Zen forest house: 11K, handcrafted, small home in Oregon

Brian Schulz desired to see “how small of a house I can make really feel big”. Inspired by the traditional Japanese minka homes that place confidence in local materials and steeply sloped roofs to build cost-effective, open structures, Schulz created a home employing supplies salvaged or sourced from within 10 miles of his home.

The result’s a 14-by--foot home in tune with its environment that cost only 11,000 dollars – largely for concrete, shakes and insulation-, together with about a 12 months and half of Schulz’s spare time.

Much of the timber Schulz collected from the bay when kayaking (he teaches conventional wood kayak-building for a living) after which he milled it himself on-site. Corner posts were blowdown trees from a good friend’s forest. Kitchen counters had been milled from a fallen tree he’d held onto for eight years. Stair railing is alder poles cut from beside the house.

The three tables in the home had been cut from cedar discovered on the seashore and constructed in 2 hours. He laid flooring making use of low-grade reject fir, created trim making use of miscellaneous scrapwood and purchased all of the home’s windows for $40 from the nearby dump (the french doorways got here from craigslist).

More information (+ rest room photographs): http://capefalconkayak.com/japanesehouse.html

Other movies with Brian:
— Off-grid, handcrafted life on Oregon farm & workshop http://.com/videos/view/off-grid-handcrafted-life-on-oregon-farm-workshop/
— Converted toolshed as uncluttered tiny home on Oregon farm http://.com/videos/view/converted-toolshed-as-uncluttered-tiny-home-on-oregon-farm/

Original story: http://.com/videos/view/zen-forest-house-11k-handcrafted-small-home-in-oregon/


  1. Thank you +Kirsten Dirksen for making YouTube a better place! We love your
    mini doc films. Blessings :)

  2. hope you can get some winter videos of the place with snow around it / im
    looking to buy a place with a half built building on the property and make
    it look nice like that here in North Georgia

  3. What a great space. Love the design and the minimalist approach. I really
    was curious to see if that was a white bathtub on the outside.

  4. For the LOVE OF GOD that is BEAUTIFUL!! If I could find a man that could
    build ME a house like that!!! WOW! WOW!!! STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  5. I LOVE that it’s minimalist – I hate having extra stuff that I don’t need.
    Everything I have I want it to have a use – and be beautiful!! 

  6. Great video. This guy is my idle. I like his simplistic philosophy. I liked
    when he talked about the lag bolt instead of notching the rail. When I
    built my tiny house in my yard I used his same philosophy, basically
    because I am not a carpenter or master craftsman but know simplicity can
    save you hours of time and you can achieve the same results. Can’t wait to
    see part 2.

  7. How do you keep the Department of Making People Sad from condemning it and
    kicking you out because it doesn’t meet all the arbitrary ‘international’
    building codes?

  8. Hi Dirksen, Its great of you that you have shared the most beautiful
    videos, i would be thankful, if you can just send me the link or mail to
    brian’s creative projects , it would help me for my projects and living.
    Thanks and Regards Dev

  9. How is he able to live in this place, what about the toilet and water? I
    would think it would be expensive just to get water in there.

  10. Wow the thumbnail is deceptive.
    I expected a hippy slap together home made of scrap plywood, but this is
    quite a beautiful little home.

  11. I absolutely love this home. The only thing I would add… some kind of
    refrigeration for food storage. Although I am not crazy about the “out
    house”, it is a novel idea that I could adopt. If I were in the market for
    a home, I would seriously consider this home.

  12. Very nice. Thank you so much for this. Just one question: where’s the
    bathroom and how is it set up and where in the house (if in the
    house…lol). :-)

  13. Kirsten, your youtube videos are great. Not sure why it’s taken this long
    for me to come across them. I’ve become a bit of a junkie for them 🙂

    Thought you might be interested in a place my wife and I built (well, still
    going actually, do you ever really finish your own home?)

    Shipping Container House Transformation

    It’s in south eastern Australia on a 40 acre block of land surrounded by
    national park.


    Tim & Meraiah

  14. This is a beautiful house! I love all the wood, and the spirit of the
    house. I like how Brian talks about how/why he built things a certain way,
    especially the “I built it this way so I can enjoy my life.” :).

