Off-Grid Getaway

Property Watch: An Itty-Bitty, Off-Grid Cabin on Shaw Island

This wild, 9.9-acre property on the smallest island served by the San Juan ferry could handle a fully featured home—but for now, this adorable cabin offers a place to truly disconnect.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd August 24, 2022

Image: Susan Scott

Have you been dreaming about a tiny cabin in the woods? This property on Shaw Island has 10 acres of forest, plateaus, and knolls—and a 360-square-foot cabin.

Out of the four islands served by the San Juan ferry, Shaw is the smallest and least developed, and the most off-grid you can go on the islands without needing (or chartering) your own boat. Very few tourists come here; the only available short-term accommodations are the campsites in Shaw Island County Park or, before the Covid-19 pandemic, guesthouses for those committed to immersing themselves in the labor and prayer of Our Lady of the Rock, a 300-acre women’s Benedictine monastery and farm.

Near the ferry dock, there’s a general store with antique furnishings and its original century-old fir floors, carrying products by local farms and artisans, as well as general provisions—this is the entire business district. Farther in, there’s a library and historical museum and a fire station; residents also have access to a school and community center. That’s it. No movie theaters, clothing boutiques, cafes, or other general trappings of civilization.

Image: Susan Scott

There’s plenty of room to build a more traditional home on the property (power and phone lines go up to the property line, so available local utilities are immediately available). The cabin itself, however, benefits from a private well on the property. That's about it. Heat comes from a small wood stove, and light from a fuel lamp and any lanterns or flashlights you choose to bring. As for the bathroom situation: There’s a pit toilet about 25 feet behind the cabin surrounded by 10-foot evergreen trees and curtains. According to the owner, it airs out very well.

Image: Susan Scott

Custom-built in 2000, the cabin is full of little artisan touches. Tile on a counter along the back wall and around the stove is reclaimed cracked porcelain, filled in with small rocks. The limited kitchen area—the wood stove is the only stove, and there’s no running water—has cute, custom wood cabinetry. The sleeping loft, nestled up in the exposed beams, has a built-in bedside table in the corner, with shelves and drawers above.

Image: Susan Scott

It’s facing downslope to the east, so it takes in plenty of morning light, supplemented by light to the south. Dormer windows cast some additional ambient light below and give the sleeping loft, which also has a few west-facing windows, a nice view.

Image: Susan Scott

This property is part of the Tibbs Landing community, which gives it access to a private beach and a common area. But don’t worry, it’s not decked out like a city HOA would be; the unpaved road to the property is regularly maintained, but it’s still an unpaved road. Even if you decide to build up some modern conveniences out here, you’ll have a super-secluded retreat.

Image: Susan Scott

Listing Fast Facts

0 Tibbs Rd, Shaw Island
Size: 360 square feet/9.9 acres, 1 loft/1 outhouse
List Date: 8/6/2021
List Price: $475,000
Listing Agents:
Jon Boyer, Offshore Properties

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