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A perfectly simple cabin rises in the wilderness

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The details are just right

Square-shaped wooden cabin in snowy woods. Aaron Leitz

Sometimes a home is best left to simplicity. In the case of this Vermont cabin, Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig wanted to design a house that didn’t detract from its abundantly wooded surroundings.

Sitting on land that had been handed down in the family for generations, the cabin with a 750-square-foot footprint is simple in form, but rich in detailing.

“This is an intentionally straightforward and economical cabin where the family can come together and take part in the adventure of engaging with the natural landscape just outside,” says Tom Kundig, principal designer at Olson Kundig.

Living room with slanted timber ceiling and open plan layout. Aaron Leitz

Its 2,250 square feet of living space are spread over three stories, connected by a continuous stairway made from steel and maple. A garage and game room occupy the bottom level, which is nestled partway into the ground.

The main floor includes two bedrooms and a bathroom. The top level is reserved for the primary shared spaces, including an open plan kitchen and dining room that connects to a living room encased in windows. The third-floor location of the main hangout area is intentional: The architects wanted to take advantage of the view of the Green Mountains to the west and Worcester Range to the east.

The house has a mostly neutral palette—a nod to its woodsy environs. Windows are framed in black steel, the walls are painted a warm white, while a slanted timber ceiling on the top floor makes the airy cabin feel just a little cozier.

Kitchen with breakfast counter, timber ceiling, and black cabinetry. Aaron Leitz
Dining area with concrete floors and large dining table. Aaron Leitz
Chair in bedroom next to window. Aaron Leitz
Closeup view of floating staircase. Aaron Leitz
Wooden cabin in snowy woods. Aaron Leitz