Small Cabin Glossary

A Glossary of Terms used on this Website

Transom Windows:  sit above doorways, allowing light and sometimes fresh air into a room when the door is closed,

Clerestory Windows: are often narrow windows installed at or above the roofline in an interior living space.

Clerestory Roof is a roof with a vertical wall which sits between the two sloping sides, which features a row of windows (or one long, continuous window)


Acre – 43,500 square feet.


Boma – a rough animal enclosure,  especially for animals, sometimes used in reference to and enclosed, sheltered fire pit

BTU – British Thermal Unit – The amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water through a change of one degree F.

Butterfly Roof – A roof assembly, which pitches sharply from either side toward the center.


Cabin – a small wooden shelter or house in a wild or remote area.
synonyms: hut, log cabin, shanty, shack, shed;

Cabin – a small room / bedroom on a ship

Combination Doors or Windows – Combination doors or windows used over regular openings. They provide winter insulation and summer protection and often have self storing or removable glass and screen inserts. This eliminates the need for handling a different unit each season.

Chook Coop – Australian term for Chicken Run


DIY – Do it Yourself,  making, building or fixing things you would otherwise buy or employ someone to do for you

Donga –  Aussie:  a relocatable usually transportable (tin) building dwelling

Donga – South Africa:  a gully in the bush, formed by erosion

Donkey Shower –  An outside boiler, powered  by wood, which provides warm water for a shower.  – The term donkey is often used to refer to a secondary or / ancillary device used to start a primary device.


Elastic Home

Elastic Home” or Elastic Housing” refers mainly to the idea that the home you live in should grow and shrink to meet the needs of your family as you travel through life.

Energy Heel Truss – A truss where the edge closest to the wall is raised so that insulation can reach the outside wall and cover the whole ceiling area

Garden Retreat – a construction or building in the garden, a place of solitude, may be a green house, gazebo, writers hut, guest cottage (a place sit and read or think)

Homestead  – a house and the surrounding area of land, usually used as a farm.

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency,

Fire Pit – Camp fire, a pit dug into the ground or made from stones, used to gather around


Minimalism – the art of using of the fewest and barest essentials or elements, as in the arts, literature, or design (a growing movement of people concerned by the clutter of consumerism and material goods) – focusing on experience instead of materials

Materialism – A philosopy or believe that only the physical matters, Materialists deny the existence of spirit, and they look for physical explanations for all phenome


Off the Grid – not connected to the basic services, like water, gas or electricity,  – mostly used in reference to the national electricity supply


Photovoltaics (PV) – is the name of a method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, in other word Solar Energy –  – A global / statistic website providing the PV results for nearly 1 million panels in different locations around the world. If you have solar you might want to consider sharing your results on the website.


Rondavel – A rondavel  is based on the African-style hut. The rondavel is usually round or oval in shape and is traditionally made with materials that can be locally found in raw form.  It has a thatched roof although occasionally make of corrugated. The walls walls are often constructed from mud brick or stones and used as a guest house or outside room. resembles a contcret water tank with a roof on it.


SIP – Structured Insulation Panel – Roof or Wall panels which are manufactured by including the Roof Steel, Insulation and Ceiling Material into a single sheet. SIP’s can generally span long distances.

Solar Energy – Do you have Solar? – generally referring to the Solar Panels on your roof liked to the Inverter on the side of your home which provides electricity to you home, any excess energy/electricity is feed into the national grid.

Self Sufficient – needing no outside help in satisfying one’s basic needs, mostly used in reference to the production of food, though more commonly used now with reference to solar energy, and harvesting water.

Simple Living – the pursuit of living simply, and removing the weight for ‘doing life’,


Tiny House  – A very small self contained home, which still maintains many of the features of a larger home.


Yurt – a round (upright barrel) tent like building,, It resembles rondavel, only its made of canvas instead of mud and thatch.

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