The couple behind the DIY cabin company Den are at it again. After releasing a set of $99 cabin plans over the summer, Mike Romanowicz and Lizzie Kardon just launched a prefab A-frame cabin kit that two people can assemble in just a few days.
Inspired by their own cabin-building experience in the Catskills, the couple sought to create an easy and cost-effective way for anyone to create the cozy retreat of their dreams.
"Great projects are sometimes born out of frustration. While building our first cabin, the Fox Den I slammed into the reality that traditional building is a labor-intensive process that takes time, and often requires involving folks with special skills and tools," Romanowicz says. "We wanted to completely change that with this kit. We wanted to give the joy of building to more people by making a product that was so well-thought-out and comprehensive that nearly anyone could do it."
They came up with a concept called "The One Day Cabin"—a structure so simple that it could be assembled by two people in just 24 hours. "Admittedly, we became a bit obsessed with this challenge throughout the process of making this cabin," Romanowicz says. "While the ‘One Day Cabin’ still remains elusive, it took our team of three people (I was one of them!) two-and-a-half days to finish our first cabin. Completely turn-key finished."
Den’s prefab A-frame kit is cut with CNC precision, so the pieces connect easily. The lumber is predrilled, and the kit includes all the bolts and screws for quick assembly—no need to run to the hardware store.
As far as tools and equipment, the kit calls for a ratchet set, one or two power drills, a painter’s ladder, a step ladder, and a staple gun. The flat-packed materials even come packaged in the order in which you need them, to help streamline the building process.
You don’t have to be a pro builder to assemble Den’s DIY cabin kit, but you should have some confidence and experience in hands-on DIY projects.
"If you don’t have any construction experience, you can certainly make up for it with tenacity, and a few friends to help you with the job. Building something even as easy as this still requires some hutzpah," Romanowicz says. "You need to be comfortable on a ladder a story off the ground to set the ridge cap and screw in the roofing panels, and you and your friends (or team) need to be careful with the large windows while setting them in place. Those are the two most challenging situations, and the rest is fairly easy and straightforward."
If the project is out of your comfort zone, Den recommends hiring a generalist contractor to ensure all goes smoothly. If you’re laying a foundation and wiring the cabin, you may need a contractor from the get-go anyways.
The A-frame is four-season compatible with thermally insulated walls and floors—and you can also soup up the prefab with additional propane, insulation, and solar-power packages.
The cabin features a minimalist, wood-clad interior and exterior, a metal roof, and glass panels that place the focus on the great outdoors. With the floor-to-ceiling window and voluminous 11-foot ceiling, the 115-square-foot dwelling feels light and airy inside. It can sleep two with a king, queen, or two twin-sized beds.
For $21,000, you can choose from three different looks—Forest, Alpine or Coast—all of which draw inspiration from the great outdoors.
In addition to serving as a getaway in the great outdoors, the structure can be used as a backyard office, an artist workshop, a yoga studio, or a rental property.
"For Airbnb operators or hospitality businesses, the cabin is a perfect solution," Romanowicz says. "It would easily command premium nightly rates in any market, and with its low cost and fast deployment time it’s easy to pay back your initial investment quickly."
The small footprint makes the structures permit friendly too, as some municipalities have a 120- or 144-square-foot permit threshold, according to Romanowicz. "We always encourage our customers to check with the local building department to ensure their build meets the local requirements in every way."
Den’s cabin kit officially launches today, and customers can reserve a spot in the "launch batch," up until December 31 at midnight. In January 2021, Den will begin fabricating and shipping the kits. Anyone placing an order after the December cutoff, will be placed in their "spring batch," which will be manufactured and delivered in a similar fashion.
Den’s kits are designed and manufactured in New York state, and they’ve partnered with a local team to help bring the cabin kit to fruition with craftsmanship and cost-effectiveness in mind. Den is currently distributing across North America, and they’re looking to cast their new kits overseas as they ramp up production.
"For our Stateside customers, this means they’re getting an incredibly high-quality product that’s natively designed for our measurement system and building code requirements, eliminating the potential headaches that can come with some foreign cabin imports," Romanowicz says.
In the next few weeks, Den also is gearing up to release an accompanying washroom for the A-frame. "We wanted to provide this design to our customers alongside the cabin kit as a guide for how to build their very own modern campground," Romanowicz says. "By having three A-frame kits that share a single bathroom, you really save on infrastructure costs."
To learn more and preorder an A-Frame Cabin Kit, visit denoutdoors.com.
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