No matter what you do or where you live, having some kind of retreat or time out in nature is essential to well-being -- or at least, that's what the experts say. So it makes sense that the cabin speaks to that primordial part of our psyche, of having a place out in the woods to enjoy quiet and to restore that intimate and necessary connection to nature and to that wilder part of us.
But cabins can come in all kinds of flavours beyond that stereotype of the old log cabin. Designed by Manhattan firm JACOBSCHANG Architecture and built by the two amateur builders and owners, this modern, off-grid 360-square-foot cabin is located on a 60-acre property, surrounded by second-growth forest in Sullivan County in New York state.
The Half-Treehouse project was built on a tight budget of USD $20,000 thanks to the owners building much of the structure themselves. Much of the exterior and interior Eastern pine board materials were cut from the property itself, then milled and kiln-dried for construction. The outside has been treated with Scandinavian pine-tar as a way to weather-proof the structure from the elements.
The cabin was framed using a combination of engineered wood beams and dimensional lumber. The biggest cost came from the three huge custom-made pivoting glass doors, which were created off-site using steel tubing and dual-insulated glass. This is a completely off-the-grid weekend home with no running water or electricity, so the interior is heated using a Jotul woodstove, while a portable generator is used occasionally.
A lot of money was saved too by reducing environmental disturbances on-site and not including a large, concrete foundation. Instead, Sonotube footings were used on one end of the structure, while on the other, the cabin is held up via two custom-made Garnier limbs that are anchored to two trees. These specially-designed load-bearing fasteners -- often used in the treehouse building industry -- help to minimize future detrimental effects to the health of the host tree as it grows and adapts to the added weight.
Using a combination of personal elbow grease, design know-how, and materials harvested on-site, this project was able to keep costs relatively low, while looking quite elegant in the middle of the woods. For more, visit JACOBSCHANG Architecture.