1 Designed to amplify nature, these cozy, modern cabins invite you to embrace the simple life.
Winter is the perfect time to rally family and friends for a cabin getaway, featuring days in the unspoiled snow and nights spent nursing hot (spiked) cider around the fireplace. If you’re dreaming about your own rustic retreat in the wilderness, look no further for inspiration than these 20 modern winter cabins below that demonstrate a deep respect for their snowy, wooded surrounds.
Described by Seattle–based Olson Kundig Architects as “a steel box on stilts,” this three-story cabin in upstate Washington is fitted with four 10′ x 18′ steel shutters that are rolled over the glass windows, so it can be sealed off from the elements when not in use. In fact, the client requested that Delta Shelter be virtually indestructible: the steel exterior makes it fire-resistant, while its steel-beam legs protect it from flooding.
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Built in 2005 for a client looking for a compact, easy-to-maintain shelter for his and his friends’ adventures, Delta Shelter’s design was inspired by structures like tree houses and fire lookouts.
Architect Håkon Matre Aasarød, partner at Oslo–based studio Vardehaugen Architects, led the design of Cabin Vindheim—an off-grid cabin deep in the alpine landscape near Lillehammer, Norway, whose spaceship-like appearance gives it an otherworldly presence.
The cabin’s concept was simple: To create a cabin that is small and sparse yet spatially rich. The 55-square-meter (592-square-foot) cabin, commissioned by a private client and completed in 2016, comprises a large living room, bedroom, ski room, and small annex with a utility room. It functions off the water and electricity grids.
Designed by Montreal–based MU Architecture, Nook Residence is an all-white retreat that harmonizes with the snowy landscape outdoors.
Squinting through Quebec’s seasonal fluries, one might not immediately register the Nook Residence, an all-white retreat that purposefully blends into the winter landscape. The house, designed by MU Architecture, presents itself to passersby as a blank monolith; yet around the corner, it opens onto Lake Memphremagog through expansive windows and an interior balcony.
This sleek cabin by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter adapts to the slope of the terrain, and divides into two branches of living areas. The same timber cladding of the exterior extends onto the roof, creating a unified expression.
Designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter for a family of four, the Split View Mountain Lodge is a holiday home near the village of Geilo, Norway. The main volume splits out to form additional annexes that frame individual views of the surrounding mountains.
The minimalist cabins of this Norwegian hotel offer elegant shelter, while striking a remarkable communion with the sublime, natural environment. Billed a “landscape hotel,” the lodge features nine separate rooms that offer distinct views of the topography.
Set in a beautiful stretch of fjord country about 250 miles northwest of Oslo, the Juvet Landscape Hotel is the kind of place you could not even dream up. The minimalist design of the Juvet’s rooms bring guests into close contact with the Valldola River and the sublime valley beyond it.
International firm Snøhetta created this new addition to Sweden’s Treehotel that’s perfect for stargazing. Barring a fear of heights, you can choose to lay your sleeping bag on the double-layered net that connects the cabin’s two bedrooms and enjoy a night under the stars.
7. Troll Hus by Mork-Ulnes Architects
Hovering over a concrete plinth, Troll Hus is a vacation home that accommodates three generations of skiers in Tahoe, California. The concrete base houses ski storage and a changing area during the snowy season. And when the family isn’t skiing, they can enjoy a partially roofed patio during the summer.
Located in California’s Sugar Bowl neighborhood, this shadowy lair by Mork-Ulnes Architects looks like something out of fairy tale. “We call the house Troll Hus, with a reference to the otherworldly beings in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore that are said to dwell in remote mountains,” architect Casper Mork-Ulnes says.
This snug guesthouse in upstate New York, designed by Studio Padron, boasts bright and modern interiors that are a surprising contrast to its dark cedar facade.
Jason and Suzanne Koxvold commissioned Studio Padron to design a 200-square-foot guesthouse on their Ellenville, New York, property. The geometric structure’s dark cedar cladding contrasts with the inviting interior, which is heated by a cast-iron Jøtul stove. A layer of built-in bookshelves made from felled oak lumber also helps insulate the building in winter.
This carbon-neutral house by Helsinki studio Avanto Architects has a facade of dark-stained wood, but light wooden interiors. The retreat allows the owners to live simply, growing their own herbs and vegetables and catching pike at nearby Vaskivesi Lake. There is no running water; the home is solar-powered, well-insulated, and is warmed by the fireplaces.
