A modern cabin in the hills | Simply Home
Simply Home is a North Carolina homebuilder focused on small, efficient houses. It was founded by Shawna and Wally Hughes, a licensed general contractor who has been building houses for 30 years. Today Wally will tell us about the small house he and Shawna designed and built for their own family of three.
Our cabin sits in the foothills of Western North Carolina with a wonderful view of Chimney Rock State Park. After finding the land, we designed a house that would make the best use of the view and fit in with the surroundings. The shed roof design with a high vaulted ceiling and extra space in the loft makes the home feel much bigger than its 704 square feet.
The front of the house faces north towards the mountains. We put most of the windows on this side to get a wonderful view from every room. The north windows allow lots of indirect light to flood the home instead of direct light from the south which would make harsh shadows. In our climate it was more important for us to use passive solar techniques in the design for summer cooling purposes instead of focusing on maximizing heat absorption in the winter. During the peak months of summer, none of the windows have any sun directly entering them from 10 AM until 4 PM. Then the trees on the west side start creating shade to help out.
We used a metal roof for it’s ability to reflect heat and it’s durability. We set the screen porch on the east side of the house so it has a view of the sunrise and gets some morning sun but is shaded all afternoon during the summer. That way it is still pleasant enough to enjoy dinner in the evening. The front deck is well-shaded and allows us to enjoy watching the sunsets and the weather rolling off of the mountains.
Storage space is valuable in a small home and we knew that we needed to plan properly if this size home was going to work. We added a large closet for the things we need. It is a multi-use area that is also the laundry and the hallway between the great room and the bedroom. We built stairs to the loft that give us extra bookshelves and kitchen storage. The loft has a sleeping area for our daughter and more space for storing things that we don’t need immediately. We added a bookshelf in the bedroom, above the door frame, that wraps around three walls.
Using natural materials was important to us so we used pine floors and tile in the bathroom and on the countertops. The siding is pine board and batten from a local sawmill. We didn’t want the deck railings to obscure the wonderful view, so we used stainless steel cables. Our little home costs us less to run and is easy to keep clean while giving us time to enjoy the natural beauty around us.
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Photographs courtesy of Simply Home.
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My ultimate dream would be to buy a beautiful, well-thought-out small house with an incredible view just like what you have! How much acreage is your wonderful home on? How is it powered (looks like you have all the modern conveniences)? Thanks for sharing!
We got very lucky and picked up 10 acres for $30K. We even have 2 small streams and cute little waterfall on our land. It’s fairly steep and most would call it unusable land but it’s great for hiking and we love it. We just have traditional power. Next year we plan to add a wood stove and will definitely do solar hot water as soon as we get the money to do it. We’d love some solar power but that won’t be in the budget for some time.
Your land is incredible! Streams and waterfall! Jealous!! So you had electricity and sewer already at the property? I’m trying to get a rough idea of total cost to see if something like what you and your family were able to do is even an option for me. I know that you are a builder (and an excellent one with much attention to detail). If I was to buy a small house similar to yours along with maybe 1-5 acres, could you give me a very rough idea of cost? That general area of NC where you live is where I’d like to be.
Price of land can vary a lot. We bought in Rutherford County, which is the cheapest around. That would really depend on where you want to be and what you find. We did install a well and septic system. Those cost about $8500 for both here. If I were to build this house for someone same as we did it, the cost would be about $110,000. We would want to tailor the design to fit your needs, though.
Thanks so much for the info! That gives me something to go on! I really appreciate it.
Wow, I love this place~
Thank You! We do too.
You are welcome!
wow! Really love this one!
But then it was clear cut, on a steep slope, all the way down to the road! What about storm water run off?…keeping some environmental integrity? I mean when you disturb all that land what are you gaining by building a small house? And how is the builder giving any respect to this mountainous area?
Marisa, we did not clear cut the land. The land had been logged about 6 years before we bought it. We graded only what we needed for the house, septic and driveway. We have very little runoff on our land. It seems you’re making assumptions without knowledge of what we have done with the land.
I apologize for my assumptions …and harshness…and not asking questions. I hope you have good landscaping plan in mind.
I love your small house. I am hoping to retire to the Asheville area and have been looking for someone who builds small houses. I am also interested in knowing whether these homes can be placed on lots in existing neighborhoods rather than in the woods (which would be nice, but less practical for me at this point in my life). I’d appreciate any direction you could point me for more information.
You could build this home on any lot you wanted, as long as there are no restrictions on the size. Many developments will not allow a home this small to be built. The Asheville area is a great place. You can email me at email@example.com if you have other questions.
Hello. We absolutely love your little home. It’s everything you need and the view is awesome. We want to build a small home in NC but it seems that everywhere has minimum sf requirements. How did you find an unrestricted lot? We are looking everywhere and it’s always a dead end! Any guidance would be helpful. Also, do you build for other people and, if so, what counties or areas of nc will you work in? Thanks so much. Diane & Dan