A modern cabin in the hills | Simply Home

A modern cabin in the hills of North Carolina. It has one bedroom on the 704 sq ft ground floor plus a loft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Simply Home is a North Carolina homebuilder focused on small, efficient houses. It was founded by Shawna and Wally Hughes, a licensed general contractor who has been building houses for 30 years. Today Wally will tell us about the small house he and Shawna designed and built for their own family of three.


Our cabin sits in the foothills of Western North Carolina with a wonderful view of Chimney Rock State Park. After finding the land, we designed a house that would make the best use of the view and fit in with the surroundings. The shed roof design with a high vaulted ceiling and extra space in the loft makes the home feel much bigger than its 704 square feet.

The front of the house faces north towards the mountains. We put most of the windows on this side to get a wonderful view from every room. The north windows allow lots of indirect light to flood the home instead of direct light from the south which would make harsh shadows. In our climate it was more important for us to use passive solar techniques in the design for summer cooling purposes instead of focusing on maximizing heat absorption in the winter. During the peak months of summer, none of the windows have any sun directly entering them from 10 AM until 4 PM. Then the trees on the west side start creating shade to help out.

A modern cabin in the hills of North Carolina. It has one bedroom on the 704 sq ft ground floor plus a loft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

We used a metal roof for it’s ability to reflect heat and it’s durability. We set the screen porch on the east side of the house so it has a view of the sunrise and gets some morning sun but is shaded all afternoon during the summer. That way it is still pleasant enough to enjoy dinner in the evening. The front deck is well-shaded and allows us to enjoy watching the sunsets and the weather rolling off of the mountains.

A modern cabin in the hills of North Carolina. It has one bedroom on the 704 sq ft ground floor plus a loft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Storage space is valuable in a small home and we knew that we needed to plan properly if this size home was going to work. We added a large closet for the things we need. It is a multi-use area that is also the laundry and the hallway between the great room and the bedroom. We built stairs to the loft that give us extra bookshelves and kitchen storage. The loft has a sleeping area for our daughter and more space for storing things that we don’t need immediately. We added a bookshelf in the bedroom, above the door frame, that wraps around three walls.

A modern cabin in the hills of North Carolina. It has one bedroom on the 704 sq ft ground floor plus a loft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Using natural materials was important to us so we used pine floors and tile in the bathroom and on the countertops. The siding is pine board and batten from a local sawmill. We didn’t want the deck railings to obscure the wonderful view, so we used stainless steel cables. Our little home costs us less to run and is easy to keep clean while giving us time to enjoy the natural beauty around us.

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