Why We Love Towers!

By Dan Gregory

With a form inspired by farm water towers, this getaway cabin includes a viewing platform at the top.

There's something vividly romantic about a small tower -- it draws the eye and stimulates the mind. The allure is a little paradoxical because historically, towers were often emblems of enclosure, if not imprisonment -- think Rapunzel in the Grimm's fairy tale or the Tower of London! But now homeowners are building little towers to capture views and use as getaways. So, since summer officially begins tomorrow, here are some tower cabins to prompt your vacation daydreams.

Architect Lewis Butler designed a cabin for a flat farmland site in California's Central Valley that drew inspiration from the area's water towers and lean-to structures.


The tower contains a bedroom below and a loggia at the top, which allows views to the horizon. The shed roofed structure (the lean-to) contains the kitchen/living area opening to a porch.

Fire lookouts built by the National Forest Service are another inspiration -- as demonstrated in our Plan 547-1 by Prairie Wind Architecture, shown below.

This little stone cabin in Montana contains a kitchen below the living/sleeping room with its wrap-around balcony.

In the original design the WC is in an outhouse and there is a separate hot tub with is own view over the trees.

The diminutive studio tower designed by architect Peter Brachvogel with Stella Carosso also recalls a fire lookout, and includes a one-stall garage at its base. It's our Plan 479-6.

Here's the plan of the studio on the "lookout floor." Note the kitchenette and the fold-out Murphy bed.


The little tower can stand alone or be incorporated into a larger home, as shown in this example by the Brachvogel firm.


Lighthouses are another inspiration for getaway cabins, as this example by Dan Tyree shows. It's our Plan 64-225.

The 2 bedroom plan is called "Beaufort Scale" -- "named for the system of measuring wind speed based on observed sea conditions, created by Sir Francis Beaufort," according to the designer.

Bedrooms on the ground floor, kitchen on the second, and living/overlook at the top. Now this is a design that really says summer!

06/20/2014