any money moving into the smaller unit.  And actually spend a little more when you factor in gas.

The unit we are renting was built for around $26,000 back in 2010.  My guess to have added some of the little things to make this unit much more functional would be about $5,000-$8,000.

At the end of the day much to our surprise it has NOT been size that has been the issue.  It has been layout and just a few missing extras needed.

We highly recommend downsizing prior to looking at building a cabin, going to a RV situation, or doing the tiny house experience.  Where you stay might really have a impact on what you need in your unit.  Or give you a lot of ideas. 

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