Since a remote cabin isn’t occupied full time and nobody’s there to monitor its condition, you want it to be as secure as possible and to be able to withstand the elements. If you want to build a cabin that opens up to outdoors and, at the same time, is completely secure when you’re away, then you’ll find these 7 clever design ideas inspiring.
Use Garage Door as a Wall
Designed by Washington, D.C. based Broadhurst Architects, this tiny cabin is a one-bedroom cottage built by a crew of friends on weekends over the course of three and a half years. Its most interesting feature is a glass-and-aluminum roll-up garage door that replaced one wall, letting the cabin to open up to outdoors and onto the cantilevered patio. It stands on stilts to keep the local wildlife out.
It’s also an off-the-grid remote cabin so there are plenty more of interesting ideas to learn about.
Secure Your Cabin with Shutters
This small beach cabin is located on the shores of New Zealand’s Cormandel Peninsula and was designed by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects based on two main requirements: to be closed up against the elements when not in use, and to be movable (transportable) due to the coastal erosion zone it occupies. This was accomplished by using wooden shutters and by constructing the cabin on a pair of two thick wooden sleds for easy movability.
“The cabin comes to life when the enormous shutter on the northeast facade winches open to form an awning, revealing two-storey high steel-framed glass doors that form the main entrance.”
Inside this two-story cabin, there is a mezzanine bedroom that is accessed by a ladder and shares the same huge glass doors. From the bedroom, another ladder leads to a roof terrace. The wood window shutters can close or open depending on weather.
This cabin boasts many sustainable features and also many clever interior designs elements (from cool bunk beds to unusual bathroom fixtures). Check out that faucet made from plumbing pipe fittings.
A Remote Cabin Uses Raisable Decks as Shutters
This 500 square foot island cabin by Olson Kundig Architects is a clever design. It’s basically a glass house enclosed by three wooden shutter-decks. To open it to outdoors, the decks are lowered. When not in use, the cabin can be easily secured by raising the decks through a hydraulic system. You can learn more about the system at the architect’s site.
The three shutter-decks become the outdoor living space, and the fireplace can rotate 180 degrees to be enjoyed from the exterior.
Use Steel to Build a Small Remote Cabin on Stilts
This 350-square-foot cabin is on the Sol Duc River in the Washington state, and was built for an avid steelhead fisherman in the wet and rather cold rainforest.
Because it is so remote and is in the middle of the wet and total wilderness, it had to seal up entirely when not in use and also withstand the elements. And so the exterior was made of unfinished, mild steel and structural insulated panels, which makes the cabin virtually indestructible. Interiors are mainly wood.
To protects it from the clammy dampness and occasional flooding, it was built on stilts.
The large shutter panels are operated manually via custom steel rods and slide on hardware that was originally designed for sliding barn doors.
To minimize construction waste and site disruption, the cabin was prefabricated off-site.
Learn more about this awesome cabin.
A Cabin Secured with a Sliding Metal Wall
Set on an island off the coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, this one-room cabin is “so small you have to go outside – and that’s the point!”
To secure the cabin when not in use, the top-to-bottom steel panel slides across to hide the glass wall. This large panel is hung on barn hinges and operated by hand.
In addition to securing the cabin, the sliding panel can also serve as an enclosure for the outdoor shower.
This dwelling is a no-maintenance design as it is essentially a raw steel-clad box with just some highly insulated glass, and where the steel cladding is left untreated to allow it to weather naturally,
Interior is finished in recycled cedar. There is firewood storage also made in steel, conveniently located just outside the door and under the roof.
Elevate Your Cabin for Better Views and Security
This cabin design on a budget by Balance Associates architects demonstrates that a clever architectural solution can be found for any budget without sacrificing quality or aesthetics. Located on the remote hillside in Methow Valley, WA, the cabin is only 850 square foot and is shaped as a simple box.
The wood box sits on two concrete walls. Elevating the cabin allowed for unobstructed views down slope and limited access by wildlife.
A Tiny Tower Design in Copper
Situated in the Australian Outback, this tiny cabin design by Casey Brown Architecture is a two-storey copper-clad tower. Designed as a retreat for one or two people, the dwelling has only 10 by 10 ft footprint and is off-the-grid, with passive heating and cooling and a water-harvesting tank.
Using manual winches, the three copper roofs open up on the ground level to form three verandas. When not in use, these roofs close down to completely secure the interior from the elements, in particular brush fires. The cabin was prefabricated offsite.
For more cabin designs, see small wood homes and cottages.