written by:
August 12, 2013
Vacation homes shouldn't be a pain—they should be low-maintenance places for respite. Here's how ten lakeside and beachfront retreats use the most low-maintenance of materials: wood.

Clad slanted walls and ceilings with wooden beams.

Katja and Adam Thom’s cabin, on an exposed postglacial archipelago in Canada’s windswept Georgian Bay, is more than eight miles from the nearest road.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in On the Rock
1 / 10

Make it float!

On the edge of a tiny island on Lake Huron, accessible only by boat, this buoyant summer home lives the life aquatic.

2 / 10
small space trailer malibu kitchen

Build open shelving.

Los Angeles firm Commune Design remade what was formerly the "dinkiest, cheapest, grossest" trailer at the Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park in Malibu with some ingenuity and bright colors. The custom open shelving was inexpensive to fabricate and holds all the home's kitchen tools with unfussy aplomb.


Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Modern Beachside Trailer Home in Malibu
3 / 10
Girl by a sliding panel door with matte marine hardware

Use plywood for doors and walls.

Architect Page Goolrick preserved the humble roots and mellow vibe of this 1960s Long Island beach bungalow with touches like this sliding panel door with matte marine hardware that will age gracefully in the salty air.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Long Island Found
4 / 10
The exterior is clad in 100-year-old cypress meticulously crafted for the home by former shipbuilder George Velmachos of Wright and Company. Courtesy <a href="http://architectsandartisans.com/">Architects and Artisans</a>.

Incorporate a brise-soleil to simultaneously shield the sun and let it shine in.

New York architecture firm Tamarkin Co. used 100-year-old cypress salvaged from the swamps and rivers of Georgia and Florida for the skin and structure of this Shelter Island beach house. A former shipbuilder crafted its 36-foot-long beams.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Shelter Island Retreat
5 / 10
Wooden guest cabin rooms with ladder

Treat it like a treehouse.

On this lakeside plot outside Toronto, four friends forge a new kind of vacation house. The complex is designed to promote an easy flow between the two families' spaces, which include guest cabins and a shared porch for hanging out and eating.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Four Friends Joined Forces to Realize This Idyllic Forest Retreat Outside Toronto
6 / 10
Pine clad dining room with built-in furniture

Deck out interiors like a boat. 

On an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, a green getaway is chock-full of nautical details and space-saving storage solutions like this built-in breakfast nook.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Tiny Cabin is This Writer's Off the Grid Getaway
7 / 10
flood proof house exterior

Tranform an outdated facade. 

On a sandy cul-de-sac in Stinson Beach, California, architects Matthew Peek and Renata Ancona built an elevated modern structure beside a modest 1940s bungalow.

Originally appeared in A Look at Waterfront Homes
8 / 10

Pair it with glass.

Wood cladding on an exterior brings the very concept of a vacation home back down to earth. When paired with glass, like in this lagoon-side abode in Northern California, a facade can be both cozy and open to its natural surroundings.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in The Green Lagoon
9 / 10
Inside the cedar-framed pool house are a 40-foot-long lap pool and a hot tub. Should that feel too limiting or too tame, the Atlantic Ocean is only a short 200-yard stroll away.<br /><br /><strong>Project:</strong> Morgan Pool House

Build a separate house for your pool. 

Inside this cedar-framed pool house in New Jersey are a 40-foot-long lap pool and a hot tub. Should that feel too limiting or too tame, the Atlantic Ocean is only a short 200-yard stroll away.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Pool Houses: From Laps to Naps
10 / 10
the thom cabin dining room

Clad slanted walls and ceilings with wooden beams.

Katja and Adam Thom’s cabin, on an exposed postglacial archipelago in Canada’s windswept Georgian Bay, is more than eight miles from the nearest road.

Photo by Mark Giglio.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016