Mike Jacobs, a principal with Jacobschang Architects in New York City, designed the cabin for his brother and wife on land in upstate New York. The 360 square-foot, single-room cabin is built on a hillside with a combination of structural supports. One end uses concrete footings that are anchored to the ground.
However, it is the other end of the cabin that inspires its “Half-Tree House” name. An anchoring technology used with tree houses called a Garnier Limb supports the frame of the house with a metal element bolted into a tree. “The Garnier Limb is a patented slip-joint connection allowing the tree and the structure to behave independently,” JacobsChang told Dezeen.
Much of the material for the cabin was harvested on site, including the exterior pine cladding, which was taken from trees on the property. The cabin’s dark color is from pine tar, used to coat and protect the wood. According to Dezeen, “blackened timber cabins are enjoying a moment of popularity.”
The interior is painted white, with sealed pine flooring. Three large floor-to-ceiling windows allow lots of natural light. The windows pivot to let in air, and one also serves as the cabin’s entrance. There are no screens so hopefully the mosquito season isn’t too tough, although a hanging mosquito netting over the bed in one of the images of the cabin interior suggests how they deal with flying insects. Heat and cooking are provided by a wood stove.
If you find this structure appealing, don’t miss the fact that there is no electricity, no running water, and no plumbing. The cabin is built on a 60-acre wooded property called Beaver Brook, in Barryville, New York, where a group of friends built simple structures to enjoy the quiet and learn building skills. The founding of Beaver Brook was featured in The New York Times.
Unlike remote getaways on Puget Sound and Norway, or even a relatively small but clever one-room Vermont mountain-view home, the Half-Tree House doesn’t have a full menu of modern conveniences. But full-time living wasn’t the plan as much as a simple shelter in the woods. The owners built the structure themselves, with the help of New England barn-raising style weekend assistance. They stuck to their plan and kept the costs under control.