Wooden Cabins at a Catskills Resort Let You “Camp” in Luxurious Style

Piaule Catskill view

Love the idea of camping, but not the reality? Then well-appointed cabins that give you expansive views of a scenic setting are exactly what you’re looking for. A boutique hotel called Piaule Catskill in Catskills, New York grants its guests an opportunity to commune with nature without sacrificing the comforts of home – or, ideally, while eclipsing them. Designed by Garrison Architects and created by Nolan McHugh and Trevor Briggs, Paul Catskill features 24 wooden cabins, each of which has its own massive floor-to-ceiling window to take in the wooded landscape.

Piaule Catskill main house exterior
Piaule Catskill glass front

The cabins are set adjacent to a main communal house and spa, accessible via short footpaths from the parking lot. Each one measures 375 square feet and includes its own ensuite bathroom with heated floors, organic linens from Portugal, Japanese glassware and minimalist furniture. The wall-to-wall glass end of the cabin slides open to offer direct access to the outdoors, making the bedrooms feel like a screen porch. “These windows are designed to present visitors with the sensory atmosphere of outdoor camping from the comfort of an indoor cabin, and awe them with views of the sun setting over the picturesque mountains,” say the architects.

Piaule Catskill cabin bedroom
Piaule Catskill wood wall
Piaule Catskill wood wall

The cabins themselves are made in modular wooden sections transported up the site and craned into their locations for minimal site disturbance in order to protect local wildlife. Some of them can be connected together with a “joiner” living room to create two-bedroom suites. Inside the main house, guests can lounge, dine, drink at the bar, read and gather by a fireplace. The spa offers a steam rom, sauna, massage, yoga and fitness room as well as a hot tub overlooking the western view.

Piaule Catskill main house
Piaule Catskill spa

“The Piaule Landscape Retreat encourages visitors to continue their exploration beyond the hotel grounds, which are meant to be traversed on foot with nature trails that loop in and out of the surrounding woods and wetlands. There are a wide range of hiking and other outdoor adventure opportunities nearby, and the small city of Hudson, New York is within a 30-minute drive. The landscape hotel is designed to foster interaction among visitors in communal spaces, while allowing them to relax at the spa and retreat to private cabins, providing an ideal getaway amidst the scenic backdrop of the Catskill Mountains.”

Glass Writer’s Cabin Features an Undulating Organic Pine Wall

writer's cabin mudd front

A modern glass writer’s cabin set within a gorgeous garden in Spain? Sounds amazing, but believe it or not, the coolest thing about this transparent getaway is one of its interior walls. MuDD Architects used digital fabrication technology to design an undulating pine plywood wall full of built-in bookshelves, which create a dynamic curve within an otherwise rectilinear structure. Visible from outside, it’s the only built-in feature in an otherwise minimalist design.

writer's cabin mudd ashelves

The cabin was designed and built within a few months for a children’s book writer, who needed a space that could act as a source of inspiration for her future stories. Set in the North of Madrid, which experiences cold winters, it features a custom cast black iron hanging wood stove, a continuous roof made of folded oxidized iron and a slightly off-center roof peak. The floor is also one continuous surface extending from the exterior terrace to the interior of the cabin. Set within the plywood of the bookshelves are tiny built-in lights that create an effect of fireflies at night.

writer's cabin mudd chimney
writer's cabin mudd curving shelves

“The most challenging part but as well one of the most important parts of the house are the highly complex curvy bookshelves adapted to the very specific sloped high roofs of the house. A different tone of wood this time locally sourced pine wood is used and on purpose left natural to contrast with the maple syrup finishing of the maple inside cladding panels.”

writer's cabin mudd glass

“These bookshelves create a sensation of the movement held still in a time where the heavyweight of both the horizontal and verticals are counterbalancing the weight of the high roof. The bookshelves are composed of 100 different pieces cut with CNC with Fusteria Digital in Girona where different sorts of dry assembly were tested in order to be the most discrete possible.”

Rustic Eastern White Pine Showcased In an Adorable Tiny Portable Cabin

Amish Made Cabins Kentuckian

560 square feet is not quite a “tiny” house, which is often defined as roughly equivalent to an RV, but it’s a far cry from the 2,261-square-foot size of the average single-family home in the United States. For some people, however, it might be just right. American home sizes have ballooned in recent decades to proportions that many of us are starting to find unnecessary, and downsizing can allow us to live simpler lives on lower incomes. These cute Eastern White Pine models built by Amish Made Cabins in Shepherdsville, Kentucky are a great example of how a strong layout and quality materials can make a very small home feel surprisingly comfortable.

Amish Made Cabins living room

There are plenty of manufacturers out there producing structures of this size, but many of them are little more than slightly upscaled sheds, and they look it, especially from the outside. What sets Amish Made Cabins apart is the fact that the same level of craftsmanship and care goes into the design of these diminutive cabins as you’d see in a grander home. The company uses hand-hewn tongue and groove log siding and pre-engineered knotty pine interior walls to create a low-maintenance finish with a rustic look that’s also easy for the average consumer to build.

Amish Made Cabins kitchen
Amish made Cabins bedroom

Made to order and fully customizable, these cabins are available in a variety of styles, floor plans and sizes, ranging from 14 feet to 30 feet long. You can also connect multiple cabins to expand square footage while keeping the savings that comes with the modular kit approach. After it’s customized and built, the cabin arrives ready to assemble, and the customer completes on-site work like raising the hinged roof, completing the loft and constructing the optional porch.

