How a vertical lake-cabin added collapsible rooms & roof deck

William Yudchitz and his son Daniel had already built one modern on their land in far north , but it cost close to $100,000 and they wanted to prove it was possible to build a well-designed on a budget.

Using salvaged material and their own labor- they worked weekends for about a year-, the two architect/builders built the 9-foot-by-12-foot structure for about $10,000. Eschewing a full-perimeter foundation for eight concrete piers and screw jacks saved not only money, but left a smaller imprint on the surrounding nature and allows the family to adjust the settings as the home settles.

The facilities are quite basic (e.g. a , a composting toilet and an outdoor kitchen), but most of the furniture transforms a Murphy bed built from a $300 kit (with hydraulics), a kinetic bathroom that enlarges for use, a fold-down dining table and collapsible chairs hung “Shaker-style”.

There are beds both on the ground floor and in the nine-by-five-foot sleeping loft. There’s a roof deck fitted with a telescope for viewing the surrounding forest and . The black metal matches the surrounding tree trunks and the 12-foot-high, white-oak rainscreen doors close the place shut when not in use.

The Yudchitzes believe their design could be copied by anyone. They’re not finish carpenters and the only skill tool they used was a miter box.



  1. It’s more like a treehouse. You can’t cook if it rains or take a bath if it gets windy (not to mention if it snows), there’s not enough ventilation for the toilet and one bed is just on top of it… Sink is reeeeally tiny and there’s hardly any space to use it.

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