Group of friends build a DIY cabin retreat, complete with suspended tree decks

December 3, 2018 by  
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While most couples tend to meet up with friends at a local bar or restaurant, Jeff Waldman and his partner, Molly Fiffer, decided they wanted to create a more nature-based social spot to spend time with their friends. So, the ambitious couple, who have no design or construction experience, spent more than two years creating an amazing DIY outdoor retreat tucked into a heavily forested 10-acre lot deep in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. What began as a simple structure to enjoy the outdoors has resulted in not only a beautiful off-grid cabin made out of reclaimed wood, but a series of elevated tree decks, a wood-fired hot tub, an open-air outdoor shower, and the cutest little outhouse you’ve ever seen. The cabin was inspired by Waldman and Fiffer’s vision of building a serene place where they and their friends could get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life in order to reconnect with nature. Once they found the perfect spot in the forest, the couple then went about salvaging building materials, including a large front door and most of the windows. The ambitious couple did most of the work themselves, with the help of friends, without having any prior design or building experience. The result is a stunning retreat comprised of the wooden cabin, winding elevated decks suspended from the trees, an outdoor shower and what very well could be the coolest outhouse on earth. The cabin The main cabin is at the heart of the impressive forest retreat. Using a salvaged front door and windows to guide the construction, the wooden cabin design morphed into a beautiful structure with a sloped roof. Set off the ground to reduce impact on the landscape, the cabin includes a large open living space and a sleeping loft. Large windows flood the interior with natural light and a wrap-around wooden deck is perfect for gatherings or just soaking up the incredible views. Related: The adorable Acorn tiny cabin is made of wood salvaged from an old mansion Made out of local redwood sourced from a nearby mill, some of the beams used in the construction were salvaged from Habitat for Humanity’s Restore. Waldman explains that the group was very careful to protect the local landscape during the building process, “The loft floor is made from madrone slabs, which we milled from the trees we cleared from the site. On that note, we’ve been proud of the fact that we’ve cleared small problematic trees, or end of life heart rotted large madrone, but have yet to cut down any redwoods. We cherish those.” Suspended decks with outdoor shower and hot tub In line with the group’s dedication to protect the existing trees, they decided to add a series of suspended decks to the design. Anchored into the tree tops, the decks are 15-20 feet high and are accessed via a 20-foot long bridge. This low-impact construction allowed the group to build a series of interconnecting surfaces without disrupting the landscape. Although the suspended decks are incredible for strolling through the tree canopy, there are also a few surprises along the way. A lovely outdoor shower sits approximately 10 feet off the ground. The shower, which is left completely open on one side, is heated via an off grid heater and has solar-powered lights . Also on one of the platforms is a wood-fired hot tub that is heated with leftover scraps from the cabin build. Off-grid outhouse Located 100 feet behind the cabin is a 10 x 10 outhouse, set off the landscape with blocks. The incredible cube-like structure has a surprisingly contemporary aesthetic. The entrance is an open air deck with an outdoor sink that was reclaimed from the local rebuilding center. The exterior cedar siding, which was bought on eBay, has been treated with Scandinavian pine tar to achieve the jet black color and protect the exterior against the damp coastal climate. The interior, which is clad in black bear wallpaper, is installed with a solar-powered fan and lights. The Dojo Also on site is the Dojo, which houses an open air kitchen that operates with a propane stove and is also installed with a solar-powered lighting system. The structure is covered with a grey tinted polycarbonate roof to allow natural diffused sunlight through to the interior space. Although it looks like heaven on earth already, Waldman says that the cabin retreat is a work in progress. When not having ax throwing or archery competitions, the group is making plans to build a guest hut and treehouse. + Jeff Waldman Photography by Jeff Waldman

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Group of friends build a DIY cabin retreat, complete with suspended tree decks

