A Hand-Built Cabin in Latvia

The Place: This two-story cabin in Latvia is clearly a beauty, but all the more because it was built entirely by hand, without the use of a single nail or screw. Built from local coniferous trees that were felled by ax, on a stone foundation that supports 2,582 square feet, the builder used traditional Japanese wood-preservation techniques involving fire and pine tar mixed with Tung oil to ensure posterity in the wood. The walls are insulated with wood shavings from pine and larch, and no synthetic materials were used aside from a thin membrane over the roof, which is constructed from white oak shingles. The house is heated with two ovens made from clay.

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The Cost: Next to nothing — if you can build all your own tools by hand and harvest your own materials, like this guy did.

The Region: This cabin was built in the forests of Latvia, a Baltic nation with vast expanses of lowland forests and farmsteads, and a temperate climate.