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]

Add New Comment


  • M_lahey

    Looks great, but you speak of it as if it's built. Not sure if it is.... I'm pretty sure those are all renderings.

  • Pradeep Kundan

    I have been inspired by the a similar arcthicture in Japan of a triangular roof of 60% to keep of the snow during winter . I been searching for a more modern approach to the triangular design . Bingo here it is . My plan is to use the triangular structure for solar panels to provide affordable electricity and blend with Glass

  • Mitch Fagans

    There's not enough info and pix here for me to really offer an opinion or decide if I would like to build one for myself or a client. I have been studying the Japanese especially building small structures in very limited space ( 12' widex30' long) and they are doing amazing utilization of space.