Get Off the Grid and Recharge at This Tiny Cabin in Virginia’s Countryside
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Get Off the Grid and Recharge at This Tiny Cabin in Virginia’s Countryside

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By Michele Koh Morollo
The Lost Whiskey Cabin is a digital detox dwelling in Marshall, Virginia, that invites guests to unplug, slow down, and reconnect with nature—and each other.

Located on a 50-acre site along the Appalachian Trail in the tree-covered hills of Virginia's Hunt and Wine Country, the Lost Whiskey Cabin is an ultra-compact, off-the-grid, 160-square-foot holiday dwelling that’s all about unplugging from technology and losing yourself in nature. 

Named after the property’s proximity to two Marshall landmarks—Whiskey Hollow and Lost Mountain—the Lost Whiskey Cabin is part of a larger tourism and leisure development called the Lost Whiskey Club, which features a communal farmhouse, a mobile whiskey bar, and off-the-grid holiday rental cabins (including the Lost Whiskey Airstream).

The walls of the cabin are made of pre-cast concrete panels that GreenSpur manufactured in their warehouse, then shipped to the site to reduce construction time and on-site exposure.   

The walls of the cabin are made of pre-cast concrete panels that GreenSpur manufactured in their warehouse, then shipped to the site to reduce construction time and on-site exposure.   

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Operable doors open out to the deck.

Operable doors open out to the deck.

Designed and built by the four-man team at GreenSpur, who also founded the Lost Whiskey Club, the concrete structure marries Scandinavian minimalism with Virginia countryside charm in the most wonderfully relaxing way. 

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The reclaimed-wood Murphy bed, the wood-burning fireplace, and leather rugs and throw pillows add warmth and coziness to the pared-back interiors.  

The reclaimed-wood Murphy bed, the wood-burning fireplace, and leather rugs and throw pillows add warmth and coziness to the pared-back interiors.  

The concrete cabin's chimney and window frames are made from steel. The floor consists of a concrete deck poured on composite panels that sit on top of two LiteSteel beams. The roof is made from concrete-skinned structural insulated panels (SIPs).   

"With a crackling fire that heats the hot tub, solar panels, cisterns, Murphy bed, shower and compost toilet, this off-grid structure is virtually maintenance-free, and should look and function the same 100 years from now," says GreenSpur founder Mark Turner.

"With a crackling fire that heats the hot tub, solar panels, cisterns, Murphy bed, shower and compost toilet, this off-grid structure is virtually maintenance-free, and should look and function the same 100 years from now," says GreenSpur founder Mark Turner.

The small space features a Murphy bed that doubles as a table when not in use, a concrete sink with battery storage underneath, a shower, and a composting toilet that’s connected to a Culvert cistern. The home also has a propane cooktop, a wood-burning stove, and an LED-lit outdoor deck with a Dutch hot tub, a chair, and a hammock that allows guests to unwind while gazing out towards the trees and green fields. 

The team installed an off-the-grid hot tub—known as a Dutch tub—that's heated by a wood fire. "Essentially a couple of copper coils get wrapped around a fire pit with a hi and low input/output connected to the tub. Once the fire heats up, the hot tub really gets cookin’. At its hottest we have measured it at 104 degrees," says Jimmy Mathew’s, GreenSpur’s Director of Development.

The team installed an off-the-grid hot tub—known as a Dutch tub—that's heated by a wood fire. "Essentially a couple of copper coils get wrapped around a fire pit with a hi and low input/output connected to the tub. Once the fire heats up, the hot tub really gets cookin’. At its hottest we have measured it at 104 degrees," says Jimmy Mathew’s, GreenSpur’s Director of Development.

"The project is on top of a mountain; execution and logistics were difficult, so to compensate we pre-fabbed as much of the structure as possible," says Nick Cioffi, GreenSpur’s Director of Construction.  

"The project is on top of a mountain; execution and logistics were difficult, so to compensate we pre-fabbed as much of the structure as possible," says Nick Cioffi, GreenSpur’s Director of Construction.  

According to Zach Gasper, GreenSpur’s Director of Design, the biggest challenge for the team was building a concrete cabin on top of a mountain—especially since access was almost impossible during the winter. 

"We had to drill our well over 700 feet deep to get water to the site, and even then the well was nowhere near the rock we wanted to build the cabin on. Hauling prefabricated concrete panels up the side of a mountain was no easy task either," he says. 

The concrete walls, floors, and ceilings are raw and exposed, creating a modern, industrial-inspired canvas. 

The concrete walls, floors, and ceilings are raw and exposed, creating a modern, industrial-inspired canvas. 

The concrete cabin has a steel chimney and window frames.

The concrete cabin has a steel chimney and window frames.

The project is designed to encourage visitors to reject mindless consumption, turn off their phones, and focus on the nature around them—and more importantly, one another. Visit the Lost Whiskey to book yourself a stay.  

Sectional sketch of the Lost Whiskey Cabin.

Sectional sketch of the Lost Whiskey Cabin.

Floor plan drawing of the Lost Whiskey Cabin.

Floor plan drawing of the Lost Whiskey Cabin.

Project credits: 

Architect of Record and Builder: GreenSpur Inc.

MEP consultation: Built Environment Engineers  

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