When my wife and I bought our small property outside Brazoria, we at first used a small pickup camper for “weekending”. It didn’t have much other than a bed, a small sink, microwave, and a little window unit AC. We used a gasoline generator for power, and had some very good times. Later, I built a deck out of used lumber from a canal lot building I demolished before selling the property. Deciding to take a break from building things myself for a bit, we had a 12 x 12 metal carport installed on the deck.The crew who came to do the job was not happy with my driveway and it’s very limited turn-around area, nor did they much want to set the carport on a wooden deck, instead of bolting it to a concrete driveway. I doubt they will ever do another job for me.
At first, the structure was just a place to get out of the sun, partial shelter from the rain, but then we started thinking – always a dangerous thing. decided to wall in the carport and make a better shelter. Actually, I made a half wall around it, using a number of old framed windows we were given for the top half of the wall. For the bottom, I was able to do the front with some extra sheet metal left by the carport crew, the rest was salvaged Hardy Panel front the canal lot building, painted to match the metal. I put doors in both ends, and a “front” door roughly in the middle of the front side. The windows were covered on the outside with solar screen, which keeps both bugs and the sun’s heat out, and allows us to leave the windows open in mild weather to enjoy the breeze – from any direction.
Early on we realized the bad choice in picking dark green for the color of the carport. The summer heat made the metal so hot it would burn me if I touched the under side of the roof. Insulating the “ceiling” pretty much solved that problem, plus installing a large 120V window unit A/C. I had gotten a power pole installed, and wired the “cabin”, as it was becoming, for lights and electrical outlets. For cold weather, I installed an old Ben Franklin wood burning cast iron fireplace. We found a nice Hide-a-Bed couch in a resale shop, and spent many very pleasant nights in this shelter, before buying a 28 foot travel travel as an upgrade.
For interior finish, I chose rough cedar fence planks as paneling of the bottom half of the interior walls and on the ceiling. We put some old carpeting on the wood floors to keep drafts and bugs from coming through the cracks between planks. On the list for later are ceiling fans with light fixtures. The end result is a perfectly livable structure that would do well as a deer lease cabin, and can be built by most anyone for a minimal investment in time and funds. The time to get ready for next season is now, when the 2012 season has just ended. If you expect to be on a new lease next season – or need to update the accommodations on your current lease,a “Carport-o-Mininium” might be the way to go?