“Build an Off-Grid Cordwood Cabin for $6000.”  Kimberly & Edward Rak of Ridgeland, South Carolina sent some photos of their Loblolly Pine cordwood cabin, where they did exactly that!  The walls are 12 inches thick in this lovely 600 sq. ft. home.  They figure it cost a little over $6,000. 

Here is the Rak’s story in their own words. “Six years ago we realized we were never going to be able to retire. Like most people, we were working just to pay bills and we had two choices, work for stuff we could care less about or scrap the whole thing and start over. We decided to start over. We knew first and foremost that we wanted to get rid of as many bills as possible. For us, that meant no utility bills, no mortgage, no more financing things that we didn’t really need. We sold everything and bought 15 acres way out in the country. We lived in a camper for 2 years, the first 3 months we had no electricity, and no running water for a year; eventually bringing in solar power and digging a well. Finally, we started building and took the next year to build our cordwood cabin. Fast forward 6 years and we are finally starting to become a real farm. We had our doubts tons of times wondering if we would actually be able to pull this off.    This isn’t the end of our story, though we are just starting our new farming chapter. There’s a lot of exciting things happening this year and we hope y’all stick around to experience it with us.   Want to come to visit and see for yourself?  https://abnb.me/cqjZ58Hd0V

A panoramic picture of the living room. 

Cozy up to the window for a bright, beautiful view.

“We built with a “beefed up” post and pier foundation in order to be ready for the tropical storms, floods and hurricanes.  It has held up remarkably well.  We dug footers to 3 feet in depth, filled them partially with stone then cement and ran rebar up and through the bottom frame. We used treated 6×6 posts and 2×8 stringers on the whole foundation. It also sits 2.5 off the ground. We didn’t want a slab foundation in case of flooding with hurricanes. Once we got the foundation all tied together and put the subflooring down we also ran 2×4 along each 10ft section between the posts to help distribute the weight of the wall along the frame. This house has held up well through a couple of small hurricanes and several tropical storms.”

We are off-grid and incorporated solar to power our cabin.

Our battery bank for electrical storage.

The solar cost an additional $4000, but we did all of it by ourselves.

Some pictures of the Stonewood Farm Homestead.

We used recycled blue jeans from Home Depot. It’s actually cheaper to order the Jean’s by the pallet than buy rolls of it. We milled all of our own wood, felled the trees, built our kitchen out of trees and pallets we had left over. We scoured Craigs List for stuff people were giving away. We’re always shopping around for second-hand stuff or looking for bartering deals.

But basically, we want this farm to sustain us. We just started a Permaculture food forest, goats for dairy and cheese and we just started doing small classes teaching others stuff.

The interior walls are pallets and we’re always shopping around for used stuff. We made hurricane shutters out of fence panels and my hanging pot rack is an old table that broke. Our ceiling is plywood that we just ripped into 5-inch boards. The big windows in the front we got for free from contractors. They were going to just throw them out. The wood flooring we got from my dad who builds high-end homes. It was a messed up order and he couldn’t use it. But it fits great with the rustic look of the cabin.  We didn’t really start putting money into the cabin until you get to the wiring and appliances.

This next paragraph is from our Stonewood Farm Facebook page: Who we are:  We are a small off grid 15-acre farm near Ridgeland, SC. Our focus is on sustainable living and farming. We offer glamping and farm tours teaching about homesteading, off-grid solar energy, alternative building, basic cheese making and goat husbandry. We have Event space for birthdays and small gatherings.  As a bonus, we offer fresh eggs from free range chickens.  Here is the link to our Stonewood Farm Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/StonewoodfarmSC/

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print, video and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood 320 x 414Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005, 2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

         Click on the picture if you would like to order this “Best Practices” DVD.