A cabin in the woods is a project that can be very affordable. In many cases, you can use recycled materials both inside and outside. The roof shape will help create sleeping room in the upper attic space of the cabin. By planning all living, cooking and sleeping spaces carefully, you can build a small cabin that lives larger. Your design work can include rustic materials such as logs, stone and old furniture to give the cabin great ambiance.
Find the property and lay out a vision for the cabin footprint. Make initial sketches of the cabin to fit the square footage your budget will allow. Design the cabin to have 600 square feet on the first floor, for example. Plan the attic loft space by designing the roof slope at 45 degrees, as one good option. Build the roof so that you can include a window in one end with a view of the surroundings.
Draw the cabin interior and exterior on graph paper. Use one square of the graph paper to stand for 6 inches of real space. Draw all windows, doors, a porch and driveway areas. Include as many details as possible in order to build the cabin you desire. Be on the lookout for building supplies at close-out sales or in the classifieds.
Rent a trencher to dig a foundation for the cabin. Dig footings to hold a concrete pour 12 inches deep by 12 inches wide. Build the framework boxes with plywood and secure with stakes on the outer box perimeter. Pour concrete and smooth with a trowel. Construct the foundation with concrete blocks about 4 feet deep -- allowing crawlspace to fix plumbing pipes or add ductwork.
Construct the cabin framework of 2-by-6 boards, for example. Use thicker framing boards to accommodate thicker insulation. Nail a perimeter plate around the concrete blocks that will support wall studs set on 16-inch centers. Build door and window openings to fit premade doors and windows. Secure a top plate on the cabin walls that will adjoin roof rafters.
Cut attic rafters on a 45-degree angle, leaving room for loft sleeping under the A-shape of the top ridge board. Use a circular saw to cut all rafters, which you can build as trusses, if you desire.
Nail house siding on the cabin exterior, using exterior-grade paneling or tongue-and-groove boards. Use ½-inch plywood to construct roof sheathing. Install a metal steel roof or tin roof, as possible options. Keep in mind that a metal roof is safer if you will have a wood-burning fireplace. Chimney sparks can land on dry leaves, so a metal roof offers a barrier of protection.
Install ½-inch plywood to create subflooring. Buy wood laminate flooring as an inexpensive flooring solution. Use this type of faux wood flooring as an easy DIY project requiring no special tools, because the laminate boards snap together without glue or nails.
Build interior walls using 2-by-4 studs on 16-inch centers. Create a living room and kitchen as one space with a bathroom separate in the downstairs area. Build a staircase to the loft for a sleeping space along one wall of the cabin. Construct a rustic bed in the loft using small logs.
Use recycled boards, plywood or bead board to cover interior cabin walls. Paint or stain the interior throughout in the same color. Use a single color to make the space appear larger.