  15. Magnificent!
    Kirsten, thank you for your efforts to document these wonderful concepts,
    ideas, and the people making it a reality.

  16. I got a ticket in Oregon for driving without being a douchebag, I tried to
    be pompous and arrogant and told the cop that I worshiped OBAMA day and
    night, I even used my vegan credentials and my bike rack and a picture of
    my Subaro 

  17. This is the FIRST ONE out of all these “small houses” that REALLY convinced
    me that it is built more ecologically and wisely.

  18. There’s basically nothing different about this and house trailers except
    you decorate the interior with expensive wood and live in some fairy tale
    woodland site and want to play poor while the real thing welfare losers are
    stuck in a tin can in an open field.

  19. Love the home have a ? I live in Ga and would like to build something like
    yours but the problem I am having is with county building codes. Most
    county’s in Ga have a square footage rule you can not build anything under
    1200 square feet how fo you avoid that? Plus what about building codes?

  20. I want to live this way! Simple, clean and very zen. Even if you cannot
    go out and live like Thoreau, this guy has a refreshingly simple and
    organic approach to life you have to respect.

  21. i felt peace and harmony just watching your video, i wish i lived there,
    i’d sleep under that beautiful staircase near the window and have
    wonderful dreams, thank you for sharing.

  22. Beautiful. Actually quite large by UK standards. Sadly, we’d probably never
    be allowed to build such a thing here due to draconian planning

    Would be interested to see if any families with children live in tiny(ish)

  23. Are you friggin kidding me?! This is exactly the type of space I want. I’ve
    looked at so many “tiny” homes and such; and I haven’t found the right one.
    Thank you for giving form to my thoughts. Sorry Brian but I’m going to
    borrow a bit of your zen.

  24. Wonder how long until the tax man shows up at your door? Or the “building
    code” authority to say your home is “unsafe” – ‘merica

  25. I love your house, you make great use of space… You artistic talents,
    bring a beauty to small houses you don’t see very often..

  26. Sweet little place. Would love to be there in winter time. Snow falling,
    Fire going, adult beverage and someone to keep you warm! Really cool sir..

  27. I’ve been following Brian’s posts on Cape Falcon Kayak for several
    years.What a talented and creative guy. Thank you for featuring him and
    this beautiful house that he created. Someday I hope to spend a week at
    Brian’s place building a kayak.

  28. The cracking on the staircase is because he cut it in the forest rather
    than letting it dry with the bark on. Logs that dry too fast crack. Cutting
    them when they are wet or green or removing the bark (he did both) is what
    caused that cracking.

  29. I really enjoyed this video. In my opinion this is how a true home should
    feel. The owner of his creation knows. Wow!

  30. So beautiful! Ty for posting one thing though did he not have a bathroom?
    Wierd to have plumbing for the sink but no bathroom.

  31. How lovely, charming, and enchanting. It makes me think of Ernest
    Callenbach’s “Ecotopia”. I especially love the siding, staircase, and
    railing. I am burning with curiosity about the bathroom arrangement,
    however -?!?

  32. how did u go about buying the property in the woods, im an 18 year old
    saving up money, i want to build a house, live cheap and simple, advice
    would be greatly appreciated, anyone?

  33. You have some great skills! Ilove your house, the stairs, the sink and the
    bannisters are awesome!! You are a real artist with nature materials,

  34. No way this place only cost 11k, there is land cost, transportation of
    “free” materials and personal labor, not working at official job cost
    money. How much does this place really cost?!

  35. Looks a lot like the one in my minds eye. 14 wide 16 deep. Do you have an
    out house or bath for the cabin? Full time or fun time living? 

  36. These cheap hand built houses are so interesting, but… How much did they
    pay for the land they’re on? Or do they rent the land? Plus… where do
    they poop?

  37. Heavenly house and heavenly ideas went into the making. Plus talk about
    intelligent use of time and effort, doing things fast but all top-class
    finishing and strength. Love it!! Thanks for sharing this :)

  38. @ddshears Brian had too much to discuss for one video so I’m editing the
    rest (off-grid features, solar bathhouse, wood collecting, kayak
    building…) for a separate video.

