From a coastal hillside in Son, Norway, to a woodland area in Sullivan County, New York, these 15 cabins feature dramatic black exteriors that update the traditional log house aesthetic.
After renting in San Francisco for a decade, DIY couple Molly Fiffer and Jeff Waldman bought 10 acres in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. The pair and their friends built a cabin compound complete with sheds, tree decks, a pavilion, a wood-fired hot tub, an outhouse, and an outdoor shower. The cabin is made from locally sourced, rough-sawn redwood, which the couple stained with nontoxic Eco Wood Treatment to give the panels an aged appearance and a dark patina.
Architect Elizabeth Herrmann designed this 1,120-square-foot, gable-roofed cottage at the base of a bucolic hillside in Fayston, Vermont. The black-stained exterior morphs depending on the season. "It can sometimes be very like the textures and colors of its surroundings," Herrmann says. "The siding mimics tree bark and shadows, and sometimes blends into the woods. At other times, especially winter, the house really contrasts with the landscape’s snowy ground."
London-based practice De Rosee Sa completed the 377-square-foot Woodland Cabin over the course of multiple trips to this lakeside lot in the village of Nouvelles, Belgium. The steeply pitched structure is clad in timber that was stained black from used tractor engine oil, which is a popular finish for local agricultural buildings.
The roughly 750-square-foot Cabin Son by architect Jon Danielsen Aarhus is situated on a sloping hillside overlooking the sea in Son, Norway. The glossy exterior features vertical spruce boards finished with a high-shine black stain. The eastern facade is tucked against the bedrock, which allows the residents privacy from neighboring homes.
Maine-based Whitten Architects built this two-bedroom family cabin on a quiet lake in New Hampshire. "Metaphorically, the cabin’s exterior is like a cut log," says architect Tom Lane. "The black-stained Western red cedar is the bark, and the Douglas fir siding under cover is the exposed wood once the log has been cut."
Designed by architect Tomislav Soldo, the Gorski Kotar House features a simple pitched roof and Siberian larch cladding with a black wood tar finish. This traditional treatment protects the natural materials from the elements in the Croatian countryside.
UK-based Koto developed prefab cabins for Fritton Lake, a private holiday club situated in the heart of a 1,000-acre rewilding project in England. Koto combines design influences from Scandinavia and Japan to create minimalist and modern cabins that blend into the landscape.
Nestled into a forested region near Salamajärvi National Park, Finland, the 387-square-foot Niliaitta cabin is lifted in the air on a single leg. Studio Puisto Architects designed the prototype for Kivijärvi Resort. The cabin is wrapped in pine board with a natural, black-tone wood oil finish.
This 360-square-foot cabin by architects Mike Jacobs, Biayna Bogosian, Forrest Jessee, Leopold Lambert, and Luis Gutierrez of award-winning New York practice Jacobschang Architecture was designed to accommodate a $20,000 construction budget. The exterior boards are coated with Scandinavian pine tar to protect them from the long, wet winters in New York’s Sullivan County.
Oslo-based Kappland Arkitekter designed this holiday cabin for a couple with three young children on the Norwegian island of Stokkøya. The facade is clad in dark Norwegian royal impregnated wood to make the building recede into the landscape. Locally sourced timber is also used throughout the interior, as well as for the outdoor deck.
The prefabricated Majamaja Cabin by Littow Architectes is the first of five built for the Majamaja Village, an off-grid eco-retreat near Helsinki, Finland. The two-level, minimalist cabin was constructed on-site from prefab wood panels and without the use of heavy machinery.
Engineer Juan Pablo Delgado of Chile-based Estudio Diagonal built Refugio 3x3 with his partner, architect Sebastián Armijo, on a forested lot in Chile’s Los Ríos region. The cabin comprises two stacked volumes clad in zinc-aluminum sheets that were painted back to blend into the landscape.
Heva is a tiny prefabricated cabin developed by Michel Hardoin, founder of Atelier 6 Architects. The exterior features pine plywood boards, which are charred for protection from insects and harsh weather. The structure is designed to open up to the outdoors with large glass doors, although each unit can be individually configured.
Architects Jean-Baptiste Barache, Sihem Lamine, and Pierre Gourvennec of Arba designed this 215-square-foot cabin in Normandy, France, for a married couple who will eventually use the retreat as their retirement home. The blackened timber–clad dwelling is marked by large glass doors layered with wood slats that slide open and connect the home to its lush landscape.
San Francisco–based couple Brit and Daniel Epperson renovated this 1974 A-frame in Sonoma, California. Brit, founder of Studio PLOW, and Daniel, the design director of Rapt Studio, painted the cabin’s redwood siding in a custom Sherwin-Williams black with green and blue undertones.
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