10 Tiny Cabin Homes That Will Have You Headed to the Forest

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
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Tiny homes have officially become a thing.

Much more than merely quaint and quirky—these structures also promote sustainable living. Check out the following 10 tiny cabin homes—they really do prove that good things come in small packages.

Located on an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, this thoughtfully designed writer's getaway cabin was built by a retired Columbia professor with the help of his architect daughter. 

Constructed on land he had owned for years, this tiny cabin is also totally green. 

Constructed on land he had owned for years, this tiny cabin is also totally green. 

Photo by Eirik Johnson

Built atop the foundation of a previous greenhouse was a cost-cutting measure for this Dutch collaboration between Zecc Architects and designer Roel van Norel. Built in a forest north of Utrecht, this tiny cabin lets the owners "flee daily life" while taking in as much or as little of nature as they like. 

With one side of the house closed off, views are directed through the glazed south and west facades to the grassy clearing beyond. "We planted tens of thousands of blue bells and lots of rhododendrons," Oostenbruggen says of the green space. "The setting developed over time."

With one side of the house closed off, views are directed through the glazed south and west facades to the grassy clearing beyond. "We planted tens of thousands of blue bells and lots of rhododendrons," Oostenbruggen says of the green space. "The setting developed over time."

Photo by Roel van Norel

Inspired by structures like tree houses and fire lookouts. This three-story cabin in upstate Washington was described by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects who designed it, as "basically a steel box on stilts." 

Self-described by architect Olson Kundig Architects as "basically a steel box on stilts," the three-story cabin in upstate Washington can be completely sealed off to the elements with four 10’ by 18’ steel shutters that can be rolled over the glass windows when visitors clear out. 

Self-described by architect Olson Kundig Architects as "basically a steel box on stilts," the three-story cabin in upstate Washington can be completely sealed off to the elements with four 10’ by 18’ steel shutters that can be rolled over the glass windows when visitors clear out. 

These 290-square-foot tiny cabins were built on the North Island of New Zealand by Cheshire Architects. Their structures enhance the landscape like minimalist sculptures—and embrace efficient small-scale living.

Before building on the North Island of New Zealand, two friends spent years replanting the site. The 290-square-foot structures Cheshire Architects designed for them reject the local trend of oversize beach houses—instead, they sit on the landscape like a pair of minimalist sculptures.

Before building on the North Island of New Zealand, two friends spent years replanting the site. The 290-square-foot structures Cheshire Architects designed for them reject the local trend of oversize beach houses—instead, they sit on the landscape like a pair of minimalist sculptures.

Built in a clearing near a 200-year-old pine and fir forest in the Virumaa region of Estonia, and made out of sustainable materials—this tiny cabin was intended as a summer home for designer/inventor Jaanus Orgusaar’s family. His modular, hexagonal housing concept utilizes a shape found in nature and creates space in its geometric patterns. 

Jaanus Orgusaar's NOA cabin in the Virumaa region of Estonia.

Jaanus Orgusaar's NOA cabin in the Virumaa region of Estonia.

An innocent conversation among friends led to this ambitious project where 28 graduate students created 14 micro cabins to serve as dorms for instructors of the Colorado Outward Bound School. Built on a site so inaccessible that no cranes or semi-trucks could reach it, each cabin has a unique floor plan and is less than 200 square feet. To top that, the budget was less than $10,000 per unit and the project was completed in just 19 weeks.

To replace the dorm living existence of past generations, Sommerfeld and his students set out to build 14 micro cabins for the COBS instructors, each less than 200 square feet. 

To replace the dorm living existence of past generations, Sommerfeld and his students set out to build 14 micro cabins for the COBS instructors, each less than 200 square feet. 

Photo: Jessie Kuroiwa, Peter O'Neil, Rick Sommerfeld

Modest in size, but big on design—this 191-square-foot cabin on Salt Spring Island, just southwest of Vancouver, boasts cedar floors and ceilings which were milled from salvaged timbers, and is heated by a wood-burning stove. 

The cozy cabin was crafted by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects. 

The cozy cabin was crafted by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects. 

Photo by Tom Bies

With an enterprising spirit and just over $11,000, Boise, Idaho–based architectural designer Macy Miller literally built her own 196-square-foot home for her growing family. 

Boise, Idaho–based architectural designer Macy Miller built her own 196-square-foot home, which she shares with her partner, James Herndon, their newborn, Hazel, and the family’s Great Dane, Denver. The exterior cladding, which Miller stained for a uniform effect, is a mix of nearly a dozen types of wood plank, including poplar, oak, and fir.

Boise, Idaho–based architectural designer Macy Miller built her own 196-square-foot home, which she shares with her partner, James Herndon, their newborn, Hazel, and the family’s Great Dane, Denver. The exterior cladding, which Miller stained for a uniform effect, is a mix of nearly a dozen types of wood plank, including poplar, oak, and fir.

Photo: Joe Schmelzer

By maintaining the small footprint of an old shed on her property in British Columbia, an illustrator of children's books was able to create a small, airy, modern cabin workspace with the help of builder Riley McFerrin of Hinterland Design—who ensured that the project had a contemporary feel while still maintaining the property’s rustic country charm.   

Shown here is the exterior of the backyard studio of Riley McFerrin of Hinterland Design, which was built for his client, a children's book illustrator.

Shown here is the exterior of the backyard studio of Riley McFerrin of Hinterland Design, which was built for his client, a children's book illustrator.

Designed by Jonas Wagell for his master's thesis, the Mini House is his modern interpretation of a Swedish Shed, or a "friggebod." Though this cabin doesn't include a kitchen or bath, they can be added as modular units, along with a sauna or solar-power system.

The Mini House, conceived by Jonas Wagell for his master’s thesis at the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm.

The Mini House, conceived by Jonas Wagell for his master’s thesis at the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm.

Photo by Andy Liffner

Jennifer Baum Lagdameo

@jennifer_lagdameo

Jennifer Baum Lagdameo is a freelance design writer who has lived in Washington DC, Brooklyn, Tokyo and Manila. She is currently exploring the Pacific Northwest from her home base in Portland, OR. Follow her on Instagram @jenniferlagdameo

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