Simple Is As Simple Does at Ermitage cabin

The idea of how minimal is too minimal is one that can only be answered by the inhabitant of the space. Conversationally speaking there seem to be two major camps to emerge in the tiny house community. The first camp believe in the tiny house as comfy, cozy, cabin comparable to a bird’s nest in that everything is bundled and within arms’ reach. The second camp is the more minimalist of the two holding fast to the notion that way less is way more and a home should have little more than a mat to sleep on and a fuel source to heat and cook with. While the conversation rarely finds itself into polite company it will certainly come to light with the observation of the project “Ermitage” –  a wooden cabin in the woods of Trossö, near the west coast of Sweden.


This black-painted tiny house was designed for a couple by Paris-based architecture firm Septembre and is a study in bare necessities. Described by Septembre as, “Two large windows frame the windswept and poetic landscape: the ocean on one side, pines on the other, with a large sliding door effectively doubling the living area when open.” And nothing more. Upon discover though it actually reveals a number of building principles that align with the modern tiny house movement.


Framed and finished, the interior seems to be little more than 4’x8′ yellow pine with exposed seems. The window casing follow suit with very basic exposed framing. The oversized windows are single pane allowing for an unobstructed view of the outdoors as well as a significant amount of natural (or ambient) light on each side of the house. The window treatment(s) is likely a type of canvas, muslin, or burlap purposely rolled to remain “hidden” to some extent while remaining perfectly functional. The lack of personal touches and photos forces the inhabitant to recognize the natural world around him as art rather than background.


The bed is the focal point of the room as it sits on a risen platform with direct view of the side window and in symmetry with the window across the room. From this vantage point the shape and size ratio of the tiny house is obvious and even allows for a very snug and cozy fit for the bed area. Without large bedding the mattress even allows for a presumed yoga or meditation area without arranging and rearranging. It is what is under the bed that is most interesting about Septembre’s design though.


Rolling storage (drawers assembled of yellow pine with simple casters) divides the space under the bed into three keeping the overall space free from closets and/or clutter. The floor matches the rest of the interior save its tongue and groove assembly as opposed to lumber sheeting. Ermitage also has extra room on the bed platform making a great space for a journal or book or perhaps a midnight snack!


The door to the tiny house is as understated as any door could be. Looking from the inside like a section of the wall and from the outside like part of the exterior line, the sliding opening serves to keep the house weather tight but also to double the living space allowing a fluidity from inside to out. Also obvious is what may be the primary lighting fixture in the tiny house as well as two, utilitarian coat hooks tucked away under the door casing; functional yet not distracting.



The Ermitage is simple. The Ermitage is sparse. And similar to the Sneaky Cabin, the Ermitage is brilliant in that it immerses the inhabitant in the landscape assuring they never forget the human position in the world.

Your Turn!

  • Is the Ermitage too simple?


  1. I think its really nice. Good natural light and general lightness to the interior. Interesting study. Keep us apprised of the findings.

  2. No heat/cooking and no water/latrine make it too simple for me.
    Nice looking bedroom though.

    • Oh wait, I do see a smokestack on second glance. Need more info!

  3. I absolutely love the openings drawing the inside out and the outside in. The size and exterior work for me but not the harsh, hard interior finishes. I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and this beholder requires her beauty brushed with a soft edge.

  4. It’s a nice starter living box. If you prefer minimal you can take it the way it is but it would be simple enough to change the style. It’s too minimal for any long term stays for me but I can think of many ways to add cosiness and comfort. You won’t be seeing much through single pane windows in the winter when they get steamed up and frosted.

  5. The story describes one room. The top photo shows an L shape suggesting 2 rooms and a deck. Something is missing here. As with other comments, a stovepipe is seen in the top photo and one needs to know if cooking is done indoors or outdoors. I would guess there is an outhouse somewhere close by.

  6. This is a tiny retreat…. but in my estimation, it isn’t a house. A house is a place where you can cook, have company and go wee in the middle of the night. I like slider/barn style doors but they need to be interior doors. I don’t believe that exterior barn sliders keep out mice.

    One good thing about this though is the porch. How nice it would be to have the means to have a nice arbor or pergola that you could take down and move with a tiny house and then pop back up when you have gotten to your next destination.

  7. Got it, everyone has different tastes. However, I believe many have missed the point of the article; since minimalism can only be answered by the inhabitant.

  8. HORRIBLE! All it needs is barbed wire around it, and it would make a perfect prison cell.

  9. You can find more pictures, including one of the extra room with what looks like a wood stove, on the intellectual property owner’s website. I really appreciate websites like this one that tell us more about cool projects such as this. But when you just copy another blogs content and don’t include the ultimate source it just confuses readers. 🙂

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