4 Woodland Cabins That Showcase Modern Rustic Style Beautifully
These homes in rural America blend modern comforts with traditional timber features for an escapist mood
Cabins at a Glance
Who lives here? This is an extended family’s holiday home
Location Limington, Maine
Size Seven bedrooms and three bathrooms; 2,700 sq ft (251 sq m)
Architect David Duncan Morris, Teresa Telander and Leah Schaffer of Woodhull (formerly Caleb Johnson Studio)
Contractor and carpenter Woodhull of Maine
This woodsy lakeside camp in Maine had always been a place for gathering with family, encouraging outdoor time and providing a retreat from the daily demands of life.
When Carden Welsh’s parents, who bought the property in the 1960s, decided to pass the torch to him and his wife, Anne, he became the steward of a place that was meaningful to his parents, his three siblings and the 14 members of the youngest generation. The extended family included 22 members who wanted to gather here at the same time. Unfortunately, the family had outgrown the original cabin, and mould issues made saving it unfeasible.
Having spent every summer of his life here, Carden knew he wanted to capture the essence of the original camp. The siting and design of two new cabins prioritised function, comfort and nostalgia.
The surroundings and the neighbouring properties influenced the size and placement of the new structures. Amid the other properties in the area, one house that could sleep 20-plus people would have looked obnoxious in scale. So the architects at Woodhull designed two smaller cabins, each 1½ storeys high.
The orange shed seen behind the two houses is part of the original camp. The colour was chosen by Carden’s Norwegian-Danish mother, who took her inspiration from brightly coloured summer cottages in Norway. The architects carried the orange to the new cabins on elements such as the exterior trim, some of the light fixtures, and accents such as cushions. Architectural elements like the standing-seam metal roof and stone chimney add to the woodsy vibe.
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The main living space has expansive views to the lake through the woods. Exposed beams on the ceiling, pine floors and pine walls complement the views, and they bring in a bit of the “roughing it in the cabin” vibe. The ceilings reveal all the structural wood. A finished-looking cabin was not the goal here.
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Cabin at a Glance
Who lives here? This is a family cabin belonging to Ben Creasman, owner of design and build firm Owners Choice Construction
Location Greenville, South Carolina
Size One bedroom, one full bathroom and one half bathroom; 920 sq ft (85 sq m)
Designers Ross Kistler of Project Plus (architecture) and Ashley Adams of OC Design and Staging (interior design)
This project connected design and build firm owner Ben Creasman to his adventurous youth. After buying 2 acres of wooded land about 10 minutes from Greenville, South Carolina, and five minutes from his home, he decided to fulfil his childhood treehouse dreams. This included capturing the thrill of adventure and camping out in the woods. The A-frame idea was inspired by nostalgia for an A-frame he’d lived in as a child.
Perched among the trees in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 20 x 40ft structure floats on large support posts and beams. The land beneath the house slopes, so on this side it’s up to 20ft off the ground, and on the entry side it’s elevated about 12ft to 14ft. This is what gives it the treehouse feel.
The house includes an outdoor shower about 30ft off the ground, a crow’s nest roof deck and a second-storey cargo net lounge area above the living room. Ben rendered preliminary plans on a tablet, then collaborated with architect Ross Kistler, who created the final plans. His in-house designer, Ashley Adams, completed the interior design.
The entry on the opposite side of the house opens up to a living area and kitchenette, and immediately upon entering there’s a feeling of living up in the trees.
“The exterior of the house is black, but inside we made it cosy, relaxing and bright,” Ashley says. She used a natural palette that includes several shades of green and botanical prints to tie the house to the outdoors. Ben took the treehouse fort idea to the next level with a cargo net over the living room. It’s a favourite lounging perch for the kids.
Cabin at a Glance
Who lives here? A couple whose children have left the nest
Location Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Size One bedroom and one bathroom; 800 sq ft (74 sq m)
Designers Sierra Fallon and Lindsey Jamison of Rumor Design + reDesign (interior design) and Mountain Architecture Design Group (architecture)
Builder Dobell Contracting
A historic log cabin on a couple’s park-like property in downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado, inspired them to create a mother-in-law suite. “At first, they looked at outfitting the historic cabin, but at somewhere between 200 and 300 sq ft, it was just too small,” interior designer Sierra Fallon says.
Instead, they preserved the original cabin and built this 800 sq ft self-contained dwelling. It serves as overnight digs for their parents and college-age children when they visit, an entertainment hub for parties and card game nights, and a great spot for sitting outside and enjoying the adjacent river. The log cabin is just behind the new cabin.
The property’s location at the end of a cul-de-sac next to a park makes it a rare downtown spot that’s surrounded by nature but also a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Steamboat Springs. The entry is on the left, and the main house is off that side of the cabin.
Sierra and her colleague, Lindsey Jamison, of Rumor Design + reDesign collaborated with Mountain Architecture Design Group from the beginning of the design process. Inspired by the historic cabin, the designers gave this cabin a mountain modern look. It mixes modern architectural style with rustic materials including wood and stone. There’s also a living roof over the back part of the cabin.
Another important aspect was making the building wheelchair-accessible, as one of the homeowners’ frequent guests uses a wheelchair. “We didn’t build this exactly to ADA [accessory dwelling units] regulations, but we made sure there weren’t any steps up to the house and left ample room for the chair’s turning radius throughout the cabin,” Sierra says.
A textured linen wallcovering adds depth and a sheen to the walls. A dash of tartan and a leather headboard contribute just the right dose of Western cabin style. And the white oak ceiling adds to the cosy feel. “This is a low-cost engineered floor product,” Sierra says. “Adding the timber brought a woodsy Colorado feel.”
See more photos of this cabin.
House at a Glance
Who lives here? A Chicago couple
Location Near Three Rivers, Michigan
Size Two bedrooms and three bathrooms; 2,300 sq ft (214 sq m)
Architects Pamela Lamaster-Millett and Gregory Howe of Searl Lamaster Howe Architects
Builder Estkowski Construction
When dreaming up their weekend getaway, this Chicago family wanted something that was completely different from their loft in the city. After searching for just the right spot for years, they tested this one by camping here during three different seasons.
The property is on the edge of a state park in Michigan, and the natural features include a valley with a small river at its centre. Working with Chicago architects Pam Lamaster-Millett and Greg Howe, they sited the house in a spot with an expansive view down the valley in the winter and perched within a canopy of leaves during the other three seasons.
“We used a true black cement siding for the exterior of the house,” Pam says. “It helps it to recede like a shadow into the trees.” The underside of the overhang is knotty cedar that continues on the interior. They used shou-sugi-ban, or charred cedar, vertical slats to cover the roof’s mechanical elements. The overhang forms a welcoming covered patio.
“The look of the interior is at once contemporary and rustic,” Pam says. “Though the house is modern, it’s not a [plasterboard] box. It has a cottage feeling.” Clefted black slate tiles cover the floors in a natural material. A live-edge wood dining table adds a big rustic touch to the rustic-contemporary mix. And the large wood blocks that serve as steps are a mix of both – beautiful natural wood sanded to provide clean lines.
The kitchen has deep green cabinetry inspired by the foliage outside the windows. Pale Vermont marble worktops, splashback and cooker hood cladding add contrast to the darker finishes.
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Which of these woodland cabins would you most like to stay in? Share your thoughts in the Comments.