Nick and Lilah’s Glass Cabin

by Kent Griswold on August 6th, 2013. 66 Comments
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Guest Post by Jordan Long

In 2012, Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz quit their jobs and set off to build a glass cabin in the mountains of West Virginia.

Nick is a photographer who specializes in tintypes taken with a camera he made himself. He currently works for a landscape company in Milwaukee designing one-of-a-kind objects and spends his off time travelling the country looking for adventure.

Lilah is a designer. She has made several clothing lines, each one coinciding with the city/place she inhabits. She currently sells her work in New York boutiques and also works for a landscaping company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Half Cut Tea

glass cabin

glass cabin landscape

Nick and Lilah

interior

interior 1

interior 2

looking at the view

66 Responses to “Nick and Lilah’s Glass Cabin”

  1. di says:

    Looks just like Derek Diedrickson’s design.

  2. di says:

    Would like to see some interior images.

  3. alice h says:

    Yikes, that’s a lot of wndows to wash! Hope they get a disount on cleaner of choice. I’ve always liked window houses though, especially if there’s a special view. Seem like very interesting people too.

  4. Karen says:

    Wonderful. Try stenciling and etching cream. You will love the subtle nature of etched glass.

  5. elaine says:

    what an awesome view, I also like your simple way of life.

  6. melika says:

    such a warm, heartfelt story – a beautifully made video. i’m wondering: how is the home kept warm during the winter months? is there insulation? thank you for sharing!

    • lilah says:

      Thank you!
      We havent spent any deep winters there yet, but it keeps pretty warm with the late afternoon sun and the little wood stove!

  7. Zoe says:

    Such a beautiful place to live :)

  8. Renee says:

    It looks so eloquent. I definitely feel the full side of windows speaks to minimalists and artists alike. Wonderful film as well! I too am curious to find out about heating efficiency or whether this is just a warm weather residence?

  9. Scott says:

    Great video and cabin! Just a note, though – the link says ‘cup’ instead of ‘cut’.

  10. TomLeeM says:

    It has a nice blend of hillbilly and modern design. I like the design. It looks really nice.

    • Nick says:

      Thanks! We were definitely attempting to make an interesting and beatiful design, but also keep in our minds what space it inhabits and in some way work with the local vernacular style

    • D. Whit says:

      What exactly is “hillbilly” design ?

      Those of us from the mountains would like to know ?

  11. I LOVE IT CONGRAT THAT IS MY WISH……

  12. Living heaven on earth god has blessed you well.

  13. william araujo says:

    Thats really really really really sweet!! What a marvelous creation… wow!
    Hope to see more pics or videos!

  14. afisher says:

    love the short on this and their other shorts on artists. very lovely. and the house is just right up my alley. an artist’s retreat in every way that i love. pdx rocks i am told. must to visit soon!

    • Jordan says:

      Thanks for the kind words about our documentaries. Their cabin is an oasis indeed.

      Portland does rock, we’ve shot a few docs up there and LOVE it.

      • Nick says:

        Half-cut Tea is awesome and they have been busy making many more good looking docs. Check them out, thanks Matt & Jordan !!

  15. bob adams says:

    Handcrafted!!!!

  16. lucy bobb says:

    Hummmm …. now I know what to do with that stack of windows I’ve stashed in the barn! (have a barn but no house yet!) Love the combo of pioneer cabin & modern window -views. Just being able to look out the windows at the view would be both peaceful & invigorating. I couldn’t get the video … any hints on how to fit the windows together?

    • lilah says:

      fantastic, please send pictures when you begin to build!!
      regarding fitting the windows together, we started off trying to use math and make a plan, but both of those are not our strong suit so we basically were winging it and it worked out almost perfect! tip-trust your instinct, and dont put all the screwing in right away!

    • Nick says:

      Also using a post and beam frame helps a lot, it supports the roof and leaves all the wall space you want available for whatever you desire!

