16 great cabins & vacation homes

Design inspiration from some of the West's most creative personal getaways

Cabin exterior

Photos by John Clark

Inspired cabin escape

This streamlined cabin was built on a 2½-acre parcel near Winthrop, Washington.

By keeping the materials simple and the layout of the 860-square-foot cabin uncomplicated, the owners succeeded in a creating a warm retreat that is also budget-friendly.

See more of this modern cabin

Inspired cabin escape: Living room

Photos by John Clark; prop styling by Molly Hurd

Inspired cabin escape: Living room

Fir plywood gives this home a warm look for less than standard wood paneling.

The metal wall grids neatly hide the rough-cut edges.

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Jewel-like cabin

Dominique Vorillon

Jewel-like cabin

This family getaway near Twisp, Wash., is the perfect example of how to make the most of a limited amount of space. From outdoor living rooms to creative sleeping solutions, every square inch has been put to use.

Still the retreat feels airy and spacious.

See more of this family cabin

 

 

Jewel-like cabin: Kitchen

Dominique Vorillon

Jewel-like cabin: Kitchen

The open, well-lit kitchen is the central gathering spot in this house.

The appliance-free island was made from a stainless steel and butcher block workspace purchased at a restaurant-supply store, then covered on three sides with plywood.

See more rooms from this cabin

prefab cabin

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Tiny DIY cabin

Mariah Morrow and Ryan Lingard make the 6-hour drive from Portland to their mountain cabin at least four times a year.

The cozy adventure outpost—just 130 square feet plus a deck—is the perfect jumping-off point into the wilderness near Joseph, Oregon.

Ryan Lingard and Mariah Morrow built their tiny cabin for $57,000, including the land. They call it The Signal Shed.

cabin kitchen and bedroom

Thomas J. Story

Tiny DIY cabin: Inside

The materials cost about $10,000, with windows from a center that recycles building parts. Other thrifty choices include Ikea cabi­netry and laminate flooring. They found the barn door hardware and the woodstove—the cabin’s only source of heat—on Craigslist.

See how they built this small cabin

 

modern cottage exterior

 Thomas J. Story

Modern Cottage

This prefab cottage from San Francisco-based firm Modern Cabana is a readymade solution—it could be used as a simple, sleek vacation home or as an easy way to add some square footage to an existing home.

Read more about this prefab cottage

A living room with bright green accent wall in the Modern Cottage Idea House

Thomas J. Story

Modern cottage: Living room

Floor-to-ceiling windows give the living area a brightness and connection to the outdoors.

Space-saving furniture is a smart touch that allows the room to feel larger than it really is.

Read more about this prefab cottage

Cutting-edge cabin

Thomas J. Story

Cutting-edge cabin

Some of the latest innovations in eco-friendly, energy-efficient design and materials were used in Tom Kelly's cabin near Oregon's Mt. Hood, making it an inspirational example of sustainable living.

Learn more about this cabin

Cutting edge cabin: Dining room

Thomas J. Story

Cutting-edge cabin: Dining room

All the action happens in one spacious room on the main floor of this eco-friendly cabin. This area is where family members gather to the cook, eat together, and hang out.

Large windows line the walls, framing spectacular views.

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Alaska cabin makeover

Alaska cabin

When Jennifer Jenkins and her husband, Noah, bought this cabin in Alaska, it was literally falling down. The porch had collapsed, the basement walls had rotted, and a hemlock tree was growing through the roof.

The unbelievable remodel took three years.

See inside this amazing cabin makeover 

Alaska cabin: Staircase

Thomas J. Story

Alaska cabin: Staircase

The staircase is an example of how the Jenkins creatively incorporated seaside details into the design and decor of the cabin: Old salvaged oars become handrails and complement the white beadboard walls.

See more details from this amazing remodel

Surf shack in the woods

Thomas J. Story

Surf shack in the woods

This simple, geometric cabin overlooks a creek in central California's rolling, oak-studded ranchland.

Designer and champion surfer Andy Neumann used many eco-friendly and space-saving design ideas in his unique 800-square-foot retreat.

See more of this surf shack in the woods

Vacation house floor plan

Thomas J. Story

Flexible two-family getaway

This vacation home—built for two families to share—features separate master suites that allow privacy for each couple and plenty of communal space for hanging out.