These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials

October 12, 2018 by  
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Ambitious tiny cabin crafter  Jacob Witzling  has taken inspiration from childhood fairytales to build some seriously dreamy woodland dwellings for himself and his friends. Using  reclaimed wood  and other materials scavenged from construction sites, Witzling has designed and handcrafted a series of gorgeous tiny cabins tucked deep into lush forestscapes. Inspired by a deep respect for nature, all of his amazing cabins run 100 percent off the grid with no running water. It seems as if Witzling was destined to be close to nature. As a teenager, he moved into a 1920s cabin tucked into a wooded forest near his parents’ house. Although he would go home to do laundry and eat, he said that he always found himself drawn back to his real home in the woods. He has always preferred to live with simple pleasures. “Inside was a wood stove that I fed and stoked through the harsh winter nights,” Witzling explained. “I had my freedom and my fire. They were all I needed to be happy.” Witzling has taken his love of simple living and turned it into an amazing craft based on sustainability. Not only are all of his cabins built with reclaimed materials , but they are completely off-grid. They are powered by 12-volt D/C systems using deep cycle batteries. All water needed for drinking, cooking and bathing is collected from a well, and separate outhouses are equipped with composting toilets . Most of his wooden cabins are built on land owned by friends or acquaintances. He builds the structures with the agreement that he will have complete access after their completion. To date, he has built six amazingly unique cabins, including an innovative home on the bed of a pickup truck. Take a look below. Cabin 1 Witzling’s very first cabin was built for just $800. The two-story structure with a sloping shed roof was constructed out of reclaimed building materials , including salvaged wood, nails and screws leftover from construction projects, a local reuse store and straight from garbage pits. The cabin has two levels, a ground level of 100 square feet and a 70-square-foot sleeping loft. Witzling lived in this cabin for three years. Related: 9 brilliant backwoods cabins for reconnecting with nature Cabin 2 The second tiny cabin was built with wood salvaged from an old warehouse. Certainly fairytale-inspired, this 200-square-foot cabin takes on a cruciform shape with two pitched roofs covered in thick moss. Inside, there’s a compact living area and a 90-square-foot sleeping loft, all illuminated with natural light. Cabin 3 The third cabin (perhaps the most impressive) is a tiny octagonal structure with a pyramid roof featuring eight A-frame dormers. Witzling built the geometric cabin with his lifelong friend Wesley Daughenbaugh. Two large wooden doors open into the 135-square-foot interior, where many windows flood the space with natural light . The roofs are covered with metal sheets, chicken wire and a layer of moss. Cabin 4 The fourth cabin is quite distinct from the previous work in that the roof design is so eccentric. The cabin, which he built with his brother, Ethan Hamby, is set on an 80-square-foot, irregular base and topped with an  undulating pitched roof layered in small wooden shingles. The cabin was built with all reclaimed materials and is 17 feet long, 11 feet tall and 7 feet wide with a small, 30-square-foot sleeping loft inside. Cabin 5 The fifth cabin was a collaborative effort between Witzling, his brother Ethan and a childhood friend, Scott Pearson. The 200-square-foot wooden cabin , again made out of reclaimed lumber, is built on 25-square-foot alcoves on each side. A pitched 4-foot spire adds a chapel-like aesthetic to the cabin, which is surrounded by forest and adjacent to a small lake. Truck Cabin From off-grid cabins nestled into evergreen forests to homes on wheels roaming the highways, Witzling’s sixth project is a surprising twist to the traditional tiny cabin. Using the roof design from Cabin 4 as inspiration, he and his partner, Sara Underwood, built a tiny asymmetrical cabin on the bed of a 1979 pickup truck. The crafty duo are currently exploring the U.S. in their amazing creation. You can follow their adventures on Jacob’s Instagram . + Jacob Witzling Via Dwell Photography by Jacon Witzling, Sara Underwood, Forrest Smith, Chris Poops, Andrew Kearns, Erik Hecht, Justin D. Kauffman, Allen Meyer, Peter Crosby all via Jacob Witzling

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These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials

A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia

October 3, 2018 by  
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When clients tasked Melbourne-based firm MRTN Architects with designing a new home for their whopping 300 acres of natural landscape, the architects could have created a massive structure. Instead, the design team, inspired by the local vernacular, chose to implement a modern take on a simple shed. The 500-square-foot Nulla Vale House and adjacent shed, both of which are 100 percent off-grid , were designed to foster a strong harmony with nature. Located in Victoria, Australia, the home is set on an idyllic and rather remote area of untouched landscape. When the architects were contacted by the clients, the main request was that they design a structure that could be incorporated into another “more permanent home” that may be built on the same site in the future. Other than that, the clients also requested something that would stand out among the landscape from a distance. While exploring the area, the architects saw a lot of old sheds tucked into the rolling hills and decided to use these traditional forms as inspiration for the new home. “Nostalgia for this connection between land and building was the guiding principle for the Nulla Vale House and Shed,” the team explained. Related: Off-grid rainforest cabin built from scratch has minimal site impact The home and the adjacent shed are 100 percent off the grid and installed with water, sewer and electrical systems that not only support the existing buildings, but are capable of supporting any future buildings as well. The shed, which is covered with solar panels , is used for storage and houses the main PV battery. In addition to its energy efficiency, various recycled or repurposed materials such as salvaged brick were used in the home’s construction. Radial sawn timber was used to frame the home, which was then topped with a roof made from galvanized sheeting. The roof’s deep eaves shield the interior from the hot summer sun and optimize solar gains in the winter as part of a passive, energy-efficient strategy. The rustic aesthetic of the exterior continues throughout the interior living space. The salvaged brick walls were left unfinished, and wooden beams run the length of the vaulted ceiling. Even the insulation in the ceiling was left intentionally exposed in order to reflect the light from the concealed LED fixtures , which were installed in the beams. The main living room and small kitchen sit at the heart of the home. Farther back, there is a simple bedroom and bathroom. Throughout the space, there are various windows that flood the home with natural light. + MRTN Architects Via Dwell Photography by Peter Bennetts via MRTN Architects

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A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia

These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect

September 10, 2018 by  
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We all need a little digital detox once in a while, and these beautiful off-grid cabins are the ideal answer to getting away from it all. Scattered around South Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes, the CABN s are completely self-sustainable and eco-friendly tiny cabins that are designed to offer a serenity-focused retreat. The first CABN, named “Jude” after the founder’s mother, is located in a remote area in Adelaide Hills , just under an hour drive from Adelaide. Surrounded by 180 acres of sprawling natural grassland, guests will be just steps away from walking trails, creeks, dams and stunning scenery. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world The tiny cabins are designed to offer guests a place where they can truly reconnect with nature. Although the cabins are completely off-grid, they don’t sacrifice comfort. Inspired by Scandinavian design, the compact structures are made out of natural timber . Inside, the minimalist interiors are geared toward relaxation. The tiny retreats’ front walls are almost entirely glazed, flooding the living space with natural light. Jude sleeps two guests in a king-sized bed, and the bathroom comes with an indoor shower and composting toilet . Guests will enjoy a kitchen equipped with all of the basic necessities. To completely relax, the CABN rules strictly forbid ironing of any sort. According to CABN creator Michael Lamprell, the inspiration for the retreat came from a personal experience while he was studying both minimalism and tiny home design . “For someone that has lived and worked within the excesses of consumerism, the concept of minimalism was a revelation,” Lamprell said. “I was at a point where stress and anxiety were affecting all areas of my life — something had to change. At the same time, I was introduced to the concept of tiny homes, and the opportunity to create stunning cabins in unique locations, allowing you to switch off your mobile phone and truly relax. Set in isolated spots, the aim is to help the terminally busy disconnect and recharge.” + CABN Via ArchDaily Images via CABN

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These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect

These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

June 14, 2018 by  
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Within the world of glamping, there are plenty of wide-ranging amenities meant to provide luxury and comfort. But one savvy Lithuanian company, Eurodita , is bringing the glory of outdoor living back to basics with its simple, but beautiful, wooden camping pods . Inspired by the shape of Quonset huts, these compact, self-sustaining structures are great options for backyard sheds or mountain retreats. The camping pods are available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest one measuring just 80 square feet and the largest at 185 square feet. The curved shape, which draws inspiration from the design of Quonset huts, offers a sense of spaciousness to the compact interior. Related: Loch Ness Glamping Provides Cozy Eco Camping Pods for Monster Watching & Outdoor Adventure The entryway is a tiny deck that can be used as a sitting space or barbecue area. A set of double doors with double-glazed grid windows flood the interior with an abundance of natural light . The layout depends on the size of the pod, but the smallest of the series can fit a double bed, a small sitting area with table and chairs and a folding bench. Although they do not come equipped with bathrooms or kitchens, washrooms can be installed upon request. Buyers can also order electrical connections. Made from rot-proof Nordic spruce, the tiny wooden cabins are fully insulated thanks to the extra thick logs used in their construction. The pods are weather-resistant, waterproof and built to survive long-term in extreme climates. They are ideal for a variety of uses, from sheds and guest studios to off-grid retreats tucked into remote areas. Additionally, these sweet little cabins can be delivered in flat packs or fully assembled to almost anywhere in the world. + Eurodita Camping Pods Via Apartment Therapy Images via Eurodita

