35 Magical Tiny Cabins to Pin to Your Mood Board Immediately

35 Magical Tiny Cabins to Pin to Your Mood Board Immediately

By Laura Mauk
These fairy-tale cabins are the dose of escapism you need.

If you’re like us, then the pandemic has you dreaming of absconding to a quaint, woodland retreat or building your own micro cabin in a secluded locale. The tiny cabins below—some of which are for rent—are destined for your vision board.

Canadian Castaway

Canadian Castaway features a simple and rustic aesthetic with a focus on raw materials. "I didn’t want to paint the wood white, for instance," the owner says. "I just wanted to let it age naturally and invite it to mirror the natural world it's now a part of."

After a decade spent traveling and making documentaries, a filmmaker with no construction experience built an off-grid clifftop cabin in a forest on the east coast of Canada. He wanted to craft something simple from timber and other raw materials. "I would rather live in a cabin than a condo or a house that is merely a design trip," he says. "I wanted a comfortable home that’s inviting to live and function freely in."

Koto Cabin

In an artful expression of wabi-sabi design, this charred-timber workspace promotes a deeper connection to the natural world.

Koto’s charred-timber workspace is an exercise in wabi-sabi design that embraces imperfection amid the natural world. The carbon-neutral structure is built from natural materials, and it can operate both on- and off-grid.

Warsaw Weekend House

The micro home in Warsaw that architect Adam Pszczolkowski designed for his family and friends features expansive windows framed by plywood and white-painted HPL panels. "I chose white because of its modern and timeless character," the architect says.

When architect Adam Pszczolkowski of Desea Architects set out to design his own family retreat in the community gardens of the Rakowiec district in Warsaw, Poland, he looked to nature and the aesthetics of a vintage Swedish radio. "It may sound funny, but the design was strongly inspired by an old Tandberg transistor radio," Adam says. "It’s a simple, horizontal box with eye-pleasing proportions and wood laminate sides. The gardens inspired the interior, which is finished with raw plywood that will age naturally."

The Lily Pad

The Lily Pad is a 280-square-foot shipping container home located near Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio.

When Troy and Dianna Shurtz thought to design and build their own shipping container home as a getaway, they knew it should be located near Hocking Hills State Park, an area south of their home in Lancaster, Ohio, marked by sculptural cliffs, gorges, and waterfalls. "I spent a lot of time in Hocking Hills as a child," Dianna says. "My father passed away at the age of 59, and I’ve always felt closer to him when I’m there, hiking or just visiting."

The Nook

The Nook exterior features shiplap cypress siding, a reclaimed oak deck, and an entranceway of oak blackened in the traditional Japanese method.

At just 400 square feet, The Nook in Swannanoa, North Carolina, manages to meld Japanese tranquility, Scandinavian simplicity, and a handmade, Appalachian sensibility. Owner Mike Belleme, a documentary photographer whose images have appeared in National Geographic, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, imagined the cabin as "an experiment in storytelling." 

Hello Wood Workstation Cabin

"We imagined how six people would use the space and developed the shape accordingly," says Hello Wood cofounder Dávid Ráday. "We took inspiration from the design of space capsules, and the cabin was refined step by step before reaching its final form."

The Workstation Cabin by Hungarian architecture studio Hello Wood is a sculptural timber pod inspired by the design of space capsules. It’s intended to sit in a garden or other outdoor area, and it can be configured as a fully powered workspace and conference room—or as a convenient guest bedroom or cozy lounge.

Hawaiian Surf Shack

After finding paradise on a Hawaiian papaya farm, filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau tapped San Francisco artist Jay Nelson to design and build their dream home in just five weeks. Located just one block from the beach, the home takes inspiration from laid-back surf shacks and is mainly built with reclaimed wood.

Nestled away in a remote and lush coastal nook of the Hawaiian island chain is the dream home of filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau, built by San Francisco–based artist Jay Nelson. This is one of those places that leaves a constant happy smile on your face while you’re there. You just can’t help but be in total awe of the artful craftsmanship, attention to detail, and curated taste in materials and decor. It’s like being in an adult fort—a modern Swiss Family Robinson compound that reflects the sophisticated, traveled taste level of its free-spirited, creative owners. 

Nido Cabin

A young Finnish designer bypasses building permits by creating an affordable tiny home under 100 square feet.

In Finland, houses with a floor area between 96 to 128 square feet do not require a building permit, so when local industrial designer Robin Falck decided to build his own cabin in the picturesque municipality of Sipoo, he made sure to keep the tiny home under 100 square feet.

Crimson Cabin

A couple’s 269-square-foot getaway features a crimson exterior and an unfinished pine plywood interior.

