Gazing out at the treetops just never gets old. It’s a simple pleasure that grounds us, reminding us to be grateful for the natural world. Cabins that make prime forest views a top priority achieve a special kind of ambiance that doesn’t rely on any kind of luxuries, just the presence of the trees and their calming characteristics.
A recent project by Midland Architecture in Belmont County, Ohio calls treehouses to mind with its peaked roof and location on the edge of a ridge, making it level with the crowns of many trees just beyond its windows. Built sustainably off the grid, “The Hut” was featured on an episode of the Discovery network’s Building Off the Grid series, and received a 2019 AIA Ohio Architecture Honor Award.
Set in a secluded location, the cabin is rustic, but never dark or drab. Plentiful windows and skylights let natural light filter through the trees to enter, but it’s the Eastern White Pine interiors that really make it pop. Check out how the whitewashing of the floors allows the grain to shine through, while the vertical paneling draws the eye up to the high ceiling, making the space feel bigger than it is.
“The cabin, tucked in woods, was a labor of love for Greg Dutton, his brother Chris and father John, who worked together to build the secluded retreat. The project site, now a working cattle farm, which the family purchased in 1981, was originally part of a strip mine, and through their stewardship, has been reclaimed by forest, grasslands and lakes.”
“The off-grid retreat was inspired by Scandinavian design and the ‘hygge’ mindset. The structure is sided with cedar shingles and sits amongst trees, atop a high bank overlooking a lake. Designed for peace of mind; the outside setting is brought in through a wide expanse of floor to ceiling windows. Touching the earth lightly with a minimalistic foundation of concrete piers the sustainably built space runs off solar power and collected rainwater.”
“Heavily influenced by aspects of farming, the cabin was constructed using building techniques born out of tradition and logic, with simple materials used economically. The overall concept and design for the retreat demonstrate an emphasis on craft, in a style that we like to call ‘country minimalism.’”
You can see how “The Hut” was built by a team of family and friends on this episode of Building Off the Grid.
The archetypal cabin is square or rectangular, but you can still achieve that cozy nature-centric feeling when you think outside the box (literally.) An interesting design out in coastal Denmark uses thin strips of pine to create a barrel-vaulted ceiling, and the effect is beautiful, especially on the inside.
For Copenhagen-based studio Valbaek Brørup Architects, the use of pine was important for several reasons. First of all, they wanted to use materials that are locally available and found right on the building site. Using wood was also important to make it “cabin-like,” especially since they’re deviating from conventional forms. But just as crucially, pine imparts an unparalleled fragrance to the interiors.
“The interior is all made of pine. The smell, sound and atmosphere is like being in a traditional cabin. We wanted to copy the materials, colors and atmosphere on the site, so we didn’t want to paint anything – especially not white.”
“We wanted to create a house with a form that is connected to the existing rural building tradition, as a reference to the more industrial agricultural buildings of Danish farms,” partner Stefan Valbaek told Dezeen.
As you can see, the corrugated roof recalls the materials and shapes of livestock buildings and silos, so although the home is modern, it doesn’t feel out of place in its context.
There’s a bedroom loft tucked just under the ceiling, open on both sides to draw in natural light, while the majority of the space is dedicated to common pine-clad living areas. It’s always neat to see the different ways people use pine, and all the global variations on the traditional cabin.
Who needs wifi and electricity when you’ve got views like this? The Nolla cabin on the island of Vallisaari off the coast of Helsinki might be simple and small in stature, but it’s a beautiful setting for a nature-centric getaway that focuses on nature, togetherness and the power of temporary disconnection from modern life. Made primarily of pine and perched directly on the rocky shoreline, the Nolla Cabin features an elegant A-frame shape with a glass facade to take in a wide expanse of sea.
Designer Robin Falck wanted the experience of staying in this holiday home – which is available for rent on Airbnb, but currently fully booked – to focus on sustainable lifestyles. Visitors arrive via boat from the mainland, walk a short distance to the solar-powered cabin and begin what Falck hopes will be a zero-waste vacation. All guests are encouraged to pack lightly and bring no disposable items when possible.
The cabin itself highlights the beauty of the wood, with ornamental details kept at a minimum. It’s built to be easily transported and assembled without the need for heavy equipment, and no screws are used to put it together. The pieces fit together like a puzzle. The legs of the cabin are adjustable so it can sit on uneven terrain.
