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Thoreau Cabin Plans

Thoreau cabin plans are full color step-by-step plans for a DIY builder. I include recommended off grid solar and other equipment I use at my own cabin.

This is a good size for a couple of people and can be adapted for a loft bed to sleep 4 people. Great size for a recreation cabin, studio or other use. I include ideas for interior floor plans and it can be adapted for an addition.

Thoreau Off-Grid Cabin Design Under $1000

Henry David Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. -wiki

In 1845 at the age of 28 Thoreau traveled to Walden Pond, Massachusetts where he built a simple cabin and began writing the works that inspired Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and millions of people.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." — Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Thoreau built his cabin from recycled and hand cut materials for $28.12. It was 10 feet by 15 feet and he described the interior in his book "Walden" as having a fireplace, table, desk, bed and 3 chairs.

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”-Thoreau

I have read Walden and admired Thoreau's simple cabin lifestyle and after much research I wanted to determine if that same cabin could be built from conventional materials for the same cost at today's inflation rate. In 1845 his $28.12 adjusted for 2014 inflation would be $852.12. 

Thoreau purchased a shanty (hut) and recycled much of the materials so if we come in under $1000 it will be close enough. You can shave even more off that cost if you do as Thoreau did and use recycled materials and hand-hewn materials

I have attempted to follow the dimensions of the Thoreau cabin however because conventional lumber is not sold in 15 foot lengths I have opted to make the cabin 10x16 which would eliminate waste from cutting off excess lumber and is keeping with the spirit Thoreau exemplified. I don't think he would mind.

The cabin can be built for under $1000 based on US prices for lumber at large home supply stores. That price does not include windows, door, insulation or interior furnishings. In place of a brick fireplace I have recommended a recycled steel barrel stove and stove kit from Vogelzang that would be more efficient.

NOTE: These plans were designed in 2014 and prices for materials quoted may not be accurate for today.

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