When an urban couple decided to build an affordable tiny house outside the city as a retreat from their busy lives, they found a site in Sweden’s Stockholm archipelago and called on architect David Lookofsky of Lookofsky Architecture. Lookofsky took one look at his clients’ wondrous site—marked by towering pine trees, rocky cliffs, and cinematic views of the Baltic Sea—and decided he would reuse the existing foundation and not build beyond it, conserving both the construction budget and as much of the natural terrain as possible.

Szumilas

Set in the pine forests and beaches of Lubiatowo, these tiny cottages are an idyllic getaway.

In the small town of Lubiatowo in Northern Poland, six cabins known as Szumilas ("Summer Houses") make up a holiday retreat. Owners Magda and Chris, both energetic 30-year-olds, sought a change of pace from city life. Inspired by their own travels—especially hostel experiences—and an appreciation of the great outdoors, they decided to invest their savings in building a series of holiday homes with nature at the forefront.

Small But Fine

Dubbed Small But Fine, a student-built 280-square-foot cabin in Finland connects with the outdoors and features a minimal footprint. Not pictured is a detached outhouse with a composting toilet.

In southwest Finland, two students with little experience but a lot of gumption design a minimalist home in the woods and build most of it—from the roofing to the stovepipes—on their own. Located in Lavia with nary a neighbor in sight, the remote cabin is set close to a lake and surrounded by a swamp and an old forest. The site was selected for its lake views and close connection to nature. "On some days you can see moose, deer, and traces of lynx," say the designers, who use the cabin as a retreat from city life.

Sauvie Island Cabin

The home’s walls are clad in Oregon white oak reclaimed from a dismantled barn on the property. Jessica Helgerson chose to paint them white to create a bright, airy look, but she left the kitchen wall au naturel for a visual pop. With storage at a premium, the kitchen needed ample cabinetry as well as some ingenious solutions—including a pull-out cabinet hidden in one half of the range hood. A vintage cabinet on the left wall provides open storage for everyday dishes.

Nine years ago, Jessica Helgerson turned a former goose check station on Sauvie Island, a farming community along the Columbia River in Oregon, into the perfect tiny house for her family. Today, the idyllic cabin has been repurposed once again—to house a surgeon during the coronavirus pandemic.

Panorama Glass Lodge Iceland

Watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your warm bed at Panorama Glass Lodge Iceland. Designed by the Estonian company ÖÖD Homes, the two 200-square-foot prefab cabins are thoughtfully made for small-space living. Each has a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and kitchen.

Imagine lying in bed in a tiny glass cabin at the foot of Iceland’s most active volcano and watching the spectacle of the northern lights, or a five-hour-long sunset play out through the transparent roof and walls that surround you. This is the magical reality crafted by Estonian brothers Andreas and Jaak Tiik. The duo’s company ÖÖD Homes built a tiny cabin for Panorama Glass Lodge Iceland on a remote site at the foot of the Hekla volcano in the south of Iceland. 

Digital Detox Cabin

"Turn off your phone and dial into mother nature," suggests CABN, of their first off-grid, tiny home retreat in Victoria.

Sadie, the new self-sustaining tiny home by CABN, gives guests a chance to reconnect with themselves in a remote patch of wilderness in south Australia. "One of our goals from the start was to allow our guests to truly escape back into nature, focus on what’s important, and turn their technology off," says spokesperson Shane Laidlaw. 

Lost Whiskey Cabin

The Lost Whiskey Cabin stands on a rocky bluff overlooking Virginia's countryside.

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).

Nash Tiny House

Generations of family have lived on this wooded, waterfront site, where architect Will Randolph has built a weekend getaway for less than $70,000.

When Florida couple Jon and Niki Nash wanted a modest weekend retreat near Mississippi State University, where their daughter attends college, they commissioned their nephew, architect Will Randolph of Archimania, to design a tiny house on a beloved piece of family land outside of Starkville. 

Redwood Cabin

A sleeping area is tucked away underneath the rafters. Large windows brighten the space and provide views of the forested surroundings.

After renting in San Francisco, California, for 10 years, Molly Fiffer and Jeff Waldman wanted more: more autonomy, more of the outdoors, and more space to host their tight-knit community of friends. In search of a retreat, they purchased a piece of land in the Santa Cruz Mountains on which to build. 

Pop-Up Hotel Cabin

Step inside a pop-up hotel cabin inspired by the cave that King Arthur and his knights would have slept in while traveling—a legendary cave that could be discovered once, and never again.