Learn more about this flexible getaway

Vacation house bedroom

Thomas J. Story

Flexible two-family getaway: Bedroom

The kids bunk room, along with all the other rooms in the house, overlooks the water. When there are extra guests, the screened in porch can be used as another sleeping area.

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Bunkhouse ranch cabin

J. K. Lawrence

 Reunion ranch

This Northwest retreat was inspired by the classic summer camp experience. A reconstructed barn serves as the bunkhouse and an industrial shed has been turned into a cookhouse and gathering spot.

See the rest of this camp-like retreat

Reunion ranch: Kitchen

J. K. Lawrence

Reunion ranch: Cookhouse

The cabin's cookhouse is where everyone gathers to eat and spend time together. The unique arrangement of this retreat allows for plenty of space for group activites.

Learn more about this retreat

Cabin outdoor living room

Photo by Nic Lehoux

Indoor-outdoor cabin

Who among us hasn’t dreamed of an idyllic cabin in the woods? Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has fulfilled that fantasy for the owner of this rustic-meets-modern two-bedroom getaway sited to maximize the sylvan surroundings, a two-hour drive from Seattle.

Indoor and outdoor rooms, linked by a “boardwalk,” frame gorgeous vistas of the Wenatchee National Forest from multiple angles.

Design: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Seattle office (206/256-0862)

Cottage cabin interior

Photo by Nic Lehoux

Indoor-outdoor cabin: Living room

The high ceiling helps the “winter” living room feel airy, and the steep slope of the roof keeps the area’s heavy winter snowfalls from accumulating.

Small cabin architecture

Tiny Colorado cabin

The interior of this simple cabin consists of one sleeping/living room, with a simple kitchen and a bathroom alcove.

Design:  Stephen Atkinson Architecture, Palo Alto, CA (650/321-6118)

Exterior shot Summer Retreat Home

Summer bungalow

Sunset's 2007 Celebration Weekend featured a vacation getaway created with tent cabins from Sweetwater Bungalows.

Create your own combination of tents, or put just one in your backyard for an instant outdoor getaway.

See what we did

Off the grid

Thomas J. Story

Off the grid cabin

Sometimes inspiration comes from unlikely places: This cabin in the Sierra Nevada was modeled after the utilitarian U.S. Forest Service maintenance buildings that dot the area.

Powered by an array of photovoltaic panels, the retreat is totally energy independent.

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Gabled and shed-roofed house

John Granen

Waterfront dream home

Building this dream home was a long and ultimately rewarding process for Debra and Chuck Holland. The first step was locating the property along the Hood Canal. Then, slowly but surely, the rest of their plans took shape.

See how one couple made this dream cabin a reality

Dreamy modern cabin

Thomas J. Story

Dreamy modern cabin

Harry and Claudia Bray's cabin on Washington’s Key Peninsula is a low-profile retreat. Natural materials and expanses of glass give it a rustic yet modern feel, allowing it to blend into the surrounding forest.

Dreamy modern cabin: Master bathroom deck

Thomas J. Story

Dreamy modern cabin: Master bathroom deck

A long exterior porch spans the kitchen, effectively doubling the room’s square footage. A cantilevered roof allows for a deck on top of the home. And the master bathroom opens to another cantilevered deck. “It’s something a native Northwesterner might not think about,” Harry says. “Even in winter when it’s storming, we can have the bathroom door open to the deck, like a hot tub.”

More: See the complete dreamy modern cabin 

Tahoe cabin remodel

Thomas J. Story

Tahoe cabin remodel

A  shabby 1970s A-frame got an A+ upgrade. In the cabin's great room, the rafters and beams were all stained black, a disco-era fireplace that blocked the view was torn out, and a the new hearth made of Sierra white granite was installed.

Tahoe cabin remodel: Timeless kitchen

Thomas J. Story

Tahoe cabin remodel: Timeless kitchen

The original kitchen had been a mess: painted-over particle-board cabinets and drawers that would jam halfway closed. The makeover elevated the room from sad to chic.

More: See the full Tahoe cabin makeover

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http://www.sunset.com/home/architecture-design/cabins-vacation-homes-00418000068226/