There’s a mesmerizing trend in home architecture, and it’s reflective (wink) of our collective attraction to the outdoors. As more travelers value the therapeutic effects of passing up big-city shenanigans for unplugging off the grid, builders are upping their creativity when it comes to nature-focused homes. Mirrored homes, rental cabins, and clustered ‘hotels’ have long been popular in picturesque rural European destinations, and they’re finally making their way to the United States — specifically the South — in a big way this year.
Mirrored architecture removes barriers to nature.
This reflective style of building blends in seamlessly with its surroundings. From the outside, the natural elements are reflected in the home’s exterior. Some build just one mirrored wall, while others opt for an all-encompassing mirrored effect that unifies the structure and the wild.
From the inside, it can be a jarring experience at first. It’s hard to even grasp that there is a wall in front of you, as the walls are transparent from floor to ceiling, often with very few window panes or beams disrupting your view. It is also hard to trust that no human or animal can see in from the other side! This effect makes for a safe and cozy way to immerse yourself in the elements without enduring them.
While the dome and treehouse trends are still popular, two leaders in adventure vacation rentals are expanding their offerings to mirrored cabins. We have covered Asheville Glamping’s giant domes, and we caught up with owner Joanna Cahill about the highly anticipated opening of Mirror Hotels.
Book an “Invisible Cabin” in Asheville
“Since 2019, we have been working on creating the first mirror hotel in the United States, and we are so excited to be bringing this dream project to life this year,” Joanna says. “We worked with an architect to create two unique designs. We call our Mirror Cabin designs ‘Invisible Cabins’ because they quite literally blend into nature and give our guests a truly immersive outdoor experience.”
The dream started when Joanna saw that some prefabricated “mirror cabins” were coming onto the market from Europe. “We were drawn to creating our own designs to allow for larger spaces and a cabin that is covered in mirrored paneling on all four sides (versus two-way glass on three sides),” Joanna says. “Both of our designs are family-friendly, and our Grounded Invisible Cabin is also dog friendly.”
Inside each 900-square-foot “Elevated Invisible Cabin,” there is a full kitchen, soaking tub and shower, and a washer and dryer. Three roomy bedrooms can sleep up to six people. The front of the cabin features 17-foot-tall windows with mechanical shades to block the sun when darkness is needed. This large mirrored home offers an ever deeper connection to nature without losing amenities you can’t find in a treehouse or tiny house.
And Joanna is not stopping in North Carolina! “Over the next three years, we’ll be opening four new Mirror Hotel locations with our flagship location in Asheville, which will be home to 18 ‘Invisible Cabins,’” Joanna says.
More mirrored rentals are headed to Tennessee
Outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, another popular cluster of rental homes is hopping on the mirrored home trend. Bolt Farm Treehouse just revealed five new bookable mirrored cabins on Whitwell Mountain, adding to their already popular and ultra-cool collection of domes and treehouses. “People want to be wowed when visiting new places,” says Tori Bolt, co-owner of Bolt Farm Treehouse. “The visually stunning architecture blends perfectly with nature, providing a fully immersive experience like no other.”
At 200 square feet each, these cabins will be cozier than the ones in Asheville and suitable for two adults. Each has its own hot tub, outdoor hang space, and zero-light-pollution views of mountains, woods, and rock outcroppings. Indoor amenities include heated floors, queen-sized beds, and rain showers with reflective glass for total privacy.
The Majestic Treehouse in Walhalla, South Carolina, was built by owner Seth Bolt and his father in 2015 — a project the duo embarked upon for Seth’s honeymoon. It sparked so much delight that they decided to rent it to the public, and they didn’t stop there. Seth and his wife Tori built more fantastic nature rentals in Tennessee during the pandemic. They turned to Estonia-based builder ÖÖD to help design the five mirrored cabins with sustainability in mind.
“We can’t wait for guests to enjoy elevated quality time in our new mountainside Mirror Cabins — the first of their kind in the U.S,” co-owner Seth Bolt says. “It’s about reconnecting, laughing, and losing track of time on top of the world in a magical, inspiring, socially distanced environment. This is guaranteed to lift your spirit and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.”
Are you looking to own your own mirrored home?
ÖÖD offers pre-fab, turnkey blueprints and materials so you can build your own cabin or cluster of cabins to rent out to travelers. Pick a plot of land with water and electric capabilities, and you can potentially have your mirrored cabin set up in under ten hours for less than $50,000! Demand is growing so much for this concept that ÖÖD has also expanded to building “invisible” offices, saunas, and private residences.
Will private, luxury builders also begin to see more demand for mirrored homes and walls? We think so! Even in urban settings, the effect is dramatic and exhilarating. If you want to take your personal home dreams to the next level, consider an “invisible cabin” or mirrored home for your backyard.
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