Move Into a Cabin

Posted on June 22, 2018


I moved to Los Angeles about a year ago and found an apartment in the same neighborhood (Highland Park) as some of my larger shareholders in the area. My lease is up soon and I’m realizing that while it’s a decent sized one bedroom apartment I don’t spend a lot of time here and other than a bed and a desk it’s quite under-furnished. It’s not exactly "home" but I enjoy having a place where I can be alone. I’m also paying a lot to rent a place I don’t spend that much time in (and my rent is going up at the end of my lease).

I have an opportunity to move into a much weirder place. It’s a small delightful studio in the backyard of a friend in Echo Park. It’s very small. It has a Murphy bed, and when the bed is down, that’s basically the whole place. There is a bathroom, but no kitchen. There is internet and a desk. It has all the things I actually use in my current apartment.

It’s small enough that I would have to get rid of some things. I find that idea kind of exciting. I moved to LA with only what I could fit in a Prius, and this would encourage me to be even more intentional about my belongings. Not to get too Marie Kondo on you but I’ve felt "lighter" by reducing the objects in my life.

I spent a night in the cabin to test it out. It was wonderful. It smells like cedar and reminds me of my family’s camp in Maine. Sounds from LA bleed through the tin roof and walls, but I’m a very sound sleeper. There was some squirrel nonsense skittering on the roof. The morning light Is amazing as it sits up on a hill and looks over the main house. There is a wonderful garden between the cabin and the main house.

The main downside of the cabin is that it’s not a permanent situation. I am not sure how long I’d be there but probably less than a year. Also, there is no AC, so there could be incredibly hot nights. There is a risk I will later regret getting rid of some things. And I hate the process of moving out. The idea fills me with dread (but I love moving into a new place).

My expectation of life in the cabin is to adopt the feeling of rustic simplicity one normally feels on a Pacific Northwest vacation. Wake up and make a nice pour over coffee, have a simple snack for breakfast, meditate, and spend some time writing on the computer or reading. Reducing my wardrobe to a few simple items and living in a small sanctuary nestled in the hills and full of books where I can be alone, but also centrally located and even closer to my office.

My first apartment has been a great place to land in LA. Close to friends, a courtyard pool, and parrots squawking in the palm trees. I love the idea of moving somewhere a little weirder and a lot cheaper. A little weirder because it encourages creativity and a lot cheaper so that I can spend my money on weird and creative ideas.

Let me know what concerns you have or ideas you have for living in small spaces!

No - 130.0

rwalworth3104 56.0
Medicalmack 20.0
pvong 14.0
awnelson17 ☕️🌮🕴 10.0
politicos 8.0
EyeScream 5.0
CWhoa ☕️ 5.0
NoxPhoenix 4.0
Kriss Knapp ☕️ 4.0
Besst 2.0
viciouskris 1.0
bcave 1.0

Past Discussion

Mike Merrill
I'll work on getting some pics before the vote ends.
Robby Russell ☕💯 (106.0 shares, voted yes)
My only concern is how this might impact your diet. (but I don't have a good grasp on your current diet) Not having a kitchen sounds like a lot of takeout/dining out.
beau 💯☕️ (188.0 shares, voted yes)
i lived in koreatown for a year and a half and i wasn't a sound sleeper before but definitely was after ? my apartment also had no AC and that's probably the one thing i'd change if i did it again... easy enough to get a floor or window unit
Zach (3.0 shares, voted yes)
How deep are you in Echo Park? Is this place in the wilderness or is your cabin directly next to apartment homes? If you're not isolated from people, this doesn't make much sense. I share the same kitchen concerns as Robby Russell.
humanclock (8.0 shares, voted yes)
Now I have that Carly Simon lyric in my head: "You think she knows the bible And can swin the English Channel Writes novels in her spare time In a cabin in her woods"
davehayden ☕️💯 (276.0 shares, voted yes)
Sounds like a great way to focus on what's most important in life: shareholder value.
Mike Merrill
It's on the backlot of a house on a steep hill, so it's not really that removed but feels isolated. I can set up a hotplate if I find I'm eating out too much, but these days I've been eating the majority of my meals with friends (combo of at home and out). I can track my food spending but I'm sure it's lower than when I was living in Portland.
Mike Merrill
@davehayden That's it exactly!
Pat Castaldo 💯☕️ (118.0 shares, voted yes)
"there could be incredibly hot nights" <=== Why I voted yes.
foxmambo (1.0 shares, voted yes)
Sounds like an adventure - and one that would save you money instead of costing the earth - yay! Downsizing is good, and it'll make future moves less daunting (and storage is also pretty cheap).
politicos (8.0 shares, voted no)
While loving within your means and fiscally conscious is important, shying from responsibility like “paying less rent” can have long term negative consequences. Living like a recluse is also unhealthy, it doesn’t seem like you should be withdrawn too much socially due to your public lifestyle.
Hett (4.0 shares, voted yes)
How is this a cabin in LA
Mike Merrill 🎖
It's a small structure in the backyard of a house in Echo Park, not a cabin in the woods (the image in the email was more for "vibe" as it feels like a cabin. But I'm by no means in the woods. (Sorry for the confusion.)
rwalworth3104 (56.0 shares, voted no)
Downsizing is good. Cheaper is good. Miserable living conditions won't make you more creative.
jrg3 (15.0 shares, voted yes)
Cool idea. I have had friends who have done something like this in the past. I believe they enjoyed their time, but ultimately also looked forward to moving out. Sounds win-win to me; exciting both moving in and moving out. This vote makes me realize that we do not know very much about your day-to-day since moving, though. Could we get an update?
CWhoa (5.0 shares, voted no)
I am prone to stuff like this and I get it, but I would only vote yes if it had an expiration date. Maybe six months, max. Then you have a deadline and pour all that creativity in. Otherwise, I think these kind of sparce living situations can drag you into holes slowly.
awnelson17 ☕️🌮🕴 (10.0 shares, voted no)
No AC is a deal killer in my mind, especially in California. I have no expectation of this making you life better, despite the quaint, romantic picture you paint for us. You can downsize your crap without having to move into the hothouse on the prison yard designed for solitary confinement.
Curt ☕️💼💯🌮 (100.0 shares, voted yes)
Not being able to host guests from out-of-town is a bummer, but the financial benefits are significant enough put me in the "aye" column.
GriffithParker (3.0 shares, voted yes)
In LA, on most nights, the lack of AC will not be a problem a small fan can't solve. It is a good time in your life to live even more simply. Things will become more complicated in the future.
benjack05 (9.0 shares, voted yes)
I support the move, would be interesting to take the cost savings with the move and do something interesting with that money.
Kriss Knapp (4.0 shares, voted no)
At first thought, I was intrigued by this idea of downsizing and moving into a small space. There are a few things that made me reconsider. Moving is time-consuming and will be an interruption, especially if it's a short-term engagement. I wonder how much you will save after moving a couple times – considering money, time and effort that might be involved. I could be convinced otherwise if you have to move anyway, but I would suggest planning for the long-term if possible. Also, no ac can be rough if we get a hot summer.
Mike Merrill 🎖
My rent is going down by half, which is great (if you calculate the cost per square foot, then my rent is going up, ha!). I'll use the money to pay off the remaining IRS debt I have and then I'll spend some on new projects and some on building up my savings.
Mia Nolting (20.0 shares, voted yes)
Sounds good overall, but will you really save money with no kitchen? Will you have to eat out all the time?