Tim Seggerman set out to build the most basic and cost-effective home he could, and he succeeded by doing so himself. His seven-year labor of love resulted in a sleek and modern cabin with a light-filled, open living space that cost around $100,000. The cabin’s design reflects his desire to create a simple yet stylish home that meets both his practical and aesthetic needs.
Tim used cypress to build his cabin because it is in the middle of the woods, which are densely forested with cypress trees. “So that you wouldn’t be able to see it at all, it’d look like the woods,” he explained. The cypress is from the Pacific Northwest and was grown in water to last for 250 years. “And it’s also really pretty,” he added. Tim’s sister warned him that the house was the “crappiest house” he’d ever seen when she told him about it.
Furthermore, the property had a number of building department violations that he had to correct. Regardless, Tim saw an opportunity to transform the worst thing into something “really nice and simple.” When he realized there were too many things that needed to be changed, he demolished the house, leaving a large hole that he later used as half of the basement.
He built the cabin with only one material to avoid having to transition from one to another. Except for the glass windows, which are not expensive, the cabin is made of cypress. Tim describes the cabin as a 15-year project. After the PennEast Pipeline Company sent him a letter of eminent domain, he stopped building for about nine years.
“They’re very slick,” Tim said, adding that he and the company had a long battle. “Unbelievably, PennEast pulled up stakes and left because they couldn’t fight anymore.” Tim explained that he stopped working during the legal battle because it seemed absurd to build the cabin if the company would demolish it. He was staying at his younger sister’s house or camping at the unfinished cabin at the time.
He resumed construction three years ago, but his niece, Lila, spends more time at his modern cabin than he does. Tim built almost everything in his modern cabin, including the chairs, couch, tables, and other furniture, out of cypress. Tim stated that he erected the cabin ceiling by himself using a scaffold. He started with wood but did not like the outcome because it made the cabin look like a barn, so he replaced it with sheetrock.
He also laid the floor himself. He used boards that were 16 feet long by 12 inches wide and an inch and a quarter thick. He nailed them by hand with wrought iron nails. Tim’s modern cabin is inspired by a Japanese house because, in his opinion, the Japanese have the best ideas for dealing with space. Tim installed a movable wall rather than doors.
“There’s a door in the bathroom, but that’s about it,” he explained. The bedroom’s movable wall serves as both the bedroom door and the closet door. Furthermore, because the bedroom is small, Tim prefers that it be open.Watch the video below for a quick tour of Tim’s modern cabin: