Village House was designed as a weekend retreat for a young family in northern Sjælland, Denmark, designed by Powerhouse Company. The house is an exploration on the possibilities of the Summer cabin, the traditional Danish vacation home. While keeping the cabin’s footprint small, spatial as well as sustainable, there is a wide range of spatial possibilities, by using a five-fingered floor plan.
The 1,184 square foot (110 square meters) house is a cluster of five wings, like miniature cabins. These fan out like a hand spreading five fingers over the site, generating a variety of views, light effects and outdoor areas. This variation means the house provides an enjoyable environment all year round and at all times of day. For example, a large window above the living room allows sunlight to bathe the dining table at around midday.
Summerhouses are traditionally family spaces, but when children grow older they need more independence from their parents. Hence the ‘village of cabins’ organization, with radiating individual spaces that are united in the centre. Each member of the family effectively has the option of privacy when they need it. Meanwhile a star-shaped central space, uniting the living room and kitchen, forms the shared area which nevertheless offers pockets of seclusion to spend time alone while still in the family circle. This solution faithfully reflects the rather different desires of the family members. One wanted a picturesque, cozy and archetypal summerhouse, while another wanted a spacious and contemporary feeling. Both desires are united in the design.
In basing Village House on the classic Danish summerhouse, while adding modern ideas of space, Powerhouse Company has created a contemporary harmony. The elementary wooden structure has a pitched roof, and it is black, the most discreet color in nature, like the dark shadows in the surrounding woods. Inside, the uniform white surface maximizes the northern light.
The rustic but modern solution is low maintenance, which is more important for a holiday home than offering lots of space. From an architectural point of view, its close relationship to the context is especially significant in a holiday home. The house contrasts with the routine home of the clients, and provides the basis for a separate lifestyle. Isn’t that what we are looking for when we go on holiday?
Lodgepole Retreat is a Rocky Mountain, Colorado getaway designed by Arch11, taking its simple form as a modern response to simple mining structures of the area. The single roof plane efficiently manages the snowfall at 9000’ above sea level while serving as a platform for the 10kw photovoltaic system that, along with an electric boiler, an air to air heat exchanger, and LED lighting, allows this 2,200 square foot house to operate at net zero energy use each year. An open-plan, glass-enclosed great room gives the sense of living in the out of doors while each private space offers carefully-framed views of specific parts of the alpine setting. All construction assemblies and materials are designed to meet the strictest fire-resistant codes.
What started as an intimate 2 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath cabin for a Colorado couple and their grown children, grew to 3 bedrooms and 3 baths when they began to consider space for their grandchildren. The couple had owned the property for years-spending weekends there as their two children grew from toddlers to teens. A 1960’s-era stone cabin sufficed, until the pair decided they wanted something more enduring. Having previously seen an Arch11-designed house, the couple decided they wanted a contemporary cabin. The homeowner’s wish was for unobstructed views of the majestic Rocky Mountains that surround the site. The pristine setting includes a 30 acre meadow and high alpine forests, which suggested for a design solution that should be as light on the land as possible. So light, that the owners wanted to get as close to net- zero as possible and be nearly maintenance free as well.
The living plane is elevated above the ground on a poured-in place concrete pedestal to heighten the experience of floating above the meadow. Floor to ceiling glass offers occupants an almost cinematic experience of the diurnal rhythm of the earth.
Sustainable features: Energy model was net-zero energy use, High performance, triple-pane glazing 10 kw solar array, Solar thermal system, Electric boiler with ceramic storage for radiant heat system, Natural ventilation, Large overhangs for shading, Concrete with fly-ash content, FSC-certified lumber, Formaldehyde free cabinets, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting.
Photos: Raul Garcia
This stunning family vacation cabin is perched on the shores of beautiful Lake Okanagan, in Naramata, British Columbia, Canada. This summer retreat has been designed by interior designer Robert Bailey, as a family’s “dream-come-true.” Inspired by client sketches and the surrounding geography, the lakeshore project was designed from the ground up, working with an architectural designer to implement the vision. The family is exceedingly active, so there is nothing in the home that is precious or requires a lot of maintenance. The home is the center of their summers, and is on the lake, so it needed to welcome those who can swim, run, cycle and kayak, as well as the stream of sandy feet that are the mark of summertime in the Okanagan. The home also needed to have flexible entertaining and sleeping space to host family and friends who come to stay. The open concept design allows for free flow of people and activities.
The result is a modern home that remains true to the idea of “cabin,” being humble and unpretentious. We used French oak on the ceiling and floors, the pre-distressed, fumed planking provided relaxed yet durable surfaces. Forgiving, not precious, it is the strongest design material in the home. Our goal for the furnishings was to achieve a sense of simple luxurious comfort, that feels curated rather and designed. The design of the home blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor living. The walls seem to evaporate as you move to the terraced grounds. There, sumptuous, weather-protected lounge chairs surround a fire bowl, while lighting and audio-visual controls extend the home to the edges of the property. The result is a home to last for generations. It is contemporary, relaxing, rugged, durable, flexible and unpretentious both inside and out with a defined purpose for summertime pleasure.
