Father and son build this minimalist, energy-efficient family cabin (Video)

Fair Companies
Video screen capture Fair Companies

What does it take to build a small, sustainable home close to nature? For William and Daniel Yudchitz -- father and son and both architects -- that meant thinking in a modular way for fitting the interior spaces of their 340-square-foot family cabin on the shores of Lake Superior, as well as carefully selecting materials and designing custom-made, multipurpose furniture that maximizes space. Seen previously in Lloyd's post, we now get a personal tour of how this energy-efficient home works via Fair Companies:

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The Yudchitzes' minimalist cabin is called E.D.G.E. (Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment) and was constructed some years ago as a winter retreat for the family. Built using a combination of interlocking structural panels, multi-ply Baltic birch plywood and durable white oak for cladding, half of the home was actually put together in the parking lot outside of William's architecture office, prior to being moved to a state fair where it was exhibited, and then moved again to the final site near Bayfield, Wisconsin.

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The interior spaces themselves are conceived in a modular, interlocking way. For example, beyond the main 12-foot by 12-foot cube of the living room, there are two lofts for sleeping here, yet they don't need a lot of headroom, so they are placed over the kitchen and bathroom spaces, which do need some clearance for standing up. Even the alternating paddle-tread stairs and the 6-foot tall landing makes sense: less space is needed than a full stair, and you can stand up before ducking into bed.

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

The main living space also exemplifies a common thread in small space design: it's made to be multifunctional, thanks to father and son's set of transformer furniture. Benches and table have storage elements built in that also act to structurally reinforce the piece; and when moved around can become a platform for a guest bed, or extend some supports down, and it becomes a dining table. Everything has been routed by a CNC machine -- from the finger joints, to the holes in the loft wall -- and fastened with furniture connector bolts to minimize bulk and to comply with local building codes.

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

The holes in the ceiling panels above act as part of an acoustical insulation system. Outside, the cabin's huge glass windows can be covered with sliding exterior doors that also act as an insulating barrier.

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

Fair CompaniesFair Companies/Video screen capture

The concrete floor has imprints of leaves that happened to fall down during the day they poured it: a happy accident that looks quite lovely.

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In addition to the intelligent configuration of interior spaces, the home also integrates a number of sustainable features, such as rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling, and heat recovery ventilation, in addition to employing passive solar design principles.

In addition to the E.D.G.E., the Yudchitzes built a smaller cabin closer to the lake (seen here in this post), which also utilizes many of the same space-saving and energy-efficient ideas. To see more, visit Revelations Architects.

Father and son build this minimalist, energy-efficient family cabin (Video)
This small but thoughtful cabin near Lake Superior takes a clever approach to configuring its interior spaces.

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