I’ve road-tripped it across this heart-breakingly beautiful country of ours four times. (Read: I’ve done my share of camping.) Though I’m less inclined—at least my back is—to sleep on a rocky tent floor these days, outdoor living is still part of my makeup.
I’ve been ogling these four sustainably-designed cabins from all over the globe. They’ll inspire you to create your own modern take on back-to-basics living—even if it’s only in your own backyard.
Which is your favorite?
1. Modern Campground
This Tokyo-based couple’s weekend retreat in the Chichibu mountain range (featured in May 2011 issue of Dwell, click link for tour) is described as a blend between “finely rustic camping and feeling like the Farnsworth House.” The main structure houses the kitchen and bath and the two yellow dome tents are used as bedrooms. Sustainable design stand-outs include a solar panel that supplies daytime electricity, materials made of locally harvested larch wood and removable fiber plastic walls.
(Image: Dean Kaufman)
2. Rustic Retreat
Mariah Morrow and Ryan Lingard built this itty-bitty (or should I call it cozy?) cabin with help from friends and family in the Oregon woods—for, get this, $57,000. (That includes land and materials). Their 130sq foot abode, which they’ve named “Signal Shed,” overlooks Wallowa Lake near Joseph, Oregon and was built on piers to lessen construction damage to the area. It’s a primitive cabin with no water or electricity; oil lamps illuminate the space at night. The couple scavenged most of what they needed: Windows are from a recycling center and both the barn door hardware and stove were found on Craigslist.
For a tour of the cabin, check out their photo spread at Sunset magazine.
(Image: Ryan Lingard)
3. Backyard Cabana
For those of you looking for a reasonably-priced prefab option, the San Francisco-based Modern Cabana offers packages that start at $11,500. (And for a cool $1,500, your little one can delve into some serious tea-party play in their adorable “Kiddo” model.) The company pulls out all of the green stops: Soy-based exterior stain, recycled denim sidewall insulation and bamboo flooring.
(Image: Bruce Damonte)
4. A Cabin Like Legos
Described as a “Lego house for adults,” the Scandinavian company Add-a-Room bases its design on a 49 square foot model that offers the option to expand with smaller, connectable models. Danish architect Lars Frank Nielsen developed the concept so that the house could either stand alone or be “pieced together, unit by unit.” A brilliant concept for growing families, or for someone who doesn’t have the funds to go big right away. All cabins are made with Superwood construction—an environmentally-friendly timber made with Danish spruce that’s entirely free of metals.
(Image: Matti Marttinen)