  39. I so appreciate Brian’s vision and execution. My concern is that the
    windows reflect the forest. To a bird they look transparent. Window strikes
    kill millions of birds every year. All that needs to happen is the
    reflection broken up with clear window decals on the outside. I’m sure he
    could come up with something visually lovely. He is very talented.

  40. absolutely stunning. I hope I can have a place just like this someday.
    You are a true artist, and a master craftsman sir. Well done, very well

  41. I have got to say that is a beautiful home. I agree with everything you
    said except for the price part. I agree in a sense that it is easier to
    build the home and be easier as long as you are the one putting in the
    work. Many people are interested in homes but their passion is some where
    else and those people will be paying more than standard building costs in
    my honest opinion. Awesome house I would love to live like that but I still
    love the internet as well. I would have to find a way….

  42. just pure beauty, i really love it and feel it. every little detail is
    handmade and has a story. this guy has a rich life!!!

  43. Wow, I really enjoyed your video. So very cool, would love to have one of
    your spaces on my property!! I’m in southern oregon, creekside on 20

  44. I love what Brian created. Great job. I have only one question: where is
    the fridge. Being someone who enjoys cooking, one needs to have someplace
    to keep the food.

  45. Kirsten, I wanted to make a comment about the railing at the top of the
    steps. Over time as the oils from peoples hands seeps into the bark on
    those, you will get an amazing deep cherry purple color that comes out of
    that bark. It truly looks as if a finish was put on them, and the color is
    gorgeous. On a trail to a waterfall where I grew up in WV there are many
    small trees of the same along a rocky path and one tree on the left side of
    the path happens to be perfectly placed to where every person going through
    grabs that same small tree and over the years those oils made it gorgeous.
    So dont be afraid to touch it as much as possible, it will only make it
    more beautiful. sorry that its my only comment, there are many more
    comments and compliments available to you on this, but you already know how
    great it is, you dont need my opinion. Looking to leave houston and make
    it back to the mountains of WV to build mine one day.

  46. It’s so interesting. My husband and I are re gutting our cabin and we used
    old barn wood and will have Amish furniture, bought locally. I love your
    stove. We will have a similar one. Enjoy your simple and beautiful home in
    the woods.

  47. I really love the layout and sizing of this small house. I agree, that if
    you invest time and energy into making something – it’s more than a
    creation – it’s a part of you… The only thing I’d do differently, is, I’d
    have kitchen cabinets with doors – maybe some type of natural fibre or
    bamboo. What comes to mind is the material the Indian people of America
    used to make their tents. The energy coming into the home seems incredible,
    and I even love the little ‘window’; what comes into your soul when you
    gaze out of it can’t be compared to anything! Use it in good health…

  48. No bathroom? So when nature calls, do really have to go out in nature? Nice
    home though, but getting up at night having to go outside in the cold to do
    your business just is not appealing.

  49. The exterior walls look interesting but the whole house looks out of
    balance, and not in harmony with it’s surroundings. It just looks like it
    doesn’t belong there…

  50. This stuff bugs me so much! Naturally these feelings stem out of complete
    and absolute jealousy. These people seem to have an entire background of
    carpentry, or are architects or doctors. Basically…. “I have the
    background to do this kind of stuff,” or “I have a CRAP ton of money to
    pull this shit off.” 

  51. Ohlala, c’est vraiment trop beau… merveilleusement réalisé, un endroit
    idéal pour la traductrice que je suis, a true work of art. Félicitations

  52. the little doors have several purposes. main one is to keep heat in the
    large space when the door is opened. hot air rises. another is in case of
    collapse fire earthquake you have multiple exits without taking up space.
    the traditional japan house had wooden weather shields. one shield had a
    small door installed

  53. Uummmm let’s see … Cost of land … That’s not free ! Great vid tho ..
    Love the space u created . Screens for windows are a must ! Looooooove the
    staircase pure genius . The only thing that really annoys the shit outta me
    is no one who posts videos are truthful in costs !!! How much and how much
    to maintain monthly ??? 

