This isn't a home, but a hopeful contender for Dwell Outhouse of the Day. This is an off the grid outhouse constructed by my girlfriend, our friends, and me over two months. We purchased the 10 acres of redwood, oak and madrone nearly a year ago, as a place to commune with friends and and to try our hand at various construction and design projects. This pit toilet bathroom is a 10 x 10 cube, clad in vertical cedar siding that's been treated with Scandinavian pine tar to achieve the black color and preserve the exterior in the damp coastal climate. The recessed exterior is raw wester red cedar.

Jeff Waldman uploaded The Cube through Add A Home.
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The defined lines of the cube stand in stark contrast against the raw landscape of tangled vines and rolling hills. It sits on 10 acres of towering redwoods and twisted oak trees.

The interior was designed to feel like you walked through a portal into a home. We've had dozens of friends stay on the land and help with and collaborate on various projects; the least we can do is offer a hot shower, cold beer, and bathroom unlike any you'd expect to find when you hear "outhouse."

It's not completely removed from its element. Oak floors, bear wallpaper, and the toilet paper holder is a piece of madrone that fell in a storm this past winter. The ventilation tube, along with many other parts, were sourced from the local Rebuilding center at a hefty discount.

The lighting is via a solar panel and wired to a timer switch to ensure no one leaves them on and drains the batteries. Reading material was sourced from a now closed San Francisco vintage magazine shop. Most of it is from the late 1940s.

The cedar exterior has been treated with Swedish pine tar, a traditional Scandinavian method of preservation. It's a robust finish, meant to endure the damp fog and harsh winter storms. The blacked siding is easily lost among the forest and the ten foot wide charred stumps of the old growth redwood that dot the property-- relics of the timber logging 100 years ago.

Still have to hang the mirror over the sink. Proper pit toilet design requires no windows, unfortunately. The mirror, aside from being functional, will add the feeling of one to the facade and give it some depth. Plus, you know, what's a sink without a mirror over it.

The raw cedar came from Craigslist and the sink reclaimed from the local Rebuilding center. Faucet is Kohler.

Design was done in Sketchup and somewhat surprisingly, given that this was our first finished building and our first foray into Sketchup, they look remarkably similar.


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  • Partial Baths
  • 1
  • Style
  • Midcentury
  • Square Feet
  • 100