The A-frame house has a distinctive shape that is unmistakable. It is called an A-frame house because the roof, which covers the entire house, looks like the letter “A”.
These homes have an aesthetically pleasing shape and are affordable to build. Further, it is popular among outdoor enthusiasts because there are low environmental footprint options like sustainable kit homes and prefab A-frame cabins. These are energy efficient and use sustainable materials.
The A-Frame House
The A-frame house has been a popular design throughout history. However, because the simple design was easy and cheap to build, the style had a major comeback in the decades following World War II. It has remained popular because of its design, adaptable to many forms.
A-Frame House Plans
An A-frame plan is attractive because it is simple to build and still modifiable to suit different needs. The cost to build an A-frame is less than for a traditional style home design.
All A-frame plans are similar in that they have a high peaked roofline. Under the roof, there are a series of rafters and trusses that join at the peak and descend to the ground without an intervening wall.
A-frames range in size, but most are modest. They can have up to three or four bedrooms though it is more typical to have two bedrooms and few bathrooms. Most A-frames have large windows at each end that allow ample natural light into the home.
Pros of A-Frame Houses
- Simple and modern design
- Building design that is scalable up or down
- Perfect for off-grid installations
- Total cost is less than for a traditional home
- A design that stands up well to the outdoor elements
Cons of A-Frame Houses
- Most A-frame homes have less square footage than typical homes
- Window placement and the window amount is limited
- These homes don’t allow as much modification as traditional homes
A-Frame House Kits
A-frame house kits and cabin kits have been popular since the 1950s. They have been sold by everyone from major department stores like Sears and Macys to smaller manufacturers. Also, prefab A-frame homes are common because they can be built by people with little former experience. They feature quick assembly. They take around a few weeks to be put together with a small group of builders.
There are many popular companies where you can purchase A-frame kits. This includes the Backcountry Hut Company and Avrame, just to name two.
A-Frame Houses for Inspiration
We are going to take you through a lookbook of some current A-frame kit form cabins that you can purchase, historic A-frames that have been renovated, and luxury A-frames built from scratch.
Prefab A-Frame Cabin
A prefab A-frame cabin kit is appealing because it can be assembled by just two people. Also, they are affordable and perfect for a vacation space.
For example, this cabin kit from the Backcountry Hut Company is the Hut System 00. It is a single room A-frame cabin that comes flat packed with an easy installation guide. Four to five people can assemble this cabin in less than a week. Further, the cabin doesn’t require heavy machinery, so it can be assembled in a more out-of-the-way site.
The one room can be modified and used as a single bedroom, art room, yoga studio, etc. The base price for this model is $56, 495 CAD.
Small A-Frame Cabin
Avrame is another popular prefab kit option for an A-frame cabin, and they come in three different sizes. The Avrame Solo is the smallest. It has small house proportions at 16 feet high with one story and loft space under the ceiling. It has one bedroom and no bathrooms. The smallest Solo is 184 square feet.
However, if you want an option that is larger and has more storage, consider other models like the Avrame Duo that has a full loft or the Trio which has two floors and up to three bedrooms. Further, you can add a deck to these cabins for extra living space.
Builders can use locally sourced materials and follow the step-by-step building plans. In the end, these are around half the price of a traditional home.
This is a 1960s A-frame on Fire Island. Bromley Caldari Architects elevated this home from a seasonal beach rental to a stunning retreat. The full wall of windows opens up the interior so that it is bright and airy. Also, the wood decking frames the pool creating the perfect entertainment area.
William O’Brien Jr. designed this A-frame cabin, The Allendale House. Its composition includes three linked asymmetrical A-frame sections. The interior reflects the same intriguing combination of minimalism and ingenuity.
The middle section has a living space with two floors for a bedroom and a bathroom. It features collections of rare books, wines, and stuffed birds.
Hidden in the middle of the forest and surrounded by the mountains, this cabin is a cozy artist retreat and summer getaway in Oregon. It sits on a 90-acre site and it blends in with the landscape thanks to its simple form, cedar wood shingle exterior, and small size.
The interior of the cabin is edited but not spartan. Therefore, the cabin fosters a lifestyle of focus on nature rather than normal hectic life.
An A-frame structure works well in small form. They can offer all the basic amenities and still have a sustainable design. For instance, the builders used locally sourced materials and recycled features to build this wood cabin. Further, notice all the ingenious elements like the organic-shaped furniture or repurposed accent details.
Amsterdam A-frame House
This is the SH House, a simple A-frame located in Amsterdam. It was renovated and extended in 2011. You can still see some of the original details from when the house was built in 1932. The architects combined the modern additions such as the glass walls on the ground floor and the deck with the old parts of the house.
Small A-Frame House
This A-frame-style cottage is not an exact A-frame because it does have low sidewalls; however, the steep roofline gives it the same shape. The owners have painted the exterior black, but the interior is full of light with natural stained hardwood floors and white painted walls.
The simple and cozy style of the furniture gives it a homey vibe. It is just a little more than 400 square feet, but it would serve well as a guest house or an annex for the main home.