  54. This is amazing. I salute your creativity in using nature to create such
    beauty and function. You certainly have captured the Japanese aesthetic.

  55. milk paint sounds interesting!!! we are looking for greener options when we
    build our strawbale passive solar home… :)

  56. Love it! When I was a child I made a little house out of an old wooden
    wagon. My brother made me a stove out of a 50 gallon bucket, and I burned
    the whole thing down.

  57. I loved hearing about him talk about his home, and how much it means to
    him. I would love to learn from him <3

  58. excellent video and reasoning of why built something… creativeness its
    the hands of a mind, art its the result!!!!

  59. Beautiful house, wonderful work. As for me, the woodworking is great field
    to put your soul into. It relaxes and gives satisfaction, no matter what
    you are doing for living. 

  60. Very nice Brian; love the forethought concerning the living space and the
    meaning of every detail. Great job…you are a very talented individual!
    I respect your efforts and use of wood available locally. 

  61. I admire the work done, but seriously doubt his timetable. I work with wood
    and 1 hour for that stool is just barely enough, even with the top tools.
    Just to remove the bark would take a few minutes… Even if its true, its
    not cool because it makes people believe that carpentry is just a piece of
    cake jobby. Like Zen Superman :)

  62. When I was living in Hawaii I lived in a house that had alot of asian
    influences but it also had one of those funny little door/windows right
    above the kitchen sink. It was great! You can chop fresh veggies and fruit,
    when your done you toss the tid bits right out the window into the garden
    as compost. This helps keep your trash/waste down. You really have to think
    about what to do with your trash when you live in a rual spot bc you become
    responsible for hauling away any trash that can not go back into nature.

  63. This home is absolutely gorgeous though I must say the small bookshelf of
    store bought construction feels a bit out of place among the rest of it.
    Not bad, just a little off. I would love to live someplace like that and
    I’m actually researching and planning for just that. Within a year or two
    I plan on being virtually off grid. Not completely cut off from humanity,
    but living simpler.

  64. fabulous house but wheres the bathroom and toilet and storage for clothing?
    whats powering the house or i guess its candle or oil light .what about
    waste products eg toilet waste i did not notice any storage areas at all
    for shoes etc 

  65. This is a work of art for sure and i think this man Brian is a very
    spiritual guy who is very talented but i sure would love to know the answer
    to the previous questions. 

  66. love his philosophy so much. Thank you for not only sharing the logistics
    of this creation, but his heart in this video. So well said!

  67. Done so well! I love the natural feel of the wood and plaster.
    Also the way you set it right in the bushes and trees.
    Such a nice green spot where you didn’t tear down everything around it.
    Has a safe feeling about it.
    And I’m with you all the way about having time to live instead of always
    having to make money to survive. We should be teaching our children in
    school more about how to live this way! Thanks , Great video FF

  68. What a cool place! I really admire people who can build things like this,
    and who also have such perfect taste. I can do neither but I know it when I
    see it.

  69. Wow! Brian, you have a gift to see life & beauty where others don’t. Your
    home is beautiful, it is alive and I can see that all it wants to do is
    draw away any negative feelings a person may have and fill them with warmth
    and happiness.
    Health, Long Life & Happiness To You…

  70. What I love about this home is that of all the small homes I’ve seen, this
    feels the most spacious. This home isn’t about sloughing off your worldly
    possessions in order to fit in a smaller space, it is about bringing you
    closer to the nature around you, but not feeling confined while you are
    inside. I would actually really love a home like this, though I would have
    to adjust the floor plan to add a second room for my kid, but I don’t think
    that would be out of place in a build like this.

  71. very beautiful, but I would be fearful of trees falling on it. I have been
    watching these tiny home video’s for awhile now, and want one so bad.

  72. Beautiful. The house, the materials, your philosophy regarding supplies,
    time, aesthetics, energy, integration, ecology, balance, all of it. Kudos
    for living the dream. Furthermore, I admire that you did not build this
    home out of a need to conform or impress others but rather, to fulfill the
    notion that one can successfully use something nature is finished with, to
    provide your shelter. Your home (and I purposely don’t say house) is
    alive. Congratulations! Nothing short of heaven on earth!

