Tiny cabin retreat in the woods of Washington inspires inner peace


This tiny cabin retreat of concrete, wood and steel is designed by Olson Kundig Architects, nestled on a woodsy site in Skykomish, Washington. Surrounded by forest near the Tye River, the concept for the design was to create a meditative retreat that connects to the natural environment. This tiny home encompasses just 600 square feet of living spaces on the main floor (a box 25 feet by 25 feet). Underneath the structure is a laundry room, garage and storage space.

The foundation of this two-level structure is cast-in-place concrete, as is the massive central fireplace which serves as the core and anchor of this cabin. Blurring indoor-outdoor boundaries, the architects devised custom, pivoting glass doors to swing open around the perimeter of the cabin (one in each bedroom and five in the main living areas). Rusted mild steel siding wraps the exterior surfaces where there are no windows. Deep overhangs shelter the cabin from the elements. Expansive concrete patios extends the living space outdoors, while contouring the property towards the river.


This tiny cabin retreat in the woods was devised as a peaceful weekend escape. It is sheltered from the elements, yet feels like you are living outdoors. There are two bedrooms and one bathroom, just spacious enough to fulfill their functions. Wood that was integrated into this home for the rafters, flooring, window frames and doors 


Wood from an old warehouse slated for demolition was repurposed into the design of this cabin, including the flooring, doors, window frames and rafters. The varying tones of the wood reveal its history and use. Over time, this cabin will become increasingly muted in appearance — eventually melding into the densely forested landscape.


What We Love: Blurring the lines between structure and nature, this tiny cabin retreat inspires a feeling of tranquility. The footprint is small, yet compacts everything one could need — living, kitchen, two bedrooms (in case you want to bring a friend) and a bathroom. We are loving that the bedrooms features pivoting glass doors to open out to nature to feel like you are sleeping outdoors… but don’t forget the bug spray!

Tell Us: What do you think of the overall design of this compact shelter in the woods? Would this be your idea of the ultimate weekend escape? Let us know why or why not in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of our most favorite home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of Olsen Kundig Architects: Minimalist live/work space on the Catalonian coast of Spain and Waterfront retreat built for entertaining on the San Juan Islands.
















Photos: Benjamin Benschneider

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11 months ago

Did I miss somewhere in the article where the owners own a cement company? That cost alone would be prohibitive for such a small cabin I would think? Scrolling through the photos I kept seeing major safety concerns, such as the “fall in fireplace”, all the “fall out of windows”, and the “fall down the concrete steps”. Anyone else think of those? Lol

4 years ago

This is fabulous. Love the look, the location, how cozy it looks inside but airy. I live in N US and windows without screens would never work….we have so many mosquitoes from Spring thru Fall. Excellent design and well though out.

4 years ago

As always, what did it cost to build? I have a similar site and admire the concept, just wonder what it would cost to make it happen.

Jane Wagner
4 years ago

Great use of space and perfect for a peaceful retreat or a small home. I love the design. Well thought out.