An Incredibly Cozy 250-Square-Foot Cabin in the Pacific Northwest

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Name: Coralie Hews
Location: Northeast Portland, Oregon
Size: 250 square feet, including loft
Years Lived In: 7 months; renting

Though she was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Coralie Hews has always possessed a Southwestern sensibility, especially when it comes to matters of interior design. Her beloved New Mexican textiles, cacti, and earth tones have always had a prominent place in her design palette, so it’s no surprise that all of those tasteful elements come into play in her dreamy, 250-square-foot cabin.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)
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A view of the main living area and the lofted bed gives a sense of how the cozy one-room cabin is laid out. (Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Because Coralie downsized from a spacious one-bedroom apartment to a much smaller, lofted, one-room garage-turned-cabin, she was forced to edit all of her furniture and decor down to only her personal must-haves; she loaned a few pieces to friends, got rid of things that she had no use for, and put some bulkier odds and ends into storage. What she was left with is a charming juxtaposition: a bohemian blend of desert-inspired textiles and ceramics with a well-loved collection of Pacific Northwest relics.

Coralie rents the space from Emily Christensen, the Portland-based clothing designer behind Filly and Beeek, who lives in the main house. Three years ago, Christensen turned the garage on the property into a cabin which was originally listed on Airbnb, but eventually became home to year-round renters. Coralie was lucky enough to hear about the space through a good friend who was a previous tenant and was able to settle into the cabin in the spring of this year.

Though it does take effort for Coralie to keep such a small space simultaneously functional and aesthetically pleasing (i.e., keeping the place clutter-free), it is a challenge that she gladly tackles each day. The contentment she finds in living in her cozy, tiny cabin is a worthy payoff. Thanks for sharing your lovely space with us, Coralie!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: If Doug Bihlmaier and Georgia O’Keeffe had a love child.

Inspiration: The Southwest, 1970s Laurel Canyon, Bolinas, CA, and barns.

Favorite Element: Exposed ceiling beams, and sleeping with the window open in the loft—feels like you’re in a tree house. In the summer I have the French doors open always, and I have a table and chairs out there and strings of lights, and it’s like having an entire outdoor room.

Biggest Challenge: Size! Very little left to the imagination = no place to hide dirty laundry. Not having space for a bookshelf means stacks of books on the floor.

What Friends Say: It feels like summer camp.

Biggest Embarrassment: Clutter. The dirty dishes and stacks of books are the first thing you see when you walk in. Also, lots of dirt falls from the ceiling, and there are new spider webs daily.

Proudest DIY: Fortunately, previous tenants have done some stellar DIY projects so I was set up pretty well when I moved in, but the painter’s drop cloth as closet curtain was an experiment that worked out.

Biggest Indulgence:
My heating bill! And ceramics.

Best Advice: Embrace the adventure of living in a tiny cabin—this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and the charm won’t last forever.

Dream Sources: Spartan, Beam and Anchor, Kaufmann Mercantile, Estate Sales, small town antique and thrift stores.



  • Curtains: I cut a lace tablecloth from a thrift store into three pieces for curtains for the front door and the French doors so I have some privacy but can also get some natural light.


  • Love seat: an estate sale find—the dude told me it was from an old cruise ship but he was probably just blowing smoke up my butt.
  • Pendleton blanket: a gift
  • Pillows: thrift stores
  • Rug: vintage from Beam & Anchor
  • Receiver cabinet and turntable table: custom-made for me by a woodworker friend.
  • Photographs: by Genevieve Pierson



  • Camp blankets: vintage from Beam & Anchor
  • Pendant light: Sunlan Lighting in Portland—the most interesting lighting store you’ll ever visit.


Not photographed. She shares the bathroom in the main house located a few feet from the cabin.

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Thanks, Coralie!