      • Tom Buese says:

        Nice design & workmanship!

        The glass wall does not appear to have any “shear resisting” capability? You either need to have “moment resisting connections” in the post & beams on the glass wall, or “shear walls” to resist the lateral force of the wind on the building. That is the most critical part of designing this type of structure in places where there are building codes, large wind, snow, or earthquake conditions.

        Best Regards,

        Tom Buese, Architect

        • Sally says:

          I was wondering the same thing myself. Where’s the caulking? Where’s the support!!!! In high winds or serious thunderstorm, that side of the house is a catastrophic domino theory in the making. Yes, the rustic interior is beautiful. I love windows and this place is very artsy but looks like an emergency room visit waiting to happen. Sorry to be so negative, but the photos are showing beauty, not structure.

  17. Pelle says:

    I’m running my own window cleaning company in Sweden, but I love the cabin!
    Love all creative ppl who challenge old ideas.

  18. Alexandra says:

    I love this glass cabin! It’s simple, beautiful and serene. Well done!

  19. John in Brisbane says:

    Nothing but love for these people, the idea and the little vid that I just watched. Time to start hoarding windows!

    PS – West Virginia – almost heaven I’ve heard :-)

  20. Nancy says:

    I’ve seen things like this done before. I didn’t see a kitchen/bathroom? I’m assuming they’re not living off the grid since I didn’t see solar/wind, or gardens for growing food. Is this more of a weekend cabin then? Not full time? And no kids…

  21. Nancy says:

    Also- are there any out buildings? Garage, shed, barn?

    • lilah says:

      There are several other buildings on the property about a mile and a half from the window house, one with a bathroom and kitchen. Thus far the longest we have spent there is 6 months. There is a small garden we keep about a mile down the road, and no power in the window house, just passive solar heat in the evenings, candles, and a wood stove! and no kids yet maybe someday!

  22. Artist81 says:

    Wow!!! So inspiring!!! I love everything about this. :)

  23. phil says:

    Love the cabin. The exact placement is what I’m wondering about. I’m in Louisville Ky, and I know West Virginia is about the same latitude we are here, which means summers in the 90s and winters in the teens sometimes. With those windows and (I guess) southern exposure, winters should be great, but why not set the cabin back into the woods a bit so you’d have shade in the summer, and with those deciduous trees, sun in the winter?

    • lilah says:

      We are at the most southern point of WV. The cabin is set back in the woods with the front wall right at the edge of the field. The southern sunset really warms the place up nice in the winter, but if the summer you have to hope for an afternoon breeze!

  24. […] are certainly some tiny pads that make the prospect look very appealing. Take this dream-like glass cabin for instance, built by Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz in the mountains of West Virginia. Fully […]

  25. carrie monday says:

    GREAT JOB, FOLKS!!!! I, too, built my own cabin (30′ x 30′) in the woods. My ex husband, my son and I worked on the cabin for 7 years, and documented the entire process with the camera. I’m sure we nailed 10,000 nails, but what reward when it was finished! Happy Life in your little corner of the world!!

  26. lilah says:

    A large thank you for all the wonderful comments. We are so lucky to have this beautiful documentary made by Half Cut Tea (http://www.halfcuttea.com)!
    -Lilah and Nick

  27. Br. Curt Beardsley says:

    Wow! What a gifted and wonderful couple you are. All involved in this video are truly blessed with talent. The house is truly a work of art and I can only imagine the wonderful times you have there. Enjoy your journey through life.

  28. Howie says:

    Turning a whole side of a house into windows of different sizes, now that’s beautiful.

  29. sallymander58 says:

    Loved this. It is wonderful to see young people who have a vision of what life is all about and goes for it. Beautiful

  30. I love it,absolutely beautiful !

  31. Deek says:

    Great build and video…LOADED with heart! Congrats on the completion of your funky oasis.

