Oregon Cabin Built With Nearly Zero Electricity and 100% Salvaged Materials

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Photo Courtesy of Virginia Krakowiak

Just outside of Portland, Oregon, on a small local certified organic workers ́ farm collective (that ́s a mouthful), a small cabin is being built. Measuring just 16 ́x 20 ́ (small is the new big), it will house farmers during the harvest season. But what ́s remarkable about the cabin is not what it ́s for, but what it ́s made of, and how it ́s being made.

As opposed to a lot of buildings that talk a big green game and don ́t deliver, this little cabin has got it all (which effectively means it doesn ́t have too much). The project is the work of Virginia Krakowiak and Jon Clark, two Oregon residents with a taste for the green life. They ́ve been building the cabin largely without electricity (the cabin is rather off-grid), using hand tools and what Virginia calls "old, stronger building techniques." As to materials used, here ́s a partial list:

  • The headers for all windows and doors I salvaged from a post and beam removal done in NE Portland in 2008.
  • Wood windows and doors were donated by friends and family from a home in Eagle Creek, OR.
  • Gutters were salvaged from a remodel/addition I worked on in NW Portland in 2010.
  • Siding and Shake was salvaged from a local architect after his own home remodel.
  • Interior walls and shed roof soffit material was completely assembled with hundreds of deconstructed cedar fence boards from around the metro area. We replaned all these boards to unweathered grain, as to bring out their original beauty.
  • The refashioned the roof vents out of old iron floor grates from a remodel in NE portland a few years ago.
  • The two deck posts are the largest cuts from a birch tree that was being cut down in one of our farmer's yards in the inner city.

It ́s an impressive example of what you can do when you ́re willing to take the time to look for the right materials and spend the time making something that will last. So if you ever end living the rural green life on that small local certified organic workers ́ farm collective, you know you ́ve got a place to stay.