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House of 3 tents: affordable cabin home in California

When Glen and Gerry bought property in Northern California, they wanted first to live on the land to determine the best place to site their home. They found a company that makes tent cabins and erected three. They’re not of the camping variety, but more semi-permanent fabric shelters sold by Sweetwater Bungalows.

The living/dining room tent was an A La Carte option where they paid $5200 for a DIY setup: this includes the shell and rain fly and eave and awning system. The couple had to find their own lumber for framing the 14 by 20 foot room. They cut holes in the fabric to fit french doors and the salvaged windows they’d found.

The bedroom and guest bedroom tents are smaller (12 x 14), but large enough to fit standard beds and completely floored with plywood. These kits come complete with frame, windows and door pricing at $6100, not including the platforms which the customer builds themselves with plans supplied by Sweetwater Bungalows.

The couple converted an old shed (left on the property by the previous owner) into a plywood clad bathroom, complete with composting toilet. The showers are outdoors on the decks.

For the kitchen, they constructed an open air lean-to outfitted with propane refrigerator, gas barbecue (with one burner and stove) and a corrugated metal roof.

The space was built to be temporary, but several years have gone by and they’ve yet to break ground on their home.