Inside, you’ll find minimalist pine furniture, two single beds and a special stove by Finnish company Neste that runs on renewable diesel made of 100% waste. Falck hopes that the experience of staying here will encourage guests to think about how they could cut back on waste and simplify their lives year-round.
Seven striking new contemporary cabin designs come to us straight from the 2018 ‘Cabin Fever’-themed Hello Wood Festival in Hungary. Students from 65 universities around the world collaborated on the timber prototypes, receiving mentorship and guidance from international architecture studios while getting practical hands-on education in 2D design drawing, materials, tin roofing, insulation and teamwork.
Imaginative and unexpected, the 7 wooden cabins that came out of the project this year allow us all to look at cabin design from fresh new perspectives. Here are details on the top five projects – check out lots more info and two bonus projects at the Hello Wood Festival website.
Vertical Cabin by H3T Architekti
The Vertical Cabin can be described as a process, not only as a result of work. The object generates an experience when being used and also during its creation. The design builds on the tradition of maypole celebrations in Czech republic. It is built gradually on the ground and then it is raised to its vertical position. However, its location is not final. Cabin equipped with wheels can be relocated anywhere.
Treehouse by frundgallina
Treehouse is a self-built pavilion.
Treehouse is an archetypical hut that connects architecture to nature by establishing a dialogue between the two.
Treehouse is a Microcosmos, an Existenzminimum.
Treehouse has a downstairs, opened to the surrounding landscape and an upstairs that turns inwards.
Treehouse is a landmark, a lighthouse for travellers that need protection for the night.
Treehouse will be used to share, meditate, play, sing, sleep,make or simply express unity with the primordial world.
Treehouse pays tribute to Gottfried Semper and the four elements of architecture: hearth, roof, enclosure, mound.
Ziggurat Delivery by ZarCola
Our cabin “Ziggurat Delivery” is designed with the idea, that living in a small house emphasize
the relationship with the outside surrounding. A relationship, that chance in connection with the
With this in mind, we designed a cabin that is divided in two independent volume; each one with an independent structure.
These volumes are located one over the other, the one on the top is for sleeping and the one on
the bottom is for the daily common activities.
Cabin Modules by iR Arquitectura
We will stand at an intermediate point of all the pairs of topics. The cabin is defined by the position of 5 modules that solve the basic functions. The space between modules will be closed with a laminar element that will respond to climatic requirements.
The functions will be:
STORE, DRESS, COOK, HEAT, REST.
In all cases they will have thermal and waterproof coating. They will incorporate a solar heating water system, a solar kitchen, a trombe wall, and “moser” solar lamps.
The modules will be manufactured on site, and may have different levels of prefabrication.
I am a Monument by Joseph Garriga + OfficeShopHouse
I am a monument:
The cabin as an interface that represents lifestyles and contextual material resources.
A platform for personal expression.
The cabin is understood as a reinterpretation of the Laugier’s
primitive hut in a way, to diffuse the limits between interiority and nature. The cabin is shade and shelter. Wood is used as an unique material to built the main skeleton; vernacular materials and constructive techniques defines its skin and domestic devices.
Two architectural designers have modernized the classic rural New Hampshire home, building their own residence from wood cut down on their own property and locally sourced Eastern White Pine. Working on a tight budget with sustainability and a chic industrial-rustic hybrid aesthetic as their goal, the couple built nearly everything from hand, including the kitchen cabinetry, and achieved Energy Star certification.
The interior of the home is lined with Eastern White Pine finished with Monocoat white oil, from the wide-open living room with its wood stove focal point to the spa-like bathroom with all of its built-in storage. They call the kitchen ceiling an experiment, but the way the slats screen the lighting creates an unusual effect that highlights the beauty of the wood, creating dynamic lines that stretch across the space.
Large sliding Eastern White Pine doors with hanging storage on their backs enclose lots of shelving in the master bedroom closet. Among the most visually interesting features is the slats that screen off the stairs in the living room, but don’t completely enclose them, helping the space feel larger and providing a place to hang a television.
Eco-friendly features include a rooftop solar array, heat recovery ventilation system and a heat-pump hot water system. The couple has documented the entire building process on their blog, and note that “Every new home should be seeking Energy Star Certification. As long as your not cutting corners, meeting the requirements is easy and the amount of documentation needed is minimal as compared to other certifications such as LEED. And compared to other certification programs, Energy Star pays you and not the other way around.”
Images via Eagle Pond House and Dwell.