  73. Holla! Have you considered – Walsan Ultimate Woodworkers Dream (search on
    google)? Ive heard some incredible things about it and my BF made a
    excellent project from the plans.

  74. cute but has ridiculously large windows and absolutely no zombie
    protection, vulnerable and exposed, it’s a hipster death trap.

  75. Oh come on its not a door to nowhere, its where all you guys stand and pee
    from every morning, you know the zen feeling….lol

  76. I dont know about america but in sweden if you build a small house under
    15m2 ground area its tax and building permit free. Beautifull house! Every
    detail. Everything simple and yet so beautifully. That staircase for
    example!! Awsome! 

  77. Hey the add before this video is like almost 10 min long! It’s of a huge
    expensive house! Do you pay attention to the adds on your channel?

  78. OMG this is beautiful, he thinks like I do..I don’t like things complicated
    but I like them to be still nice. I would love to have the know how to do
    this kind of stuff and the friends to help. So inspiring. 

  79. i get what your saying about woodworking, I like to make things that i know
    i can get in a store. I love the sound when I’m carving wood an the smell
    of the wood also. love your video

  80. What a beautiful place to live, so filled with light and warmth. The
    staircase is amazing, the bedroom is so charming and the coffee tables are
    just lovely.

  81. Love the house, But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more pretentious owner.
    He acts like he is the first and only person to ever build something like
    Seriously Who labels their jars with “Organic Coffee”? Do you really have
    to remind yourself that your coffee is organic?

  82. What a mix, Mr. Cheisel of of grandmas boy and a lumberjack Moby. Whoa
    muthafucka your tripping me out.

  83. This is one of the most beautiful houses I’ve seen in a long time. There
    are many log home, giant log cabin shows on TV and they are just obnoxious
    and large. This is perfect.

  84. Totally Inspirational – My Favourite Little House by Far …..
    Congratulations – Superb use of natural magnificent woods – I Love
    Everything about this lovingly created masterpiece …………. The staircase is
    Phenomenal as well !!!!!!!!!

  85. I really love the stairs and the railing upstairs. I also like the high
    ceiling with the rafters. The whole cabin is great. It’s an inspiring way
    to be in the world. 

  86. Thank you for sharing Brian’s journey. I would love to have more
    information on the height of the cottage and the building process. Thanks
    again for sharing.

  87. wow love the tatami mats downstairs so nice, my whole house is centered
    around a Japanese sense as well. he really makes me want to explore
    creating my own things for my house. :)

  88. The short version of this comment. Amen, I love Oregon, I the love the
    Japanese sense of simplicity, and the art of Zen . You have done a great
    job with the house and more importantly your video tells it short and
    sweet, and I like that. When you’ve got its obvious , so enjoy 

  89. I love your house and the tatami area. It is beautiful and calming.

    Dose the sink water, that drains into the garden, have soap in it?

  90. That is the most awesome tiny home I have seen on YouTube. Would have liked
    to see more focus on the structure than the tables and lamps. It is also
    the most beautiful tiny home I have seen to date! Is there a bathroom,
    shower, laundry area, etc.?

  91. Although, for me, I don’t care for the japanese sitting area and such
    …but all and all, this is an amazing house. Love many of the techniques
    used, so close to nature. 

  92. This is what I love. Someone that is able to work with what they got. It
    has more soul and more feeling behind. It feels right. When a person builds
    it themselves, it becomes a part of them. They appreciate the little
    things. What is so cool is this guy used what was once either thrown away,
    or discarded as junk, and made something beautiful. You are inspiring and
    you have inspired me. This something I am going to do. I am going to get my
    family involved and get them to understand the simple things in life. Thank

  93. Nice place for a weekend getaway. But as a home? A shower and toilet is a
    necessity. Also, some storage for clothes and dishware would be nice.