Shaped like a cross, this four-cornered villa offers four different views of its location on an island in Finland. Avanto Architects created a black exterior, dotted with large windows, to make it invisible from the nearby lake.
Teeming with owls, moose, and black bears, the snowy forests of Eastern Quebec make an ideal site for a winter fortress. It was perfect for Canadian architecture firm _naturehumaine’s latest client, a behind-the-scenes movie guy who wanted a secluded place to recuperate from intensive, exhausting projects. Its geometric silhouette that echoes the classic typology of the region’s gable roof barns.
Architects Stéphane Rasselet and David Dworkind delivered with a strikingly simple concept, anchoring two stacked, rectangular volumes into a steep mountainside surrounded by awe-inspiring vistas.
On a sloping, woodland site in Wintrop Washington, CAST Architecture has created a family retreat that allows the landscape to flow through the structure. Super-insulated walls and ceilings, energy-efficient windows, and an efficient radiant heating system minimize energy consumption—even in snowy winters.
This cabin has a commodious kitchen and living area that encourages family and friends to come together for meals and conversation.
Raised to capture views of Mont-Sainte-Anne, High House is a minimalist home in Quebec, Canada designed by Paris-based studio DELORDINAIRE with white, concrete panel cladding that blends into the snowy environment, and stilts that allow sunlight to penetrate the space throughout the day.
White concrete panel cladding and corrugated steel roof panels give this cabin a crisp, geometric form that almost melts into the landscape on bleary, snowy days.
In Hellerud, a borough of Oslo, Norway, local firm Arkitektur + Design used heat-treated pine and bricks to fashion a cozy, family retreat dubbed Stairway to Heaven.
Stairway to Heaven is located on the clients’ parents’ land, just steps away from the homeowner’s childhood home. Two siblings were also building homes on the property, making it a true family compound. The architects were mindful to create a home that utilized the views, but also allowed for privacy between residents.
Nestled within a forest near Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes, this modern cabin name Lake Cottage by Toronto–based architecture firm UUfie has an exterior clad in mirror panels that reflect the natural surroundings.
The cabin is surrounded by a thick forest of birch and spruce.
Set high on a soaring granite outcropping, I-Kanda Architects’ Cabin on a Rock is a modernist, prefab cabin in New Hampshire with a 24-foot-wide sliding glass wall that captures the most scenic views.
“The 900-square-foot cabin perches on one piece of granite, projecting precariously over a steep drop-off to afford dramatic eastern views across the valley below,” says Isamu Kanda, principal at I-Kanda.
To meet with strict Alpine valley building regulations when designing this mountain house in the French alpine commune of Manigod, Studio Razavi Architecture took great care in analyzing local historical buildings to understand what their forms accomplished functionally, and how they shaped the local architectural culture.
The base of this cabin is constructed out of cast-in-place concrete with formwork using the same wood as the floor cladding above.
Set within a hardwood forest along the shores of the Bras D’or Lake, and respectful of its surroundings, this cabin in Nova Scotia, Canada, was designed by local practice Nicholas Fudge Architects with a clear separation between the public and private realms.
This 1,900-square-foot home was assembled on-site in just two days with wall panels consisting of staggered 2′ x 4′ studs on a 2′ x 8′ plate, which eliminates thermal bridging and maximizes energy efficiency.
Designed by Canadian architect Brian Mackay-Lyons, Enough House is a Cor-Ten steel holiday rental home with wood beam ceilings and a blend of modern and vintage furniture. A 24-foot-wide corner window looks out to the valleys in the north, and a 12-foot window frames distant views of the beach. The house is available for rent through Boutique Homes.
Enough House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects resides on Brian MacKay Lyons’ Shobac farm in Nova Scotia, a campus that allows the firm to experiment with form, materiality, and building. The Cor-Ten steel cabin, which features exposed Douglas fir plywood sheathing and stained pine flooring inside, houses an intern architect.
Chad and Courtney Ludeman, the husband-and-wife team behind Philadelphia’s design-driven Lokal Hotel, transformed this classic 1960s A-frame cabin in New Jersey into a Scandinavian-inspired holiday retreat in the woods.
The material palette consists of concrete, bleached flooring, pine plywood, and lots of matte black and white.
Mork Ulnes Architects designed this compact, pinwheel-shaped, pine-clad cabin on a hilltop side in the north of Oslo with four wings that branch out for distinct views.
Planning regulations required a gable roof, which the architects split into four shed roofs carefully designed to respond to heavy snow shed and meet spatial and aesthetic wishes.