On the Waterfront: 10 Tiny Lake Houses

If you’ve set up home on a lake, chances are you're there because you love to be outside. Your days are most likely spent outdoors, so you don't need much as far as a house goes: a place to lay your head, cook dinner, and seek refuge when the weather takes a turn. Amenities are nice, but when you already have so much at your doorstep, they take a backseat. It’s no wonder, then, that there are so many incredible lake houses with small footprints. We wouldn't mind heading off to any one of these tiny lake houses for a long weekend (or full summer) of fishing, boating, and relaxation. 

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  1. Prefab Cottage


    This fully sustainable prefab cottage by Broadhurst Architects comes in three sizes—the smallest has just 175 square feet of indoor space with an outdoor area that's almost as large. Our favorite part of the eco-friendly getaway? A retractable window wall that opens to let in a soothing lake breeze.


  2. Vineyard Boathouse


    Adjacent to both a lake and a vineyard, this tiny boathouse really didn't need much more to recommend it, but its owners still chose to make it extra homey and equipped it with a fireplace and antique board floors—all in a 20'x20' space.

    Related: 10 "See Worthy" Boathouses Around the World


  3. Cozy Cabin


    This cozy cabin takes advantage of its scenic location with glass doors and a wall of windows, but maintains privacy by keeping the remaining walls window-free. An ample overhang lets you sit on the porch and enjoy the view outdoors even when it’s raining.


  4. MicroHouse


    The MicroHouse's diminutive size—just 96 square feet—was determined by the maximum allowed for construction without a permit. To make the most of the living space, the designer and owner included a loft area for sleeping; a large connected deck extends the living area outdoors.


  5. Sunset Cabin


    Designed by Taylor Smyth Architects, this cedar cabin gets a sophisticated, modern vibe from its cedar-slatted exterior and a green roof. The slats allow sunlight to enter the house at various intensities throughout the day.

    Related: The Great ESCAPE—A Prairie-Style Cabin on Wheels


  6. Modern Glass


    These glass structures by designer Linda Bergroth are as minimal as a lake house can be. A shed behind the head of the bed provides storage so you can stick to the basics inside. Here, the simplicity of the glass cabin is accentuated by its idyllic surroundings—we imagine it would be hard not to relax.


  7. Stilted


    While many of the lake houses on our list favor extra comfort, this minimalist cabin by Andersson-Wise Architects is better suited to those who don’t mind roughing it just a little. Though equipped with a small kitchen, toilet, and electricity, the cabin lacks heating and air conditioning.


  8. The Hen House


    The simple wooden exterior of this lake house by Rural Design Architects allows it to blend in with its country surroundings. Looking for a rustic getaway? You’re in luck—the award-winning Hen House is available for vacation rentals.

    Related: Home Alone—10 Beautiful Homes in the Middle of Nowhere


  9. In the Lake


    Seamlessly integrated into the water, this home strikes a unique balance between modern and rustic. Slatted walls allow sun and wind to pass through the central entertaining area, and an extension makes it possible to take a dip in the water without even leaving the house.


  10. Island House


    Subject to strict regulations, this house was developed to occupy one of many tiny islands in a lake in the Netherlands. The exterior was kept as basic as possible to focus the spotlight on the picturesque surroundings. After seeing how well received the Island House was, 2by4-architects developed plans for a prefab version.


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