Do you dream of having your own unique, one-of-a-kind retreat cabin that you can get away to and relax in? The owners of the La Arboleda Retreat Cabin located on their ranch in the central Texas hill country did just that, with the help of Reclaimed Space. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Reclaimed Space is a company who has carved out a niche for itself by building small, modular dwellings using only building materials they salvage from old barns and houses that have been slated for demolition. The founder, Tracen Gardner, stared Reclaimed Space after receiving numerous accolades for the small dwelling he built for himself, all from recycled materials. While Reclaimed Space prefabricates most of their structures at their facility in Austin, Texas, they will also build on-site.
Their story is as interesting and unique as the tiny homes they re-create. In 2007, what began as a unique, speculative project quickly evolved into a thriving business with a cause. Gardner’s idea for Reclaimed Space grew out of his appreciation and respect for the land upon which he was raised to an applied system for sustainable living. At its core are four core principles: proper orientation, sustainably built dwellings utilizing reclaimed and non-toxic materials, energy efficiency and transportable structures. Their commitment to forward thinking and eco-responsibility is always at the forefront of every project, though the aesthetic appeal of each space is equally as important.
Often Reclaimed Space dwellings are clad in materials that are as rich in both colour and texture as they are in history with many spaces being created from one-hundred-year-old barn wood and corrugated metal that has been meticulously procured from historic homes and barns across the state of Texas. Finally, their philosophy of achieving a balance between mindful land use and land preservation is applied to all facets of their projects and through careful planning and long-range vision, Reclaimed Space is able to help clients reach a more sustainable lifestyle.
The owners of the La Arboleda Retreat Cabin had a very specific plan in mind and knew exactly what they wanted from the structure. “La Arboleda” is a 640 square foot tiny modular retreat, plus a generous porch area. The floor plan is rectangular and puts a bedroom at one end, an open living/dining/kitchen space at the other with a bathroom in between. The full-length porch, with one end screened for buggy evenings, shades the south-facing windows but still allows for passive solar heating in the winter. Much like the exterior, the interior of La Arboleda was created with finish materials that were all reclaimed from turn of the century farmhouses and barns, giving the tiny house a rich patina of age and a strong connection to the past.
Barnwood was utilized on the exterior, along with corrugated tin on areas most susceptible to damage from the harsh sun. The kitchen cabinets were also handmade from barn wood. More of the corrugated tin was used on the ceilings through the cabin. Not all of the work that went into La Arboleda, however, was structural or strictly necessary. Take, for example, the colourful patchwork of faded and weathered paint using lumber from a variety of sources on one of the bedroom walls. Using reclaimed materials, it’s easy to have fun and be creative. This tiny retreat cabin ticks all the boxes for creativity as well as eco-conservation and self-sufficiency. It is the perfect little home-away-from-home for these central Texas ranch owners to be able to live in both comfort and style all while living simply.
More about this story can be found at: Reclaimed Space