Building on a budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing aesthetics, as evidenced by Washington-based Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects’ Pine Forest Cabin. Located in Methow Valley, WA, the affordable getaway is a modern home elevated off the ground for uninterrupted views of the landscape. The building’s small footprint also helps lower foundation costs and minimizes site impact.



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Created for a couple as a quiet retreat from Seattle and base for outdoor recreation, the 850-square-foot Pine Forest Cabin features an uncomplicated boxy design and simple materials to stay within the clients’ tight budget. Sheet materials were used both inside and out to maximize material efficiency, while a concrete base mitigates the slope and supports the top-heavy cabin’s cantilevered upper level. The cozy cabin blends into its surroundings with fir-faced roughhewn plywood panel sidings finished with a clear seal. The flat angled roof is sheathed in corrugated metal.

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“Elevating the cabin allowed for unobstructed views down slope and to the mountains beyond, transforming a modest living space from ordinary room to a viewing platform that extends from inside to out,” write the architects. “We believe this project demonstrates our believe that architecturally interesting solutions can be achieved for budgets of all sizes without sacrificing quality or aesthetics.”

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Related: Rainforest Retreat is a nature lover’s escape with minimal building impact

The house is divided into two halves: the open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen in the north half that opens up to a cantilevered deck through glazed sliding doors; and the bedroom, bathroom, mudroom, and entryway tucked away in the rear of the home. The monochromatic interior features plywood walls, a double-sided wood-burning stove, and ample natural light that pour through the many glazed openings. Radiant heating is embedded into the concrete floors.

+ Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Images via Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects, by Steve Keating Photography