This Forest Retreat Is a Modern Take on the Traditional Estonian Hut

This Forest Retreat Is a Modern Take on the Traditional Estonian Hut

By Michele Koh Morollo
Made up of three modernized kodas, this wood-clad cottage features bright, minimalist interiors.

Inspired by the Estonian koda—a traditional hut that dates back to the third millennium BC—this forest hideaway tucked in the Northern Estonian village of Muraste consists of three light-filled cabins that sport modern, pyramidal roofs.

Designed by Estonian studio KUU arhitektid, all three cabins are set upon a single, raised timber deck that has a circular section cut out to accommodate the trunks of existing trees.

The three cabins have north-facing windows that frame views of the Baltic Sea.

Koda, originally meaning "place for living," is closely related to the Estonian words for "home" (kodu) and "place" (koht). Different types of kodas have emerged over time—kodas for socializing, working, and worship.

Together, the three modernized kodas offer 829 square feet, and their minimalist interiors look out to breathtaking views of the surrounding forest. 

The living areas have north- and south-facing glass walls.

The largest unit holds the open-concept living, dining, and kitchen areas, and connects to the unit containing the bedroom and ensuite bathroom.

The angular form of the cabins give the interiors an edgy, modern look.

The simple, fuss-free kitchen and dining area flows into the living lounge.

Both of these cabins feature natural, larch wood siding and roofs, and glass walls oriented north to capture tranquil views of the Baltic Sea. The larger cabin also has a south-facing glass wall that floods the living areas with more light. 

The sloping ceiling creates a varied sense of space within each cabin.

On the western side of the deck is the third and smallest cabin, which houses a sauna with a north-facing picture window. This sauna cabin is also clad in larch, but painted with tar oil for a striking contrast. 

The sauna cabin bears a coat of black tar.

The deck space between the main living areas and the sauna creates a large, outdoor terrace that connects the three units to each other and their forest environment. 

Fully glazed walls on two sides and a triangular skylight allow light to permeate the living areas.

All three cabins have triangular skylights cut out from the converging ceilings, drawing in the sun’s rays during the day, and allowing for views of the stars at night. 

A modern forest dwelling takes cues from traditional kodas in Muraste, Estonia.

Wood construction is a long-held tradition in Estonia.

Cottage in Muraste floor plan

Project Credits: 

Architecture: KUU arhitektid 

Interior design: Aet Piel (Aet Piel Disain OÜ)


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