Located in the Quail Springs Permaculture in Southern California’s high desert, this earthy, southwest-style cabin is owned by Sasha Rabin and John Orcutt, natural-building instructors who live there year-round.
Natural inspiration: The house was constructed using earthen building techniques and materials such as clay and sand responsibly harvested from the nearby Los Padres National Forest.
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David O. Marlow
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David O. Marlow
Chinoiserie Style: The Cajun Cabin (CO)
This Colorado dwelling takes cabin decor and amps it up with a bold chinoiserie print on the walls.
Design in mind: Don’t be afraid to try bold patterns or colorful looks in small spaces.
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Treetop Aerie: Fire Lookout (ID)
Some of the West’s retired fire towers are getting second lives as cabins. Kristie Mae Wolfe, a vacation-rental entrepreneur, had always dreamed of re-vamping one, and she made the leap when she purchased this lofty lookout in her home state after stumbling across the listing online.
Practice makes perfect: Wolfe and her mother love to remodel, and they have done project after project since Wolfe was young, preparing them to redesign and rebuild the fire tower’s interior on their own.
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Climate Barge: Marge Barge (British Columbia)
This picturesque lakeside retreat has just one hiccup: rising water. Owner David Ratzlaff originally built the cabin on land, but he moved it onto a barge to adapt to the water level.
Consult with your community: Thanks to the advice of local loggers, Ratzlaff was able to build the cabin’s log barge by himself, just a week before the lake’s water level rose dramatically.
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Off-Grid Retreat: Gulf Island Cabin (British Columbia)
One of a collection of four cabins in the Gulf Islands off the British Columbia coast, this sustainable, self-sufficient cabin is designed for private, summer use and is completely off the grid.
Self-sufficient shelter: The cabin uses a low-voltage LED lighting system with solar panels, while water is collected from the roof and a wood-burning stove provides heat.
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Concrete Micro House: Casa Tiny (Mexico)
This diminutive cabin makes an immediate statement with its concrete build and minimalist lines. Architect Aranza de Ariño designed it for both the aesthetic and her modest budget (roughly $40,000).
Keep it local: Thanks to the skills of local masons and their expertise with concrete, and the use of the area’s native wood, parota, the house fits into the local architectural vernacular despite its striking modern lines.
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Recycled Build: Beavers Lodge (CA)
Mike Beavers originally arrived at this property to watch over the main house for a friend away at graduate school, but when that friend suggested he turn the property’s second structure into a caretaker’s cabin, Beavers agreed and spent the next two years rebuilding the dilapidated hut into the comfortable cabin it is today.
Locally sourced: Materials for the cabin’s remodel were salvaged—Douglas fir left over from a gutted house became rafters, and the acrylic plastic shelves from a shuttered American Apparel store were turned into skylights.
This article was adapted from Cabin Porn: Inside by Zach Klein and Freda Moon. And if you liked these style-defining Western cabins, check out Klein and Moon's Instagram site, Cabin Porn, for more.