Amish made Cabins Appalachian

Some of the features you can choose from include French doors, sliding glass doors, an upgraded roof pitch, dormers, gables, shutters and additional cabinets. Each home comes with plumbing roughed in, 200-amp electric with fixtures, fiberglass insulation, a bathroom, vinyl waterproof flooring, pine cabinets and Wilsonart countertops as well as an on-demand tankless hot water heater. Our favorite model might be the picturesque Appalachian with its long front porch, but the double-gabled Kentuckian (pictured top) is cute too, don’t you think?

Volunteers Build a Shingled Wooden Hut to Promote Co-Working in Nature

Dotting mountains, hills, valleys and meadows across Europe, tiny cabins invite the public to get comfortable and enjoy the natural scenery. Most of these structures are simple wooden huts providing basic shelter to hikers, skiers and other adventurers braving remote environments, but others are easier to reach. In the Old Village of Armenis in Romania, a shingled wooden cabin called the Muma Hut has become the prototype for a planned set of cottages that encourage co-working in nature.

The process of building the Muma Hut was just as important as the result. A local ranger named Danu dreamed of rebuilding his childhood treehouse, and architect Miodrag Stoioanov wanted to help. Their creation supports a WWF initiative to re-wild the area, where around 80 bison were recently reintroduced, and boost ecotourism in the region. The Muma Hut is an example of what nature-driven sustainable development can look like in wild places like these. 

Over several weekends between May and August 2020, a group of local volunteers came together to bring the Muma Hut to life. Not only did this design-build workshop result in the completion of the project, it helped teach the volunteers crucial building skills that have faltered alongside the tradition of collectively raising homes in the community. 

“The hut aims to be an example of shape – an ‘orchard room’ and the materials used, which are purchased from the area to revitalize traditional practices. Wood was used for the structure/enclosures as well as shingles, made locally by the nephew of an old craftsman. The locals provided food and transport for the volunteers, giving them a taste of traditions. “

This particular hut features beds and a lounging area for visitors who want to take in the idyllic landscape, and will serve as a model for additional WeWilder cabins in the future.

This “Quarantine Cabin” is the Perfect Place to Get Away From it All

In 2020, many people stuck in tiny apartments within big, shut-down cities fantasized about having their very own “quarantine cabin.” Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a place to distance yourself from crowds, commune with nature and take a break from all the stress of the pandemic? Even in 2021, as the Covid-19 crisis appears to be receding, the concept is tantalizing, so this design called “The Voxel Quarantine Cabin” is as relevant as ever.

Created by a team of students and researchers from Barcelona’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the cabin was designed with isolation in mind and built using wood harvested from the immediate surroundings on the building site. Taking its name from the abbreviation for the phrase “volumetric pixel,” the cabin was built in just five months as part of the students’ master degree program. 

“The project researches the ecological transformation of wood as a structural, thermal, and constructive material from sustainable forest management because of its capacity to store CO2 in buildings,” the designers say. 

The students milled, dried, processed and pressed Aleppo Pine into cross-laminated timber sheets called lamellas on site at the Valldaura campus. They chose 40 pine trees to harvest according to a sustainable forest management plan that encourages the growth of small trees to improve biodiversity.

“In a feat of obsessive commitment to locality and understanding the material flows of architecture, every lamella of every panel was tracked and traced, ensuring that every single wooden element of the house can be accurately traced back to the point where the tree it came from once stood,” the project team said.

The exterior wood was charred using the Shou Sugi Ban process to protect it from rain and insects and formed into slatted rain screen panels. Collected rain is routed into tanks for the outdoor shower and kitchenette. Three solar panels provide power for a laptop and lighting, and a self-contained biogas system treats waste from the toilet to generate fuel for cooking and heating.

Basically, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all, whether you’re in the midst of a global health crisis or just need to eliminate all distractions long enough to complete a project.

Learn more about Shou Sugi Ban and how wood buildings can help fight climate change by storing CO2:


The Seeds: Organic Rounded Vacation Cabins Clad in Pine Shingles

Simultaneously futuristic and organic, “The Seeds” are a group of vacation pods set within a forest as part of the Tree Wow hotel in Jiangxi, China. Each one has an oblong rounded silhouette and a circular glass door opening onto a circular balcony. Architecture firm ZJJZ Atelier says they weren’t trying to mimic any particular natural form with these unusual cabins, but simply design a structure that works both for the setting and their intended use.

The architects wrapped the cabins in a combination of pine shingles and mirrored aluminum tiles, giving the exteriors an interesting dynamic appearance that will change with the seasons, softening their appearance.

“Like the roots of a plant, this reflective cladding anchors each house to the earth,” the architects said, “while the pine shingles give the structures a warm, soft aesthetic, allowing them to blend into the surrounding nature.”

Set in a row of four, The Seeds are raised above the ground on stilts and accessed via staircase. Inside, guests will find walls lined with wood in an appealing swirling pattern, a built-in multipurpose surface, a bed, a bathtub and a lounge chair overlooking the terrace. A lofted lounge positioned beside an oculus window gazes at the forest.