Photos: Josh Dunford
Chalk Hill Off-Grid Cabin is a straw-bale getaway home for a San Francisco couple and their two active boys, located at 4,300 feet elevation in the wilds of Nevada County. Designed by Arkin Tilt Architects, the 872 square foot residence mediates the northern edge of a forest glade, with driveway access and entry against a steeper slope to the north. The entry/mudroom, bath and mechanical space are located in the wood-framed, wood-sheathed piece. One open living/dining/kitchen/bed room is half a level lower, accessing a terrace at grade, opening to the glade and sun from the south. One sleeping space is located in an open loft above the kitchen which provides additional sleeping space for kids and guests, and the other is a more intimate queen bed sized sleeping bay along the opposite edge of the living room.
The metal roofs, earth-cement on bale walls, and fire safe perimeter aim to survive a wildfire,
Solar hot water collectors provide domestic hot water as well as space heating by flowing the heated fluid first through a heat exchanger and then into tubing buried in a 3 foot bed of sand beneath the floor slabs.
Queen-sized sleeping area in bay.
P.V. Panels on the roof harvest electricity, stored in batteries at the house, powering the well pump and other domestic needs.
One sleeping space is located in an open loft above the kitchen.
Photos: Eric Millette Photography
Seeking a peaceful escape that’s both eco and modern? Look no further than Casas na Areia, a stunning place to sit back and relax, situated on the coast of Portugal near Comporta, about an hour south of Lisbon. Casas Na Areia is a collection of four thatched, sandy-floored huts nestled inside a privately owned 12,000-hectare wildlife sanctuary of Sado River in Comporta. The land used to belong to fishermen and rice farmers, where the houses were built with straw and wood back and the floors were compacted earth. The compound was purchased by a Portuguese businessman named Joao Miguel Rodriguez, who brought in architect Aires Mateus to design a renovation that stayed true to the original feeling and design while bringing features like doors, windows, and plumbing up to modern standards. He then added two more huts for a total of four, with sleeping for eight.
According to the architect, “The sand transported to the interior becomes the unifying element between internal and external worlds, making us believe we live in an extension of the natural environment. This particularity transforms the space scale and living in these houses becomes more poetic and comfortable. This project, materialized in a sequence of volumes with a minimalism and apparent weakness revealed by traditional construction that camouflages modern technology, leaves us the feeling that there is something more beyond the simplicity of things.”
The property rents for $645 USD a night in the low season, minimum three nights, and $774 USD, minimum seven nights, in the high season, from here.
When you stay at Casas Na Areia, you are living in an extension of the natural environment, especially when gathered in the communal kitchen/dining/hangout hut — the white-walled bedroom units are indeed luxurious, with concrete floors and gleaming interiors that mirror the brilliant white of the Comporta sand, but everything else suggests a seamlessness where the roof over your head is just that, a roof and nothing more.
Photos: Courtesy of Casas na Areia
This stunning off the grid cabin in the woods is owned and designed by fashion stylist and interior designer Scott Newkirk as a weekend summer getaway in Yulan, New York. The 300 square foot house has no electricity or running water, no TV, no computer. Here he can slow down, sleep late, and take his daily bath in the nearby brook. The designer had been already living close to the land on the property in a wood-frame tent but it burned down. Not long after he across a book on handmade houses that are constructed out of recovered and scavenged materials. He then decided to build a house on his property based on the same principal.
Although the main cabin is only fourteen feet by fourteen feet, it took two years and three different builders to complete; Newkirk had a hard time finding builders who got his idea for a simple, rough-hewn look. “I finally found a talented and dependable local guy, Craig Petrasek, to complete construction with reclaimed wood, extend the deck area, and build the stone patio,” he says. The traditional post-and-beam frame of the house uses old square-head nails on the exterior siding and floor, with a few modern ones for the roof. The smaller side windows are handmade, and the glass-paneled fronts both upstairs and downstairs are standard aluminum frames clad in wood. The completed complex (including an outhouse, guest house, and outdoor shower) sits on about three acres of Newkirk’s 50-acre property.
The downstairs panels slide open, and an upstairs panel pivots. To complete the indoor-outdoor feel, there is a twelve-foot strip of window across the rear with an eye-level view of the backyard.
The painting is by Diane Wiencke, who lives on Peaks Island off the coast of Maine; the wrought-iron horse came from a nearby shop.
Newkirk’s builder used aged hickory planks to fashion the ladderlike steps that lead up to his bedroom.
Newkirk uses this to heat up water for an occasional outdoor shower.
As in Newkirk’s main house, this guest cottage has no insulation in the walls and the windows are simply screens; it’s furnished only with two cots and a vintage George Nelson bench.
From June to September, Newkirk bathes in the same spot every day (he uses biodegradable soap).
