This tiny cabin built from local trees incorporates a mix of Scandinavian and Japanese design elements!

The Nook is a small cabin located in the Appalachian woods of North Carolina, designed with Scandinavian, Japanese, and Appalachian artisanal elements to weave local craftsmanship with a personal story.

As summer draws to a close, winter arrives and so do snowy getaways. While there is something to be said about the slow summer days spent in a family-friendly lakeside cabin, relaxing by a fireplace inside a log cabin somewhere in the woods where there is snow and a hot cup of tea is still unsurpassed. In the Appalachian Forest of Swannanoa, North Carolina, Mike Bellême, an established documentary photographer, felt inspired to design his own little winter cabin called The Nook.

Bursting with artisanal goods and works of art from local artisans and artists, The Nook was designed to bring the handcrafted touch of the old world to the modern era. Described as a ‘collection of stories’, Bellême designed The Nook to tie her personal story to the surrounding forest and the architecture of the cabin.

The tiny cabin is built from a collection of locally felled trees that Bellême memorized during a five-year stay in the Appalachian woods, during which he learned primitive building skills like creating a hand-split log path that leads to the main entrance to The Nook.

The wood that gives rise to The Nook varies between white oak, red oak, black walnut and black locust, all to reflect the trees that surround the tiny cabin. The different shades of woodwork distinguish the rooms of the cabin. Contained over just 400 square meters, The Nook’s living spaces are combined into one and present as a single open volume, with the different rooms bounded by changing shades of wood. Where the living room expresses dynamic energy with high ceilings and cherry wood paneling, the kitchen retains a more understated profile achieved with intimate black walnut breakfast nook paneling.

Finding a balance between different interior design elements and movements, Bellême describes the design of The Nook as a marriage between Japanese, Scandinavian and Appalachian aesthetics. Just above the stripped-down kitchen, Bellême included a Japanese-inspired tea loft in homage to his parents’ time of life in Japan, who went on to start one of America’s first miso businesses.

Every element of the house embodies a sense of minimalism, craftsmanship and earth, weaving the personal history of Bellême that has taken him from the tea rooms of Japan to the felled trees of North Carolina. Describing the little cabin in her own words, Bellême notes on The Nook’s Airbnb list: “This house is a collection of stories. Stories of cultural and personal history, ecology and craftsmanship. To celebrate this region’s incredible handcrafted heritage, we’ve partnered with some of the region’s most talented manufacturers.

Designers: Mike Belleme

Darker wood planks line the floors of The Nook while lighter wood covers the ceilings.

The Nook’s aft deck was also built by hand.

The Nook maintains an open interior space by incorporating elements such as ladders that take you from the downstairs living room to the upstairs bedrooms.

A semi-enclosed outdoor tub provides the perfect place to relax under the tree canopy.

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