Henry David Thoreau had his cabin at Walden Pond, but these stunning writer’s retreats are equally private and were created with gorgeous design in mind. When preparing to go off-grid or away from it all to pen your next book, check out these spectacular writing cottages that balance beauty, comfort, and practicality.
How can you make the cabins for a resident artists’ program feel like a personal, secluded spot? Cass Calder Smith designed these 280-square-foot simple cedar cabins that sit in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “Think about what a creative writer would enjoy being in and go for it,” he said. “The land is so powerful. The basic thing was to make sure you can look out and see the surroundings.” The cabins don’t share a wall to increase privacy.
This copper cabin in Bellport, New York by Andrew Berman Architect changes color with the sun. Boasting a large, central window, the cabin was built as a library and writing studio for a historian.
Architect Antonin Ziegler designed this writing cabin by the sea as an attachment to a rural home in Senneville-sur-Fécamp, France. It houses the owner’s private library.
Sometimes the best getaways are still close to home. Architect Nicholas Hunt built a 55-square-foot studio in his Brooklyn backyard with handcrafted details. From Dwell:
The point of the project for me was an escape from the city—both in terms of building it and hanging out in it, inhabiting it,” says Hunt, who spent a total of about seven days over four months constructing the space. “It was for the act of building and to be able to do this for myself, to be my own client; that’s something young architects rarely get a chance to do.
Olson Kundig Architects designed a 500-square-foot cabin on San Juan Islands, Washington that uses elevated decks to close itself off, away from the world. The fireplace rotates 180 degrees to provide indoor and outdoor heat.
Jarmund / Vigsnæs AS Architects (JVA) in Oslo, Norway created a writer’s cottage with a staircase/bookcase for all your best reads.
This single-room cabin in Ghent, New York overlooks the surrounding ponds, fields, and forest. Black walnut and slate details help the structure fade into the natural environment so you can disappear into your work.
From Arch Daily about the Moonlight Cabin:
Located on a windswept coast line, Moonlight Cabin is a place to retreat from and engage with the landscape’s ephemeral conditions. It is a small footprint shelter (60m2) that explores the boundaries of how small is too small, challenging conventional notions of what is actually necessary in our lives. It is designed to be passively environmentally responsive, ultimately reducing energy use and running costs whilst maximising occupant amenity.
The plan is conceived as one volume with kitchen, bathroom and utilities inserted within a central island pod which effectively unlocks the corridor to become an important habitable space. Victorian Ash timber linings coated with Porters Wood Wash ‘Limed’ create a tranquil contemporary interior that is generous while the reductive material palette creates a sustainable and cost effective home.
The built form is fully screened in a rainscreen of Spotted Gum that acts like a ‘gore-tex jacket’ to protect the cabin from the elements while the timber is free to move naturally in the changing climatic conditions. Operable shutters enable cross ventilation and adaptability, open or closed, partially shut down or secured when the occupants leave and reopened when they return.