Douglas fir walls and beams extend to the exterior of a weekend house near Golden, British Columbia. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Bohlin Grauman Miller Architects, it was designed for an active family that likes to hit the slopes. A chalet-like pitched roof emphasizes its cabin feel.
The residents, who live in Calgary, frequently entertain—and with 16 beds, bunks, and twin-bed-wide window seats, there is no shortage of places to sleep.
In snowy Sweden, where pine planks and the democratic design incubator Ikea reign supreme, architect Per Bornstein pays homage to his patrimony, making a small, slatty home feel like a rather big deal. The facade is punctured by a variety of differently sized windows: Those flush to the wall indicate the house’s public rooms, while the those for the private spaces are set back.
Inside, a rich palette of exposed pine makes for a warm interior with variegated grain textures. The first thing visitors see as they enter the house is Bornstein’s impressive collection of architecture and design books. The sofa and chair were designed by Bornstein for Swedese.
What happens when the guest house becomes home? Retired couple Suzanne and Brooks Kelley found out when Gray Organschi Architecture breathed new life into the property they’ve inhabited for over thirty years. Measuring approximately 1,000-square-feet, the strikingly angular structure opens up, quite literally, to the southwest, where the hilltop meadow gives way to the sound below.
The architects feared that too much sunlight entering the house from only one side would produce an uncomfortable glare as it reflected off the laminated bleached bamboo surfaces on the floors, walls, and ceilings. So they carefully composed additional openings to let in more light while controlling less desirable views.
When Oslo-based architect Marianne Borge was approached in 2004 by a client who wanted an actual cabin rather than a second home, she was instantly inspired by the challenge of working on a smaller scale. Called Woody35 because of its size and wooden structure, she devised of a this 35-square-meter (approximately 114 square feet) cabin that can sleep six persons, has a living room, kitchen and bathroom.
The living room's double height makes the space seem larger that its actual size. Stairs leading up to the sleeping loft are placed next to the open fireplace. The plastered wall and the soapstone tiles on the floor add some roughness to the wooden interior.
Most homeowners would avoid living within striking distance of an avalanche, but Marcell Strolz and Uli Alber embrace Alpine extremes. At the edge of the Austrian village of Lech, they built a house that could weather even the fiercest storm. Gently pushed into the hillside, it has a large basement holding a garage, ski room, storage areas, and utility spaces as well as the entrance hall. Large wooden shutters help protect the windows against avalanche damage.
The house was designed by Helmut Dietrich of Dietrich Untertrifaller Architects, an Austrian practice known for its sustainable and sensitive approach to design. “It was very important to all of us that the house have a relationship to the mountains rather than other buildings,” says Dietrich. “It was the connections with nature—and framing the views—that interested me most.” The red sofa in the living room is a 1960s piece originally owned by Strolz’s parents.