If you’re part of a couple expecting your first kid, the C-word that usually strikes the most terror in your heart is “college,” but for a pair of French surfers in the midst of a major build, it was “cabin.” The couple, who lived in Paris, contacted JAVA Architecture to design and build a second home on the coast near Hossegor, which has one of the country’s best waves, a pounding, shore-side tube machine. In the midst of the project, though, they discovered the woman was pregnant. Congratulations! Bank account…d’oh!

The news of their child caused them to rethink everything, from how they lived their lives to where they live, and they instructed JAVA to tighten up the spending and rework the cabin for full-time living. They punted on Paris and now live a baguette’s throw from the surf on the Landes coast, while their little boy grom runs around the place barefoot.

A smaller budget turned what had the potential to be a hulking beast of a structure into a light-filled home. Rather than extend the wood walls from end to end, JAVA draft a porch with translucent walls. This space has now become the family’s primary living area, an intertidal zone between shelter and nature.


Oh, and the wave at Hossegor? Magic Seaweed describes it thusly:

“Sited on an old gravel pit, this is the legendary Hossegor tube spot. Dredging the rivermouth has affected wave quality in the past, but it is back with a vengeance, hosting pro-surfing competitions in huge conditions, including the 2011 Quik Pro. Sometimes white-caps outside, rolls in and reforms, standing up over the shallow inside bars. Heavy, thick-lipped beasts, break perilously close to shore and often close-out, snapping more boards than just about anywhere. Tidal range radically affects the window for ideal conditions, as does swell period, which decides if it is messy and inconsistent or lined-up and bombing through. The rip speed usually rises in direct proportion with the swell height and on big days, only the tow crew will be able to get into the sets before being swept south in the current.”

Design by JAVA Architecture. Photos by Caroline Dethier

Want some cabinology for your coffee table? You have lots of options. Check out these books:

Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hideouts

Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere

Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs


Your Cabin in the Woods

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.

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