This whimsical structure, designed by Miller Kendrick Architects, is one of the winning designs in a series of eight pop-up hotel cabins located in three secret locations throughout the Welsh countryside. The design competition hosted by Epic Retreats invited architects from around the world to craft space-saving designs inspired the mystic folklore of Wales, while utilizing modern construction techniques.

A45 Cabin

Measuring only 180 square feet, this exquisite, off-grid tiny home features a big sense of style.

Inspired by the classic A-frame cabin design, architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has created their first tiny home with Klein, a prefab-housing startup in New York. Sited in Hudson Valley, the 180-square-foot sleek black cabin is known as A45. Despite its small size, the cabin’s innovative design creates more usable floor space by rotating the classic A-frame structure 45 degrees. This allows the lower part of the house to only touch on two corners, which maximizes the wall height to a soaring 13 feet inside. The resulting crystal-like shape gives A45 an ever-changing appearance.

Alpine Cabin

Birch plywood panels, full-height windows, and a transparent roof compose "Immerso Glamping" set in the Italian alpine town of Usseaux.

Known as "Immerso Glamping," this alpine cabin designed by Italian architects Fabio Vignolo and Francesca Turnaturi is true to its name: It allows guests to go off the grid and reconnect with nature in an inventive way. While the prefabricated shelter is designed to be easily moveable, Immerso Glamping is currently located in the alpine village of Usseaux in Italy’s Piedmont region. It is available to rent on Airbnb.

Joshua Tree Cabins

Naturally rusted steel sheathes the cabins that Malek Alqadi built on a 1954 homestead outside Joshua Tree National Park. "I loved the idea of stitching the existing structure back together, reinforcing it, and giving it life again without compromising the beautiful setting it’s in," he says.

Surrounded by boulders and twisted yuccas, two cabins in the Mojave Desert stand like Monopoly houses, their steel siding weathered to a tawny finish. But behind the simple gabled forms lies a complex network that enables them to operate wholly off the grid. 

3D-Printed Tiny Cabin

Sustainability and forward-thinking architectural techniques merge in this experimental tiny cabin clad in 3D-printed tile.

In response to the Bay Area’s housing crisis and a recent relaxation in accessory dwelling unit (ADU) rules, Emerging Objects has crafted an experimental housing prototype: the Cabin of Curiosities. True to its name, the unusual structure is clad in over 4,500 3D-printed ceramic tiles and features a beautiful front facade full of succulents.

Hexagonal Studio

The hexagonal backyard studio that Marlin and Ryan Hanson designed and built in British Columbia, Canada, is clad with western red cedar shakes and a metal roof.

The 250-square-foot hexagonal studio that brothers Marlin and Ryan Hanson of Hanson Land & Sea designed and built for their client, a birth doula and mother who lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, is a much-needed and not-too-far escape. In fact, it rests in her own backyard among a woodland of cedar, hemlock, fir, and maple trees. "I live on forested acreage in the small community of Roberts Creek," she says. "The studio is where I slow down, write, meditate, and reconnect with nature. It’s also where I teach private prenatal classes and yoga."

Sustainable, Norwegian Tiny House

The spruce cladding that wraps around the Vilde tiny house model patinas and eventually turns a silvery-gray tone that blends into the Scandinavian landscape.

"Our primary focus is to offer quality tiny homes at an affordable price," says David Reiss-Andersen, who cofounded the Oslo, Norway–based tiny home company Norske Mikrohus with his wife Jeanette, who’s also the firm’s lead designer. "There’s growing awareness of compact living, minimalism, and sustainability," David says. "We want to help provide people with the freedom that comes with living with fewer things, lower costs, lower energy use, and less waste."

Makatita Cabin

The angled tiny house's distinct shape recalls a folded leaf—a nod to the homeowner’s love of nature. The rear facade is clad in pine that's punctuated by elongated shutters that create the effect of sunlight being filtered through treetops.

When Willeke Makatita approached Gijsbert Schutten and Gijs Coumou of Liberte Tiny Houses, she had one very specific request: a compact dwelling that would let her simplify her life and live as close to nature as possible. "Willeke loves walking, camping, and bushcraft," Schutten says. "She asked for a home that would suit those passions." 

Ilo Playhouse

Guided by a sustainable design ethos, Koto created the Ilo playhouse using low-impact natural materials—from the timber envelope to the recycled rubber flooring.

When architect Johnathon Little and his wife Zoe moved back to England in 2017 after living in Oslo for a decade, the couple decided to channel their newfound love of Scandinavian design into a Norwegian cabin–inspired playhouse for their two young daughters. The idea, which started off as a sketch, evolved into three prototypes for an entirely new venture: Koto, a design startup that produces eco-friendly modular structures. 

