Getting Your Own Getaway Space
May 20, 2021 News and Tips
There is nothing quite like the allure of an idyllic, isolated cabin to escape to every now and then. Ever feel like you just need a space of your own to “get away from it all?”
We have helped many folks create such a space with high quality custom storage buildings. Prefab sheds make excellent cabins. The word prefab does not mean low quality, it simply means that they are not built at the final destination like traditional “stick-built” buildings. In contrast, they are built very efficiently in a shop and transported by truck and trailer to the final destination. They can be an excellent choice for both on-grid, and off-grid applications.
We should clarify that prefab cabins can come both “finished” and “unfinished.” All of the prefab cabins that we build here at Beachy Barns in central Ohio are “unfinished”.
Unfinished means that you will get a cabin that looks like the one in the above picture. You are getting a strong durable building with a completed roof, walls, doors, windows, and floor, but it is up to the customer (DIY or contractor) to finish them out with electric, plumbing, floor coverings, and drywall or wall paneling etc.. if they so desire.
Why Buy An Unfinished Prefab Cabin?
While buying a fully finished cabin is definitely the easiest route to go, it is not usually the most affordable, and it may be a little more difficult to get it done exactly the way you want inside. You can save a significant amount of money simply purchasing the cabin shell and then finishing it out the way you want. This is a good option if you are handy and have the time, or have a good contractor friend who is looking for a quick project.
The other alternative is to use the more traditional on-site “stick-built” method. This method is generally the most expensive of all of the options that you have, and it is also the most time-consuming. However, if total control over every detail is your thing, and you really want to build your cabin from scratch, prefab may not be right for you. That being said, prefab buildings are still quite easy to customize. Check out this handy 3D Builder that we use here at Beachy Barns and start dreaming about how you want your cabin to look.
5 Prefab Cabin Usage Ideas
Prefab cabins can be used in a variety of different ways, here are just some of the ways that we have seen them used over the years.
1. Additional Living Space
There are many reasons to put a prefab cabin right in your backyard. Need extra space for overnight guests? Short or Long-term in-law quarters? Want to try your hand at making money running a backyard airbnb? A prefab cabin will suit all of these needs.
Additional living spaces can come in a variety of sizes. Here is a link for a really small and simple backyard shed used as an Airbnb in Athens, Ohio. But if you have the plenty of extra space, you can certainly go with a much larger building like the one pictured below.
A word of caution though… always be sure to check with local zoning ordinances before you begin any new living space building project. While some localities are fairly lax when it comes to zoning regulations, relaxed rules are usually the exception. In general, buildings in Ohio that under 200 square feet are exempt from needing a building permit, but they may still require a zoning permit.
2. Off-Grid Cabins
Did you know that Ohio recently rated quite well for off-grid living potential in a study done by lawnstarter.com? The study was looking at favorability of local zoning laws, ease of harnessing power from natural resources, and access to critical infrastructure among other things. According to this study, Ohio took spot 14 in the nation with all factors considered.
For the adventurous DIY type, building and finishing an off-grid cabin is a delightful challenge. However, for most people, starting with a prefab cabin shell is a better way to go. It greatly reduces the stress of having to figure out every last detail of the project. Getting a building from a proven local builder committed to high quality standards can give the peace of mind that your building will stand the test of time.
The other great thing is that prefab buildings, by their very nature, are portable and easy to load onto a standard shed hauling trailer and can be delivered to virtually anywhere.
Since a true off-grid cabin is usually built in “nowhere” land, Lowe’s or Home Depot isn’t going to be just down the street. So getting the entire cabin shell delivered in one piece certainly takes a lot of stress away. With a prefab cabin all you have to do beforehand is to prepare a base, typically 4-6 inches of gravel.
One decision you need to make when going off-grid is how you are going to supply electrical power to your retreat space. Here are the basic options that you have for off grid power.
- Gas or propane generator
Each option comes with its own list of pros and cons. Figuring out the best system to buy is going to vary greatly depending upon your needs. Some people just want to power their phones and run a few lights, while those who are planning to run multiple household appliances and air conditioning are going to need a much more sophisticated system.
If you need help in figuring out your electricity needs, check out this handy calculator tool. You can also find more information on different off-grid power systems from rurallivingtoday.com.
3. Tiny Home
Tiny homes have enjoyed tremendous popularity in the last number of years. Many people like the idea of getting rid of extra space they weren’t using anyway! However, fully finished tiny homes from luxury builders are often quite expensive. Finishing out a prefab cabin shell can prove to be a relatively simple and affordable alternative.
Be aware of the fact that Ohio’s tiny home rules are continually changing. They are growing in acceptance, but many areas still remain unfavorable. For example, many of the major cities require a minimum of 1000 square feet of space to count as a residential unit. So you definitely need to check with your local ordinances before getting started on a tiny home project.
Here is a beautiful Tiny Home that we built and the customer finished. You can read more about it on our blog.
Because of issues with zoning laws in Ohio, many tiny homes are built on trailers and set up in RV parks. Here is a photo of a tiny home shell that we built on a trailer for a customer.
4. Hunting Cabin
If you need a rustic hunting cabin for the guys, then a prefab cabin is an ideal solution. All you will really need to do is add some insulation and wood stove, throw in a few beds or a couple of cots and you are good to go for a simple and basic hunting cabin solution.
With a large hunting cabin like this one you could have plenty of room to store ATV’s and equipment on the one side and have lots of leftover bunk space on the other side.
Or… if you need a lot less space and you own your own hunting land, you could get a really small hunting cabin like this one and place it right on the spot where you are going hunting. You could pretty much hunt from right off your porch with a setup like this one!
5. Man cave
If you’ve got some property with a little extra space on it, a prefab cabin shed is the ideal way to start building your dream man cave. A prefab cabin shell is a blank slate just waiting for you to finish out in whatever way suits you best!
Check out the Inspiration Room on our website for more Man Cave and other inspired ideas.
Well, we hope that some of these ideas were helpful to you!
Need a prefab cabin in central Ohio?
We at Beachy Barns are happy to help. We have been building high quality prefab sheds and cabins for over 40 years. Here are links to four styles that we highly recommend as for use as a prefab cabin shell.