Mother Earth Living


Sweet Home Alabama: A Salvaged Home in the South

A Wedowee, Alabama, family hand-built their cabin using scraps they found onsite and in the surrounding counties. This is as local as it gets.



The Bakers at home (left to right): Jeffery, Adam, Kay, Guy and Kyle. Adam is in college, but Jeffery and Kyle now work for Guy. “This project gave them a passion for the construction industry,” he says. “At age 20 and 22, they could each literally build their own house today.”
Photography by Michael Shopenn
At just 1,100 square feet, the Bakers’ weekend cabin became their main residence after the family spent years building it together.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
The enormous open-faced fireplace is one of Guy’s unique designs, built for function as well as form. Because the family lost everything in a fire 18 years ago, he wanted every part of this fireplace to be visible. It easily heats the entire house.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
The hinges and doorknobs were the only things the Bakers bought for the kitchen; everything else is salvaged. “I think we spent $20 in there, total,” Guy says.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
The home has no “finished” ceilings. “I wanted the lumber to be exposed, so it would look like I’d remodeled an old mill,” Guy says.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
The Bakers cleared a minimal amount of forest trees for their small cabin. The surrounding trees provide an elegant backdrop for the outdoor kitchen.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
This bathtub cost $90: $50 for the cattle trough and $40 to have a fiberglass lining installed.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
Salvaged wood, doors and windows give this home a charming, rustic feel.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
At just 1,100 square feet, the Bakers’ weekend cabin became their main residence after the family spent years building it together.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
The Bakers' sons built this fireplace by hand.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
Kyle found the old Native American grinding stone that adorns the outdoor grill just a few feet from where the cabin now stands.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
This small "shed" houses a storage closet for the home's outdoor kitchen.
Photography by Michael Shopenn
The next step in Guy’s vision is a working waterwheel; the home is ripe for microhydro power.
Photography by Michael Shopenn











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