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Wood Cabins – Sustainable Living for the Future?

Ruth, one of our brilliant tutors at the National Design Academy, spent a short time in a wooden “pod” in the Peak District, during Winter last year. She has kindly detailed her experience for us. Enjoy!


Written by NDA tutor Ruth Skrytek

With environmentalism being a hot topic issue as of the last decade and especially this year, many hopeful home owners are considering ditching their high energy consuming homes for more sustainable, cheaper-to-run, and overall wholesome living.


Renewable heating systems, especially in the UK, are becoming more popular as the more recent methods of heating homes is replaced slowly by low energy heat sources, such as biomass boilers, solar power, ground source heat pumps, and many more. These systems are not always simple to install in an old home, however, and purpose-built sustainable homes are proving to be the future of residential architecture and interior design.

Wood cabins aren’t always necessarily off-grid or in the middle of the wilderness as your first thought may suggest – these structures are simply made of eco-friendlier natural materials with designs focusing on low energy consumption, such as underfloor heating and innovative radiator designs.

The Pines, London


Ruth at the wooden cabin


There was very little heating systems in the pod. I was slightly concerned that the main room would get cold when we came inside after a walk, but I realised quickly that because the timber shell naturally acts as an insulator – turning the radiator on in the bathroom warmed the whole interior in just minutes, even with the bathroom door closed! It’s perfect for returning from a winter walk in the Peak District.

Increasingly, small-scale, eco living is becoming less of a novelty and more likely to be the features of somebody’s dream home. Timber structures tend to insulate heat better than typical brick houses, keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which decreases the cost of energy bills.



Log Cabin UK are an organisation who work with manufacturers Dores, a Latvian company that focus on providing materials and traditional European wooden home building techniques to create sustainable house designs. They sum up the importance of returning to these traditional techniques: “In Britain we had a broad tradition of building with timber, but over the last hundred years we have seen an increasing reliance on brick, concrete, concrete block, steel and glass. More recently however, with an ever increasing demand on resources and pressure to reduce CO2 emissions, we have an opportunity to redress the balance. By incorporating the technology of northern Europe with the vast timber resource prevalent in this region we can design and construct buildings that have virtually no carbon footprint and require much less energy to inhabit.”


Alinor Log House, Chesterfield


You can take a look at some of the extensive information on Dores’ wooden home designs on their website, maybe you could even gather some inspiration for your new wooden home.

Do you think this age-old tradition will return to the mainstream? With our new, modern, eco-friendly technology combined with traditional techniques, wood cabins could easily be the living space of the future.


To find out more about our The BA (Hons) Design for Outdoor Living degree, which explores the wonderful world of exterior design, you can visit our website!



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