Jeff Avery always wanted his own cabin. The Canadian-nowNew Zealander was reminded of that recently when an old friend contacted him on Facebook. “He quoted me saying, ‘ Matty, one day, I’m going to build a cabin.’ For me, cabins mean skiing and winter.” But at only 10 square metres, Jeff and Jane Avery’s Eurowood cabin, imported via Christchurch from the Czech Republic for $ 30,000, seems more set up for summer than the Central Otago winter. Still, it’s insulated, powered by solar energy, and takes nothing to heat. The cabin’s size means no building consent was necessary, the 33- degree angle of the roof creates a sleeping loft inside, with deep eaves shading an equal amount of outdoor space around the cabin. Jeff and Jane mostly put the kitset cabin together themselves — the roof tested the bounds of their marriage — aided by friends carefully selected for their skills, particularly Jeff’s ice hockey mates (he’s also the coach of Dunedin Thunder). “We chose this one because it’s do-able. You could build it in three days if you knew what you were doing. It’s like Lego; once you’ve done the foundations, you put the baseboards down and it just slots together, with big steel pins in the corners,” Jeff says. The entire building — bar the roofing but including the ceiling — arrived in three flat packs. “Then you open it up and go, ‘ What on earth do I do now?’” says Jeff. “They come with a general plan but it’s written by people with English as a second language. and yet even if it were written in proper English, I would have messed some things up. But by not getting overwhelmed, and doing one thing after another, it started to materialize.” While Jane and Jeff could have bought something for about $14,000, they decided to pay more than twice the amount for the Czech- designed Eurowood cabin. “We worked on the principle ‘ the cheapskate pays twice’,” says Jeff. “This is good- quality spruce, interlocked tongue and groove. We bought the 55-millimetrethick cabin, rather than the 33-millimetre version, so it’s cosy in winter.” The best part, as far as both are concerned, is that Jeff didn’t need to cut a single piece of wood, aside from the foundations.