830 sqft Cabin in the Woods

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Cabin in the Woods

For Memorial Day weekend and my 27th birthday, Matt and I wanted to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company. We browsed through AirBNB for a small cabin in the North Carolina mountains, and found the perfect place for the most memorable weekend.

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This 830 sqft A-frame cabin is located near Asheville in an “intentional community” of artists and professors. Inspired by a trip to Scandinavia, the family of four designed and built this exposed wood cabin as their peaceful retreat. The kitchen, dining, and living spaces blend into one, double-height space with a high vaulted ceiling. A spacious sleeping loft above the bedroom and bathroom look down onto the light-filled living space. The large deck extends the main space to the outdoors where we gazed at the star-filled sky or listened to the continuous buzz of bees.

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I was fascinated by the space. The simple material palette let the space speak for itself. It didn’t need decorations or paint, it was intrinsically beautiful. The furniture that was there was functional – providing storage (like the antique hutch in the kitchen) or accommodating extra guests (sleeping up to 7 people). I especially loved observing how the cabin was constructed. I could easily read the structural logic of the exposed beams and columns.

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The nights were chilly, so we made great use of the wood stove. It had such a presence in the cabin, with the contrastingly dark chimney stretching the full height of the space. Since we loved being in the main space so much, we actually slept on the futon. So we really only inhabited about 375 sqft of the cabin.

We had such a lovely stay. The weather, the cabin, the hiking, the food, the relaxing – it was absolutely perfect. Perhaps my favorite birthday yet…

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PS. The best part about our trip…

Nicole Alvarez and Matt Tomasulo are engaged

See more pictures of the cabin:

Marie’s 525 sqft Home in the Mountains

  • size: 525 sqft
  • type: 1-bedroom apartment
  • location: Spruce Pine, NC
  • inhabitants: Marie Fornaro
  • pets: 2 cats – Miru and Veeshy

Describe your place:

I live in a tiny little house nestled on the side of a mountain in the sleepy town of Spruce Pine, NC. My house includes a small kitchen, living room, bedroom, and miniscule bathroom. But it’s just the right size for me. I also have a pretty spacious backyard, where i can string up a hammock or grow delicious strawberries.

What do you love about your space?:

I love that my landlord chose to paint my living room with a bold orange stripe and a stenciled wall that looks like wallpaper. The house was built in the 1960s (I think), and there are some charming vintage touches that I just love, like the light fixtures and kitchen floor. But my favorite feature by far is the front door- the richly carved dark wood feels so romantic. I also love that I can walk downtown to go to the grocery store, coffee shop, or meet friends for pizza.

How would you improve your space?:

I wish there was a laundry room. I have no washer/dryer. And I would absolutely add a working chimney with a wood-burning stove. There is nothing better than a cozy fire in the winter.

What do you like best about small living?:

It only takes me an afternoon at the most to clean every inch of my house!

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Less space = less stuff, which is such a good thing! It is imperative that every item have a home. Fill your home with meaningful objects and artwork that put a smile on your face. Life is too short, and your house is too small, for one more piece of junk from Target.

A note from Nicole:

Marie is my best friend. I absolutely love her home – it’s cozy and perfectly personal. She does a wonderful job decorating this small space with bright colors, unique furniture items, and special works of art. Marie is the Executive Assistant at Penland School of Crafts in the NC mountains, and is a talented artist herself. She has a growing collection of pottery, prints, and glassware made by her friends at Penland, and also uses her own artwork to adorn the walls. Marie’s home has an impressively efficient plan that both combines and defines living spaces. We were able to fit 6 friends in this home for a weekend trip – impressive for such a small space and fun! I especially like the entry sequence from her driveway to her door with thoughtful landscape and hardscape on the way up. The view of Spruce Pine and the mountains beyond is stunning.