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Old 05-16-2017, 01:15 PM
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Default Ideas For This Rural Cabin?



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Cabin dates to around 1975, plus or minus a year or so.

It measures around 24 X 36. Has 5 rooms - living, kitchen, spare, bathroom, bedroom.

I thought about turning it into an off the grid cabin for my kids and nephews.


Water well needs to be fixed.

Rural area, just a few neighbors through the woods.

Plenty of wild game animals.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:48 PM
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What you said in the video sounds pretty good. Offgrid I would look into a small wood stove for some heat if needed and an auxillary way to cook. Seal that cabin up against the elements. Clean it up thoroughly, fresh coat of paint. Off grid, nothing electrical may work. I'd be looking at few decks of cards, board games, puzzles etc. Anyway of going underneath that for storage?...root cellar?
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:52 PM
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Anyway of going underneath that for storage?...root cellar?
Sometimes the creek gets high. I believe anything underground would flood.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:16 PM
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If it's got a high water table, get a hand pump well put in and as close to the house as possible.

If you want true off grid living, get rid of anything electric OR get a generator that you can keep inside and put outside when in use. You could supplement by having a battery bank that is charged by solar. Use LED inside to save on power.

Be sure to put up storm shutters or vandals will bust out the windows. Reinforce the doors as well.

Clear out any trees near the cabin. Pine needles will rot the roof and a toppled tree could be devastating.

Put rock down where you're going to park. During a storm, vehicles will sink without some kind of solid bed down.

If you don't use windows (like most people), get rid of them. No windows means no entry points or peeping toms (or dressing up the windows). It also gives you more space. For light, put in some skylights.

Insulate the interior walls. Sound deadening and it also helps in cooling/heating by holding it into the areas you want when you close the doors. Be sure all doors seal properly to prevent the cold or heat from leaving.

Dig out the creek so that you have a small pond that always holds water. put some panfish in there or even some catfish.

The rest is just preference and/or cosmetic. Only you know what your needs are.

Are you going to fence the property?
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:26 PM
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Pretty roomy looking, kitchen is nice and big.

If it was me, I'd rip out the carpet and put down vinyl all through the house. Easy to install, cheap, and easy to repair or replace.

Walls I would use something like 3/8 plywood or even 3/8" T 111. I enclosed a front porch and used T111 on the inside for the walls and it looks great. You could even stain it for a rustic cabin look.

Ceiling, thin beadboard that comes like paneling in 4x8 sheets. Looks good and is fairly cheap and light enough that putting it up won't break your back.

I'd put burglar bars on the windows just to keep it from getting vandalized. If you know someone who is handy with welding you can buy some steel tubing and have some made up cheaper than buying them. Or build old fashioned functioning wood board shutters.

I'd buy a decent used wood stove for heat and cooking, centrally located for maximum warmth throughout the house. Gas cook stove you could run on bottled propane if you wanted. Water heater could be a small gas model ran on bottled propane and shut off before everyone leaves.

Lots of solar options for lighting, or even oil lamps.

How is the insulation? Can you add any to help keep it a little cooler/warmer?

Pretty nice place, it looks like a fun project.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:27 PM
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I'd like to see a step-by-step on rain water collection and all of the things you could do with it like showers, garden watering, etc.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:36 PM
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Sorry to not watch your video but my Data is limited. A spare cabin could be a great place for guests to use or your relatives/kids. But there is a cost to keeping it maintained and usable. You would be the only one that could say if the cost of setting it up and maintaining would justify doing so.

I have several buildings around my place that I boarded up the windows last year after doing what I could to preserve them. I noticed recently that even with dust cloths over furniture and moth balls placed about that a level of deterioration has started. Mold is always a issue with non heated/cooled buildings. As is dust, spiders,and insects. Items, buildings, machinery, used or unused, is not immune to the effects of time.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:53 PM
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About equal to the house where I grew up; maybe better.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:31 AM
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To do it right you would have way more into it than honestly you would probably want to. I say tear it down and build a nice size cabin/Tiny house. Make it off grid use some solar and maybe an outhouse. A nice stove for cooking and heating.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:30 AM
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If the power is there already might as well use it.

There is an industrial chic look where plywood is screwed to walls and stained. Looks pretty good. But because electrical boxes have to be flush with combustible materials you will have to movie boxes out or use rings or something.

You might build a false wall with a shallow hidden area behind it.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Prepper1985 View Post
To do it right you would have way more into it than honestly you would probably want to. I say tear it down and build a nice size cabin/Tiny house. Make it off grid use some solar and maybe an outhouse. A nice stove for cooking and heating.
Cost is the problem I am running into.

I will probably tear the paneling out of one of the bedroom, see how th wall studs look and go from there.
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:54 AM
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Kev,
It looks like a great start atleast,

I'm guessing you could fix it up with second hand bits and pieces. I'm not sure if you have one in your location, but sometimes there are places that sell second hand housing needs.

Definitely could work out cheaper.

I'd also do ply wood for the ceiling for the cheaper aspect.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:43 PM
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I like it! I love the idea of off grid with some solar lighting etc. (if budget permits) It has much potential IMO IF it's sound when you get to the studs I'd not tear it down personally.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:29 PM
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I'm close to Prepper 1985's suggestion of tear down, start over. We redid an old place ourselves slowly over the last 20 years and understand the cash-flow limitations.

For the well, check out Lehman's nonelectric. They have hand pumps from less than $100 to several thousands.
https://www.lehmans.com/product/gree...-cistern-pump/

I'd first remove all carpet and all the drywall under and on both sides of that moldy window. If there is mold on either side, not just underneath, I'd keep ripping down dry wall until I get to the part without mold. Treat with the right chems, insulate and re-drywall and paint. This is a health issue - living with mold in an enclosed space can make folks very sick and it's hard to cure.

As for the kitchen, toss the stove and replace with a medium to small flat-topped wood stove with a baker box (Lehmann's catalogue has those if you haven't seen before). https://www.lehmans.com/product/stov...portable-oven/

Porch is a huge asset. Rip off the plywood or put on a new layer, screen and add a door -- gives you an area for summer kitchen and sleeping porch. BBQ with a cover (wood or propane) and you can not heat up the whole house to cook in summer. Especially important if you have a blackberry bramble and want to can jam in the summers.

I somewhat disagree with the previous window comment. If replacing the roof, use galvanized and add some transparent for some sky-lights. Keep windows small and strategically placed to allow for ventilation and firing positions. If small, you may be able to make some that open and have screens, but size to fit pre-cut lexan from HD in lieu of glass. Makes it harder to break in when you're gone.

WHen you check out whatever is above the horrid ceiling, beware. Our old place was insulated with loose perlite, which is very abrasive to your eyes and lungs. You may need to completely redo the ceiling joists, so make sure your roof is water-tight, then dry wall and lots of insulation. Our place went from over 95 degrees in summer down to 80 by replacing windows and insulating. We could open the windows at night and then button up in day and it would stay cool as long as cooking was on the porch.

Remember, even with solar, refrigeration is hard to do. Consider how you will manage food and game preservation without it. Summer in east Texas is hot and humid, as I recall. You may need to plan your hunts so most of your meat can go to jerkey or be consumed straight away. My Dad grew up outside of El Paso in the 1920's and they hung the 'haunch' of venison from a high post at night for the cool air (>4000'elevation), then slapped the cool backs of 2 mattresses over it inside during the day. For the evening meal they cut a chunk off for each person and fried it in bacon grease. Had a pot of beans on the stove to complete the meal. On a good day they had greens or some canned tomatoes to go with. Heck of a way to keep a kitchen!
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceoky View Post
I like it! I love the idea of off grid with some solar lighting etc. (if budget permits) It has much potential IMO IF it's sound when you get to the studs I'd not tear it down personally.
I completely agree with that. I would think it would be much cheaper to fix up than re-build from scratch.
I have bought six 45 watt each solar panels from HarborFreight for $300 including the sales tax. I have seen a coupon for 3 solar panels with a control box etc. for $119.

And I don't know about Texas or elsewhere but here in Greeley, Calirado and much of CO houses are selling fast with buyers offering more than the sales price. Many more buyers than sellers. And I hope to sell my deceased parents house soon after I paint it etc.

A neighbor's house and some others here in Greeley have been selling and getting twice the price they did a few years ago. The prices of houses in Denver and Ft. Collins are much more. Here is an example of a Greeley, CO house:

$186,900
2 bd
1 bath
832 sqft
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:08 PM
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Hi -
You wrote:
KEV

Location: East Texas

Cabin dates to around 1975, plus or minus a year or so.

