The El Cosmico hotel in Marfa, Texas had a brilliant idea when adding outdoorsy room options for its guests: furnishing tents and teepees with items that would be normally found in a standard bedroom. For families looking to "get away," a few days in the backyard, with comfortable bedding, seating and lighting borrowed from the indoors, is the perfect last-minute weekend respite.
Boston-based architects Keith Moskow and Robert Linn co-built this woodsy weekend retreat, named Swamp Hut, in the suburbs of Massachusetts. The 580-square-foot structure, which was partially built with prefabricated trusses, has three cabins that are topped with a semi-translucent fiberglass and cluster around an open sitting area with a picnic table. The project cost only $7,500.
Architects Laurie and Peter Stubb built this 128-square-foot, fort-like structure when their family moved to Baltimore. The two-level wooden tower was built near their main home and has been used as a getaway for their young daughthers, a reading retreat for adults, and a place to entertain visiting guests.
Designer-inventor Jaanus Orgusaar’s modular cabin in the Virumaa region of Estonia is used as his family's vacation house. While the 270-square-foot structure is situated away from their main home, the geometric shape would work well with any number of larger backyard properties.
One couple in Japan visits the Chichibu mountain range, just outside of Tokyo, every weekend for a unique camping experience that includes North Face tents for sleeping atop a wooden structure that contains a kitchen and dining area. To honor their untraditional vacation dwelling, Setsumasa and Mami Kobayashi serve their food in traditional camping cookware.
Architect Erin Moore designed this 70-square-foot writer's retreat for her mother, Kathleen Dean Moore, in Oregon. Constructed using a prefabricated steel frame, a tongue-and-groove red cedar enclosure, glass, and concrete, the structure is off the beaten path, so to speak. “We didn’t want to put in a road,” notes Kathleen. “We didn’t even put in a trail.”
When a pair of environmentally conscious architects purchased a small property in a Los Angeles canyon, they couldn't have known that years later they would end up with two lots that contain both their modern dream home and a work studio, along with a backyard teepee retreat for their young daughter.