Call us “flatlanders”

Adam Karen Off Grid Tiny HouseThat’s what the locals call us, two people from urban New Jersey who start spending time in the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania near the headwaters of the Delaware River. It started in 2013 with our purchase of twelve acres of undeveloped land on a rocky, forested mountainside about two and a half hours from New York City.

After a season of camping out, exploring and researching, we made plans for a small cabin.

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Over several months, the cabin planning evolved with the realities of building codes, bringing power and water to a rural lot, budget and timeframes. We decided to build a “tiny house” totally off-the-grid using solar power, well water and an on-lot septic system. The official building plans took shape using novice iPad apps, pencil, paper, imagination and advice from construction partners.

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After locking in the design for a 280 square foot tiny house, we tackle the foundation…a simple insulated deck that begins with concrete piers in January and ends with a floor in July. Working on the weekends means slow progress but also lots of time to learn and get things done right.

With the site ready and the foundation in place, a semi-pre-fab cabin shell from bungalow in a box”  rises. The cabin is born.

A base for what’s next

The cabin formed a home base for the next chapter: learning to finish the interior construction, building a fully off-grid power system and inviting friends to share in the experience through creative projects.

Now more than just a construction project, the land is named Freedgood Falls after the property’s most striking natural feature — the roaring waterfalls that meander for hundreds of feet.


One section of the breathtaking waterfalls that climb for hundreds of feet along the property. At night the roaring water can be heard from the cabin’s cozy sleeping loft. 

Going off-grid is an adventure in design, technology and independence. See what it took to make off-grid happen.

The story of our off-grid paradise, as seen on TV, thanks to HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters” show. Read more about our HGTV experience.