It measures around 24 X 36. Has 5 rooms - living, kitchen, spare, bathroom, bedroom.

I thought about turning it into an off the grid cabin for my kids and nephews.

Ideas For This Rural Cabin? - YouTube

Water well needs to be fixed.

Rural area, just a few neighbors through the woods.

Plenty of wild game animals.

================
My Opinion:

Several people said to strip it to the studs and rafters to ensure structural integrity.
ADD to that - a thorough inspection of floor joists etc.

THEN if structurally sound and weather (as in water tight) try this:

0 - Foam insulation in the walls/ceiling - cuts noise etc.
1 - Kitchen and room we couldn't see. IF possible take wall out and make it an OPEN kitchen/living area.
2 - if possible add door to bathroom on kitchen side.
3 - make other 2 rooms bedrooms. One for the adults and the other (bunk beds etc) for the kids. The open living area can double as a sleeping area also.
4 - make porch (as suggested) into a sleeping porch / kitchen.
5 - if feasible (which implies you can afford it) add 8 to 12 foot porch all the way 'round.

I see E Texas as having 3 dividing areas as to climate

South of Lufkin - HOT, HUMID, sometimes a freeze, sometimes the landfall effects of a hurricane. Frozen pipes seldom an issue
Lufkin to Tyler - HOT, HUMID, more often a freeze. Frozen pipes COULD be an issue
North of Tyler - HOT, HUMID, further north you are the cooler/colder the winter, frozen pipes a real possibility.

You said OFF GRID - that to me equals a wood burning stove, maybe propane. IF you can afford it - solar is a way to go. Don't know enough about local winds to offer opinion as to Wind generation. IF you have electricity there - keep it if possible - a foam insulated home will cool off very well from a window A/C.

Just remember - East Texas is wet and water ALWAYS wins. You need to make sure that you have good access (as noted in other posts above) and that "Ebber Ting" (including the underneath part of the cabin is set up to be dry.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:01 PM
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If you take out the panelling, you can always turn it around and stain/paint it. Reuse is what a true prepper does. A composting toilet, just outside the back door would be a great addition. save urine and mark your fenceposts, use the compost for hedges/plants/cactus just outside your fence.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:43 PM
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A composting toilet, just outside the back door would be a great addition. save urine and mark your fenceposts, use the compost for hedges/plants/cactus just outside your fence.
There is a septic tank, but the field lines have to be replaced.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:58 PM
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Default Cabin improvements = tin roof

Install a metal roof. Cuts fire hazard, withstands hail. Never leak problems, no problem with pine needles collecting. Could catch water in the future for cistern.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:53 PM
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Sounds like a nice project.

On dial up so couldn't see the youtube thingee.

Leave the electric going until you have it fixed up. You need to see what is behind the walls and up in the attic.

If your kids/nephews are presently unattached [and all male?] it sounds like you presently have a 'bunk house' situation. Make the larger bedroom a bunkroom [three level?] and the smaller spare bedroom into a 'gear room'. They probably won't be there all at once often. The gear room can be for their 'stuff' backpacks, bows, paint guns, camping gear/bedrolls, etc. One closet pole. Cubbies [old lockers?] and lots of shelves and hooks to hang things.

Later after they start getting attached covert some of the bunks into storage and make a small private bedroom. [oh, if you want a hidden space this is probably where it should be because all their stuff would distort the room dimensions.]

Guys generally want cold drinks [I'm not thinking SHTF stuff here, present life] so leave the fridge, put in a microwave and let one of them bring an old coffee machine. That should handle most of their visiting needs. Get rid of the stove [unless it is gas]. Put a fire pit outside and that idea for an outside gas grill is good too.

Try to get their input -- and LABOR! Set up extra sleeping in the living/dining area. Would they even want indoor dining? Are they sit on the couch type of eaters? Picnic table outside eaters?

As things get fixed up pull out the electric figures for when people are there. Maybe they will want to set up a solar hot water heater as a project [and maybe an outdoor shower]. If there is a metal roof, using collected water?

And where/what sort of heat? [wait until their first few winter visits to the place]. A small wood stove for heating? Where placed? Living area? Dining area [space between kitchen and living area? Then larger for winter cooking?] Or in the old stove place in kitchen?

Solar -- let them calculate how much the roof could produce. Battery bank, where put? What to use the power for? [will they aim for a really energy efficient fridge? Dump the coffee maker, the electronic gaming?]
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