Cabin in the Country

Perched on a rural site adjacent to the Sabinal River near the pint-sized community of Utopia, Texas, the 875-square-foot raw and rustic cabin designed by Candid Rogers Architect serves as a place of thoughtful repose for a professional couple with two grown children.


“We took this idea and distilled the concept down to the essence of what the experience wants to be about and we worked to celebrate that simplicity of the idea,” says Rogers of the modest two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin featuring a kitchen and living space with a fireplace.

Escaping the hectic urban life the couple is accustomed to and getting back to the basics is achieved as soon as they navigate the gravel road leading to the barn, which serves as the power station on the property equipped with a 10 kilowatt photovoltaic array with back up battery storage. Once there, the vehicle is parked and all worries are abandoned as the off-the-grid experience continues down a long gravel path deeper into the oak forested landscape and further away from the technological world dwindling in the distance. The design of the entrance is all part of the experience Rogers sought to achieve.

“The entry is via a 300-foot-long soft gravel mulched path, which has a subtle sound when traversed,” says Rogers. “At the end of the gravel path, one ascends an 80-foot-long steel ramp, which is quiet and ascends into the tree canopies. Upon reaching the cabin floor deck, the landscape becomes the stage and the qualities of the experience are enhanced by the space.”

The cabin’s entry, accessed via a ramp of grate material, also allows for occasional floodwaters to flow through below. Visitors are welcomed with an expansive covered deck, which allows views out over the landscape to the river beyond, while the interior offers framed views into the forested landscape.

Rogers describes the design as simple, tactile and experiential. Materials and finishes are minimalistic and durable –– the exterior is clad in cedar siding while stained pine siding and cork flooring warms and brightens the interiors. Rustic and raw throughout, the cabin features unique touches of color and thoughtful details. For example, a repurposed Chambers stove in the kitchen is reminiscent of the old stove the client learned to cook on as a child and river rock sourced from the site was used to form the fireplace. Minimal pops of color, like the canary yellow shelving in the kitchen, were selected to accent and distinguish space and use.

“Our work seeks to express the inherent qualities of materiality,” says Rogers. “We like to express materials for how they want to be used. The tactile expression is important to us.”

The porch deck is of equal square footage as the interior cabin space to create a 1:1 relationship between the interior and exterior. A screened porch on the end of the cabin allows for dining and sleeping in nature’s breezes while a large sliding door can be opened to extend the outdoor experience into the kitchen. A bright red hammock suspended from the steel columns on the upper deck beneath the shade of the soaring roof provides the perfect vantage point for taking in the framed vistas of the surrounding riverine landscape. “At the end of the deck is the antique outdoor bathtub with an open view into the landscape and to the celestial sky above,” adds Rogers.

Shaded by the expansive corrugated metal roof, the stained cedar siding cabin is as green as its surroundings, solar powered and designed for cross ventilation. Positioned parallel to the river, Rogers designed the modest structure to be elevated lightly above ground on steel columns, imparting minimal disturbance to the site. The single slope shed roof opens to the east, catching cool summer breezes passing through the river valley and shading the naturally ventilated rooms from the afternoon summer sun.

From any area of the cabin, guests soak in the landscape, listen to the natural fauna and feel the sun and the breeze. As nighttime approaches, a bath can be drawn in the outdoor tub for a bath under the sky. The soft ambient lighting and minimal occupation of the area heighten the dark skies for celestial viewing, says Rogers. Out here, he says guests are encouraged to embrace the voluntary escape and be seduced by the natural environment, being renewed in the process.

“You are lifted to the level of the birds, a place of prospect and refuge, while nature flows under, above and around,” says Rogers.


ARCHITECT   Candid Rogers Architect

210-444-1051  |