Friday Cabins #32: Q&A with DIY Cabin Builder Graeme Jenvey
How the filmmaker and Youtuber built a backyard cabin over lockdown in 55 days
Good afternoon and happy Friday! It's the end of another week and thus, we have another Friday Cabins newsletter for ya—our weekly newsletter from cabin-connoisseurs Cabins Etc featuring cabin inspo from around the great green Earth.
In NYC it's hot. It's humid. Some will say the end of summer is near, but it doesn't seem close by any means (sorry, fall-lovers). In fact, we're in prime Beach Day Season if you ask me, which is exactly what I will be doing this weekend. You?
Though not beach related, today, we bring you a DIY interview with Graeme Jenvey of YouTube channel Woodness Goodness. Like the rest of us, Jenvey had some extra time on his hands during the 2020 leg of the ongoing pandemic. But maybe not like the rest of us, built an entire cabin (and more) on his three-acre property in Virginia. Here, Jenvey catches up with Andrew Szeto to discuss the build, budget, and lessons learned.
Share Cabins Etc. with your favorite neighbor
Give us the basic rundown of the build.
For the floor plan, this tiny cabin is 240 square foot, with a 12' x 20' footprint, used for an extra living space for reading, evening adult beverages, and a home office. Eventually I would love to have a bed in there so guests can have a beautiful escape when they visit my little cabin.
The tall wall is 12 feet high and the lower wall is 8 feet with a shed style roof. At the moment there is no bathroom or kitchen, but I am planning on building an off grid composting toilet/shower next to it this spring.
How much experience woodworking did you have prior to the cabin build?
I have always loved building stuff. I’ve been building things out of wood ever since my first treehouse in elementary school. It was three stories, probably not safe, but for a slingshot wielding child, it was paradise.
Growing up in Prince George, British Columbia is probably where I fell in love with the outdoors, and all things cabins. My parents purchased a small A-Frame on a little lake when I was a kid, and it was the big highlight of my childhood.
After graduating high school, I took a gap year to figure out what I wanted to do. While seeing what opportunities were out there, I stumbled into framing houses in the Toronto area. I learned quite a bit in a short amount of time and acquired the basics of working with lumber for home building.
Looking back, what is your biggest lesson learned?
Looking back, I feel like I could have saved myself a lot of headache if I had planned the build a little more. I often get comments on my videos asking me how I designed my little cabin, and if there’s any blueprints of the cabin plan that I can share. Sadly, I have nothing but a little doodle in a notebook, and a popsicle stick prototype that sits in my office. I didn’t know much about anything coming into the build, other than some framing basics, and how to properly swing a hammer.
I learned almost everything as I went which is where most of my mistakes and headaches manifested. Most of my mistakes were easy to remedy, with a handful of errors taking a longer chunk of time to fix. On the bright side, the mistakes I made were big learning points that will stay with me forever.
Enjoy ur weekend! Hope ya get outside