What image does your brain conjure when you think of the word ‘hut’?
The simple recreational structures of the Backcountry Hut Company are very likely…not that.
Wilson Edgar was working in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, deeply immersed in its outdoor community, when the seed of an idea began to take shape. A lover of the environment and an avid skier, hiker, runner, mountain biker, and mountaineer (accompanied, almost always, by his beloved dog, Ace), Edgar also comes from a background in business development. The entrepreneurial-minded wilderness adventurer is all about finding creative solutions in all areas of life. And so, seeing a need for well-designed shelters that were easy to install in even the most remote locations, Edgar approached Canadian architect Michael Leckie (Principal at Leckie Studio), and together they founded the Backcountry Hut Company. And as you may expect based on Leckie’s past work, these are, quite simply, not your average shelters.
Equal parts romantic, economical, and functional, the prefabricated modular structures of BHC are designed in association with Cyrill Werlen, a Swiss master builder with a wealth of knowledge on the art of self-assembly. Customers who purchase one of these homes are presented with a kit that allows for easy construction; largely designed around the traditional, collective “barn-raising” method of building, the structures come as basic shells of four posts, four beams, and a roof. These are available as three different modular kits — The Alpine Hut, The Great Lakes Cabin, and The Surf Hut — and, while each starts at 206 square feet (the size of, say, a small studio loft), the clever modular design means that the floorplan of each can be scaled up to accommodate more space and sleeping arrangements as needed.
Our personal favourite? It’s a toss-up, but we’re loving the idea of assembling an Alpine Hut on the shores of a remote lake and filling it with wildflowers, some chic fur throws, and entertaining guests with a meal of freshly-caught trout.
When it comes to the interiors, these are highly customizable. “Our customers seem to come from diverse backgrounds, but they all share an eye for design, and a creative desire to play some part in the building experience,” Wilson shared in a recent press release. “These are not 2×4 stick framed, tiny prefabricated structures with vinyl windows. Our customer is looking for a recreational dwelling that is well-designed, with minimal environmental impact.” BHC does provide spec interior designs developed in collaboration with some amazing interior designers (customers can opt for a “frontcountry” or “backcountry” aesthetic), or the interiors can be created entirely at the discretion of the customer.
Environmental impact is taken seriously. Products include FSC certified lumber, 100% recyclable components, and engineered wood products, all selected in keeping with the company’s zero-waste philosophy in all areas of design and implementation.
Early and avid interest in the company has been, Wilson shares, diverse. Customers have ranged from semi-retired professors to young adults working in the tech sector — those looking for a quiet oasis at the end of a long career, and those looking to escape the bustle and chaos of the standard 9-to-5. And for the movers and shakers who hate to wait, there’s good news: the BHC prefabricated system means that when it comes to the actual build, your new wilderness retreat is ready in not months, but mere weeks. The company works with the customer every step of the way, from pre-design services to execution. While the initial planning stage may mean a six to twelve-month process in total, comprehensive preparation with BHC means that the feasibility of the project has been properly assessed and that design variables are in place, which helps to ensure the overall success of the project…and perfection of the final product.
Interested in eking out a life of land-based living? Click through the gallery above for inspiration and be sure to read all about the tiny house trend.
Photos courtesy of Backcountry Hut Company.