Size Doesn't Matter When Ingenious Design Kicks In

The tiny house movement is often married to, or associated with, the eco-friendly movement and is sweeping the housing market from coast to coast. Tiny houses tend to be far less conventional than traditional housing options. Often times tiny houses are built inexpensively, utilizing reclaimed or ‘upcycled’ materials and this stunning Scavenger Cabin designed and built by Olson Kundig is no exception. Proud owner of the tiny Scavenger Cabin is Anna Hoover, who wanted “a thought refuge, a room with a view to sit and contemplate future projects and reflect on recent travels and interactions, plenty of ‘headspace’ – tall ceilings – and the ability to host other artists for studio time.” Hoover, a long-time resident of the Pacific Northwest, was familiar with the work of Seattle-based Olson Kundig and contracted the firm to design her tiny cabin retreat. Architect Les Eerkes, under the mentorship of Tom Kunding, sought ways to build Hoover’s structure efficiently with a construction budget of less than $200 per square foot. The result is nothing short of fabulous!

Hoover’s tiny cabin sits atop a six-column foundation, balanced against a spread footing and stem wall approach (cost analysis led to the column footing as it minimized excavation and form work costs and was an eco-friendlier solution). Eerkes utilized ‘glulam’ – glued laminated timber – for the structure and spanned the skeleton with insulated floor and roof panels. Hoover’s tiny cabin features many reclaimed materials, including cabinetry and plants, which were salvaged from various homes slated for demolition (and much of the reclaimed and upcycled material and designs were completed by Hoover herself). Hoover decided that reclaiming materials gave the items new life and made the home more fulfilling, as well as easier on her pocketbook and the environment. The exterior is clad in simple plywood that was charred with a dragon torch to give the tiny cabin a more appealing rustic look.

Hoover’s tiny home epitomizes quality over quantity. Much was achieved within such a small space. The main living area and kitchen occupy the full ground level of the double-height interior while her sleeping loft rests above. The kitchen cabinets were reclaimed, as well as the countertops, stair tread, and wood stove, saving Hoover thousands of dollars as well as saving the upcycled materials from the landfill. From her spacious loft bedroom, the floor-to-ceiling windows make the space appear much larger while overlooking the fir canopy of the surrounding forest. Her tiny home faces east and the rise of both the sun and moon. It is the perfect peaceful retreat.

At just a little over 693 square feet, Ann Hoover’s tiny Scavenger Cabin is technically classified as a ‘small’ home, rather than a tiny house or micro-cabin. Small homes are typically houses up to 1,000 square feet while tiny houses are usually under 400 square feet. However, whether tiny or small, this cabin exemplifies the small and tiny home movement, which merely advocates living a simpler lifestyle in a smaller space. The typical house size in America is bordering on 2,700 square feet. Hoover specifically requested a ‘thought refuge’ – a place she could go to reflect, and her tiny Scavenger Cabin provides just that, with no unnecessary extras. Even the reclaimed materials are basic and ‘rustic’ and present a certain comfortable charm. The Scavenger Cabin is a perfect example of reclaimed materials utilized to create an eco-friendly, tiny space.

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