A Couple Transform a Prefab Shed Into a Cozy Cabin in Less Than Two Months

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By Lucy Wang
Two Airstream dwellers say goodbye to their mobile trailer to pursue their dream of homesteading in a cabin in the woods.

When Natasha Lawyer and Brett Bashaw—the couple behind the ‘Tin Can Homestead’ Airstream—grew disillusioned with Seattle’s high cost of living and congestion, they decided to revisit a lifelong dream to own a quiet cabin in the woods. 

Letting go of their beautifully renovated Airstream wasn’t easy—it had been their full-time residence for over a year. Yet the sale of it helped fund their cross-country move to Burlington, Vermont, where they would begin their new homesteading adventure.

Natasha and Brett named their property the Sugarhouse Homestead after a rock foundation from an old sugarhouse found in their woods.

Natasha and Brett named their property the Sugarhouse Homestead after a rock foundation from an old sugarhouse found in their woods.

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With no idea of where they would end up, the couple packed up everything they owned and moved to Vermont with little planned other than a vision for a cottage and ceramics studio in the woods.

"For the price of twenty acres of land in Vermont you can’t even buy a crummy condo in Seattle, so everything felt right to us," explains Natasha. 

The interior of the prefab shed before renovations.

The interior of the prefab shed before renovations.

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After five frustrating months of trying to close, the couple finally found their dream property—an 11-acre site with a large meadow and flush with maple trees ready to be tapped for syrup.

Although the cabin is only 166 square feet, the couple are used to tight quarters, as they were previously full-time Airstream dwellers. 

Although the cabin is only 166 square feet, the couple are used to tight quarters, as they were previously full-time Airstream dwellers. 

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The 166-square-foot prefabricated shed on the property became the basis for the couple’s new cabin. Yet, because the couple closed on the property in November, they had to work quickly to finish the renovation in a month and half before the worst of winter set in. 

Using experience gained from working on the Airstream, Natasha and Brett quickly transformed the tiny bare-bones structure into a cozy abode, starting with the installation of an electrical panel and wiring. 

Natasha's love of plants is evident in the cabin, where pops of greenery show up throughout.

Natasha's love of plants is evident in the cabin, where pops of greenery show up throughout.

A wood-burning stove, timber flooring, and the addition of a small kitchen space with cabinetry made living in the converted shed more practical, while a fresh coat of paint, pops of greenery, and charming bits of decor make the space feel more like home.

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Natasha and Brett negotiated to have the existing prefabricated shed thrown into their land deal so they could move onto their property as quickly as possible.

Natasha and Brett negotiated to have the existing prefabricated shed thrown into their land deal so they could move onto their property as quickly as possible.

"It's literally a 166-square-foot room with no plumbing," Natasha admits, but adds that they installed an off-grid water solution where the two of them carry water in from their well. Since laying pipes in frozen ground is impossible, the couple toughed out the winter with a rented port-a-potty and showered at the gym. 

Bottled maple syrup line the windowsill in the couple's new pottery studio.

Bottled maple syrup line the windowsill in the couple's new pottery studio.

"We’re so excited to be living in such an amazing place as homesteaders," says Natasha. "Our daily winter chores were chopping and stacking wood, shoveling snow, and hauling water from our well. We even tapped our maple trees this spring and made maple syrup."

After nearly a year of being away from her craft with clay, Natasha has returned to creating ceramics thanks to the recent completion of the pottery studio.

After nearly a year of being away from her craft with clay, Natasha has returned to creating ceramics thanks to the recent completion of the pottery studio.

Now with spring in full swing, the couple has resumed making headway with the rest of their property. Over the winter, the dynamic duo bought and wired a prefabricated garage from Bristol-based Livingston Farm, and have just finished its transformation into a pottery studio for their business Sugarhouse ceramics company.

The couple plan to paint the entire Livingstone Farm prefab garage a crisp shade of white.

The couple plan to paint the entire Livingstone Farm prefab garage a crisp shade of white.

The couple has also started construction on a bathhouse as well as the beginnings of a garden, potting shed, and a little orchard with plum, pear, and apple trees.

A pottery wheel and kiln form the centerpiece of the studio.

A pottery wheel and kiln form the centerpiece of the studio.

"I'm especially excited to paint all our building exteriors because currently our property has a bit of a Frankenstein vibe—a studio, potting shed, and cabin, all with different colored exteriors that are making me a little crazy," continues Natasha.

The shelves are decorated with handmade ceramics from the couple's pottery business.

The shelves are decorated with handmade ceramics from the couple's pottery business.

"Homesteading is a waiting game though, we have to do things as we can, as the weather permits, and think about the long term." 

Natural light pours through the pottery studio's large windows.

Natural light pours through the pottery studio's large windows.

The Scandinavian-inspired design echoes the aesthetic from their previous Airstream home.

The Scandinavian-inspired design echoes the aesthetic from their previous Airstream home.

The fold-down table serves as a dining table and work surface.

The fold-down table serves as a dining table and work surface.

Natasha and Brett's little dog, Pinecone, sits on their cozy duvet.

Natasha and Brett's little dog, Pinecone, sits on their cozy duvet.

Interested in learning more about the couple’s homesteading adventures? If so, you can follow along on Instagram