The Story of Two DIY Builders: The Steel Away Cabin

The Story of Two DIY Builders: The Steel Away Cabin
Arcadia, Michigan/ 952 sqft /2 Bedrooms / 1 Bathroom / Beach and Forest / Under Construction

For Crispin and Michele, building a vacation home "Up North" held a special significance. The area was not only a perfect getaway for hiking and beach activities, but it was also where they fell in love and married. When they discovered a small plot of land just 1,200 feet from Lake Michigan in a small beach town in Michigan, they knew that this was the place where they wanted to build their vacation home. With a deep passion and a wealth of knowledge, they searched for a company that could provide services that perfectly fit their project's needs and budget.

The Steel Away Wall Framing

Instead of choosing an option like repurposing shipping containers to add to the list of cabin rentals around the area, they purchased a complete 1 Bedroom Mini Cabin floor plan from DWF which they customized to fit their needs. Crispin took on the contractor's role and framing assembly task, while Michele helped with site planning, design, budgeting, and project management. They wanted to build a modern, energy-efficient new home on an affordable budget while showcasing that this could be completed with their skill and creativity. They chose a small footprint with a slab-on-grade foundation to make it affordable and save money. The concrete foundation was power troweled and will be polished to use as the finished flooring. They also selected wallet-friendly yet modern materials, such as black corrugated metal for the exterior and birch plywood for the interior walls. The house is oriented to provide views of Arcadia Lake and Lake Michigan from the patio and living room, making it the perfect getaway rental property.

We chose DWF because we love their aesthetic, the simplicity of the build, and the ability to customize plans to fit our small lot. We also like that we were able to get a material list and framing plans to make it accessible to DIYers like us. We know that we are building something sustainable, energy-efficient, and totally modern...and we love that! Thank you, DWF, for making this possible! 
- From Michele

Crispin and Michele's decision to become their own home-build contractors allowed them to take a hands-on approach in constructing their dream vacation home, leading to significant cost savings. They are striving to complete the project for $150 per sqft, which is $100 less than the average construction cost of $250 per sqft. Despite having full-time jobs during the week, Crispin has dedicated their weekends to the project, working tirelessly to ensure that everything was done to their exact specifications. By taking charge of every aspect of the build, they were able to put their stamp on the project and fully customize everything to their preferences, resulting in a unique and personalized space that truly felt like theirs.

Crispin and Michele have been documenting their DIY homebuilding journey through their Instagram account, the_steel_away, sharing their experiences and progress with their followers in their latest posts. They have enjoyed this cost-conscious endeavor's fun, challenge, and creativity. In addition to being the builder themselves, they have learned so much about construction and have lowered costs by making wise choices while making their dreams a reality. Additionally, with the cash saved on construction costs, they can afford unique features such as acoustic ceiling panels and add a gas fireplace to their cabin. Their journey reminds us of the folk tale of the Three Little Pigs, where the wise pig built his house with robust materials to withstand the big bad wolf's huffing and puffing. Crispin and Michele may not have had to face any wolves. Still, they have solidified that building your home can be powerful and creative.

Trusses of DIY home at night

We are grateful to have been a part of Crispin and Michele's journey, and we're thrilled that they're happy with creating their new vacation home. It's always inspiring to see when our clients decide to take on the challenge of building their cabins, and we hope their story can inspire the rest of the homeowners to do the same. We can't wait for the completed home, and we are certainly excited to help another couple to begin another tale with FRANK.

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