This cabin in the woods of Barryville in the Catskill Mountains of New York is not your ordinary wooden shack. Designed by Manhattan-based architecture firm JacobsChang, the dwelling, called Half-Tree House, appears to float above its sloped site and protrudes as if an extension of its environment.
This integration into the landscape is a function of the project’s goals, which included being simple enough that two amateur builders could complete it over a weekend or two (“in the true spirit of New England barnraising,” according to the architects), and for its costs to stay under the $20,000 budget.
The final product is a dwelling measuring 360 square feet that leverages nearby trees for support. Instead of relying on the need for a large concrete foundation and retaining walls, the team employed simple concrete posts that anchored into the ground on one end, and the Garnier Limb system—used for the construction of treehouses—of bolting a structure into trees on the other.
As for its design, the mountain retreat is, essentially, a rectangular volume with a tapering edge on the backside. Clad in blackened timber with whitewashed interior walls and natural wood floors—materials that were sourced from the surrounding woods—the tiny home accommodates a bed, a wood-burning stove, and a corner “kitchen” with a table-top burner.
Three full-height windows provide plenty of light and also pivot, allowing for cross-ventilation and direct communion with the 60-acre site. Have a look.