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Compact Cabins: Simple Living in 1000 Square Feet or Less; 62 Plans for Camps, Cottages, Lake Houses, and Other Getaways [Paperback]

Gerald Rowan
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Book Description

Feb. 27 2010
The setting might be a sparkling lakefront, a cool clearing in the woods, a breathtaking mountaintop, or an expansive beach, but the dream of a modest retreat from everyday life often includes a simple little cabin. In cabin getaways of the imagination, the cares of the world recede, time slows down, and the day’s pace is set by leisure and quiet activities.

Compact Cabins presents 62 design interpretations of the getaway dream, with something to please every taste. Best of all, these small footprint designs are affordable and energy efficient without skimping on comfort and style. The cabins range in size from a cozy 100 square feet to a more spacious but still economical 1,000 square feet, and all include sleeping accommodations, kitchen and bath facilities, and a heat source. Complete chapters on low-maintenance building materials, utilities and appliances, and alternative energy sources supply readers with the options for living efficiently in small spaces.

For every design, readers will find floor plans with detailed suggestions for designing the space for optimal use. These plans are flexible; many feature modular elements that can be mixed and matched to accommodate a particular owner’s needs or hobbies. Features such as an outdoor fireplace, covered porch, or external storage locker might work nicely in several cabin designs. It’s all about enhancing and maximizing small spaces to suit individual needs and preferences.

Build small. In this time of uncertain energy costs, global warming, and tighter budgets, building small is a theme that resonates with second-home owners. Gerald Rowan shows readers how to achieve their cabin dreams on a small footprint.

Frequently Bought Together

Compact Cabins: Simple Living in 1000 Square Feet or Less; 62 Plans for Camps, Cottages, Lake Houses, and Other Getaways + Cabins: A Guide to Building Your Own Nature Retreat + Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter
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  • Cabins: A Guide to Building Your Own Nature Retreat CDN$ 7.98

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Review

“Some of the designs in the book verge on the vacation-home look, but many are appealing in the way they play with the traditional presentation of a cabin. I was intrigued by the Micro Cabin at mere 162 square feet.” (Lou Ureneck, blogger “From the Ground Up” The New York Times)

About the Author

Gerald Rowan is the author of Compact Cabins. Retired from full-time teaching, he now teaches architectural history part-time at various schools in Pennsylvania, including Lehigh University and Haverford College. He has owned and renovated more than 60 small houses and cabins.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book March 5 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great plans, nice illustrations, many to choose from that will suit you style and needs, would recommend this to anybody
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring book Feb. 6 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love this book. It is full of information and great ideas for small cottages. Provides lots of suggestions for alternative in accessories. Just love it. I highly reccomend this little book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not too Shabby! July 12 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed this book thoroughly. It has lots of floor plans of cabins from micro sub 200 square feet structures up to ±1000 square feet, as well as general pointers about building. It does have some green building ideas as most of the plans are adaptable for off grid living. But that said, most of plans also lack other details necessary to make an off grid structure work (like a mechanical room to house batteries, etc.). I have taken this book for what it's worth: general outline floor plans to give basic ideas and design concepts. From there, if you wanted to build a cabin of your own, you'll have to take the ideas to a architect and get plans drawn up with more detail anyways. So, as a place to jumpstart from in the concept/design stage, this book is great. Plus it has a neat feel as it is published on recycled materials. For more green building ideas and techniques, I highly recommend you look into Earthship design, even for cabin-sized structures.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Feb. 21 2013
By Gary W
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The designs are lousy. Drawn just to be drawn, I'd say. Take this as an example. Rectangular cabin. Entrance on a short side. At one end of the cabin the eating area, down a hall to the other end, there is the kitchen. Da. Too many cabins have contemporry looking roofs (ie just one slop) and look about them- I am not sure why I kept the book, perhaps to remind me not to buy these stupid books again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  136 reviews
131 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Cabin Design Book I Own (out of 20+) May 5 2010
By A. Logan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the title says, I own over twenty cabin books. This is by far my favorite design/floorplan book. It has 50+ different designs. The review about it simply being a series of identical designs with "expensive bump outs" and "no use of lofts" apparently didn't look at more than a few designs, nor read the actual text of the book. In the second half, the author addresses adding more floor-space cheaply by using lofts for sleeping areas. There are only a few designs with bump-outs, and if you don't like them, turn the page!

My favorite thing is the way the book is organized, the cabins are arranged in sq/ft. order as you look through the first half of the book, going from just over a hundred feet to almost 1,000 (but most are 600 sq/ft or fewer). Each design gets a floor plan and an elevation (exterior drawing), covering two pages per cabin.

