A 1950s Cabin Renovation with a Treehouse-Like Extension

This holiday home in Hengelo, The Netherlands, was originally built back in the 1950’s. The current owner of the property recently had the small house refurbished with a modern extension to the roof. The redesign was carried out by local architects, Bloot Architecture.


Transformation Forest House - Bloot Architecture - The Netherlands - Exterior - Humble Homes

Dubbed the Transformation Forest House, the project was completed in 2015 and saw the addition of a sculptural rooftop. The extension points outward and upward to the surrounding trees and sky beyond, which, according to the architects, allows it to feel “like a secluded tree house”.


Transformation Forest House - Bloot Architecture - The Netherlands - Bathroom - Humble Homes

The design had to fit in with local planning and building regulations related to the height and slope of roofs. The rest of the house has also been renovated with an emphasis on eco-friendly features and finishes. For example, the cabin is now powered by an off-grid solar panel system.


Transformation Forest House - Bloot Architecture - The Netherlands - Staircase - Humble Homes

The home is heated by a wooden stove, and waste water is dealt with on-site through a septic tank that’s cleaned with a halophyte (a plant) filter. On the inside light plywood panels have been used to clad the walls, ceiling, and floor of the extension, adding to the treehouse effect.

Transformation Forest House - Bloot Architecture - The Netherlands - Bedroom - Humble Homes

Access to the upper level is granted by a staircase that’s supported by steel rods fastened to a beam in the ceiling. The “treehouse” has three main rooms. The first seems to be a washroom of sorts, with a sink and some storage cabinets, while other two “rooms” act as sleeping spaces.

Transformation Forest House - Bloot Architecture - The Netherlands - Cross-Section - Humble Homes

The main bedroom features a large window made up of a single glass pane that looks out on the surrounding woodland. The room has been finished in a minimalist fashion; there are light bulbs without any shades, and the mattress is simply placed on the floor. At the opposite end of the extension there’s another, smaller, sleeping space.

For more cabins check out “Out Of The Valley” by Rupert McKelvies, an idyllic getaway set in Devon. Or, Vega Cottage, a small modern cabin set within the Norwegian Archipelago. See all cabins.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Jeroen Musch

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. Again, like the “Charming off grid cabin in France.” I don’t like these all plywood walls, floors and ceilings. Looks like it is made out of car packing cases.

  2. It is nice except for 3 things. On the exterior, the roof jutting out maybe should be supported anchored unto the other structure or it might fall and damage the entire structure especially in winter time with snow and ice and storms. 2nd thing is that no handle for going up the staircase. Needs railings especially if someone is elderly or slightly injured. 3rd. I agree with Paul. Paint or stain the walls or a mixture of both. It looks too blah and would get on my nerves after a while. 4th. Add more furniture, like a bookcase or a dresser or chest of drawers for your clothes or books or videos. Make it more cosy possibly with paint

  3. @Mary J… don’t worry about the roof extension. It will be anchored all the way at floor level. The angled bevel part you see is merely a sloping floor. Look at the cross section diagram and you can see it has been integrated with the structure.

    As for the staircase, those metal rods going to the floor above not only give the stair treads structural integrity, they also serve as hand rails. Albeit not as you would expect, but they actually function better than standard hand rails in many ways. For example because they are vertical you grip them quite solidly with your hand. On typical banisters your hands are sliding down a rail and if you slip you do not have a good brace to stop yourself falling all the way down, or up as the case may be. Been there, done that. Vertical supports give you a gripping surface which can help to stop you going head over heels.

  4. Hi Paul. Been there and done that also. 5 years ago I almost due to complications from a hospital and a doctor did not give a damn while living overseas from the USA that I was seeing double and triple. I woke up in a hospital 6 weeks later and could not walk, write, type and do all of the things we take for granted. I moved recently and used a railing going up several steps but it was extremely difficult for me especially with bags in my hands. I asked for a railing for my right arm/hand and one was built and I have used that one a lot more then the one on the left. I am looking at it as if you are injured and in a cast or having difficulty with a hurt foot and I have found that if you have a railing on the either the right or left of your dominate hand, you usually use it more then the other. With me almost dying 5 years and having to learn how to walk, type, write and learn how to do the 1000s of things we take for granted, I do not take railings for granted because I could and have fallen tripping over things. It would be easier if a railing could be install on both sides of stairs whether indoors or out and would help especially when you are carrying things or when the weather was not the best in the world.
    Several years ago, I was looking to move here in Idaho and found a place in Idaho that I liked. It was in the basement and was not sure if my furniture could make it downstairs. I did suggest to the real estate agent to tell the landlord that they needed a railing around the stairs and entry area going inside the stairway and extend the railing on the stairs. People fall in the winter or someplace else and it is hard getting down stairs in no railings are there and you are injured or the elderly. We take things for granted especially if we are younger but you definitely notice when you are older and trying to walker without falling. As for the roof, I take your word, but snow and ice especially during wintertime can accumulate and grow bigger and bigger and crash thru. I do now that things can occur like hurricanes since I am from Alabama and do tremendous damage. The last big hurricane in Mobile, AL where I am from was Katrina and we had a 22 foot surge of water down the street and 7 feet of it came inside our house which was at least several feet off the ground and a snake decide to visit. My mother got out 5 minutes before the water came. If living in hurricane area and the news station is saying that hurricanes are expected to hit, get the hell out of there to higher land. Hurricanes kills and snow can kill also. Problem with housing is that they grow old and things break down.

  5. Hello, I agree with the above with regard to odd addition of 2nd story roof, it’s not especially pleasing to look at. I think something in our primordial feels uncomfortable with a structure that’s prone to falling down. Looking at the drawings addressing that issue didn’t inspire any confidence to the contrary. My first thought was that here, in a heavily wooded, low population density (MO Ozarks), it will be a continuous chore to keep the area between the roof of floor #1 and the floor of the 2nd story clear of animal nests, squirrels and birds love such over hangs, most of the protection they need is already there for them. Being close to a chimney, if it releases heat, looks like a fire hazard in a couple of weekends away. Had that point of pivot been extended to the outer edge of the lower roof, it would have made far more sense and been aesthetically more pleasing. A minor issue is the bare bulb lights above the mattress, not only unattractive but I wonder how many nights of reading by those lights before they are changed. Arrogance and a large penis doth not an architect make.

  6. Hi again. I have another question that sounds silly but it regards the light above the bed. In the other place I just moved from which was what they call down south in the US a mother-in-law house had a ceiling light and I had to climb up a step ladder or step stool to change the light. I was not able to put the glass shade back on it, since I am wobbly climbing ladders. Is the bed movable to push out of the way to change the light bulb if need be? Or should the persons sleeping in the bed use lamps if need be. I do have a suggestion for the light if possible is that on the bed, if a shelving unit be built behind the bed with drawers for storage but easier accessible lighting on the headboard of the bed. If headboard is built, have a curved fixture that you can insert the long lamp fixture that has several lamps in one setting so that if your wife/husband are reading also and one of you wants to go to sleep and the other wants to read, one light could be turned off and the others left on so there be light to read. Thanks for taking my mind off some of the things going on in my life. Does anyone know of a good lawyer in the state of Alabama?