Vacation Homes with Towers

By Dan Gregory

With a form inspired by farm water towers, this getaway cabin in

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 here's a collection of home plans to browse as you think about building your own vacation home.

Meet our newest design, Plan 931-1, called the Yolo Cabin and designed by Lewis Butler, of Butler Armsden Architects. The 1 bedroom 1 bath home combines two basic shapes derived from farm compounds: a "lean-to" or shed and a water 

tower. The living/dining area and kitchen is combined into one space filling the shed. A small loft over the 

bathroom at one end of the living room adds flexibility. The lean-to opens to a spacious entry deck.

And instead of a water tank at the top, the tower has a lookout or loggia, reached by a circular stair, with a table and chairs for alfresco meals. It could also be used as a sleeping porch, which might even 

get Rapunzel to return for a reunion tour ! The cabin is supported on two large glulam beams so that it can be moved in the future if desired.

Architect Peter Brachvogel and Stella Carosso included a tower in their 4 bedroom 2 bath Plan 479-11, called The Maple.

The plan is divided into two wings: one for living/dining and the other for sleeping, which includes three

bedrooms on the ground floor and the tower bedroom on the floor above. The room arrangement offers flexibility: night owls can use the living room and kitchen without disturbing anyone who has already gone to

sleep. But then there's probably some competition for that tower bedroom and its great view!

Another Brachvogel Carosso design is their Tower Studio Plan 479-6. This delightful structure puts a 262 sq.

 ft. kitchenette/sleeping area with bathroom over a garage. A band of windows wraps the upper floor, turning
 it into a viewing platform. Note the Murphy bed! The structure can function as a stand-alone garage studio 

or combine with a larger structure, as shown in this rendering where it marks one end of the breezeway entry. Sources for these Brachvogel Carosso tower cabins come from fire lookouts built by the U. S. National

Forest service, which also inspired this stone cabin Plan 547-1 by Prairie Wind Art & Architecture. Indeed, the view above makes it look like a fire lookout that has been remodeled into a vacation cabin. Note the photovoltaic solar panels and the hot tub with it's own wood stove -- this cabin is definitely off the grid. The kitchen is one the ground floor, living/sleeping area above, opening to the wrap-around catwalk.

Lighthouses are another inspiration for getaway cabins, as Plan 64-225 by Dan Tyree shows. 

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!

April 11, 2016