Andrew and Emma Groves have an idyllic situation going in the south of England. They make art, run an outdoor design business, create their own handmade camp gear, teach adventure skills, among many other hats they wear, and they live on a lovely piece of land with quiet and freedom to move. As wonderful as all of that sounds, it doesn’t mean their lives are free from stress or that they don’t need time for quiet reflection, away from the bustle of their work lives.
So they decided to build a tiny oasis. A getaway in their own yard. But also one they could take with them, for getaways wherever they’d like. A true weekend cabin, one that would have to be built on a small budget, however. A budget of money, yes, but also of time, as they couldn’t take months off from work to build it. A micro cabin took shape in their minds.
They decided on a minimal cabin reminiscent of those they’d seen while hiking in Scandinavia. It would need to be towable, so they could bring it with them should they leave their rented housing. Local wood too, was important. Before long, the cabin had also taken physical shape. A tiny floor plan of only 8 feet by four feet, which kept things simple and sped construction since that matches standard plywood sheet sizes, which they laid over the top of timber studs.
The roof is metal, after jettisoning the idea of cedar shingles, since those shingles are often made from old-growth trees. There was little planning for where a window or door would go, until it was time to carve out a space. This was an organic, flexible build. European larch, hand-cut and chiseled, forms the cladding on the outside, unique lines and grains adding personality to the cabin. A tidy desk and a small wood-burning stove round out the inside, making for a cozy space for reading, writing, sipping tea, napping, or just looking out the window, watching the trees wave.
In total, the build cost was just over $2,300. The price of a high-end laptop. A low-end mountain bike. For their very own hand-built getaway.
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.
All photos courtesy Andrew Groves. See more from Andrew and Emma at Miscellaneous Adventures.