Artist Couple Builds Beautiful Mountain Cabin Out of Recycled Material for Only $500

Written by on July 18, 2015 in Economy, Tiny Homes & Frugal Living with 4 Comments

Video Source: HalfCutTea

Lilah Horwitz, and her boyfriend Nick Olson have put their artistic talents to good use. In just a few months, on a less-than-modest budget (only $500), they erected a beautiful, brightly-lit cabin in the woods of a mountainous area of West Virgina. The reason? To give themselves somewhere cheap to get away from the hustle and bustle of Milwaulkee where they live and work.

Horwitz is a designer, and Olson a sort of jack-of-all-trades — mostly photographer and carpenter — who prefers to eschew labels saying, “Sometimes the category can be woodworker, or log builder or photographer.. and sometimes the easiest one is just saying you’re an artist.”


glass house interior

Their cabin is a clear indicator that indeed, both Horwitz and Olson are true artists; creative, resourceful, and frugal ones. Their home is made of repurposed wood from a nearby abandoned barn, except for the front wall with is constructed entirely out of old windows, permeating the tiny home with a bright, open vibe and endless access to the forest views and breathtaking sunsets.

How did  they build the cabin so cheaply?  Well, it helps that the property was owned by Olson’s family, so they got a great deal on that. Additionally, the dwelling has no plumbing or electricity, and almost all of the building materials are repurposed.

glass house side view

No, you won’t find many luxuries in this cabin, but you will find a beautiful off-grid dwelling made for the price of a mere children’s treehouse. And the restriction of having to find usable, old windows became a benefit in the long run, as it gave the home more meaning.

The couple collected the used windows piece meal (over time here and there), and now, Olson says, “Each one has a little bit of a story to it.” The location has a sweet story to it too: it’s where Olson brought Horowitz on their first date.

glass house view

The process of building the cabin created a little personal growth as well. Horwitz claims the experience empowered her in a big way, saying “I never thought I could ever build anything so big, so in a way it kind of qualmed all my fears. And then, when you build something like this, you’re like ‘oh, wow, I can do anything.'”


And right along the same lines, Olson adds, “If you have an idea, you can find a way to make it.”

If you’re considering building your own inspired cabin, let Olson and Horwitz’s accomplishment be a reminder that neither fear nor lack of funds needs to stop you. You can do it — if you believe you can, make a plan, and stick with it.

About Vicki Howie

Vicki-Howie-headshot-redVicki Howie is a Writer and Editor for CLN, as well as the host of the Conscious Life Awakened Speaker Series (CLASS). You can sign up for the free weekly series here. Vicki is also the Creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™ (find out what inspired her to create them here) and Chakra Love — a critically-acclaimed, contemporary healing album. Get your complimentary copy of her heart chakra healing song here. Read other articles by Vicki here.

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  1. rachellenh@aol.com' Rachelle says:

    Did they own the land or just pick a place without anyone’s permission? Just curious as to what the land costs.

  2. mymom51@yahoo.com' Cheri Lundstrom says:

    While I commend them for their creative ingenuity, most communities have zoning laws that don’t permit you to live in dwellings without amenities. They also could never have done this in Wisconsin for sure and deal with the cold. Land is really often the most expensive part of any building. Lovely job at any rate.

  3. Thorton75@gmail.com' Hmm says:

    Having family-owned property just lying around would definitely assist with the feelings of doubt, I’m sure…

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