House Tour: ESCAPE Cabin-on-Wheels

Entrepreneur and hotelier Dan Dobrowolski has brought to market a tiny, movable cabin that feels as spacious as its natural habitat, the wide-open outdoors. The structure's dimensions (not counting a porch or deck) are a mere 400 square feet, the maximum allowable for a standard park model recreational vehicle, but it feels much bigger. That seeming airiness comes from a cathedral ceiling and an interior that focuses on the basics without sacrificing scale, style, or quality of materials. Beautiful, efficiently designed, and carefully crafted, the ESCAPE could make your dream of a cabin in the woods an affordable reality.

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  1. Cottage on Wheels


    ESCAPE is a cabin-on-wheels designed by SALA Architects in conjunction with Dan Dobrowolski, proprietor of the luxurious Canoe Bay resort in Wisconsin. It's constructed in the same manner as a traditional stick-built home, with a balloon frame and standard windows, trusses, roofing, siding, and floors. It just happens to sit on top of a steel frame on wheels.

    Canoe Bay

  2. Cedar-Clad, From the Side


    The tiny 400-square-foot structure, informed and inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style, is clad in weather- and insect-resistant cedar. It's also highly energy efficient. The prototype, now on-site at Canoe Bay, uses perhaps 120 watts total, even with every LED in the house lit. In fact, the entire home could be solar-powered.

    Canoe Bay

  3. An Airy Living Space


    Although it's the same size as the standard park model recreational vehicle (RV), ESCAPE doesn’t suffer from the claustrophobic interiors of the standard RV, thanks to an open plan and vaulted ceilings. The warm interior is finished in yellow pine throughout, with oak flooring. 

    Canoe Bay

  4. Kitchen: Contained and Complete


    "Everything is normal-sized, with high-quality elements,” says Dobrowolski. “It’s built for real people." The single-wall kitchen includes plenty of cabinets and drawer space along with a 30-inch range and standard-size refrigerator.

    Canoe Bay

  5. Bedroom: Luxury with a Light Touch


    Built-ins help to keep the compact space uncluttered and efficient. The bedroom, outfitted with a huge armoire, adjoins the bathroom, which has pocket doors for privacy. The bathroom's double vanity is flanked by a walk-in shower on one end and a separate toilet enclosure on the other. 

    Canoe Bay

  6. Bathroom: Practical Pampering


    ESCAPE is a tiny structure that’s been deliberately built to feel spacious. The bath area features a generous-size walk-in tiled shower that defies the room's compact footprint. Recessed lighting, mirrors, and a glass partition separating the shower from the vanity make the space feel larger and more open.

    Canoe Bay

  7. Filled with Light


    Large windows flood the space with abundant natural daylight and open the structure to exquisite woodland views. A glass-paned transom above the entrance to the screened porch—and the porch itself—add to the light and airy sense.

     Canoe Bay

  8. Screened Porch


    A stripped-down model, sans screened porch, starts out at $79,000. Add the porch, a heated floor for the bath, and all the furnishings, and ESCAPE can top out at $124,000, window coverings included.

    Canoe Bay

  9. Front Exterior: Stylish Seclusion


    Like a mobile home, ESCAPE requires the power of an over-the-road tractor to get it where it’s going. But once it's on-site, setup is essentially a “plug and play” process for plumbing, wiring, and the like.

    Canoe Bay

  10. For More...


    If you would like to take more house tours, consider:

    House Tour: Mountain Re-Shack

    New Look (and Life) for a 1950s Cape

    A Green Dream Townhouse

    David Shatzman

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