The second half of the book gives excellent overview-level information about green building, energy efficiency, off-the-grid ideas, incorporating garages, RV-concepts, and even a few designs using shipping containers!

There is a great chapter on using modular designed 12' x 12' sections to create a mobile living space, whereby you can truck in your cabin, add to it as you can afford to, and even design your own cabin using 20 or so "modules" that the author pre-designed and included in the book (i.e. 4 bedroom modules, 4 kitchen modules, 4 bathroom modules, living rooms, dining areas, etc.). It's a really fun addition to the book.

This is not a book to go deep into any one subject, but it is an excellent overview for the new reader who wants a LOT of survey-level information on cabin concepts. And the 50 designs rank among my favorites for their creativity and individuality. How many round, half-round, quonset hut or yurt-style cabins have you seen in cabin books lately?

Like I said earlier, best design book I own. Buy this book, you will NOT be disappointed.
83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I ignored the negative reviews. March 30 2010
By Robert Hebron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I considered buying this book on Amazon in 2009, but was dismayed by the negative reviews and so I skipped it over.

Fast-forward to 2010: I was having coffee at a physical book store (one of the major chains) last week and saw this book in the architecture/houses section. This book is LOADED with plans. I have no idea what some of the pre-2010 reviewers were talking about. Of course they're not actual house-plans they are FLOOR PLANS -- and they are highly detailed. That was enough for me, so I bought it on Amazon the following night -- can't beat free shipping and no taxes!

Virtually all of the pages are loaded with high-quality illustrations. The paper material is recycled and has a nice, rustic tan/brown quality to it. The ink is soy-bean based. The binding is solid and above average. If you have a habit of flipping through home-plans books and are dismayed by loose or ripped pages, you'll be very happy with the construction of this book. It's a high-quality, environmentally friendly product.

SO.... if you're looking for some great ideas on how to design a small house, this is perhaps THE BEST book I have found to date. Add it to your shopping cart. You won't regret it. I have bought dozens of home plan books and home-ideas books revolving around the them of "small". This is my favorite. It's one of those books you'll take to bed with you and keep on your night stand.
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best micro housing book so far Feb. 13 2010
By Baja James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While recently there have been many books on micro housing this is the best. It is a book on the practical applications of the concept and not some architects exercise in the extreme with no real world applications. Many of the solutions in this book are adapted form the RV camper world. Also there are practical applications of alternative energy and gray water technology. While for most this represents a great way to do a weekend retreat it may also be the future of housing through out the world.

There have been a few reviews stating that this is not a plan book and that is true. There are no true construction plans. The floor plans are small and much like an RV. As a matter of fact much 12v RV technology is listed here. But the book is not intended as a full time living house book. It is a getaway and weekend house book. Though I still think the plans livable for the micro housing movement. Now some of the shapes are yurt like, Hexes, unusual geometry and the like but still very functional.
70 of 81 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars fire safety a problem Sept. 6 2011
By Amanda Peck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My history? I've lived semi-off-grid for the last ten years. Always been interested in house design. My dad (who wasn't) told me once that the way to look at a design was to see yourself living in it. Sounds good, even if sometimes the end product ends up different.

In the "ONCE WAS ENOUGH" category I'd put waking up with the 'flu in an upstairs bedroom--no bathroom up there. And coming a lot closer than I'd like to being trapped by a fire in a house with one door.

Plenty of instances here. And, I'm sorry to say, some plans make the fire hazards more likely. Fold down tables and pull-out sofas (assuming they are as shown, seats unfolding twice in one direction to form the bed) that, when unfolded, block the door and/or come within inches of a space heater or wood stove.

There is also an assumption that all you need to do for "solar" electricity or water is to toss a couple of panels on the roof, for the electricity stick a couple of batteries somewhere. In two designs "somewhere" is under a shelf inside the house. Generating flammable hydrogen gas.

More annoying than dangerous is a half-height water heater stuck in a corner behind--pick any two--under-counter refrigerator, sink with attached plumbing, or stove which may have an oven. There are good workaround solutions, NOT shown.

But the drawings are inspirational, a good deal of the advice seems OK.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just like it says Dec 26 2010
By Jim Estill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love to dream about building a tiny cabin someday. "Compact Cabins" stokes that imagination.

It has 62 plans with ink drawings of each cabin. Anyone thinking of building a cabin can likely glean a few ideas they can use.

The designs go from 144 square feet to 800.

There is a section on modular cabins. And a section on using shipping containers. One on using a quanset. And the use of trailer or mobile home parts to help fit in small spaces.

The plans are not good enough to use as building plans but they would be good enough to get someone to do a design from.
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