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How to Move From Hollywood to a 360-Square-Foot Cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains

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The cabin today
The cabin today

Welcome to a special Micro Week edition of House Calls, a new feature in which Curbed tours the lovely, offbeat, or otherwise awesome homes of regular Angelenos. Think your space should be featured next? Drop us a line with a few photos and details about your place.


Photos courtesy the owners

If you have a hard time imagining moving somewhere small, try imagining moving somewhere small and isolated. When Tom and Emily made the leap from their apartments in Hollywood to a 360-square-foot log cabin in Lake Arrowhead's Deer Lodge Park, just on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest, it meant adapting not only to a new place, but also to a very new lifestyle—and they love it.

It all started when Tom and Emily happened to rewatch Little House on the Prairie around the same time they were looking for a new place to raise their daughter Finnie. Since Tom had grown up in Southern California, he had fond memories spending weekends in tiny cabins near Lake Arrowhead, so they began to look for their own. It's one thing to visit, it's another to live there, but, unlike most Angelenos, they really wanted a place where they could have four seasons.

When they saw their cabin, they wanted it immediately. Their real estate agent and even the selling agent both thought they were completely insane, but Tom and Emily still think their home is the most amazing place on the planet. Not only does their location mean the family has lots of room to run around outside, they know exactly where everything is and don't have to worry about keeping up a bigger place. Even if a smaller place isn't your thing, it's easy to be envious of less heating, cleaning, fixing, etc.

Being in such close quarters also means lots of family time. Emily gave birth to their second daughter, Sadie, on the family bed, which all four of them now share. And whenever there's a family argument, they have to settle it right away, because it's not like there's anywhere to get away from each other.

Sure, they can get a little bit of cabin fever in the winter, but part of their upgrades to the cabin included a fireplace and a superfast internet connection so they can watch movies throughout the season. Somersault contests, coloring books, and board games also keep them busy. Tom and Emily also homeschool the girls in the house.

The only drawback is that their bathroom is in an adjacent building, so they have to run through the snow to get to it. They say it's exhilarating.

As for regrets? Not one. They never want to leave: "We're planning on dying here." Leonard Hyman


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