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An Architect-Designed—and Built—Lakeside Cabin for Under $40,000

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An Architect-Designed—and Built—Lakeside Cabin for Under $40,000

May 6, 2016

De Rosee Sa are a hands-on London architecture and design practice. Led by husband-and-wife duo, Max De Rosee and Claire Sa, they recently completed a lakeside cabin for De Rosee’s parents that the team not only designed but also built themselves. What’s more, De Rosee’s environmentalist father milled the wood himself from trees on the property that had been felled in a storm several years earlier. Total budget: £25,000 ($36,281)—it pays to have an architect in the family.

Photography by Will Scott, courtesy of De Rosee Sa.

Woodland cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: The structure sits on the edge of a lake surrounded by fields and woods in the Belgian village of Nouvelles, not far from the French border.

Woodland cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: The design replaced a dilapidated building on the property. “The brief was to create a woodland cabin that could function as a guesthouse for working, sleeping, and socializing,” says De Rosee. “It needed to be lightweight, simple, and economical.”

Apples in a wooden trug | Remodelista

Above: The live-edge cladding is shiplapped spruce treated with the firm’s secret formula: “It was blackened and sealed with recycled tractor oil donated by a local farmer”—which gives it an almost shou-sugi-ban torched lumber look.

Woodland cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: Members of the firm took many weekend trips to Belgium to work on the construction. “We not only designed it, but also shed a lot of sweat and a bit of blood in the process,” says De Rosee. “We now have an increased respect for builders.”

Woodland cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects. The shiplap siding was stained with used tractor oil | Remodelista

Above: The cabin has glazed doors on three sides and double windows on the fourth.

Woodland cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: The western elevation has a cleverly integrated pocket porch. The terracotta roof tiles of the village are visible in the distance.

Pocket porch/exterior mud room in a woodland cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: The porch is used as an outdoor mudroom.

Soaring interior of a cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: Thanks to the soaring ceiling, the 35-square-meter (approximately 376-square-foot) interior feels surprisingly spacious; it’s heated by a wood stove. De Rosee Sa’s materials list includes “concrete strip foundations, a suspended timber floor on brick dwarf walls, and internal OSB [oriented strand board] cladding.” 

Scissor trusses in a cabin in Belgium designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: Trussed scissor rafters rise from the side walls and the OSB lends texture and modernity to the space.

Belgian cabin at dusk designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: Hansel and Gretel may come calling.

Woodland cabin in Belgium floor plan, designed and built by London architecture firm De Rosee Sa Architects | Remodelista

Above: The floor plan details the large living space and the adjoining small bedroom, bath, and work areas.

Go to Cottage & Cabins to see more of our favorites, including 10 Summer Cabins from Members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory.

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