  32. Deek says:

    Ps….I’d love to feature it in a book on micro dwellings I’m working on…..who do I talk to? Kidcedar at gmail.com

  33. carolyn says:

    I’m from Williamson, WVa! Are you close by? I don’t recognize the terrain. It is so comfy, cozy looking and would be a very inspiring yet peaceful place to spend time. Love it!!

  34. Rita says:

    Can Life get any BETTER?

  35. Lynne says:

    Love the house and the video.
    So are the windows just screwed together or is there some additional framework other than the post and beam? Did you put them in one at a time? Love the idea of repurposing

    • Sally says:

      Still waiting for a response to the actual construction myself. “Stack and nail” is not good building practice when dealing with windows. I hope they have bracing and framing that just doesn’t show up in the photos. Otherwise, this is not remotely safe.

  36. Chokyi says:

    Wow – beautiful home, incredible light and space and view and beautiful little film. Thanks to Nick & Lilah for the home and being themselves and to Jordan & Matt for the film. You’ve all inspired me and made my Saturday!

  37. […] Tiny House Blog was nice enough to feature our episode on Nick Olson & Lilah Horwitz. […]

  38. It’s comforting to see places still being built that leave fingerprints : )

  39. Tonja says:

    Wow, but who of you cleans the Windows after a rain shower?

  40. B Ratcliff says:

    You two have captured more than just the creation of a delightful get-a-way, you’ve found that special spirit within each other.

    My wife and me restored a 113 year old farmhouse. Only those who love old things can “really” understand how it changes not only our lifestyles, but also the way we approach life. Our greatest treasures are linens nearly 200 years old (yet perfect), imperfect yet perfect old furniture, and an Elgin/National pocket watch created between 1872 – 1876 plus of course our screwy old home. Living with the old somehow makes the present so much more precious. You two are a great example:)

  41. Walter says:

    This is so beautiful. It totally invokes a 1960s ethos that would have been at home in Woodstock and the whole handmade houses thing. And they make such a beautiful young couple too! There is hope for humanity when we see stories like this one!

  42. Trevor says:

    The cabin is truly inspirational and the video too. It is great that you have the opportunity to build something so wonderful without the local planning department sending in the bulldozers. Here in the UK it would be almost impossible to erect something such as this without incurring huge fines.

    Oh to live in the USA where all things seem possible and where there is still personal freedom.

  43. J Duffy says:

    Love your story. wonderfully shot video, editing and imagery. Your glass house is an inspiration to all, myself included. Check out our similar story of a little house in a pepper tree. 90% recycled and reclaimed materials. I think you’ll relate. Teahouse Treehouse in Santa Cruz CA. on faircompanies.com. You can also find our video on youtube. Tell us what you think.

  44. […] Nick and Lilah’s Glass Cabin In 2012, Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz quit their jobs and set off to build a glass cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. Nick is a photographer who specializes in tintypes taken with a camera he made himself. He currently works for a landscape company in Milwaukee designing one-of-a-kind objects and spends his off time travelling the country looking for adventure. Lilah is a designer. She has made several clothing lines, each one coinciding with the city/place she inhabits. She currently sells her work in New York boutiques and also works for a landscaping company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. […]

  45. Ian says:

    Awesome but two things bother me 1. the flag being dirty and tied up like that. the flag has protocols and this is disrespect 2. the flaking paint on the table, windows etc is probably lead-based. even for adults it can be dangerous. I’d suggest painting it over

  46. Ava Smith says:

    Hi, nice pictures shared by you. Your glass cabin really looking awesome

  47. […] In 2012, Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz quit their jobs and set off to build a glass cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. Nick is a photographer who specializes in tintypes taken with a camera he made himself. He currently works for a landscape company in Milwaukee designing one-of-a-kind objects and spends his off time travelling the country looking for adventure. via Tiny House Blog […]

  48. […] where, inspired by the spectacle of the slowly setting sun, the couple first imagined plans for a house wherein one was enshrouded with natural light – whether the intense burning of colors amidst […]

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