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These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

A cluster of wooden cabins create a serene weekend retreat in Norway

May 10, 2018 by  
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Norwegian firm Stinessen Arkitektur built this cluster of wooden cabins that peer out over the picturesque fjords of Norway. The weekend retreat is designed to provide the ultimate in relaxation, and it features extra-large glazed facades, minimalist interior design, and a serene spa. The private vacation home is located on Malangen Peninsula and it overlooks a beautiful fjord. The main entrance leads through a sliding oak door into a covered central courtyard , which connects the main building and the annex. This courtyard serves as the heart of the home, and it comes complete with a fireplace and an outdoor kitchen. Related: Cantilevered holiday cabins boast stunning coastal views in Norway According to the architects, the courtyard “functions as a protected and semi-tempered zone (without particular heating) between the main part and the annex . . . It also provides an additional layer to the natural ventilation during summertime, even on windy or rainy days.” The main building consists of two living areas. The master bedroom and bathroom are on one side of the structure, and a bedroom and secondary living room are on the other. The open kitchen, dining and living areas are located between the bedrooms. Various “in-between” spaces, with concrete floors and wood-slatted ceilings, connect the individual cabins . In order to create a cohesive connection to the exterior wooden cladding , the interior walls are covered in knot-free oak panels. Minimal furnishings and bare walls put the focus on the incredible scenery that surrounds the home. Each room has a large glass wall that offers amazing views. + Stinessen Arkitektur Via Dwell Photography by Steve King and Terje Arntsen, via Stinessen Arkitectur

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A cluster of wooden cabins create a serene weekend retreat in Norway

This secret tiny house in the Belgian countryside could be yours for the weekend

April 11, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen lots of tiny house rentals that offer the chance to get away from it all – but this new service adds a touch of mystery to the experience. Slow Cabins rents tiny houses set in idyllic locations across Belgium, with one catch–their locations are only revealed after the reservation is made. By keeping the location of the rental a mystery, the company removes all of the stress when it comes to planning relaxing, off-grid getaways. Slow Cabins is the brainchild of entrepreneur Xavier Leclair. The service offers solar-powered wooden cabins with built-in rainwater collection and filtration systems, as well as dry toilets. The cabins come in two sizes: one size for couples and a family size that sleeps up to five people. Regardless of model, the cabins are designed to provide a healthy atmosphere built with a small deck to enjoy the natural surroundings. Related: Escape the city in this new Harvard startup’s affordable tiny home rentals near NYC The interiors have been left as “raw” as possible. Wooden floors and walls keep the cabins rustic, and blonde wooden furniture provides a minimalist, Scandinavian feel. The furnishings are simple, with a wood-burning stove to keep guests warm during the chilly nights. Renters looking for a relaxing getaway have no absolutely no say in the location, but are guaranteed a complete, off-grid , back-to-nature vacation in a truly picturesque setting. The cabins have no WiFi or TV; instead, they feature large insulated windows that let the renters enjoy views of the idyllic fields and forest landscape. + Slow Cabins Via The Spaces Photography by Jonas Verhulst / Slow Cabin

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This secret tiny house in the Belgian countryside could be yours for the weekend

This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials

January 24, 2018 by  
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Activist and artist Anna Hoover collaborated with architect Les Eerkes from Olson Kundig Architects to build the Scavenger Hut – a beautiful, low-impact cabin hidden in the idyllic landscape of the Puget Sound. The design for the 693-square-foot compact cabin called for both affordability and sustainability. Accordingly, it was built using mostly reclaimed materials and leaves a minimal footprint thanks to a unique six-foot raised foundation. When artist and activist Anna Hoover was considering the cabin’s design , she was looking for something simple and rustic that would be a “thought refuge, a room with a view to sit and contemplate future projects and reflect on recent travels and interactions, plenty of ‘headspace’—tall ceilings—and the ability to host other artists for studio time,” she explained. Related: These minimalist prefab cabins are designed for human “recharging” Enter architect Les Eerkes, who designed the project while at Olson Kundig . Working with Hoover, Eerkes designed an eco-friendly timber cabin that would be a simple, but elegant space to encourage thoughtful contemplation. Even better, Eerkes came up with a plan to build the structure for less than $200 per square foot. To cut costs, the cabin was built with glued laminated timber . The exterior facade is clad in T1-11 plywood, which Hoover charred herself using a Weed Dragon Torch. Additionally, the six columns that support the cabin not only reduce the structure’s footprint, but also added an affordable way to avoid excavation and labor costs that come with laying a concrete foundation. The majority of the building materials – and even the plants – were reclaimed from homes and buildings slated for demolition. “The process of reclaiming these plants and items and giving them a new life and home is fulfilling on many levels,” Hoover says. “Easier on the pocketbook and the environment—and you receive the benefit of a good workout.” The interior is a light-filled space, flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of windows. The kitchen and living room are on the ground floor topped with a sleeping loft. Along with the salvaged kitchen cabinets, the interior is a hodge-podge of reclaimed materials. A hot-rolled steel staircase leads to the loft where floor-to-ceiling windows give stunning views of the surrounding forest. The room even has a drop-down door that opens completely to further blend the space into its surroundings. + Les Eerkes Via Dwell