A-Frame Home with an Extension
dmvA built this A-frame house. It is located near Brecht in Germany. They took the A-frame cottage and built a modern extension for the main house. The architects built the extension with modern materials. This section features one wall with a large window. Combined with the all-white interior, this provides ample natural light for the interior rooms.
A-Frame Tiny House
This A-frame tiny cabin from the Klein company has the best that Scandinavian design has to offer. The exterior has stylish black asphalt on the walls and roof. The inside of the cabin has Douglas fir flooring, a cork ceiling, and oak windows and doors.
This kit is 183 square feet. However, the light-colored interiors coupled with the large windows make the house feel more spacious than it is. Also, it is affordable with a cost of around $140,000 USD.
Vacation A-Frame House
Owners can modernize and customize a classical A-Frame style to suit their needs and the landscape. Here is an example of a lovely home in the Spanish Pyrenees. The owners modified the home’s design based on the building’s location. It is on a site high on the mountain that offers magnificent views. The top of the home is a traditional A-frame form. However, the owner built the lower section with straight stone walls into the side of the hill. This adds extra space to the home.
This is an example of a cottage from Santana, Madeira, Portugal. The owners celebrate the history of the region by painting the homes bright colors. These have thatched roofing which is beautiful and efficient at keeping out water.
Sky Haus in Seattle, WA
You can find this lovely modern A-frame cabin in Seattle, WA, USA. It sits nestled in a quiet forest 15 minutes from the ski slopes and the best hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest. If you are inspired by the idea of getting away from it all, you can rent this cabin on Airbnb. It sleeps up to four guests.
We are in love with this contemporary luxury style A-frame cabin from architect Todd Gordon Mather. It is located in the Lake Tahoe area of California. While the house has a contemporary style, it blends well with the environment due to the natural wood exterior and interior surfaces.
The interior living space has cathedral ceilings with a two-story stone fireplace. The bedrooms are small but cozy with wide windows to bring in ample natural light.
Minne Stuga House
We are in love with this historic A-frame cabin located on Lake Superior. The house belongs to Melissa and Kevin Coleman. The previous owners had built the house in the 1970s from a kit. They employed Taiga Design+Build to renovate the entire home.
They used Kebony, which is a modified wood, on the exterior rather than cedar. Next, they also added new windows and skylights to bring more light into the house. Last, they finished the interior with warm red cedar paneling that makes the whole space come alive.
Modified A-Frame House
This midcentury A-frame was built in the 1940s and extended in the 1970s. This home is distinctive in its design. There are six connecting sections, each with an A-frame structure. The interior and exterior styling pay homage to the rustic character of the home without going overboard. Thus, taken as a whole, the effect of the home is natural and elegant.
Sustainable Tiny Cabin
If you are interested in maintaining a small footprint in the world, this is the cabin for you. Robin Flack built this model and called Nolla meaning “zero” in Finnish. The design is small on purpose, encouraging you to pack lighter when coming on holiday. The design also excludes modern conveniences like a washroom. Thus, this forces a lower impact existence.
Y100 Ateliér completed the renovation of this 1970s A-frame in Donovaly, Slovakia. In order to create more interior space without adding to the original footprint, they removed a bedroom on the bottom floor to create a more open living space. The coloring of the chalet blends well with the surrounding forest with the added interest of the bright green door.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Where do I find A-frame house plans?
You can find A-frame house plans when you search on any site that has traditional house plans, or you can also look at sites that have dedicated plans for kit-style houses and cabins. These sites offer complete plans with a list of everything you need to build the house.
Where do I find A-frame house kits?
There are many providers of A-frame kits. The most popular four are Avrame, Backcountry Hut Company, Den, and Ayfraym. With most of these companies, there is a range of options for house types, sizes, and options for just purchasing the plans or the whole kit. These kit levels range from just the plans up to all the pre-cut wood.
Where can I find an A-frame house for sale?
A-frames have had a surge in popularity in recent years thanks to new iterations of the style that are simple and clean. However, you can still find historic A-frames to renovate, or you can purchase kit options and build one yourself.
How large is an a-frame interior?
Most A-frames are not large but have ample square feet for at least two people. Some have up to four bedrooms and two bathrooms, but this is the exception, not the rule.
How to build an A-frame house?
If you are building from scratch, it is best to call in a professional to help. However, if you use a kit house, the building does not require professional experience.
How long does it take to build an A-frame cabin?
A-frames are much easier to build than traditional houses. However, framing from scratch always takes time. If you use one of the kits and have some help, some cabins can be built in around one week if you have 4-5 people helping.
How much does it cost to build an A-frame house?
This depends on the size of the house. However, the cost of most A-frames is less than a traditional style home. It is also less to maintain an A-frame as they are energy efficient.
A-Frame House: Conclusion
A-Frame homes have an enduring and understandable appeal because of their simple structure and sleek design. So if you like this style, try buying a midcentury A-frame to renovate or a simple cabin kit to get back to nature. Either way, you will have a place that you can enjoy with your family and friends for many years to come.