Pennsylvania’s Coexist Build has introduced a DIY cabin constructed with hemp materials. Photo: Coexist Build
By Jean Lotus
Pennsylvania-based hemp building pioneers CoExist Build have released a build-it-yourself 140 sq. foot hemp cabin that can be used as a home office.
The DIY Traveler kit is part of a movement to create “shelter with a purpose,” designers say and comes with a 12-foot sliding glass door and a second floor sleeping loft, or net, accessed by ladder.
Architect Ana Konopitskaya and co-founder and husband Drew Oberholtzer say their inspiration came from interest in the “hemp house on wheels” they built for a trip in 2019 to the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo in New York City.
“Our Hemp House on Wheels was an early prototype, and seeing how much excitement it generated, we decided to go for it,” Oberholtzer said in an email to Let’s Talk Hemp.
“We’ve had many people reach out to us indicating their interest in having a small additional structure for a number of reasons – a pool house, a guest house, a play house, a remote cabin.”
Clients have asked for hemp walls when working from home as a way to escape from processed air and off-gassing of furniture in office buildings.
The backyard office was officially released on Earth Day, 2021, and is designed with a “more wholistic approach to our mind and body wellness,” the company said.
The cabin is made with all natural materials, including wood-peg framing and formaldehyde-free plywood. All wood is cut by local craftspeople and is sourced from FSC-sustainable forests, the company said.
The exterior of the cabin is made of cedar or metal, and the interior can be a plaster finish or plywood. The company provides two sets of plans, one for building permitting.
“We supply all the materials and tools necessary for a plaster application, with a basic instruction for the process. It does take a little bit of patience and experimentation to apply plaster, and if this is a first time, it probably will not be perfect and, I should add, should not be expected to be perfect,” the team added.
Coexist is one of a family of cooperating hemp ventures in Pennsylvania that have pushed the whole industry forward nationally with innovation.
The team had earlier experience designing accessory dwelling units (or ADUs) in California. More recently due to the pandemic, interest in the Northeast United States for new cabin building has risen, the pair said.
The new cabin costs around $31,000 with shipping and taxes included and can be built with either prefabricated hempcrete blocks or hemp fiber insulation.
For home office use, solar panels (not included) can be attached to the roof, or constructed next to the unit, the team said.
The cabin can be reserved for a down payment of $500, and can be delivered in 8 weeks after a building permit appointment has been scheduled. Coexist will work with building departments for a smoother approval process.
A team of between two-to-six people is needed to construct the structure, which Coexist likens to a “barn-raising” experience.
“We believe that this experience will bring the owner [and their family members] ever closer to organic living and nature, and a comfort of knowing what is inside the walls,” Konopitskaya said.
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Jean Lotus is a Colorado-based award-winning journalist and hempreneur who writes about the American West and sustainable food and technologies.