This is a heart-warming tale of how one young American couple took their housing needs into their own hands. It may be somewhat unorthodox but it’s very practical and utterly charming!
Carpenter Dave Herrie always loved the open air. He had a desk job, but he hated it. Born in Westbrook, Connecticut, he took a break and hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail – a lengthy stroll of over 2000 miles through 14 states – and decided that country life was better than living in the city. Here’s his story…
Dave was fortunate enough to own a house jointly with his brother, part rented to their friends. But he was in love and wanted to marry, and moving his beautiful fiancée, artist Kim Petersen, into the shared house would mean overcrowding. Since lovers naturally prefer seclusion, Dave made his big decision. He would build a modest hideaway on his own two-acre property.
The right site
With Kim in full agreement, the couple chose a spot in the trees and drove to a nearby salvage yard to select the timber, coming away with some window sashes as a starting point for the rest of the house. Said Dave: “At this stage I had only a couple of years of woodworking experience, and was a bit daunted at the prospect of building my own house. But I also had a friend, Adam Pipkin, who agreed to lend his skills, and with his help we made a start.”
Last March, using just basic power tools and tons of enthusiasm, he created a rustic mini-house for two on a hillside, measuring barely 14 feet by 11 (Americans don’t do metric). They called it The Wee House. To support the main carrier beams he made use of the surrounding trees, and, by projecting the house 12 feet off the ground on one side, he created a deck that was just perfect for sitting out on.
All mod cons (almost)
Inside, there’s a tiny kitchen, a cozy curl-up couch, and lots of bookshelves in every corner. A short ladder reaches the sleeping loft beneath a vaulted ceiling. Electricity comes from the main house nearby, and there’s an eco-friendly composting toilet.
There’s also space for Kim’s easel, paints and brushes. Not surprisingly, she finds inspiration in the nature around her, and her landscapes adorn the walls throughout.
A sliding door gives access to the deck, where the lucky couple can sit with their dog Robbie and enjoy the forest scenery. Dave says: “We get to sleep in our cabin in the woods every night, and consider ourselves to be very lucky. We’re very happy!” And the price of their happiness? The total outlay was under $4000 (about £2500).
Building for the future
With the valuable experience gleaned from the project, Dave has now started his own carpentry business, and is currently building more wee houses for other people with similar dreams.