Magnificent Mountain Cabin
Designed to tread lightly on the land and with minimal amenities, this family retreat is still built to last.
Two generations of Maggie and Ron’s family live on a rural property in northern Vermont, and it’s not unusual for four generations to visit at a time. This small cabin, located on a remote corner of the family land, is a favorite place for everyone. At times it serves as a guest house for friends, and the couple also hosts parties there. Maggie and Ron are especially pleased that it fulfills their original objective as a private retreat, free from the distractions of the modern world. They envisioned it as a place to take breaks from their busy work lives, where they could curl up with a good book, warm themselves by the woodstove on a cool evening, or just sit and take in the beautiful view.
As purposeful as this all sounds, it was actually a random act of nature that precipitated the cabin’s conception. While working on an overall landscape plan for the family property, garden designer Ed Burke discovered that a stand of white pine trees had blown down and revealed a panoramic view of a nearby mountain range. He suggested that a screened-in lean-to would be a perfect addition—a structure that would sit lightly on the site and allow Maggie and Ron to enjoy the rugged clearing and the spectacular vista it created.
Ed enlisted the help of his husband, Boston architect David Flaschenriem, to design the simple building. As the designers and homeowners worked on ideas for the project, the concept grew from a simple shed for keeping out rain and mosquitoes into a cabin that could comfortably accommodate guests throughout the year. But they held fast to their commitment to creating a place with few amenities, and one that required little maintenance.
Because the best views are to the southwest,…