Dogtrot Cabin

The Dogtrot Cabin was designed for a young couple who spend their weeks teaching and acting in Manhattan and their weekends growing vegetables in upstate New York.  Their request was simple: a modest cabin they could build themselves, that could operate year round with minimal costs and that could be realized for under $20,000. 

Our response was equally simple.  The structure is wood framed with no unusual parts or connections.  Six concrete pier foundations can be dug and formed over a weekend.  Our construction drawings went beyond what we would provide a professional builder and broke down the structure into parts that could be built separately and later combined to further simplify the process. 

Year round use is encouraged through the incorporation of the traditional “dogtrot” form that separates an insulated and heated room at one end from a composting toilet and store room at the other end with a covered porch.  The roof of the covered porch uses translucent corrugated panels to allow light in while keeping the rain out when the space is used as an outdoor living room in the summer. 

The cabin is oriented north-south in order to expose the large glass doors at the south end to the warming winter sun.  An overhanging sleeping loft provides sun shading for the same doors during the summer months.  The wedge shape presents minimal area to the prevailing winter winds to minimizing cool drafts while the open porch allows the prevailing summer winds to cool the interior.  In the Fall and Spring transition months, two large sliding wood doors can partially or completely close off the porch to keep out cool winds.