Our Tiny Swedish Holiday Cabin: Exterior Inspiration

Those of you who have been following My Scandinavian Home for a while (thank you!), will know that Per's family have a little summer cottage on the coast of North West Skåne. It was built by Per's grandparents in the 1930s and today, it's enjoyed by Per's Mother - who heads there for much of the summer. We also love to stay there whenever possible - at the weekends, over Easter and for several weeks in the summer. It's our very own little paradise, understated, raw, rugged and windswept. Days are spent sipping coffee, wondering through the pine forest or village in our dressing gowns to the water's edge, playing games while the rain comes down or chugging out to the island of Hallands Väderö (second picture down) by boat. Here are a few shots I've snapped with my phone over the years. I hope it'll give you an idea of the surrounding nature, and the simple life we lead at the cottage!

Tiny Cabin Location and Inspiration 

Per's Grandfather fell in love with the area just like we have many years later and built the little cottage (above) up on a hill near the church. Per's Mother, an avid reader of my blog (hej hej!), recalls playing in the meadows in front of the cottage as a child, and taking a 'morgondopp' (morning dip) in the sea. These days, the 'meadows' are occupied by summer houses, but Liv and Allie still love to run carefree down to the water for a swim, no matter the weather. 

The cottage itself is tiny, and if we're all in place - the sofa becomes a sofa bed and the children and their friends sleep on a bunkbed and a blow-up mattress. It works for now, but we'd love to spend more time there - and as the children grow-up, we'd love for their children to enjoy it as we do today! 

In Sweden, it's common to build tiny cabins in the grounds of a summer cottage to make space. Known as an 'Attefallshus', you are permitted to build a 25 square metre (269 square feet) cabin and, recently, also a 30m2 cabin (322 square feet) - known as a 'Komplimentbostadshus' (try pronouncing that!) in the grounds of your property (see restrictions here - in Swedish). It's the latter we're interested in since it will give us enough space for a family of four. This winter, we marked out a section of the lawn and the planning has finally begun! So exciting! 

We have earmarked this section of the garden beside an old oak tree running parallel along the fence to the neighbours' garden (with their kind permission) - which affords both properties some privacy.  

Cabin Exterior Inspiration

When Per and I brainstormed the look and feel of the cabin we decided against replicating the main house and instead were keen for the exterior to blend into the surroundings - and incorporate the rugged nature of the forest and coastline. Wood therefore felt like an obvious material for the exterior - and we love that it ages gracefully over time. The exact wood and tone is to be determined (watch this space) but we particularly love the look and feel of the cladding above and below. 

Since life at the cabin is about spending time outdoors and soaking up the surroundings, we're keen for the cabin to have large windows which draw the outdoors in and allow a seamlessness between the garden and the interior. Lately I've been partial to grid windows, seen below. 

This is obviously WAY bigger than 30m2, but more to demonstrate the windows I was talking about! 

Off-plan or Our Own Design? 

There are a fair few 'off-plan' cabin solutions available in Sweden, some of which create the entire cabin in their yard before dropping into place with a truck and crane. This sounds like a brilliant hassle-free option on paper, but  in practise, we have a really clear picture of what we were looking for - and none of them quite fit the bill. So began the search for an architect. More of which I'll share with you in my next 'Tiny Cabin' update along with the plans. 

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you like the wood exterior? Are you also a fan of these types of windows? Perhaps you have some experience of building a tiny cabin or house yourself and like to share some insight (as rookies, we'd be eternally grateful!). 

Here is a little more great 'tiny cabin' inspiration:

Oh, and the last cabin is actually a holiday home on the Isle of Skye - available to rent! I know! Scotland anyone?   

Wishing you all a lovely 'lillördag'! 


Photography credits: 1 - 9 Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian home, 10. Krista Keltanen for the book Happy Homes, 11. Barn House Cabin 12. Light and Dwell 13. Wild croft on the Isle of Skye


  1. What fun memories you are building with your family. I know that your design ideas will be brilliant.

    1. Thank you so much for the vote of confidence - nerve racking project this! :)

  2. I just love, love, love the summerhouse in the 10th picture, also the windows!! I'm looking forward tot further updates.

  3. Oof, I envy you on this opportunity and having that piece of heaven. The pictures are gorgeous; I am sure it's even better in person. I love the design direction you are going for and can't wait to watch the progress. Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words about my pictures - and also the vote of confidence in the design direction - much needed at this stage!

  4. While I love the inspiration houses you pulled with the natural wood and the black windows, if it was my property I would much rather have the buildings match in style and/or color. My two cents! Cheers, Courtney

    1. Thank you for your feedback, really appreciated. We've been back and forwards with this for a while and I do totally understand where you're coming from!

  5. Yes, to all of that. I think you are going to have a great deal of fun and happiness. Best of luck!

    1. Thank you Annie, what a lovely comment! It has made me think differently (going from a little nervous to 'let's have lots of fun with this' - after all, it's not really about building a beautiful cabin, it's about creating a space for our family to be together in one place. And that feels important in this day and age! :)

  6. Great news Nikki! Excited for you and can’t
    wait to see the project!

  7. I love green and this picture is ...

  8. I love the look of natural wood and also the black window frames. I am sure it will be superb.

  9. We are at the same spot with building one ourselves. In the US, they are called accessory dwelling units (ADUs). We plan to build one for my 83 year old mother in our backyard so she is close but separate :). Town regulations require it to mimic the principal residence. I wish we could have more leeway but also like how nice it looks when they are similar. But we are also in a small colonial resort town, not in a more rural area. We were hoping to go the factory built route to eliminate construction headaches but that hasn't worked out. So we are going through the pain of trying to find a builder and an architect who isn't booked up for a year +. Can't wait to follow your journey!

  10. Love the wood exterior concept and the second cladding photo! What a wonderful family space you will have! Enjoy the process!

  11. Anything near the beach and the ocean makes my heart beat faster.


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