Elsewhere Cabin

Ryan McLaughlin watches the sunset from the deck of the 160-square-foot tiny home he built, with no prior experience, at his parents’ horse ranch in Georgetown, Texas. Soon, the trailer-mounted cabin will be moved to a vineyard, where it will operate grid-free and be available to rent for short stays. 

In Texas, where everything is bigger, Ryan McLaughlin is placing his bets on something small. Specifically, a simple 160-square-foot cabin that he hopes city-dwellers will book for $149 a night to get away, find some focus, and reconnect with nature.

Lakeside Cabin

Tucked away on the edge of a small lake surrounded by mountains and topped off with a grass-covered roof, this hunting cabin designed by Snøhetta is made with locally sourced stones. The 376-square-foot prefab mountain hut sleeps up to 21 guests around a central fireplace.

Alone by a small lake amid a virtually untouched mountain range in western Norway, the Bjellandsbu, a 376-square-foot hunting cabin, is the far-flung prefab of which many dream. For Snøhetta, the firm that designed the retreat for finance guru Osvald Bjelland, building here necessitated a flexible approach that prioritized locally sourced materials.

Bay Point Landing

Bay Point Landing offers cabin and Airstream accommodations, RV sites, a communal clubhouse, an indoor saltwater pool, an event hall, a private beach—and plenty of open spaces for surfing, whale watching, crabbing, fishing, or hiking.

Set on 103 acres on picturesque Coos Bay in Southern Oregon, Bay Point Landing is an outdoor resort offering Scandinavian-inspired cabins, Airstreams, and full-amenity RV sites. The architects, OFFICEUNTITLED, took cues from the local landscape and weather to shape the site. "Seeing the hills of the dunes bounce around each other helped me design the roof [of the clubhouse], which is tiled up to emulate them," says principal architect Christian Robert. "The angled layout was intentional to help protect our guests from the wind."

Site Shack

The exterior of Site Shack is covered in steel panels that are bolted to the framing. Look closely and you won’t see any visible fasteners, as Powers Construction’s welder was fastidious, creating a seamless shell with just steel and glass.

The Site Shack is a tiny prefab cabin that sets up anywhere in a snap. At under 100 square feet, the 8-by-12-foot tiny cabin includes just the essentials: a wood-burning stove, a desk, and storage. 

Shingled Cabin

Because of its irregular, otherworldly form, and how it seems to be suspended in midair, the cabin was named "Ufogel," which is a melding of the acronym UFO and "vogel," meaning bird in German.

Next to an old farmhouse in the East Tyrolean village of Nussdorf, Austria, is an unusually shaped, shingle-clad cabin, designed by architects Peter and Lukas Jungmann, that's raised up on skinny steel struts.

Creative Cabin

GreenSpur and McAllister Architects imagined a cabin sided with Cor-Ten steel, glass, and shou sugi ban–treated cedar for a wooded property outside of Washington, DC.

The Falls Church, Virginia–based architecture firm GreenSpur has found an architectural solution to work commutes that negatively affect health and the environment. "Traditional work commutes contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and poor air quality," architect Zach Gasper says. "And, time spent sitting in cars is linked to higher rates of depression and stress." As such, Gasper and his fellow architects at GreenSpur, with Alexandria-based McAllister Architects, have devised Creative Cabin, a 280-square-foot backyard construction, located in the suburb of Arlington Forest just outside of Washington, DC.

Fairy-Tale Cabin

De Rosee Sa designed and built this black timber cabin on a budget of $32,872. The home’s exterior, which was stained using tractor engine oil, references the rural vernacular of its locale.

A labor of love, the 377-square-foot woodland cabin is a design/build project completed over multiple trips to the lakeside lot in the village of Nouvelles in southern Belgium. The architects built the cabin using locally sourced, storm-felled timber to deepen their understanding of materials and construction.

Getaway Cabin

Getaway offers rentable micro cabins to help urban dwellers escape the daily grind.

Getaway’s rentable woodland tiny homes offer an escape from urban life just a short drive from Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Portland, and Washington, DC. Black-painted wood cladding gives the homes a quiet presence and allows guest to focus only on the trees that surround them.

Snug Guesthouse

A tiny outbuilding offers a cozy living space inside a simple shell.

Jason and Suzanne Koxvold commissioned Studio Padron to design a 200-square-foot guesthouse on their Ellenville, New York, property. The geometric structure’s dark cedar cladding contrasts with the inviting interior, which is heated by a cast-iron Jøtul stove. A layer of built-in bookshelves made from felled oak lumber also helps insulate the building in winter.

Related Reading: 

10 Minimalist Scandinavian Cabins

11 of the World’s Best Cabins for Stargazing

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