This Eco-minded Vacation Home is an Otherworldly Sanctuary

“A forest sanctuary on the hill, a sky island that we and many wild animal species call home.”

At once cozy and modern, this eco-friendly cabin escape is just two hours east of L.A., rooted amid the trees of the San Bernardino National Forest in Idyllwild. Called Idyhaven, this 900-square-foot, 95% off-grid retreat is the vision of Pasadena-based owners Sascha and Katherine Breuer, who carefully renovated the original 1960s-era cabin over two years.

Idyhaven is, as Sascha puts it: “A forest sanctuary on the hill, a sky island that we and many wild animal species call home.’” Surrounded by dense oaks, pines, and manzanita, the home’s 750 square feet of multilevel outdoor space encompass a lower deck with sun loungers, hammock deck, and hot tub platform—all of which give guests an up-close look at the region’s natural beauty and vibrant bird life, from hummingbirds to woodpeckers and finches.

A natural centerpiece, the home’s floor-to-ceiling living room windows face northeast and perfectly frame nearby Marion Mountain. The Breuers teamed up with local architect Dennis McGuire and contractor Karl Standing to create Idyhaven’s perfectly pared-down design. “The finished home invites the enjoyment of the outdoors without distraction,” says Sascha. “The views from the windows, skylight, decks, and doors connect guests with nature at every turn.”

The cabin’s 1960s roots flourish in the living room, which boasts 10-foot-tall ceilings with original redwood ceiling beams, cedar wall paneling (hand-sanded to remove varnish) and minimalist-meets-retro-chic secondhand furniture, including Marcel Breuer chairs. Adding another layer of wonder is a large skylight outfitted with a special film that creates a prismatic, rainbow-like effect as the sun passes over the home.

“We designed the cabin to pull one’s focus outdoors, so the kitchen is a subtle, functional space, as opposed to being a central gathering place,” notes Sascha. The renovated kitchen is also designed with environmental impacts in mind: A reverse-osmosis filtration system eliminates the need for bottled water, and excess water replenishes the outside deck’s bird feeder and bath. Low-energy appliances conserve resources and an indoor hydroponic garden from Rise Gardens supplies year-round fresh produce.

Prior to Sascha and Katherine’s renovation, the primary bedroom was where the previous owner crafted handmade guitars. While the room still has an artist-retreat vibe, it now boasts brighter, unvarnished cedar wood paneling and opens to a nearby open-air shower set amid the lush forest and stunning natural boulders.

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