Rustic Retreats

Home Architecture Rustic Retreats

Beautiful Tiny A-Frame Nestled Among The Redwoods

Drive north of San Francisco a few hours and you enter a part of California that’s unlike most of the rest of the state. The sandy beaches are replaced by rocky shores, and the vast desert plains by lush rolling hills filled with massive Redwoods. This little A-frame seems like the perfect escape, located just a short drive from the Sonoma Coast and some historic old towns.

Interested in staying at this beautiful little A-Frame? You can rent it via Airbnb.

Young Couple Used Recycled Windows To Build This Incredible Glass House

Chipped paint, faded finishes and dingy old glass didn’t stop this couple from up-cycling an array of discarded windows and salvaged wood into unbelievable DIY home. The unique facade is the focus of a home that they build entirely out of recycled materials – a project that cost them only $500!

Photographer Nick Olson and designer Lilah Horwitz designed and built this low-cost cabin retreat among the picturesque West Virginian mountains. They aimed to construct a space that would act as a vessel to fuel both of their creative endeavors. It had to be unique, inspiring, and above all else – cheap.

“We were able to make it a reality because we are first artists and creators. We had to be resourceful to do it cheaply,” explained Nick.

A nearby abandon barn provided plenty of charm and salvaged materials to draw design cues from (not to mention free resources). While the cabin isn’t their primary residence, the couple frequents it as much as they can to recharge their creative batteries and marvel at the collective potential of their efforts.


He Built A Romantic Forest Getaway For His New Wife In Just 6 Weeks For $4,000

$4,000, 6 weeks, and a whole lot of love was all it took for long-time carpenter Dave Herrle to design and build this tiny forest cabin. It’s a feat that is nothing short of astounding and one that invites skeptical curiosity as we ask ourselves: “How the heck did he do that?” For the price of a 12 year old Honda Civic Mr. Herrle has utilized found materials, salvaged parts, and a heaping spoonful of creativity to craft a little piece of heaven to call his own.

It was far from easy, but just what Dave and his fiancée needed.


“For the longest time I had a hard time not being “normal.” I graduated from a small liberal arts college, got a desk job, and hated every minute of it. In 2007 my life changed dramatically after hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail. It was a gut check in life and I’m lucky it happened when I was 27 and not 67. My time in the woods gave me a perspective on the benefits of simplicity. It was in the woods that I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend a lifetime doing a job I didn’t enjoy.”

It’s a romantic sentiment, and one I’m sure we’ve all had when dreaming about when sitting in our cars on the freeway or staring blankly at a sprawling Excel spreadsheet. Dave took what he had and applied what he knew to make that dream a reality.

tiny-house-4000-dave-herrle-2.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart The structure uses large trees as the anchors of the foundation, eliminating the need for a costly concrete base. tiny-house-4000-dave-herrle-3.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart The footprint is small (only 10×14 feet), but highly functional. The couple added plenty of personal flair to make it their home.tiny-house-4000-dave-herrle-4.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart Like many tiny homes, going vertical is important for saving space. A lofted bed area sits over the ample kitchen.tiny-house-4000-dave-herrle-5.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart tiny-house-4000-dave-herrle-6.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart Dave continues to run his carpentry business, and has recently moved on to building inexpensive tiny homes for others, as well. Find out more about his work at Herrle Custom Carpentry.

This Cabin Is Missing Something All Buildings Have, And It Rocks Because Of It

Who needs doors, right? That’s exactly what Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects said when he designed this pair of isolated structures off the coast of New Zealand. The cabins are completely open air and can be entered via a large square opening that steps you down into the main living area. The interiors are simple and clean, utilizing the warmth of native wood to tie the spaces to the adjacent landscape.

There is modesty and serenity in the way the buildings are anchored to the hillside. A quick glance would make them seem as if they were dark boulders jutting up and out of the grassy plains that carpet the surrounding countryside. They become a part of the iconic terrain rather than fight to visually overpower it. This harmony is echoed by the openness that results from having no doors. Protection might be limited, but the visceral experience is not.

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Old Stone House Once Used For Livestock Now Provides A Comfy, Modern Retreat

When you look at this house in the Swiss Alps chances are you don’t envision a terribly cozy place to shack up. Perched at 5,000+ feet elevation, the ancient stone cabin was once used to house animals that roamed the hillside. Today it serves a very different purpose thanks to the work of Sabioz Fabrizzi Architects, who restored it into a beautiful place to stay they call the Gaudin House.



They maintained the original character of the structure, retaining the thick stone walls while bringing the interior a completely new look. The inner walls are covered in larch and large panoramic windows allow guests to fully appreciate the mountainous surroundings.



Split over two stories, the Gaudin House now has 800 square feet of living space.


Photos: Thomas Jantscher

Ukranian Design Lab Creates Ultra-Lightweight Timber Cabins

Set amid a thick forest in the Ukraine, these sleek guest houses were completed in just two months by YOD design lab. Each cabin was built with lightweight metal frames and no foundation, resulting in a scant 2,200 kilogram weight. Each cabin is positioned on top of a wooden deck, and the low impact design means they don’t harm the landscape.