Photo Source: New York Magazine
Classic purity and designed restraint are key features for this Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota fishing refuge. Swan Fish Camp is a modern interpretation of an iconic traditional A-frame, designed by architect Andrea Swan of Swan Architecture for her family. She and her husband originally wanted a Swiss chalet, but unfortunately they didn’t have it in their budget. The pared-down design is very appealing and puts most of the emphasis on capturing optimal lake views and sun exposure.
Swan sees the form as a universal one: “It’s a doghouse, a ship vessel, a chapel. It’s uplifting and very spiritual,” she says. This understanding is evident in the way she kept the living space open to the roof. The sitting room over the kitchen is open to the space, a nice touch that enables people there to look toward the lake and enjoy the grand yet intimate space. The color palette reflects tones of the lake, sky, surrounding birch trees and dramatic snow drifts in winter.
Photos: Courtesy of Swan Architecture
Fireside Resort features an innovative new perspective on mountain town lodging in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The luxury resort offers 19 ski cabins that reflect the heritage of the valley’s original homesteader cabins. That rustic appeal is then combined with understated elegance and modern conveniences. Every cabin is designed to offer a combination of rustic and modern aesthetics. Designed by WheelHaus, the cabins are a “Wedge” design which features an angled roof, starting low above the bedrooms and builds to 17 feet in the living room.
Trapezoidal windows grow similarly from back to front, offering natural light while maintaining privacy. The front of the cabin is almost entirely glass. A large sliding glass door opens to a private deck. Each cabin has one bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen/living room and a private deck. The ceilings and exterior side are covered with reclaimed Wyoming snow fencing.
The bedrooms feature a king size bed with two side tables and linen lamp style sconces. The kitchen/living room was designed to offer both comfort and functionality. The mini-kitchen is fully equipped with concrete countertops and modern rustic cabinetry. A large bomber leather sofa, two cowhide ottomans, two barn wood side tables, custom made wrought iron lamps and railroad cart coffee tables make up living room furnishings. A mini-high efficiency gas burning fireplace warms the room. Mounted above the fireplace is a flat screen HDTV and attractive, colorful art brightens every room.
The fully appointed bathrooms are small yet functional with custom vanities with concrete countertops/sinks and quartzite floors. An additional bonus for those that don’t want to vacation without their pets, the cabins are pet friendly!
To stay in one of these luxurious cabins, rates run from $289 per night, from here.
360 Ranch is a beautiful property developed by the patriarch of the family as a home base for family members spread out across the globe, enabling them a chance to recreate, reconnect, and relax over what sometimes could be trips of a month or more. Designed by Miller Architects, their large parcel of land is not far from Yellowstone Park, in Big Sky, Montana and a trout stream and several ponds are just a few of the prevalent water features.
The property encompasses the top of a mountain with a lookout tower, and down below, this approximately 7,000 square foot home delivers a sense of intimacy. Each bedroom is a master suite, with fireplace, private balcony, and adjoining children’s room, to ensure all generations have the space they need. The architects shared approach was to celebrate the romantic lodges of the past, leading them to choose small round logs like those used in Old Faithful Lodge, as one example. With plenty of space inside and out to decompress—but cozy, welcoming living areas as well—this lodge becomes the perfect family gathering place.
Photos: Courtesy of Miller Architects
The Eagle Harbor Cabin is located on a wooded waterfront property on Lake Superior, at the northerly edge of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, about 300 miles northeast of Minneapolis. Designed by Seattle-based studio, Finne Architects, the wooded 3-acre site features the rocky shoreline of Lake Superior, a lake that sometimes behaves like the ocean. Here is a project description from the architects, “the 2,000 square foot cabin cantilevers out toward the water, with a 40-foot long glass wall facing the spectacular beauty of the lake. The cabin is composed of two simple volumes: a large open living/dining/kitchen space with an open timber ceiling structure and a 2-story “bedroom tower,” with the kids’ bedroom on the ground floor and the parents’ bedroom stacked above.
The interior spaces are wood paneled, with exposed framing in the ceiling. The cabinets use PLYBOO, a FSC-certified bamboo product, with mahogany end panels. The use of mahogany is repeated in the custom mahogany/steel curvilinear dining table and in the custom mahogany coffee table. The cabin has a simple, elemental quality that is enhanced by custom touches such as the curvilinear maple entry screen and the custom furniture pieces. The cabin utilizes native Michigan hardwoods such as maple and birch. The exterior of the cabin is clad in corrugated metal siding, offset by the tall fireplace mass of Montana ledgestone at the east end.
The house has a number of sustainable or “green” building features, including 2×8 construction (40% greater insulation value); generous glass areas to provide natural lighting and ventilation; large overhangs for sun and snow protection; and metal siding for maximum durability. Sustainable interior finish materials include bamboo/plywood cabinets, linoleum floors, locally-grown maple flooring and birch paneling, and low-VOC paints.”