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Modern seaside cabins go completely off the grid

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By harvesting solar power, sea water, and sauna heat

Wooden cabin with pitched roof and living area that opens out onto a wooden deck. Marc Goodwin

Finland is the land of saunas. By some estimates, the small country has as many as 2.1 million saunas for a country of just 5 million people. But what are all those saunas for, besides breaking a healthy sweat? For a new house on the Finnish coast, the answer is an alternative source of energy.

Aleksi Hautamaki and Milla Selkimaki designed a sustainable summer cabin on a five-acre island they own near Archipelago National Park. Named Project Ö, the small compound features two main cabins, a workshop, and a sauna that all sit atop a wooden deck and look out over the sea.

Aerial shot of two timber cabins on a rocky seaside landscape. Marc Goodwin

The cabins are long and narrow, with a timber exterior topped by a dark, gabled roof. Both buildings feature a covered outdoor space that separates the bedrooms from the main living areas.

The shape of the cabins “allows for large window surfaces with varying views, as well as possibilities for very different types of functions at the opposite ends of the building,” the designers told Dezeen.

The cabins run on a series of off-grid systems including rooftop solar panels, seawater recycling, and the sauna itself, whose stove heats running water and wooden floorboards across the residence.

Kitchen with black cabinets and pale wood dining table, chairs, and walls. Marc Goodwin
A living room features glass walls and a black fire place. Marc Goodwin
Pile of wood in modern kitchen. Marc Goodwin