My original plan was to buy my land and make improvements over time. On my less-than-shoestring budget, that would amount to a long period of time. But my thinking was to pay as I go and hopefully retire to my little mountain homestead either debt-free or close to it. However, the more time I spend camping at The Shack, the more anxious I am to move there. This weekend I toured several options for housing. I was surprisingly impressed with Keystone Kabins' park models.
(Note: Since the writing of this article, the name of the company has change. It is now Lancaster Log Cabins. Same address, information, and cabin. Different name)
Keystone Kabins - Vacation Cabin Kits
I was originally interested in Keystone Kabins because they make vacation log cabin kits. You can either assemble the kits or have them assembled. The floor plans and prices are on the Keystone Kabins website. I liked the rustic look, the options, the small size, and most of all, I liked the prices. Their simplicity keeps the price tag lower than some other cabin builders I've been looking at.
I called to see if there were vacation cabin models onsite that I could tour at the Pennsylvania location. No. No vacation cabin models. But there are "park models". I decided to go ahead and look even though I wasn't interested in a park model. Frankly, I didn't exactly know what a park model was but I'd go and look. At least I could get a sense of quality.
What are log cabin Park Models.
I've learned that park models are very similar to RVs. Or like Tiny Houses. They are built on a trailer. They have VIN numbers and are considered to be a recreational vehicle. Because they are suited for camping only, they are not considered to be mobile homes or permanent living arrangements.
Originally, I thought there would be no way I'd interested in a home as tiny as the ones shown on the television shows. I can live very small, but I'm not interested in living THAT tiny. Besides, I'm not very interested in living on wheels again.
However, these park model log cabins had an open feel. And they were much more solid than I had expected. Later in the day I stopped at a model center to look at some of the modular floor plans I have my eye on, and there were park models there also. Those park models were gorgeous - shiny, fancy, decorated beautifully, and modern. Visually crisp and clean. But they also smelled of chemicals and felt less solid.
In contrast, the Keystone Kabins log park models were solid under my feet and smelled only of wood (despite having been recently varnished - or stained. I'm not certain of the correct terminology). The rustic simplicity caught my eye and my imagination.
Good Customer Service Early On
Dan, of Keystone Kabins, had answered my phone call and was very inviting. I don't believe he was scheduled to work that day but had left the additional pamphlets and information where he said he would. In addition, he was present in the office when I checked - just in case. We did not have an appointment. I was just rolling through as I went from one spot to the next. And frankly, traffic was so horrible that I was running an hour and a half later than I had wanted. But he was there.
That is more than I can say for another builder who knew I was coming - the builder of the homes I most wanted to see during this trip. I arrived 30 minutes within closing and their office was closed. We did not have an appointment, but they were aware I was coming. Perhaps they had an emergency that required closing before their posted hours. Perhaps not. Either way, it makes me wonder what their customer service will be. I do not wonder that about Dan with Keystone Kabins. I already feel that he'd be reliable and go above and beyond.
Daydreaming about the Future
I am still completely uncertain about what my final choice will be. However, I'm more able to imagine having a home on wheels to camp in, rather than my little rickety shack. Who knows, maybe I'll opt for one of those slick and shiny park models. Or maybe I'll make more progress than I expect financially and build a stick-built family sized home. I don't know. But I do know that I'm smitten with these natural, rustic, wooden, tiny log cabins. Clearly, if I choose a park model, it won't be my permanent home. But perhaps I can use it to comfortably camp in for years to come.
I need to do more research about living so small. And have ordered this book just today. My apartment isn't very much over 400 sq feet, but I do have quite a bit of storage here that I won't have in a park model.
|Tiny House Living|
I'm sharing the following photographs that I had taken only to refresh my memory after returning home. The models were in process and I was not planning on sharing the photos. For better quality photos and more information, please see their website or the Keystone Kabins facebook page.