August 16, 2023

The $50 Off-Grid Micro Cabin

Canmore, AB // 97 Sq. Ft. // $50

Nathalie and Greg Kupfer's micro-cabin in Canmore, Alberta is a remarkable testament to resourcefulness and sustainable living. Built from repurposed waste findings and secondhand furnishings, this off-grid retreat shows off the couple's DIY skills and commitment to eco-conscious living. With a net cost of only $50, the Kupfers transformed discarded materials into a cozy and environmentally friendly 97-square-foot home.

The couple embarked on their micro-cabin project after receiving a plot of ranch land and a dilapidated shed from generous neighbors. They sought recycled and repurposed materials to construct their sustainable dwelling, relying on the help of friendly neighbors and fortuitous findings. Discarded steel was repurposed for the cabin's siding, providing durability and an all-season finish. A garden shed received from a neighbor provided insulation and glazed windows, ensuring warmth during colder months and capturing sweeping views with the cabin's domed 14-foot ceiling. Additionally, the Kupfers repurposed gravel from the cabin's driveway to create a unique gabion wall behind the kitchen's wood stove.

The couple's resourceful approach and commitment to sustainability resulted in an astonishingly low net cost of $50 for their forested retreat. They sold the unused building materials, nearly recouping the $2,109 they spent on construction through bartering. Alongside the cabin, they built an outhouse on the property for an additional $20, completing their off-grid living experience.

Nathalie and Greg Kupfer's micro-cabin not only demonstrates their resourcefulness and DIY skills but also showcases various eco-conscious features. Rainwater collection sites and solar systems enable off-grid living, reducing their environmental impact. The cabin's design utilizes repurposed materials, minimizing waste and emphasizing sustainability. Glazed windows offer breathtaking views, while the domed ceiling adds a sense of spaciousness to the compact space.

Their micro-cabin is a testament to the potential for sustainable living through creativity and resourcefulness. Nathalie and Greg Kupfer have shown that eco-conscious design and a smaller environmental footprint can be achieved even on a limited budget. Their off-grid retreat serves as an inspiring example of repurposing and sustainable living, highlighting the beauty of turning waste into functional and aesthetically pleasing elements.

Images © Yanko Design

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