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In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, A-frame house kits and home plans were sold across North America and much of Europe by everyone from SEARS to aluminum and plywood manufacturers, largely used to build vacation homes. Hailed as a design adaptable to most any environment, and capable of being built by just a few handy people with minimal building materials and experience in just a week's time, the A-Frame became an icon, popping up everywhere.
Now, in the era of Pinterest and Instagram, there’s arguably no home design as iconic. Yet finding a cabin kit of the same caliber as 50 years ago is easier said than done. The following are the seven best vacation home options we’ve yet to find—and if these don’t do it for ya, buy old Deek’s Relax Shack plans or just DIY a micro A-Frame from your own imagination.
[Prefer to try before you buy (or build)? Check out our picks for the 15 best A-Frame cabin rentals across the US.]
British Columbia, Canada-based Backcountry Hut Company is—in our humble opinion—the most exciting prefab cabin kit manufacturer out right now. The outdoor enthusiasts behind the brand have created three distinct, modular cabin designs—Systems 00, 01, and 02—each capable of being shipped pre-cut , flat-pack and assembled almost anywhere in North America.
Hut System 00, a one room A-Frame, is the newest and the most affordable. In it's barest form, for use as a single bedroom, bunkroom, studio, etc. At just $29,500 CAD (roughly $21k USD), System 00 comes with a step-by-step building guide and can be assembled by a handful of people in under a week.
New York-based design studio Den has just released a full DIY A-Frame cabin kit, shipping flat packed with everything needed for assembly, for just $21,000 USD. The kit contains precise CNC milled wood, nuts, bolts, and screws, and detailed instructions fit for a handful of friends with a weekend free. The modest square footage (just 115 sq ft) of the single room "cabin" features a bright plywood interior space with a single, massive floor to ceiling window and three roofing options available for alpine, coast, and urban styling.
For years now we've been keping an eye on the company, having previously covered their Catskills Tiny House and Modern Loft Cabin. If a full on cabin kit isn't for you, check out Den's variety of affordable cabin plans that range in price and style from their $99 A-Frame Bunkhouse up to the $599 3-bedroom Modern A-Frame House plan.
Certainly one of the more attractive option we’ve found, Avrame offers 11 A-Frame kit designs to choose from their Solo, Duo or Trio series, each scaled to the company’s suggested use—from saunas to guesthouse, to family-sized three bedroom homes with dormers and roof-mounted solar panels.
The beauty of modular manufacturing is that each offering, and its price, effectively scales depending on desired size. This efficient design model allows for ease of installation too, on and off-grid— Avrame kits come complete with specific instructions aimed at allowing just two people to complete the builds themselves—and an end result that generally hovers around half the price of a traditional home.
Dubbed the Nolla Zero, this A-Frame cabin is the prefab descendent of Helsinki-based designer Robin Falck’s livable sculpture, the “Nolla Cabin". Newly available for pre-order and packing all the punch of its namesake, the Nolla Zero prefab cabin is renewable-energy powered and driven by minimalism (including the square footage), cutting a striking image into its surroundings while leaving little impact on the earth at just 97 square feet.
Delivery of your very own Nolla cabin includes an impressive smattering of goodies like a solar power kit, kitchen cabinetry with a ceramic hob, a locking system, two twin beds with pillows and for 2020 orders, an interior package by collaborators Finnish design house Marimekko and Helsinki-based Hotel Rantapuisto that contains duvets, floor cushions, bath and hand towels, an assortment of dishware AND bathrobes and slippers(!?)-all for the respectable price of $36,455 usd (+ delivery costs). If this isn’t a dream, fire up the laptop and place those pre-orders ASAP.
Unlike others on the list, the 1,573 square foot AYFRAYM is not modular. But it is impressive nonetheless. Packed into the 32’ x 60’ footprint is three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a stunning 41 windows. That's one impressive cozy cabin plan.
Where AYFRAYM lacks in customizable options, it makes up with multiple options for buyers in various financial positions. Cheapest route is a simple set of digital floor plans for $1,350. From there you can step up to purchase a comprehensive DIY cabin kit for $149k, which arrives in the form of a fully packed 40’ x 8’ shipping container, ready for assembly. (Keep in mind shipping cost an additional $3 per mile from their Utah HQ.)
If a white glove service if more your speed, Everywhere will contract a licensed builder partners—of which they claim over 60 worldwide—to manage the build of your new home, with the total cost likely landing north of $280k.
Specializing in supplying cost efficient wood structures for eco-tourist glamping destinations, Slovenia-based Lushna makes A-shaped micro cabins and sauna kits for easy installation pretty much anywhere. The barebones designs are meant as sleeping quarters only—a “bedroom in nature”—and come ready for quick assembly via shipping container.
Do to limited production capabilities, Lushna has informed us they are not taking on any more non-EU orders for their full-sized cozy cabins at this time, though their single-room Massive and canvas-sided Air structures are currently available stateside. Even still, imagine a handful of these bedroom units peppering a stunning property, with a shared common outdoor space, and you’ve got the Lushna idea in full.
Although a loose interpretation of an A-Frame and one of the more expensive prefabs we’ve listed, the A45 Tiny House designed by architecture giant BIG for tiny house curator Klein is too cool not to share.
Prototyped in the Catskill Mountains of New York, prefab kit versions of the A45 have finally hit the market. At 183 sq ft, the cabin exemplifies the concise coziness of Danish ‘hygge’ style, with pine framing, Douglas Fir flooring, cork ceilings, a cedar-paneled bathroom, and straightforward, block-like Scandinavian furnishings. A steep roofline and vaulted ceiling care complemented by a full wall of windows that expand the interior, making for a spacious, natural light living area despite the compact foot-print.
A pre-ordered A45 tiny house kit will cost you €95,600 (about $116k USD) and delivers to your property in around 60 days. After local permits are secured, follow Klein’s instructions on crafting a foundation, utility connections, and putting the rest together.
Based in Oregon, Bivvi’s newly released Bivvi Cabin may not come in kit form, but it is a prefab, an A-Frame, and it can come on wheels, making it a noteworthy contender in both style and convenience.
At 80 sq ft, the Bivvi A-Frame has a no-nonsense, effective design, with natural ventilation, a triangular picture window, wood-paneled interior space, and a metal-clad exterior. Get creative with your own Bivvi by adding a deck, a micro-woodstove, custom furniture, and other optional add-ons. For the ultimate flex, order your Bivvi on its very own trailer bed, which you can hook up to the rig and take wherever you’re headed next. It’s a choose your-own-adventure type of prefab.
The base price for the Bivvi Cabin starts at a reasonable $19,000 USD, trailer and optional add-ons not included.
The MADI Home is an incredibly clever, modular A-Frame design that comes flat packed and can be completely installed in just six hours. Seriously, just six hours. And that’s not just slapping the structure together—this includes plumbing, electrical wiring and light switch installation, kitchen appliances, a fully functioning bathroom with toilet, shower, and hot water system, and even split-level air-conditioning.
Configurable in one, two, or three bedroom setups, the innovative structures sell for $40k, 70k, and $100k, respectively, with site inspection, foundation, delivery, and installation all handled by MADi Homes (fees for the full-service run an additional $12 - $30k USD, depending on model). Designed by Italian architect Renato Vidal, Singapore-based MADi Homes offer the most comprehensive, most cost-efficient pre-fab A-Frames on the market.