Gallery: GREAT GREEN HOME: Björkbo Summer Cabin


About two hours outside Stockholm lies this little green cabin with all the eco-friendly charm you could ask for. Sisters Thérèse & Louise Kristiansson designed “Björkbo” as a nature-laden summer home for their clients. Built out of wood from the forest it stands in and reused windows, the small dwelling opens its doors to the west to face a picturesque lake. Our favorite part? The forest is built right into the house, with two trees growing right through the roof!

The small home also boasts a compost toilet that is shared with the neighbors. Water is taken from the lake and reused for the surrounding greens, and the late-setting Swedish summer sun means no artificial light is necessary. The home’s charm lies in its small scale, integration with surrounding nature, and built-in history, particularly the reused windows of various sizes seamlessly integrated into the structure by carpenter Bengt Höglund.


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  1. laframboise December 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Being that it’s in Sweden. I’d be a heck more concerned about that almost flat roof. Since there is no wood stove I suppose it might not be used during the winter. Which means no one will be around to shovel the snow off that roof. But it sure is pretty.

  2. andrew cauthen December 16, 2007 at 7:25 am

    yeah, guess you wouldn’t have to worry about indoor pollution with all the drafts that will be coming in there. I really like the design though. Simple, efficient, fairly cheap. Reusing materials looks great. I like all those windows. Hmm, just get some really warm blankets and a wood stove maybe? or maybe good warm underwear? or just insulate the walls/ floor/ roof better! and cover the windows in the winter with plastic! … other than that, great summer house!

  3. Giacomo+Francesca+Viola September 25, 2007 at 3:14 am

    bravissimiiiiiiiiiiiiii, slauti dall’Italia

  4. A Modern Twist To The T... September 18, 2007 at 7:23 am

    […] a look at this Swedish cabin that incorporates living trees into its design. By incorporates I mean, “A tree is growing […]

  5. Scott September 17, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    My family has a one-room cottage similar to this that originally had a tree growing through a notch in edge of the roof. It was done this way so we wouldn’t have to cut any trees to construct the cottage. The earlier comment is quite correct. It looks cool and works great — until the first real storm. Let me tell you, a tree swaying back and forth can make a real mess of a roof.

  6. Laura September 15, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Michael Deacon has a valid point. What happens when the wind blows or if the tree grows. There does not appear to be enough room cut out around the tree to allow it to sway or even grow. And those roots may affect the cement footings.

    It feels more like a pool cabana – a place to dry off and change clothes after a swim. Or maybe a substitute for a tent. It doesn’t feel like a shelter from the elements. The house does not appear to hold heat. There is no thickness in the walls. There is no place to prepare food. I’m not sure how comfortable this house would be to live in.

  7. Abigail September 15, 2007 at 11:19 am

    For me this is not simply “an empty wooden house” – on the contrary, I find it’s overall simplicity and shell-like frame to be refreshing and just the sort of structure that one would want to go to while on weekend retreat. I think that it is important to consider that good green design also emcompasses a state of mind as well as cutting-edge eco-features, and I commend the Kristiansson sisters for honoring this principle.

    Let’s not forget that folks are working with a variety of budgets and available (transportable) materials, and it is the spirit of the place that makes it GREEN, not necessarily the state-of-the-art gadgets or the implementation of the latest eco-functionality.

  8. E.J. Bisch September 15, 2007 at 9:55 am

    “This” is eco friendly, and I would guess affordable. Quite unlike some other submissions that border on absurd as far as cost is concerned.

  9. michael deacon September 15, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Sorry the TREE was taken down—Senior Moment

  10. michael deacon September 15, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Just a farm boy & i am wondering ’cause a house in wisconsin was taken-down @ great expense –similar gorgeous concept??????

  11. michael deacon September 15, 2007 at 9:43 am

    to the green brains…. What happens when the wind blows 35-59 m.p.h.

  12. Bob Walsh September 15, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Really wonderful. Another great example of how easy it can be to live simply.

  13. Erik van Lennep September 15, 2007 at 7:13 am

    Looks like a fairly typical Maine/Vermont owner-built cabin. NIce to see recognition coming for the low impact of such dwellings.

  14. karl September 14, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Charming, and even better because its Swedish!
    I like the compositions created by the reused windows and the opportunity the many window frames create for making your own compositions of the landscape when looking out through them.

  15. Marcos September 14, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    It’s an empty wooden house…

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