Living large in a 900 square foot sustainably designed cabin on Caribou Lake

modern cabin exterior at dusk

Nestled within the woodlands along Caribou Lake’s shoreline in Lusten, Minnesota, this environmentally conscious Jewel Box Cabin comes to life through the vision of Imprint Architecture and Design. This residence employs biophilic design principles to forge a profound connection between inhabitants and their natural environment.

Occupying a minimal footprint, this 900-square-foot, two-story cabin coexists harmoniously with the trees. The entrance is discreetly placed beneath a sizeable second-story cantilever, invoking a sense of prospect and refuge. To balance the cantilever’s elevation, a grounded steel firewood box bestows added privacy upon the entrance.

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT Imprint Architecture and Design CONTRACTOR Max Construction

modern cabin exterior

Nestled on a three-acre parcel, this two-story, 900-square-foot cabin’s compact size, large walls of glazing, and clean, modern aesthetic create an idyllic North Shore retreat for its new inhabitants—and their two large dogs—to enjoy.

modern living room with glass walls

Stepping indoors, the expansive great room welcomes inhabitants with heightened ceilings, exposed fir beams, and vast windows that effortlessly reintegrate them with nature. An adjoining door leads to a screened porch, once again enveloping dwellers in the woods. Ascending to the upper floor unveils wall-to-wall windows that elevate one amidst the treetops.

modern living room with glass walls

A sizable plywood door on the main floor provides the option to seclude the upper level for added privacy. The radiant concrete floors and wood-burning stove ensure comfort and warmth during the snowy winter months.


Building Design:
– At 900sf the cabin is efficient and uses its space to its highest potential. The interior of the cabin includes a kitchen, a large great room, two bedrooms, a flex reading space, one-and-a-half bathrooms, a laundry/mud room, a mechanical room, and plenty of storage.
– The cabin was built to minimize clearing and impact to the lakeshore. It utilizes the existing drainage swale and site contours.
– The cabin was positioned on site and designed to allow for maximum solar heat gain in the winter and cool breezes in the summer
– The class five driveway and parking pad are impervious and allow for water to filter back into the ground – less runoff

Energy Efficiency:
– Large windows throughout to reduce electrical needs
– LED lighting throughout
– Radiant heat in slab
– Passive cooling – no air conditioner
– Air to air exchanger
– Bradford White energy saver electric water heater
– American Standard dual flush toilets

modern kitchen

What We Love: This compact cabin features high-quality, long-lasting materials to offer its inhabitants a minimally designed abode that connects with the outdoors. We are loving how the architects analyzed the site during the design process to ensure minimal impact on the trees and how to better position the structure to maximize sun and views. Overall, this fabulous lakeside retreat offers the ultimate in relaxation. It’s secluded from other cabins thanks to the woods and is simple in design, making it easy to maintain.

Tell Us: What are your overall thoughts on this sustainably designed cabin on Caribou Lake? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Be sure to check out a couple of other incredible home tours that we have showcased here on One Kindesign in the state of Minnesota: Tour this modern prairie-style house with sophisticated details in Minnesota and An insanely beautiful modern European cottage house in Minnesota.

modern cabin exterior


Exterior Materials:
– Metal Siding from Metal Sales – which uses recycled metal, has a long life span, has an Energy Star-listed coating to reduce solar heat loads, and contains the Declare label for red label-free chemical coatings.
– Natural Cedar siding placed on the first floor of the North side of the cabin for longevity and easy maintenance. Finished with water-based stain.
– Marvin Windows that have sustainably sourced pine and aluminum (not vinyl composite or plastic, which is most common) are 20% more energy efficient than EnergyStar requirements for the North zone (if U factors were around .25) and are manufactured locally in northern MN, by the company employing 2000 Minnesotans.

Interior Materials:
– Polished concrete slab with a water-based sealer
– All interior wood sealed is sealed with a water-based sealer
– Sherwin-Williams interior paint is low VOC, Gold certified Greenguard
– Eco-fi PET carpet tiles made of 100% purified plastic bottles

modern staircase

modern staircase hallway

modern cabin upstairs hallway

The upper level accommodates two bedrooms, a family bath, and versatile space, all contained within 385 square feet. The modest bedrooms feature plywood closets and frame fabulous views of the lake and forest.

modern bedroom

Above: The flooring of this bedroom features eco-friendly carpet made of reycled plastic bottles. They are Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles, easy to install and if one gets damaged, it can easily be replaced.

modern cabin exterior at dusk

Above: The exterior facade of this cabin on Caribou Lake is clad in cedar wood panels and reclaimed metal siding to help reduce heat loads.

modern cabin exterior at dusk

modern cabin exterior at dusk

Above: Marvin floor-to-ceiling windows, encased in sustainably sourced pine and aluminum frames, along with exposed fir support beams and a wood-burning stove, usher nature’s beauty and wildlife views into the main living area.

modern cabin exterior at dusk

modern cabin exterior at dusk

modern cabin exterior aerial view

PHOTOGRAPHER Landmark Photography

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Eunice Bremer
9 months ago

The look of a bowl greets me as I view the roof. Why not have a roof that encourages the snow to slide off the roof instead of gathering it there?

Sandy Kursis
9 months ago

Commendable that the home is “sustainably designed” but how many birds will die or be injured crashing into those big windows? Bird “strikes” are just as likely to occur in rural settings as in downtown skyscrapers.