This amazing cabin has a waterfall view at Yosemite National Park’s border

stick framed cabin exterior with a waterfall view

Constructed in 1979, this Northern California-style stick-framed cabin rests at the edge of a waterfall on the border of Yosemite National Park, boasting a rustic charm and the allure of proximity to nature. Nevertheless, when its new owners acquired it in 2018, the cabin had succumbed to neglect.

Initially, Red Dot Studio was tasked with renovating the house into a resilient and inviting vacation home—and part-time rental home—all within a budget. However, the project took an unexpected turn as the owners became deeply involved in the restoration and, gradually, developed an immense attachment to the cabin. Eventually, they made the heartfelt decision to make it their primary residence.

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT Red Dot Studio BUILDER Lawson Construction

stick framed cabin exterior

The project team centered their efforts on enhancing the cabin’s visual and physical connection with the surrounding terrain next to Yosemite’s National Park.

rustic kitchen and casual dining

The house featured non-standard angles that felt somewhat unnatural. Yet, when the architects analyzed its layout, the concept of creating a ‘cabin in the trees’ emerged—an idea the architects affectionately named ‘the Observatory.’ This design concept aimed to offer unobstructed views of nature from every side of the house.

stick framed cabin exterior with a wrap around deck

One of the initial hurdles the architects confronted was the need to fortify the outdoor decks, which had been a principal selling point of the property.

rustic kitchen with casual dining table and a pendant light

In the kitchen, a reconfiguration of the layout was undertaken to provide direct access to the deck and outdoor dining area while accommodating a spacious dining table as the centerpiece of the space. The architect opted for streamlined white Ikea cabinets, elevating them with a terrazzo countertop from Concrete Collaborative that has a very organic appearance while connecting the kitchen to the stone fireplace in the living room. Above: The Walid Pendant Light is from Lulu & Georgia.

rustic kitchen with casual dining table and a pendant light with a large sliding glass door

What We Love: The architects did a fabulous job preserving this cabin and undertaking a full-scale interior renovation to create an inviting atmosphere with an amazing waterfall view next to Yosemite National Park. Now, when you step inside this remodeled cabin, you find yourself at the center of the home, no longer confined to a small space but standing at the crossroads of expansive treetop views in every direction.

Tell Us: Would this be your idea of the ultimate home to seek solitude? Please let us know in the Comments below, we enjoy reading your feedback!

Note: Be sure to check out a couple of other incredible Northern California home tours that we have highlighted here on One Kindesign: Minimalist dream home set in picturesque Northern California landscape and Serene woodsy setting inspires a stylish family home in Northern California.

rustic kitchen with casual dining table

The deck was expanded to wrap around the house’s cliffside edge, creating a diverse range of outdoor areas. Along the view-oriented perimeter, the architect transformed two windows into glass doors and two doors into windows, while also enlarging existing windows and adding four new ones. This ensured that there was both visual and physical access from multiple points within the house.

rustic living room with a large sliding glass door

The interior of the dwelling had a similar lack of maintenance to the wraparound deck. The living spaces lacked natural light, and the layout was needlessly convoluted and enclosed. Above: The engineered wide-plank European oak flooring is from the Costa Collection. The walls are painted in Simply White by Benjamin Moore.

rustic bedroom with large windows

The goal of for this project was to open everything up, simplify it, and bring in the natural light. The initial step involved the removal of 13 enclosed closets, replaced by three new closet spaces thoughtfully positioned in the bedrooms and laundry area.

rustic bathroom

This consolidation of space afforded the architects ample room to design an angled hallway connecting the bedroom wings. This new layout rerouted foot traffic away from the living and dining areas, improving flow. Additionally, this reconfiguration allowed for the creation of a second en-suite bathroom, providing inhabitants with added convenience and flexibility.

rustic bedroom with large windows

Another seemingly straightforward adjustment was introducing an angle into the formerly flat, low ceiling above the kitchen and main living space. Although the original trusses weren’t aesthetically pleasing enough to remain exposed, the team seized the opportunity to insert new trusses. This transformation vaulted the ceiling, imparting both height and character to the area, providing the aesthetics of a traditional “great room.”

rustic home office with a view

Throughout the house, the architects employed durable fittings and materials, including reclaimed wood shelves in the kitchen and bathrooms, introducing an artisanal, organic touch.

rustic bedroom with large windows

The architects sought a harmonious blend of quiet and lively materials, focusing on clean, uncomplicated forms with subtle variations in colors and patterns.

rustic bathroom with open shelf vanity

The goal was to imbue the simple interior with a warm and inviting ambiance, employing a neutral palette infused with elements inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design. This approach allowed the natural surroundings outside to be the focus. Above: The tiles in this guest bathroom were sourced from Daltile.

rustic cabin balcony

Perched on a steep slope, this cabin bordering Yosemite National Park was situated above a deep basement, beneath which lay rocks and water. The original deck, overlooking the waterfall, had deteriorated to the point of being beyond repair and had to be dismantled.

rustic cabin exterior with a wrap around deck

To preserve this exceptional viewpoint, the architect and contractor collaborated closely with a structural engineer to identify more secure anchor points for each post. They reconstructed the deck to give it strength and long-term stability. Above: The decking is from Thermory.

stick framed cabin exterior

Above: The facade of this cabin was preserved, featuring a corrugated roof and exterior siding with a fresh coat of paint.

stick framed cabin exterior at dusk

PHOTOGRAPHER Henry Gao & Christopher Gebo

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