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This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials

This amazing ‘Swiss Army’ tiny house has furniture folded inside its walls

January 24, 2018 by  
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Making tiny spaces livable is a complex process, but innovative space-saving features can yield amazing results. Italian architect Leonardo Di Chiara converted a 96-square-foot structure on wheels into the aVoid House – a small-space wonder with collapsible furniture that folds into its walls when not in use. The aVoid House is a collaboration between the architect and Tinyhouse University. With just 96 square feet, the tiny space houses all the basics of a home, but it’s geared to those wanting to reduce their clutter. All of the home’s furnishings are concealed behind the walls when not in use. The home’s bed, dining table, chairs, kitchenette, storage, a ladder to access the roof deck can all be put away to open up more room when needed. Related: Tiny 86-Square-Foot Flat in Paris Transforms Like a Swiss Army Knife “The tiny house is like a short instruction manual to reductionism,” said Di Chiara. “By itself, it teaches and pushes you to deprive yourself of unnecessary things, to consume less water and less energy, to put back your clothes in their place and to wash the dishes immediately after eating. The void, which is obtained by closing again all the wall-mounted furniture, is the refuge of my creativity.” Di Chiara believes that this new style of compact, transportable homes can help cities deal with urban housing issues . Although the entrance is a transparent doorway, the aVOID tiny home doesn’t have any side windows. This is because it is essentially a row home designed to be placed alongside other houses. The architect believes that small, minimalist homes can offer a strategic housing option for urban areas – and he also envisions “migratory neighborhoods” where people can live in different houses. + Leonardo Di Chiara Images via Leonardo Di Chiara

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This amazing ‘Swiss Army’ tiny house has furniture folded inside its walls

London to combat plastic waste with network of bottle refill points and fountains

January 24, 2018 by  
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London is taking a swing at plastic waste with moves that offer alternatives to plastic water bottles . Instead of buying another container that could end up in a landfill or the ocean , people in the city could use a drinking fountain or refill reusable bottles under a new scheme. The Guardian reports London aims to install 20 new drinking fountains and launch a bottle refill initiative. The Guardian said mayor Sadiq Khan hopes to tackle the plastic problem with a three-year, £750,000 (around $1,048,395) initiative slated to go before the budget committee of the London Assembly later this week. The drinking fountains and refill effort are part of the initiative, as is a move to stop offering plastic utensils, cups, and bottles at City Hall. Related: The world’s population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute The 20 drinking fountains will be put in place beginning this summer; locations haven’t yet been confirmed but deputy mayor for the environment Shirely Rodrigues told The Guardian that potential sites include bustling shopping areas like Oxford Street or Transport for London’s tube stations. More drinking fountains are also under consideration. The Guardian recently published an investigation revealing disparities in the provision of fountains in the city’s boroughs – some areas, like Barnet and Sutton, reportedly don’t have any at all. Under the bottle refill initiative, set to commence in five areas (yet to be announced) in February and March, businesses would make tap water available to the public. They will be able to locate places providing free tap water via window signs or an app. If the effort is successful, it could launch in the rest of London this summer. One movement working with the mayor is the Zoological Society of London-led #OneLess campaign . They will be supplying fountains and will scrutinize whether or not the moves do reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment. According to #OneLess, “Londoners are among the highest users of bottled water in the UK. The average London adult buys 3.37 plastic water bottles every week – that’s 175 every year per person, and over a billion per year on a city level. Sadly, many of these end up in the River Thames and flow out to the ocean.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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