The Dragon Fly House



Holly and I’s cabin was never a set in stone plan, really more of an idea that evolved organically.   From day one the dream came as we sat by the pond and looked at the beautiful trees. The location called to us, it begged for something.  Our first thought was maybe we would put up a teepee, we thought that would cool. After doing some research online, and figuring out what it would cost to purchase a tepee we decided that with the resources we had it would make more sense to just build something.

With the drive and eagerness of holly and I, and my dad’s knowledge, we could make something that would work for us and fit the space much better. It went from the dream stage to the work stage real quick, and lots of work we did.  We dug the holes to set posts and mixed the cement all by hand. The redwood we harvested from the property, peeled and cleaned all by hand as well. Within a few weeks we were well on our way to building a small slice of life. 

Over the next few summers we worked hard to build this dream! We spent our winters in Tahoe chasing the snow. Holly worked a variety of different jobs as she built her photography business. I worked as a snowboard coach for a competitive snowboard team and was a trainer for the burton snowboard academy. We saved what money we made for building materials for the cabin. 

Growing up in a house that my dad built, and he being raised in house that his father built, it just made sense to acquire some skills and make something of our own. Every aspect of the cabin we did by ourselves, from harvesting the trees and milling the lumber, to building the windows and doors. We laid the roof, sided it, wired it plumed it… you get the point. One of the most time consuming aspects of entire build was sanding and finishing the many door and window parts. We were lucky to have a master craftsman (my dad) and his large shop with a plethora of tools.

The cabin has offered us much freedom in our lives. We are both able to explore our creative side and pursue our entrepreneurial endeavours. We find great pleasure in being able to grow our own food and catch fish from the ocean. This lifestyle is a choice. It comes with the willingness to work hard, a desire to live free, and the ability to disconnect from the worlds material needs or wants. The world today puts a lot of pressure on people to go to college, get a job, work all the time to pay off a house. I don’t think that is living… why not create a life? 

We feel truly alive in this space and hope that we can inspire others to reject conformity and to create a life that is truly ALIVE! We believe the “American Dream” is being redefined. 

- Ryan Hinshaw


Check out some of the gear that Holly and Ryan are incorporating into their build:

Hobbit Wood Stove | Cozy Cabin Propane Heater | Lotus LED Gimballed Lights

Follow Holly and Ryan's adventures on Instagram: @hollyshankland and @rlhinshaw41

Check out some of Holly's photography as well at


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