  94. Really awesome, something I’ve always wanted to do. Three questions:
    1.) How do you get the rights to the land
    2.) Electricity wasn’t mentioned, despite having lamps. How do you go about
    doing that as well as plumbing and other utilities? same for the internet
    since you clearly were able to publish this video on Youtube.
    3.) Just a bit of curiosity: how far is all of this from a town or city? I
    see it’s in Oregon, so I was just curious on how deep into the woods it

  95. I love his philosophy on materials from the earth and things around the
    way. I want to instill those ideas in my children one day. Very inspiring

  96. Lower doors or windows in Japan: the main purpose is for air flow because
    Japan is very humid and have tatami mats so the breeze without using A/C
    help avoid molding. Also in general Japanese sleep on the tatami still at
    night on a futon so having that lower window is refreshing.

  97. Absolutely gorgeous house! Just looking at the interior makes me feel calm
    and makes me long for a space like that. I always get the same feeling when
    I see traditional Japanese houses.

  98. yup, real bad with math 14×16 is 224 not 200 square feet. on to another
    video to try to find design inspiration for a truly functional layout
    without sacrificing modern amenities.

  99. Would like to build something like this on a small urban lot in Denver.
    Wondering about local ordinance / code. Was thinking you can make two
    homes like this, and connect them with a covered / insulated walkway.
    Would be kind of cool I think.

  100. lmao. Because he’s bad at math? Ugh , all you need is trigonometry and
    algebra. It ain’t calculus sheesh. How is he sure he didn’t screw
    something up then? Pretty nice looking tho.

  101. There is a lot to be said for being a minimalist, you are able to live a
    simpler happier life because you are not always concerned about buying the
    next have to have thing that the media says you need.

  102. Enjoy pure Nature + keep its roots = the better !!
    Zen + imagination & creative Art + simplicity = harmony 🙂

    The truest and most beautiful things are always the simplest !!!!
    Sincerely, nice Zen forest house… interesting video & great sharing…
    Thank you very much:)

  103. “richness”?????????????????????????????????????????????????
    This obsession with dead material possessions is death. It is a deadness
    of spirit
    it is loneliness: isolation. He has no love. Living with dead material
    objects is not rich: it is dead. Dead wood is not alive. Killing living
    trees and using their bones to live in is not Life: it is coffins of
    death. He builds kayaks. The skeleton in his closet is hanging over his
    bed. How many people can make a living building kayaks? that is capitalist
    materialist bullshit 

  104. A modern home built with average materials isnt alive to Brian.He prefers
    scraps that cost nothing.? Its a personal view.
    Actually his cabin is pretty nice.
    His manner seems pedantic to me.The Template is 14 by 16? You mean its 14
    by 16.

  105. “They’ll go back to their standard 2000 sq foot home, and it won’t feel

    Unlike you, I’m not a carpenter I work in healthcare. But I guarantee you,
    living in my 2200 sq foot three-bedroom home, is just about right and just
    as beautiful for us. Sometimes, simplicity is anything you do that has the
    least amount of effort and footprint. Your home is beautiful and so is

  106. i enjoyed your video of your zen home i could feel the harmony with nature
    . the exterior siding was beautiful and the interior was magnificent. i
    loved your staircase and railing , also the stones on the window shelf .
    jotul stoves are real efficient , one could relax and feel safe and
    comfortable there in oregon.. thank you.

  107. I’m loving that sitting area! The tatami seems like it would make it even
    more comfortable than the usual ancient Middle-Eastern lounge area :)

  108. Brother Brian,
    I really wanna salute you. u are incredible … great man… spread this to
    the world… it can preserve peace. your decryption about that sinc is
    really emotional….

  109. I love it. I live in central north america on the shores of Lake Superior.
    in Canada. As a visual artist this type of retreat or rural residence holds
    a huge appeal to me. The woods I would have to use to build something akin
    to this would be a bit different from Pacific coastal forest woods but not
    all that much so would make some adaptations. Thanks for posting this
    video. Kudos to you Brian and thanks Kirsten for capturing this.

  110. I love this…when can I move in? I like Brian’s mindset about this kind
    of living. Especially about going back to the 2000 sq ft and it not
    feeling ‘right’. Definitely can identify with that! I’d rather live with
    animals and nature any day. Plus, not needing a lot of STUFF.

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