Built on a Budget, This Belgian Cabin Is Straight Out of a Fairytale

Built on a Budget, This Belgian Cabin Is Straight Out of a Fairytale

By Lucy Wang
London-based practice De Rosee Sa’s self-built lakeside cabin recaptures the magic of childhood fairytales.

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.

"We have been working on this cabin for what seems like many years," said Max de Rosee, director of De Rosee Sa, whose father commissioned the project. "It feels great to see it finished as we not only designed it but shed a lot of sweat and the occasional bit of blood by erecting it ourselves. My father has a passion for the natural environment; it was his idea to mill trees that had been ravaged by a storm some 7 or 8 years ago and build a cabin from them."

By taking construction into their own hands and using locally-sourced materials, the team kept within the relatively tight budget of £25,000 ($32,872).

Simple yet elegant, De Rosee Sa’s self-described "magical lakeside cabin" combines references to the local rural vernacular with streamlined contemporary design. 

Concrete strip foundations and brick dwarf walls support the steeply pitched structure clad in timber that was stained black from used tractor engine oil—a popular finish for local agricultural buildings. 

Cost-effective oriented strand board (OSB) lines the interior, punctuated by black-framed windows that respond to outdoor views. 

Exposed ceiling beams create the illusion of more height and space in the main room, minimally decorated save for a small wood-burning stove, that accommodates various uses including working, socializing, and sleeping.

A small washroom and bathroom are tucked into one end of the home, while a covered outdoor patio is at the other end.

A timber deck, accessible from all rooms, wraps around the rustic cabin to form a viewing area for the lake.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: De Rosee Sa

Builder: De Rosee Sa

Structural Engineer: Form Structural Design


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