Elsewhere Cabin Retreat

$149 per night

Cabin2 guests1bd1ba
Austin, Texas
Book This

In Texas, where everything is bigger, Ryan McLaughlin is placing his bets on something small. Specifically, a simple 160-square-foot cabin that he hopes city-dwellers will book to get away, find some focus, and reconnect with nature.

The result is a laidback, pitched-roof cabin in which every inch of space is thoughtfully allotted so that guests can spend the maximum amount of time outdoors. "Most tiny homes you see essentially replicate a normal house and downsize everything," says Ryan. "We wanted to work our way from the inside out."

Elsewhere Cabin by Sean O'Neill

Ryan McLaughlin watches the sunset from the deck of the 160-square-foot tiny home he built, with no prior experience, at his parents’ horse ranch in Georgetown, Texas. Soon, the trailer-mounted cabin will be moved to a vineyard, where it will operate grid-free and be available to rent for short stays.

A fiberglass door covers a void in the wall that holds a solar-powered water heater, a propane tank, and wood for a fire bowl.

A Hem table and Muuto rug center the living area.

In addition to having a queen bed upstairs, Ryan built a sofa that converts to a twin, based on a design by architect Sean O’Neill. The transformable unit cost $500 in upholstery, $35 in wood, and $4 in hinges.

With prices starting in the low five figures, pretreated shou sugi ban siding was out of the question. "My girlfriend and I spent a week cutting, trimming, burning, scrubbing, and oiling the cedar ourselves," says Ryan. The project cost a total of $550 in materials.

Interlocking rubber tiles from HiddenLock provide a watertight seal for the floor. Primarily used in garages, the tough, spill-friendly tiles cost about $3.15 per square foot.

When the sofa is being used as a bed, blackout roller shades can be lowered to turn the living space into a proper sleeping area.

The ceramic coffee dripper is by Hario.

A space-efficient custom pegboard holds Crow Canyon enamel mugs and more.

The kitchen essentials include cooking utensils from IKEA.

The hand towel is from Ferm Living.

Most of the interior, including the walls and storage, is made of Chilean pine plywood, which Ryan chose for its durability and lack of knots. Each sheet, purchased at Lowe’s, cost $20.

Although the kitchen is small, it comes equipped with a sink, a propane hot plate, a mini fridge/freezer.

The frosted glass wall between the kitchen and the bathroom, which distributes light while protecting privacy, cost $160.

A simple rope pull functions as the handle to the cabin’s only internal door.

The bathroom’s plywood counter, which supports a vessel sink by Fine Fixtures, has a matte polyurethane finish; the flower pot is by Hay and the mirror is from Target.

A Croma showerhead by Hansgrohe is mounted from a section of ceiling that was stained black; the U-shaped curtain track is an IKEA hack.

A Milgard awning window provides ventilation.

Ryan fashioned the sconces in the sleeping loft for about $10 each. “The electrical was the most daunting task but also the most rewarding,” he says. “When you plug in a light and turn it on, it’s momentous.” His electrical work was later certified by a pro.


Posted By
  • Sean O'Neill
Interior Design
  • Sean O'Neill
  • Elsewhere Retreats


  • 1
  • Full Baths
  • 1
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Scandanavian
  • Year
  • 2018
  • Square Feet
  • 160
  • Press