Architectural Inspo: Mendocino County Cluster Cabins

A minimalist family retreat comprised of one-room pods and elevated tree houses

In the world of architecture, permanence is the ultimate end goal—to create something that will outlive the designer. Forest House, designed by Berkley-based architecture firm Elevated A+D, is the opposite.

Created as a highly conceptual—and uniquely temporary—answer to one San Francisco family’s request for a weekend getaway in the forests of Northern California’s Mendocino County, Forest House is effectively a series of interconnected elevated tree houses and one-room cabins topped with military green canvas tarps. Whether or not the answer will remain correct for years to come is irrelevant—it fits the family at this very moment and that's all that matters. Or so says principal architect Douglas Burnham.

Everything about the property peppered with cluster cabins is atypical, and defined by a sense of rawness, though defined by subtle luxuries. The buildings are impermanent and uninsulated, though heated and fitted with custom and designer furniture. The bathrooms are deconstructed and detached, yet the outhouses are comfortable and outdoor showers dreamy as can be. The web of wooden walkways are lit by fixtures hidden in the trees. It all adds up to a feeling of roughing it, without actually doing so.

Hardcore outdoor enthusiasts may balk at the luxe accommodations hidden inside the network of micro-cabins, but to us it makes perfect sense. After all, why be unnecessarily uncomfortable when you don’t need to? Open-air architecture allowing high-design to live seamlessly among rugged nature? Sounds good to us.

visit Envelope A+D for more

check out this other tree house-inspired cabin in the woods of Montana

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