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Collection by Zachary Edelson

Rustic Retreat on an Appalachian Farm Operates Entirely Off the Grid

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An architect crafts an off-the-grid cabin as a gift to his father.

The father of architect Greg Dutton wished to build a cabin on the family farm, located within Appalachian Ohio and home to 400 heads of cattle. Dutton, of Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio-based Midland Architecture, presented this design as his father’s birthday present in 2012. Finished in 2014, the 900-square-foot cabin overlooks a valley and a 13-acre lake. It serves as a weekend house and guest residence. During the cabin’s construction it became clear that connecting it to the water and electrical grid would be prohibitively expensive. As a result, the cabin operates entirely off-the-grid, and its sustainable features became an exciting aspect of the design process for the architect and his parents. The cabin’s earthy and rustic exterior belies a number of strategies that lets the residence operate entirely off-the-grid.

Durability was an important factor in the building’s exterior.
While a lengthy building lifespan minimizes environmental impact—for example, the charred cedar will last 80 years—an...
The retreat’s southern exposure maximizes sunlight with 24 feet of floor-to-ceiling windows.
Douglas fir columns frame views from the porch, located just adjacent to the living, dining, and kitchen space.
The architect wanted the stunning views to take center stage, selecting a neutral color palette.
The bright ochres of the Douglas Fir beams and window framing accent the gray and white hues of the furniture, floors,...
The kitchen island, also Douglas fir, showcases the material’s rich striations and color variations.
The large open-air pavilion, also overlooking the lake, echoes the retreat’s timber construction and natural hues.
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