Co.Design

An Ultra-Minimalist Cabin Takes A-Frames To The Limit

William O’Brien Jr.'s “cabin of curiosities” was designed to house a quirky client’s quirky collection of artifacts.

Tucked into the woods of the scenic Mountain West, the Allandale House is not your typical forest cabin. You won’t find any wood logs or iron stoves or old-timey butter churns here. Instead, it has three A-frame roofs, one wildly exaggerated, covered in flat, matte black tiles that stretch all the way down to the grass. And that’s about it. If I didn’t know better, I’d say someone built a roof and forgot to add the rest of the house.

The place was designed deliberately to be weird. Architect William O’Brien Jr. wanted to give the client, an “idiosyncratic connoisseur” who collects everything from rare books and wine to taxidermy birds and elk, a curious setting for her vast collection of curiosities. (Appropriately, he likens the house to a “cabin of curiosities.”)

One problem: Severe roofs are a huge pain on the inside. They drastically limit head heights and create bizarre angles that don’t accommodate most furniture, unless your armoire happens to be shaped like a wedge of cheese. O’Brien’s solution was to soften the angles by thickening the walls. That, in turn, made it possible to carve deep bookshelves and display cases directly into the house--a welcome addition for the client, I imagine, and her stuffed birds.

For more modern cabins, go here and here.

[Images courtesy of William O’Brien, Jr.; h/ t Trendland]

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