|Written by Vivian McInerny|
|Wednesday, April 13, 2011|
These are pre-fab houses. Emphasis on “fab.”
With a kit from Jan Kronke of Oregon TimberWerks (you can pop up a basic cabin shell in the woods for about $6,000 and a few days labor. Less than $2,000 buys the goods for a fancy little playhouse for the kids complete with covered porch and Dutch door.
Kronke lives on the family farm where he grew up near Eugene raising cows, hazelnuts, and Douglas firs for Christmas trees and timber.
“About 10-plus years ago I started building sheds on the side when business was slow,” he says. “My mother suggested I build a playhouse for my kids.”
At first Kronke sold the playhouses fully assembled but quickly realized that most back yards couldn’t handle delivery of a completed house, no matter how small. Pre-cut kits of fir lumber and plywood were the answer. Business grew when he added adult-size cabin kits. Kronke has shipped Oregon TimberWerks kits throughout the U.S. and as far away as a small South Pacific island. But the operation remains small.
“It’s basically me,” says Kronke. “I can customize most anything because everything is built for the customer. I don’t have stacks of kits stored somewhere.”
Kronke grows the trees, mills the lumber, designs the structures, and will assemble them on site for a fee. It’s hard to imagine shelters that are more quintessentially Oregon.