Scott's Octagon

"I don't actually have an address, " Scott responded in an email about us visiting him in Monkton, Vermont. 

We arrive at the bottom of Scott's steep, switchbacked driveway in pelting rain. He warmly welcomes us with a huge grin and smiling eyes. His lightheartedness and sense of humor are immediately apparent, as he says almost everything with a laugh.

We traipse uphill on foot. Muddy tire tracks amidst the rocks mark past ascents. As we round a hairpin curve, the elements of Scott's life come into view: a broken-down, faded Volvo; a motorcycle peeking out from underneath a tarp; Scott’s abode. The 96-square-foot octagon is nestled into the side of a densely wooded hill. The land's steepness made it undesirable to most potential buyers and, thus, affordable to Scott. 

Scott invites us inside for a tour - a welcome refuge from the downpour. It's noticeably quieter inside. The rain becomes a faint murmur, which Scott attributes to the excellent insulation.

He flips on a battery-powered camping lantern, illuminating the sleeping bag laid out on the floor next to a caulking gun, leftover cedar shingles, and several beer cans. Clearly proud of his work, Scott recounts his building process in great detail. "I could go on about this forever," he exclaims.

Much of Scott's construction knowledge was gleaned from internet articles and forums. His deliberate and determined character is evident in the cabin's craftsmanship. He credits some of the structure's soundness to its size. Because it's so small and he did all the work himself, every detail got a lot of attention.


On our second night the rain lets up just before dark. Despite the damp conditions, Scott devotes himself to building a fire to cook dinner. Over dinner, in the glowing light, we learn more about Scott and what led him to live in a tiny house in the secluded Northern woods.

Though Scott is a self-described "motor head" and confesses to owning "too many cylinders" to be called an environmentalist, his home and lifestyle are relatively low-impact. He collects rainwater from the side of his roof for washing, has no grid connection for electricity, and cleared very little of the surrounding forest to build his structure.

Scott is fond of sitting by the fire each night, often listening to the symphonies of hooting owls. Freedom, both in theory and practice, is a key driving force behind Scott's lifestyle choices. He doesn't pay rent to a landlord, owe monthly utility bills, or have a mortgage. He's acquainted and friendly with his neighbors, but has plenty of space to enjoy his solitude. 

Scott rests his feet on a nearby log and leans back, looking up at the stars, "This is a well-thought-out, intentional way of living."

Posted on August 5, 2015 .