Kristin Anderson and partner Dennis Roberts of Thompson Falls, Montana, have made a career of building cabins to go. "Things have changed a lot here," says Anderson. "You have to adapt to the times to make a living. We wanted a job where we could do what we liked and work inside during the winter."
Anderson and Roberts capitalized on the tourist trade by starting Sherpa Cabins, a company that makes 364-square-foot, cedar-sided, one-room cabins. They build the cabins in a large workshop, roll them onto a truck, and deliver them to your site for about $39,000. The price includes appliances, cabinets, plumbing, and wiring. "Basically, you just plug them in and you are set," says Anderson.
It's up to the owner to provide a foundation for the cabin and to have the electricity and plumbing hooked up. Owners are also responsible for determining what permits are necessary for their location. Delivery outside Montana costs approximately $5.50 per mile, depending on location and haul routes. Cabins have been delivered to Colorado, New Mexico, California, Washington (even Orcas Island), and Idaho.
Anderson and Roberts worked with Portland architects Melody and Brian Emerick to create a cabin (shown here) for Melody's parents, Ron and Sharon Burghard. "It's very similar to the standard cabins we build," says Anderson. "But the windows are a little larger, and there's a computer desk where Sharon likes to write." Built-in shelves, chests, cabinets, and closets add efficiency. A tiny loft can be used for sleeping or storage.
"When we put our first little cabin out for sale, people got excited by how much a small cabin can do and how easy it is to install and take care of," Anderson says.
Design: Sherpa Cabins, Thompson Falls, MT (406/827-9607); Emerick Architects, Portland (503/235-9400)