The sleek black facade on the front contrasts nicely with the natural wood used throughout the build, and the inside is simply appointed yet luxurious.

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photography by andrey avdeenko
all images courtesy of YOD design lab

The “Black Shed” Sets Fire To The Scottish Isle Of Skye


On a secluded plot of farm land on the Scottish Isle of Skye rests a charred little structure that architect Rural Design Architects have named the ‘Black Shed.” The pre-burnt wood siding creates a stark contrast between the shed, the rolling green hills and the pale blue sky. The building’s rural surroundings offer unobstructed views of the enveloping valley and a towering flat-top mountain called McLeod’s Table. The shed was built as a rental opportunity and accommodates two people with a full kitchen, bath and sleeping area.


An industrial aesthetic has been achieved through use of simple, modern, yet familiar forms and the subtle use of raw materials. It is a fresh take on traditional farm house architecture with exposed wood siding and an understated gable roof. A covered entry porch pulls back the roof line and exposes the finishes with a more contemporary flair. Upon entry, visitors are greeted with little more than a finished concrete floor and uniform sawn timber wall and ceiling treatment. The subdued material palette allows the surrounding views to take center stage.



“Polygon” Sculpture Studio Takes Shape In Upstate New York

This artist studio in Hague, New York rests on a steep hill on the crest of Lake George, a mere 140 steps above the waters edge. The owners of the studio wished to create a modest space with which they could live, practice sculpture, and entertain guests. The building itself embodies a literal sculptural aesthetic that is a reflection of the art that is produced within its walls.



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Views out towards the lake are central to the interior layout. A large sliding door exposes the living room to the tree canopy and the serene body of water beyond. Red cedar is used inside and out, creating a cohesive transition upon entering the space. The interior wood creates a warm harmony that is cleverly juxtapose to the cold concrete floors.

The ‘Polygon’ Studio was designed by Jeffery S. Poss Architects and received the 2014 Merit Award For Architectural Design by the American Institute of Architects Central Illinois Chapter.

A Family Of Four Fits Comfortably In This Tiny Cabin

Emerging from a snow covered mountainside in Trollheimen Meldal, Norway is 118 SF of one Norwegian families home away from home. This ski cabin may be small in stature, but it is big in function, nostolgia and old-world charm. The goal was simple: built a low-maintenance structure that used only the modest footprint it needed to provide areas for sleeping, cooking, eating and grooming.


The cabin features sleeping areas for Bendik Manum and Annelise Bjerkanand and their two kids, has no electricity or running water. Low-maintenance is right!

The use of local materials such as low-travel pine for the interior and exterior finishes add to the cabin’s sense of place, and fit in with the family’s vision of crafting a design that embraces its place.

norwegian-cabin-3 Inside the cabin you’ll find all the comforts of a traditional ski cabin, featuring exposed wood beams, insulated windows and a wood fire stove for low-energy heating.norwegian-cabin-5 Overhead lofts double as hanging space for clothing and tools. In a space of this size, double duty functionality is essential.norwegian-cabin-7 Storage madness! This family doesn’t need much, but they have ample space for that which they do.norwegian-cabin-8 This wood fire stove is about as old-school as it gets. norwegian-cabin-9 The space is simple, yet charming and elegant. The use of a single finish material gives the space a desired uniformity.norwegian-cabin-2photos c/o: Pasi Aalto

Former Horse Stable Turned Into A Rustic Dream Home

A once rotting and abandoned shell of what was once a horse stable has been transformed into this stunning dream home. Designed by Abaton Architects, the home sits nestled between the rolling hills of Spain’s Extremadura region and uses natural, raw exterior materials such as stone and unfinished wood to blend itself with the surrounding landscape.


Cat walks circulate around the upper perimeter of the main living space and allow people to easily move about while preserving the sense of open space.


Scenic-landscape-outside-the-Spanish-home Seating-space-inside-the-home

The open floor plan creates light and airy interior spaces subtly accented by a soft, muted material palette. The main focus seems to be centered on framing the spectacular views.


While the original horse stable proved too decayed to be used as a foundation, you can see how it played a role in the inspiration behind the overall design.

View-of-the-kitchen-indoors View-of-the-lush-green-mountains-from-the-Spanish-home Bunk-beds-inside-the-Spanish-home Facade-of-the-rusyic-renovated-Spanish-home Frontyard-pool-helps-in-passive-cooling-of-the-house Indoor-water-feature-at-the-rustic-residence Large-glass-windows-offer-natural-ventilation Lush-green-view-outside-the-bedroom-window Modern-interiors-of-the-renovated-countryside-house Outdoor-seating-space-ideaThe architect made sure the countryside is always at arms reach by punching tall openings at every opportunity. The home literally spills out into the landscape and locks the grade in place with a series of terraced rock walls, culminating at the bottom with a swimming pool that overlooks the valley floor.