With our Architectural Inspiration column, we tend to focus on dreamy cabins, retreats, cottages, weekend getaways, etc. After all, the dream of having a place to escape to is the dream isn’t it? But what if instead of only accessing such a place on occasion, you made an effort to live there full time? To surround yourself with nature year round? That’s exactly what the owner’s of this modest home did, and we can bet they don’t regret it one bit.

Built on the banks of the White River southeast of Seattle, just a handful of miles from mighty Mount Rainier, Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture is the result of one couple’s effort to get closer to nature. In fact, the site was chosen specifically for its proximity to mountain biking trails and skiable backcountry terrain.

By emphasizing design over size, RHA has established one of the more interesting and elegant efforts in the “tiny home” space we’ve seen. Natural light is embraced throughout, and every square foot is utilized—from an outdoor patio that keeps roaming elk herds at bay, to a steel-clad fireplace mass that separates the living room from a covered patio out back. Even the garage is pulls double duty as a ski and mountain bike tuning workshop.

For outdoor-obsessed design nerds such as ourselves, it doesn’t get much better than this.