Who doesn’t dream of getting away for a while to a remote, private nature retreat? While some rustic and nature-centric cabins are just for vacations, there’s no reason you can’t make this a permanent, eco-friendly way of life. Let these 15 cabins, which are often off-grid, made of reclaimed materials and designed for the best views possible, tempt you into making some plans.
Phantom Ranch Cabin, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Deep down in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, 4,600 feet below the South Rim, is a place known as Phantom Ranch. The only lodging facility below the rim of the Grand Canyon, it can only be reached by mule, foot or rafting the Colorado River. It consists of dormitory spaces and sweet little wood-and-stone cabins like the one pictured above.
Blaise Rustic Cottage, Bristol, England
Once a fairytale cottage with a thatched roof and a warm glow from the windows, Blaise Cottage – part of Blaise Hamlet in northwest Bristol, England – is sadly not quite what it used to be. The thatching was replaced with a green metal roof, some of the quaint windows have been boarded up and green moss is beginning to grow all over the natural bark exterior. But even in the after picture, the cottage has a feel that is not quite of this world. It looks like it belongs in a fairytale.
Sunset Cabin, Ontario, Canada
A private retreat on the shore of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada, this little cabin is simple but sophisticated. The wooden slatting on the exterior is a modern interpretation of the way that light filters through tree branches, creating a striped effect on the interiors when hit with direct sunlight. The cabin also has a green roof planted with sedum and herbs.
Cabin on Flathead Lake, Montana
Another lakeside cabin is raised ons tilts to afford it a luxurious view. Designed by Andersson Wise architects, the cabin on Flathead Lake in Polson, Montana is rustic in its amenities, with no heating or cooling system and running water pumped up from the lake. It does, however, have a wall of windows that seem to extend the living area out into the wilderness.
Pine Forest Cabin, Winthrop, Washington
Simple and sustainable, Pine Forest Cabin is made of low-impact materials and set on two concrete walls that allow it to cantilever over the hillside, reducing site disturbance. This also gives what is otherwise a very modest cabin, finished in raw plywood, the feeling of luxury that comes with a beautiful view.
4 Beautiful Green-Roofed Cabins in Norway
Green roofs are something of a new phenomenon in the United States, but in Norway they’ve been a way of life for centuries. Some are as simple as native grasses while others bloom with colorful flowers or even sprout trees.
Bulhomen Cabin, Norway
(images via: skaara)
This unusually shaped cabin on the edge of a lake in Norway is nearly invisible from above, thanks to its wood siding, organic shape and sedum roof.
Shinto-Inspired Sleeping Cabin, California
Made of reclaimed wood, this hut in California was inspired by Shinto temples in Japan. Simple Shelter Texas built it on a 40 acre site using reclaimed fencing and other recycled materials. Mounted on 24″ sections of a reclaimed utility pole, the cabin is sleepover-ready with a bed, a few chairs and a wood-burning stove.
Feral House, France
It’s a cabin gone wild! The Birdhouse Cottage is one of five ‘Feral Houses’ by French designer Matali Crasset. Envisioned as a cube-shaped cottage set on one of its corners, the forest retreat is made of steel and lightweight wood, resting on poles that do little damage to the forest floor. The leaning nettled wall to the right side of the elevated terrace appears to be a hammock of some sort.
Off-Grid Yeta Cabin by Lab Zero
From afar, this little cabin looks like nothing more than a pile of wood. Lab Zero designed the Yeta Cabin to be entirely off-grid, portable and multi-purpose, usable either for recreation or as an emergency shelter. Powered by solar panels, the cabin has a rainwater catchment system, kitchen, bathroom and shower all in one small space.
Mudgee Mini Cabin, Australia
It’s a little kooky, but that’s what makes the Mudgee Mini Cabin so charming. Part of the Mudgee Permanent Camping Project in the isolated, rugged cliffsides of New South Wales, Australia, the design features large shutters that can close to protect the interior from harsh sunlight. It’s made of reclaimed materials, finished in local woods, has a water catchment tank and a footprint of just 9 by 9 feet.
Take the traditional shape and wooden cladding of a cabin and bring it into the 21st century with the addition of glass cut-outs that enable beautiful views and lots of daylight. This TYIN tegnestue structure in Norway is actually a boat house, not a dwelling, but it’s a great example of material reuse, creative design and the warmth of a rustic interior.