This $12K Flat-Pack Cabin Makes the Perfect Weekend Retreat or Backyard Office
Four years ago, Hungarian design studio and educational platform Hello Wood began building prototypes of a tiny cabin that they dubbed Kabinka. Over the years, these prototypes were put to the test by architecture and design students taking part in the Hello Wood summer school. The studio then developed a flat-pack version of the cabin, and it’s now available for purchase as an affordable, self-build option for a weekend retreat, backyard guest room, or private office.
"We’ve received interest from people looking for an extra room in their backyard, a tiny home for vacations, and even people investing in resorts," says project architect Péter Oravecz. "We can make changes to the design based on each customer’s needs—we can put the cabin on wheels, change the location of the doors and windows, create different sizes, and use different materials."
The timber cabin is built from one-meter-long modules and is available in four different sizes—from S (129 square feet) to XL (215 square feet)—which are constructed from five to eight modules. Additional modules, such as a terrace or roof shading, are also available as add-ons.
"The design of Kabinka draws on rural architectural heritage," says Oravecz. "Because of the shape of the facade, traditional windows wouldn’t have worked—so we used a round window. Basically, the whole structure looks like a bird feeder."
While each of the four cabins has essentially the same floor plan, the function of the spaces and finishes can be changed depending on a client’s preferences—and all sizes can comfortably fit a tea kitchen, bathroom, couch, and stove.
"The cabin that we have built for the photographs uses gray sandwich panels as insulation and for the outer shell, which give it an industrial feeling," says Oravecz. "This is combined with timber frames and a facade made from CLT panels. The appearance is softened by the use of timber in the interior."
The cabin is entered through a glass door, which leads directly to the main room on the ground floor. This space can be used as a living room, dining room, or office as needed. To the right is a small, enclosed space, which can be set up as either a bathroom or an additional room. A mezzanine, accessed via a ladder, forms a loft bedroom or break-out area.
The interior space is lit by a central pendant light, and the glass door and two windows—one large, round window in the living space, and a smaller, operable window in the mezzanine—allow for plenty of natural light. The interior can be heated and cooled, making it suitable for use all year round.
Kabinka starts at €10,000 ($12,000) for a basic model, without shipping or additional furniture. The prefabricated elements arrive flat packed, and they can be assembled by builders with a bit of experience. "This is made possible by the cabin’s smart design," says Oravecz. "Although assemble-it-yourself solutions are not common in the tiny house scene in Hungary, we believe that encouraging people to create with timber helps everyone unearth hidden talents and skills."
According to Hello Wood, Kabinka is a greener alternative to tiny homes built with non-renewable materials and conventional technologies. Ground screws eliminate the need for concrete foundations—and they allow the structure to adapt to a wide range of sites. The material palette is made up of just a few simple materials, and the building structure is constructed primarily of sustainably sourced timber. Even the cross section of the beams has been designed to use minimal material.
"Since we launched Kabinka, we’ve received positive feedback from all over the world," says Oravecz. "Our fans love it—and there have been more than a hundred enquiries about the cabin, from both individuals and companies. We believe that the design has really captured the attention of the market!"
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Designer: Hello Wood / @hellowood
Creative concept: András Huszár, Péter Pozsár, Dávid Ráday, Krisztián Tóth
Head architect: Péter Pozsár
Project architect: Péter Oravecz
Builder: Hello Wood
Photographer: Zsuzsa Darab
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