ISSUE 8  |  The Power of Scent

Outbuilding of the Week: A 150-Square-Foot Finnish Cabin

February 27, 2015 11:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

Can you fit an entire weekend into 150 square feet? Helsinki-based firm Verstas Architects figured out a way.

Verstas designed a modern interpretation of a traditional Scandinavian getaway hut, built on an island only 2 kilometers away from the family’s house (and office) near the city center in Helsinki, Finland. The tiny cabin includes a kitchen, living room, and a sleeping loft. Feels like going to camp, in the best possible way:

Photography by Andreas Meichsner courtesy of Verstas Architects.


Above: “This is a way of life,” says client Jussi Palva. “We wanted a place that would be easy to go to, and if necessary we could go home to take a shower.”

Compact home in Helsinki / Finland photo by Andreas Meichsner

Above: Located on the island of Lauttasaari, the summer hut can be reached by car via a causeway or bridge. The island is heavily forested and feels distant from the city.

Compact home in Helsinki / Finland photo by Andreas Meichsner

Above: “When spending time at the Palva family cottage, you don’t get the feeling at all that you’re in the city,” the architects say. “There’s a path leading to the sheltered cottage site that goes past a small sandy beach and there’s a view over the sea from inside the cottage.”


Above: Front stoop, foraged.


Above: Windows replace solid walls wherever possible to bring the surrounding forest indoors.


Above: Two burners, and a view.


Above: Sofas can be turned into beds to sleep three; a fourth bed is in the sleeping loft.

For more of Scandinavian style cottages and cabins, see: