Solutions: Tiny cabins can work in the country or city

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Whether you’re looking to scale back your square footage or you’re craving some additional space to supplement your existing footprint, smaller structures like tiny cabins have the potential to suit different situations.

When Rick Bills and his son, Ryan, of WoodHaven Log & Lumber in Mio began combining the various items they manufacture, the tiny cabin was born. This week they’ll display a furnished model at the Novi Home Improvement Show (see calendar on 4H for details) that will be available for purchase.

As Rick explains, eco-friendly living is on the rise. “There’s a huge movement for those who don’t want to be slaves to their home. Having that small space is good for the environment and the maintenance is pretty minimal,” he says.

Because the cabins are built on skids, like a shed, they can be transported from one place to the next. Sizes range from 144 square feet to 360 square feet and interiors can accommodate features such as curtains, cupboards, a compost toilet, a refrigerator and stove, a dining table and chairs, and a sofa and queen size bed.

Those who purchase a tiny cabin have options, like the five floor plans and color choices that are currently available. Exterior styles range from an old settler’s cabin with red trim on the windows to one that resembles reclaimed barn wood.

Cedar, aspen or knotty pine paneling cover the interior. Each cabin includes a small porch and takes approximately two weeks to complete.

Power sources vary depending on preference. “You can hook it up to a generator or have it wired,” Rick says. “Bare bones, the starting price is around $11,000 and they go up from there.”

Some clients have put the unique structure to good use as additional space. One, who was frustrated with an addition, went with a tiny cabin instead. “People can use it as a guest house or bunk house,” says Rick.

Others have added the cabins to serve as a TV room, a home office or an art studio. “People might have 10 acres and want someone to lodge on their property,” says Rick who stresses the importance of checking zoning laws in your area beforehand.

Those for rent at a campsite might have bunk beds and a countertop with a small fridge underneath.

Even an urban environment could be a possible scenario. “With the right type of siding, a city could be the right type of setting,” Rick says.

Though he says some people buy one to be off the grid and go with solar power and a generator for more rustic-type living, “If your wife comes and stays in it, it needs to be nice,” he quips.

The fact that the cabins can adapt to a variety of situations is part of their appeal. “What to do with it is pretty much up to you. There really is no limit. People want them because there are so many uses,” Rick says.

For information, call 1-888-988-7463 or go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at