Holly Water Cabin-Image: Rupert McKelvie

Text description provided by the architects * 
Holly Water was built as a self-contained holiday retreat in the heart of Devon, UK, for clients keen to diversify their farmland. They sought to create a space that would invite its inhabitants into a close relationship with the outdoors, while also providing the utmost comfort.

Holly Water Cabin-Image: Rupert McKelvie
Image © Rupert McKelvie

Approached via a path that winds through a corn field, Holly Water is clad in cedar sourced from a mill local to our Dartmoor workshop. Its exterior is characterised by a large mono pitched roof with generous eaves. The building is constructed around a Douglas fir frame, raised off the ground on pier foundations in order to minimise the need for concrete. It is highly insulated – with plant-based insulation – and with a high specification of membrane and envelope details for longevity and energy-efficiency.

Holly Water Cabin-Image: Rupert McKelvie
Holly Water Cabin-Image: Rupert McKelvie

Inside, an oak kitchen occupies the back wall of the open-plan interior, while a bathroom and cosy sleeping area with double bed are tucked into the gable elevation. Sliding doors open from the living space onto a sweeping larch veranda with a copper tub in which to bathe amongst nature.

Holly Water Cabin-Image: Rupert McKelvie
Interior walls are covered in a clay render – a natural alternative to plaster which helps maintain a breathable building envelope and regulate humidity and temperature, and also provides a pleasing organic texture. The natural materials used throughout offer a calm colour palette that harmonises with the surrounding landscape. 
Holly Water Cabin-Image: Stephanie Osmond
Revenue from letting Holly Water to holidaymakers is facilitating the rewilding of the 4.5 acre field around the cabin, in order to bring diversity back to the land and welcome new wildlife.
Holly Water Cabin-Image: Stephanie Osmond
Comprising architects, designers and craftspeople, the Out of the Valley team are experts in timber construction and have a wealth on knowledge in off-grid technologies and the principles of biophilic design– that is, the design of structures that invite their inhabitants to connect with the surrounding natural landscape. 
Project Images
Project Credits
Project Director: Rupert McKelvie
Project Architect: Luke Carnaby
Structural engineer: Barry Honeysett
Team members: Nathan Hilton, William Holland, Chris Gee, Jonno Cole
Glazing: Tim Gaodin
Client: Private