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.”
Nestled high in the mountains, with Mont Blanc in the horizon, is this cabin restored entirely in wood, which was spotted on Nuevo Estilo, situated in the French Alps, near the town of Megève. It is not a mere cottage, it is a construction in idyllic balance with the environment and equipped with a unique interior design. With roof carports, chimneys smoking and in the middle of a snowy landscape, this house evokes a story of Christmas.
The house is an important architectural rehabilitation project in which sustainability and ecology were of utmost importance. Belgian decorator Lionel Jadot was commissioned to transform this old home from 1870 under the clients wishes to respect the past. It took two years to renovate and winterize the dilapidated structure and reinvent the building, including a new roof, installation of floors and walls of larch – wood used in origin, as in the houses of the area and distribution of the spaces according to the needs of the owners.
The villa has two levels, with the bedrooms located on the lower floor and the upper floor is an immense loft-like space, with high ceilings that opens to the mountain by large windows that continue on to a terraced roof. In terms of decoration, the home is full of furnishings and pieces from different cultures and eras from travels to Africa, Asia and Europe. These are decorative findings throughout, picked up from antique shops and vintage stores. The end result is a very warm and cheerful atmosphere, halfway between the bucolic mountain house and a sophisticated New York loft, which tries to reconcile technology and ecology.
Chalet Cyanella is a luxurious mountain holiday retreat in the French Alps of Chamonix, France designed by architect Joelle Fichard for Bo Design. Not too long ago we featured another gorgeous mountain retreat located in the Swiss Alps here on 1 Kindesign, in case you missed it, you can find it here. The wood cladded exterior facade of this luxury retreat invites one into the home with lots of terraces to enjoy the stunning mountain views. With an open living concept, the living room with its comfortable seating arrangements is open to the dining and kitchen area, creating an inviting ambiance, perfect for entertaining. With an elegant and sophisticated style this residence offers everything one could possibly want when on holidays. The chalet features numerous bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, cozy living areas, media room, bar, a playroom, spa, workout facility, Jacuzzi, and an incredible Hydro Floors disappearing swimming pool. Be sure to check out the video below of this captivating pool with unique overhead LED lightstrips and let us know what you think!
This stunning cabin in Telluride mountain village, Colorado has been designed by architecture studio TruLinea Architects in conjunction with interior design firm Studio Frank. The owners of the cabin wanted a home that was rough, organic and timeless. The home’s original existence was a nearly derelict cabin, one of the first houses built in the area. The 3,871 square foot home with five bedrooms and five bathrooms was in need of a major overhaul.
Incorporating high-tech steel contrasting with low-tech logs into the design would solve a variety of design problems; leaving it exposed offered a fresh point of view. Most of the rooms on the main level were demolished and the upper floor with its new roofline offered unobstructed views of the San Sophia mountain range. Unified with wood, steel and ceramic tile, the rooms create a backdrop for the refined—mixed with fun—furnishings and fittings. The designer wished to have a contrast with the hard-edged architecture by infusing soft, handcrafted elements into the design.
A chandelier of vintage wood and wire cages custom designed by Studio Frank, supports this home’s old-fashioned-with-an-updated-twist design theme.
Smooth-to-the-touch linen upholsters a Montauk sofa while rugs throughout are vegetable-dyed Moroccan vintage pieces from the 1930s. The coffee tables are rugged, reclaimed wood from India with lots of hidden storage. Aluminum-clad Aviator chairs from Restoration Hardware add a unique touch to this space.
Viking appliances blend with metal cabinetry and contrast the custom designed island in this rustic kitchen.
In the dining room, a light fixture from Obsolete hangs over a metal topped dining table that is surrounded by leather-clad Gunnison chairs by Hickory.
Halcyon stone, concrete and wood cabinetry work together in this bathroom.
This stunning vacation cabin for a family of five was designed by Dan Joseph Architects in Headwaters Camp, Big Sky, Montana. The goal in creating Headwaters Camp was to create a warm, charming and relaxing home for the family to come home to after spending the day doing activities in the mountains. Interior design firm, Carole Sisson Designs, wanted to give the home a camp-like feel, infusing texture and warmth into the space by using scrubbed painted finishes as well as rawhide and leather accents. Incorporating recycled pieces into the design from local antique stores created a lived-in feel, as if the home had existed for 100 years. The intention was also to create low-impact, energy efficient living without compromising beauty or comfort. The 1,900 square foot cabin is nestled on a sprawling 22 acres with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Upon entrance to the cabin, it is apparent that a welcoming retreat waits, with a cozy, intimate atmosphere of a cherished family camp. Reclaimed materials are integrated throughout the design to maintain the rustic feel, from old railroad as coat racks to Montana and Wyoming snow fences. The open kitchen, living area and small dining nook provides ample space for entertaining, even allowing room for a pool table and a small home office beneath the staircase. The master bedroom retreat has been designed like a small cabin with its high, steep-pitched ceiling and barnwood walls. The master bath boasts a shower with a river rock drain and a large boulder that is nestled within. A beautiful handmade antler staircase leads up to a loft area with two twin beds for the boys and an antique gate leads to the daughter’s bedroom. A wall of small windows features a comfortable sitting area beneath, for the children to read or play.
The cozy living area features ceiling beams made from standing dead trees found in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, reclaimed fir flooring, as well as a LEED-certified fireplace with airtight glass doors, local moss rock called Willow Creek and a fully insulated chimney.
Hand-forged steel straps around the ceiling beams add another Western material to the mix, while hand-peeled logs frame the vaulted ceiling.
The floors in the kitchen are iron slate. A recycled antique faded green hutch adds a splash of color to the kitchen. The picture window above the sink frames one of the family’s favorite ski runs on nearby Pioneer Mountain.
Custom built-in drawers add efficiency to the master bedroom, while old barnwood walls and a steeply pitched ceiling give the room a cabin-like feel. The door on the far wall leads to a small creek that flows through the property.
The rustic master bathroom sink was converted from a large antique wooden Indonesian bread bowl, complying with the family’s wishes to keep new materials to a minimum. The barn door seen in the mirror is constructed from reclaimed wood and metal.
This barn houses the family’s five horses. The roof is made of metal reclaimed from nearby ranches in Montana and Wyoming.
The setting around the house includes old-growth forest, streams and a horse pasture. There are also outdoor trails for mountain biking, horse riding, snowshoeing, skiing and fishing.
A large part of the construction is this man-made pond, part of a system of four ponds on the property. With a 20-foot depth, it is used as a geothermal mass to heat the home in the winter, using very little energy.
Photos: Audrey Hall