Kristie Wolfe turns 1950s fire lookout into off-grid shelter

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  • Published on:  Sunday, November 17, 2019
  • When Kristie Wolfe saw a fire lookout tower advertised for sale on private land, she knew she had found her next build. She had already constructed a Hawaiian treehouse and a hobbit hole getaway from the ground up and loved the idea of converting the abandoned structure into an immersive deep-forest escape.

    The 13 acres of forest above tiny Fernwood, Idaho (population: 684) cost her $67,000 and was her most expensive purchase, but the structure it came with has historic value: there are only about 900 lookouts still standing (at one time there were over 5,000 towers in the US). The lookout heydey was inspired by the devastating Great Fire of 1910 that burned 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km2) throughout Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

    Wolfe’s “Crystal Peak Lookout” was built in 1959 on Stranger Peak, WA, but in 1983 it was moved to private land in Northern Idaho where it was used as a hunting lodge. When Wolfe bought it, it had been abandoned for 25 years by all but the bushy-tailed woodrats which had inflicted their damage.

    Working mostly alone, Wolfe spent weeks transforming the cab into an overnight shelter with a fireplace, kitchenette and 360 degree views. The location is off-grid (the town of Fernwood doesn’t even have Internet), but a small PV setup provides enough energy for lights and to charge phones.

    With the help of her brother and mother, Wolfe moved an old shed down the hill (using pipes and a pulley system) and gave it a new life as a cold-water shower and sauna. Another old shed became a composting toilet.

    Wolfe does all the work on her properties herself - with the help of family- and never takes out loans. For the past 7 years her properties have become her full-time job. Just recently she created the Big Idaho Potato Hotel, a one room shelter carved out of a 6-ton potato (of concrete, plaster and steel) formerly used to promote the Idaho potato industry.

    On *faircompanies
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  • Toad


     5 hours ago

    Hi Kirsten, thank you for the great videos. Suggest to Kristie she build a small water ram for water. I move water through a line 3/4 mile in Northern Ontario with my water ram:)

  • Joe Ford

    Joe Ford

     6 hours ago

    Your absolutely adorable,I wouldn't leave you all by yourself 💋

  • coquijean


     7 hours ago +1

    ....I would never wear clothes😉💜....awesome place

  • Beverly Blades

    Beverly Blades

     8 hours ago

    Very cool!!! Would love to stay somewhere like that on holiday. Maybe next time you could go international with a place in Sicily for €1.

  • Kim Ames

    Kim Ames

     11 hours ago

    OMG I Love Her!! 💕💕💕♥️♥️

  • Shara -La

    Shara -La

     22 hours ago

    It is mind-boggling why would somebody dislike this....(847 currently) Those women: Kristie and Kirsten are both brilliant.

  • Umbra Deus

    Umbra Deus

     22 hours ago

    So much unused space on that deck.
    I would have my kitchen and possibly my bathroom out on the deck, maybe even turn one side into a greenhouse.

  • KiwiBanana


     23 hours ago

    Amazing use of the structure.

  • Kenji Brian Kitagawa

    Kenji Brian Kitagawa


    I see this and remember the game Firewatch

  • Spiz D

    Spiz D


    Bitch don't even live here she just rents it out to suckers and visits once a year, either way cool... I guess lol

  • Spiz D

    Spiz D


    Nice drone shots

  • blackl1steddrums


     2 days ago

    I cant get over how hot she is.

  • Big Brother

    Big Brother

     2 days ago

    There's still an operating firelookout on the top of Sundance Hill near Priest Lake Idaho.

  • STO AntiTrollDivision

    STO AntiTrollDivision

     2 days ago

    Would you like to build another small platform below enough for a bed TV for a free caretaker? ;-) What you do to these buildings is just amazing!!! Good luck for the future and wish you all the best!!! Bows

  • ADaivius Satterfield

    ADaivius Satterfield

     2 days ago

    Lol all your hard work collecting water just went down the drain 🤔🤣 lol I'm over here like STOP! STOP!

  • ADaivius Satterfield

    ADaivius Satterfield

     2 days ago

    Why couldn't Roxy go up lol 🙃🐶 oh rite they need to pee duh

  • ADaivius Satterfield

    ADaivius Satterfield

     2 days ago

    I wanted to see the dead snake 🤔🐍lol

  • Misty Hoy

    Misty Hoy

     2 days ago

    They still log the land? The growth better be up to par to keep up with demand, eh?

  • Quest for a Meaningful Life

    Quest for a Meaningful Life

     2 days ago +3

    Inspiring stuff, to imagine living in a place like this.

  • JJ BB

    JJ BB

     2 days ago

    Nice work! I want one as well, did you get the 13 acres for that price?