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Murphy Olin Cabin

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Margaret and Stephen Olin






Danbury, WI


3,500 SF







Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS)
Adaptive Reuse

Located in the serene landscapes of Danbury, WI, the Murphy Olin Cabin stands as a testament to the seamless integration of architectural ingenuity and the untamed beauty that nature generously bestows. Commissioned by Margaret and Stephen Olin, stewards of this lakeside retreat, the cabin's design journey unfolded as a harmonious dance with the values of energy efficiency and reuse.

The inception of this project began with the Olins' longing for a cabin that resonated with their vision — a vision that had eluded them despite a year-long collaboration with another architect. A desire for a spacious haven for their cherished family gatherings prompted a recalibration. AWH Architects stepped in, bringing a fresh perspective to breathe life into their dream retreat.

The canvas for transformation was set — the existing structure on the shores of Johnson Lake was to be metamorphosed. A large addition, thoughtfully positioned on the southern facade, became the cornerstone of the redesign. The essence of the design lies not just in expansion but in a delicate dance of elements. The butterfly roof, gracefully sliding towards the lake, became a visual ode to the dynamic relationship between structure and nature.

The design narrative extends beyond the confines of walls, embracing the outdoors as an integral part of the living experience. A voluminous three-season porch emerges as a sanctuary, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor. Two monumental multi-slide glass doors, standing at a height of 10 feet, become the conduits for nature's presence to permeate every corner. Here, the play of light and shadows becomes a choreography, and the lake breeze an ever-present symphony.

Within this architectural poetry, a new kitchen, guest room, and bath find their place beneath the wings of the butterfly roof. Here, the compressed areas create an intimate human scale, inviting warmth and connection. Douglas Fir columns and beams, paying homage to the towering white pines surrounding the site, become not just structural elements but storytellers of the landscape.

The Murphy Olin Cabin emerges as an honest expression — an architectural hymn sung in reverence of the magnificent site. Every material, every line, and every space is a deliberate choice, resonating with the spirit of the place. This is not just a cabin; it is a living canvas where the Olins' vision and nature's grandeur intertwine.

As the Murphy Olin Cabin stands, bathed in the dappled sunlight filtering through the surrounding pines, it becomes a testament to the values embodied by its owners. AWH Architects, as custodians of this vision, have not just designed a retreat; they have crafted a legacy where energy efficiency and reuse become the guiding principles for a harmonious coexistence with nature.

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