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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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"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.
"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."
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 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.
"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.
"Homesteading is a waiting game though, we have to do things as we can, as the weather permits, and think about the long term."
Interested in learning more about the couple’s homesteading adventures? If so, you can follow along on Instagram.