For Sale: Cozy Cabin with Lake Michigan Beach Access


23 December 2015

Thanks to everyone who inquired about this beautiful home and property. It’s now been sold.

Have a great day!

Your Friends at the Small House Society

20140926fr-michigan-cabin-front-rightDescription: This cozy cabin is nestle on 2.87 Acres and 1,000 Feet of Private Association Lake Michigan Beach Access.

History. This is a single owner home that was built by the owners in 1996. It’s been well cared for since that time

Price: $130,000

Address35 Pepper’s Trail, Montague, Michigan 49437 [map]

A Note from Peter Oppewall

Many years ago I read the “Tiny Book of Tiny Houses” by Lester R. Walker detailing some of the history of tiny houses in the US. He published this book in 1993, and in 1996 my soon to be wife and I decided to build a tiny house on some beautiful wooded land my parents then owned (since deeded over to me and my wife) just 500 steps from the shores of Lake Michigan.

The land is higher elevation than surrounding areas, and there are even the remnants of an old logging trail that we cleared to have easy access to the site. It sits on 2.87 acres, perched above a gentle slope to the west, and has a clearing just to the East, with another slope leading to some wonderful wetlands complete with all kinds of wildlife. In every direction there are many mature, and growing trees of many varieties as far as you can see.

We decided to build everything ourselves, with cedar wood as the interior and exterior skins. We drew up some plans and made sure we had room for a kitchen area, dining, storage, and a convertible futon couch that makes a fine double bed. It even has small appliance wheels to make the transition easy. We decided to locate the shower and bathroom in small outbuildings close by. The shower became known as the “shower tower” because on the second level we placed the propane fired hot water heater and glass lined cold water storage tank. Gravity assist the standard 12 volt RV pump for hot water supply. We dug our own stab well for uses other than drinking water nearby as well.

We laid out the floor frame by using an old surveyors method of getting things square by putting 2 points in the ground and then using 2 strings, one to scribe a line of desired length and place another stake. You then measure the halfway point of your line between the stakes. Attach a string at the halfway point and move it out at (approximate right) angles to your original lineal. Now attach a string to each endpoint of your line and extend them out in an arc until they intersect. The point at which the two lines intersect will give you a perfect right angle to the original line. You can repeat this several times from the different points to get it perfect if you want. The point is you don’t need any fancy instruments, and getting the foundation posts in the right place is the most critical thing in the whole process. Here is a link which explains this critical element in better detail.

We then framed up 2 by 12’s for the floor on 16 inch centers, and laid planks crosswise for a subfloor. (Later when the cabin was all done we installed bamboo flooring over this.)

Each wall was framed up, with 30 inches used as the base of each winnow since this is also table height and we wanted the sills to line up with the table height.

I made the kitchen table from two slabs of laminated hardwood glued together with the addition of a set of reclaimed iron legs. I also built a combination seat and storage compartment from thick birch plywood with piano hinges for the seats/lids. We use this as one half of the dinette, and store all the bedding inside.

A friend sewed custom cushions for us. The open kitchen shelving was also a gift from a friend, and only needed an additional shelf and some stain and varnish. i also wired LED lights under the kitchen cabinet to give reflected light when using the kitchen, the other four LED’s are spaced along the peak and give a nice ambient light to the whole place at very low voltage and wattage.

It took an entire sumer of weekends to frame in and enclose the main structures, and half a second summer of weekends to finish the interior Fortunately a friend had given me 10 sturdy storm windows, and I had retrieved 4 French doors from the discard pile of an historic home I had been working on. Two of the French doors became the entrance, and the other two were cut down to form clerestory windows for the dormers up above.

We decided also to have a high 16 ft ceiling to give the small space a feeling of being bigger, ad to help keep snow off the roof in winter. The entry doors still have the lovely brass handles from the 1920’s, and work just fine.

With ten windows, two french doors, and two clerestory 4 panel glass windows we get plenty of light!

We put up canvas blinds to use at night, but otherwise have a clear view from all directions.

For the kitchen i procured a nice small but deep stainless steel sink, 2 burner countertop stove, and a new Dometic Fridge which fits under the counter and runs on propane.

For power we use two 12 volt batteries which we alternate by charging with a vehicle or at a nearby source of grid power. The cabin is fully wired for grid power, just not connected to the grid. If need be we have a generator for short bursts of 110 power to toast a bagel or two. The cabin is also fully wired for 12 volt use, including a 12 volt outlet that you can plug a small inverter to for charging your phone or computer. Everything else is LED lighting which was a new technology back in 1997. I’ve never had to replace an LED bulb!

As much as we love this place, we have been going there less and less since relocating to Chicago in 2005, and have decided to try and find someone like minded to enjoy this private retreat. The cabin is for sale! This includes the buildings, the primary contents and furnishings (minus some camping gear) the 2.87 acres of land with deeded road access from two directions, North Gray Dunes association membership, and access and membership in the Common Beach Association which has two 500 ft Lake Michigan Beaches about 500 steps away.

Our insurance values the buildings and contents at over $80,000, and the land is valued at around $25,000 an acre, so since we are asking $130,000 for everything we think this is an excellent opportunity for the right per on or family. The acreage can be subdivided, and a second home could be built.

For more information please visit the website dedicated to the property at

Peter Oppewall

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