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This little black house boasts breathtaking views of the Mad River Valley

scandinavian style black cabin exterior

In the picturesque Mad River Valley architect Elizabeth Herrmann has designed this little black house for a family of four (plus a dog and cat) in Fayston, Vermont. Encompassing just 1,100 square feet of living space, this three-bedroom cabin shows how beautiful a home can be on a strict budget. 

Nestled on an east-facing slope, this dwelling boasts sweeping views over Mad River. The exterior facade is characterized by a standing seam roof, triple-glazed windows from Alpen, and a high-performing insulation package. For the family, their dream was to downsize while reducing their energy consumption. Continue below to see how this was achieved…

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT Elizabeth Herrmann Architecture + Design BUILDER Red House Building STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Artisan Engineering CABINETRY DESIGN/INSTALLATION Design by Elizabeth Herrmann, Installation by Red House Building INTERIOR & LIGHTING DESIGN Elizabeth Herrmann Architecture + Design

scandinavian style black cabin exterior

Both budget and ethos drove the design of this house.  From the start, it was established that finish quality, good design, and high performance would not be sacrificed to satisfy budget constraints, so the house evolved to a smaller layout, eliminating every inch of waste to meet project goals.

scandinavian style staircase

Despite its compact layout, the house doesn’t skimp on amenities including an air-locked mud and laundry room, generous custom kitchen, one and a half baths, three bedrooms, living and dining spaces, storage, plus two desk spaces. A full basement provides ample overflow storage. Even the stair itself will function as a library when a phase two built-in is added. 

scandinavian style living room

High-performance R5 windows frame big views and make spaces dynamic and expansive.

scandinavian style living room

What We Love: This little black house packs a lot inside a compact space, with a cleverly configured floor plan layout. The interior is bright and airy thanks to light wood flooring, white walls, and minimalist furnishings. A wood-fired stove along with a wall-hung heat pump helps to keep the interiors toasty warm during the winter months. Overall, the designer did a fabulous job of creating an unpretentious and comfortable home for pets, kids, and adults alike.

Tell Us: Would this home be your idea of the perfect family house? Let us know in the Comments below, we enjoy reading your feedback!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other fascinating home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign in the state of Vermont: A Vermont ski house with a beautiful craftsman style aesthetic: Winterfell and This modern lakeside retreat maximizes its idyllic New England landscape.

scandinavian style living room with a fireplace stove

A small Morso wood stove provides this home with heat during the cold winter months. A single, wall-hung Mitsubishi heat pump provides cooling in the summer and backup heat in the winter. Water is heated by an electric heat pump water heater.

scandinavian style living room looking into the kitchen

scandinavian style kitchen

scandinavian style kitchen

scandinavian style home office

The architect sourced locally harvested and milled ash wood throughout this home.

scandinavian style bedroom

scandinavian style bedroom

scandinavian style bathroom

scandinavian style kids bedroom

scandinavian style bathroom

scandinavian style kids bedroom

scandinavian style living room and sliding glass doors leading out to a porch

Above: A large deck allows for dining and living to spill outdoors, doubling living space during the warmer months. Not to mention the view from this deck is phenomenal.

scandinavian style black cabin exterior

The palette is as economical and well-considered as the house design itself.  Using a mix of local, environmentally sound, and affordable materials, the house celebrates and elevates ordinary and simple materials, ensures minimal upkeep, and sits comfortably in its Green Mountain setting.

scandinavian style black cabin exterior

scandinavian style black cabin exterior

The exterior siding of this home mimics tree bark and shadows, blending into the woods during the summer months. In the winter, the exterior contrasts with the snowy terrain.

scandinavian style black cabin exterior

PHOTOGRAPHER Susan Teare Photography

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Anneke Van de Laar
11 days ago

Surprise, surprise! Very light and airy on the inside.