Design & DIY

Two brothers and their dad build a cozy teen hideaway

A-frame cabin with pop-up side Photo by Grant Harder

When Maxen Adam (right), 15, and his brother Quin, 18, got tired of being kicked out of their beds by their cousins they decided it was time to make a place of their own. The boys had grown up sharing a cottage retreat on Canim Lake, B.C. with four generations of family, which meant for lots of fun, but also sometimes close quarters.

They’re a family that relaxes together, but also everyone — from little kids to the oldest members — would always pitch in on building projects. So with their experience helping out on family builds, the boys were no strangers to DIYing at the lake.

When the brothers decided it was time to make a place with beds they could call their own, they looked to plans online for inspiration. “Maxen was into tiny houses and after looking at different plans, he thought an A-frame would be good to build,” explains Quin. Though, he adds, “almost everything didn’t go as we planned, so we sort of winged it.”

The A-frame they built with their dad, Mark, features an eight-foot corrugated plastic window that opens onto an attached deck (for strength, they doubled up the framing boards around the opening). They say the hardest part was cutting the plastic, which was very brittle, with a handsaw. “We must have taken it down four or five times, to adjust the size.” But the transparent plastic gives the cabin a surprising amount of light and the feeling of space, whether open or closed. “I especially like being there at sunset, because the side that opens faces west,” Quin says.

Two teens lounge in cabin with pop-up side
Photo by Grant Harder

It took only a month of weekends and less than $1,700 (using found materials, such as the metal roofing left from the building of a recent building construction project). “All the stuff that keeps it from falling over we bought, though.”

The cabin is so small that it only really can fit two beds inside. But, that works fine for them, according to Quin. “Me and my brother are the only ones who get to stay there.”

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