A-Frame House: Scarlet Letter Eco-Twist

The A-frame house has returned. Inspired by the tiny house movement, the A-frame home is undergoing a renaissance. With their unmistakable shape, new A-frame home designs are changing how people perceive the living spaces.

A-Frame House

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “Builders continue to start homes as the demand for new construction remains solid in a market lacking inventory of previously owned homes,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter.

As home building continues its ascent, A-frame homes are also in high demand. If you’re new to architectural design, an A-frame house is named after its shape – the letter “A.” 

What Is An A-frame House?

The A-Frame HouseView in gallery
Mountainliving

An A-frame house is a triangular shaped structure that looks like the letter “A.” The structure provides covered shelter and features a sloped roof. The homes are located in the wilderness, where they’re allowed to be built.  A-frame homes are smaller than traditional residential homes. 

The first A-frame home in the US was built in 1934. After World War II, A-frame homes began to appear in the Great Outdoors. Many people think A-frame homes were a 20th-century invention, but that isn’t true. Early civilizations throughout Asia, for example, lived in thatched huts shaped like the letter A. 

Beginning in the 70s, A-frame homes cooled. However, thanks to the tiny home movement, A-frame homes are in demand more than ever before. 

What Is An A-Frame House Kit?

A-Frame House PlansView in gallery
micheronstudio

An A-frame house kit is like a LEGO set. The kit contains the pieces necessary to build an A-frame house. Home kits are sold at big box hardware stores or online from manufacturers.

The kits range between $60 to $140 per square foot. Prefab A-frame homes don’t require carpentry experience to build. 

Best A-Frame House Kits

Here are the best A-frame house kits on the market today. Each kit was handpicked by our team of home experts.

Klein A45

A-Frame Tiny HouseView in gallery

From the Klein company, this tiny A-frame design was inspired by the tiny house movement. The exterior has stylish black asphalt on the walls and roof. Feel free to use the structure as a second home or office getaway. The kit is 183 square feet and has a sticker price of  $140,000 USD.

System 00

smallest A-frame homeView in gallery

The smallest A-frame home on our list, it’s also the easiest to build. The kit is pared down to the essentials. Featuring a concise ground floor layout of 10 feet by 10 feet, this home is the ideal choice for those who enjoy solitary living.

To build it, a team of four could complete its assembly in less than a week. Heavy machinery or power tools are not required.

The A-frame Family

A frame family houseView in gallery

The A-frame Family is one of the larger structures on our list. It boasts a sweeping 2,146 square feet. Those who need a family get-away will find this model has everything.

The home has a master suite for mom and dad and two bedrooms for the kids. It’s also equipped with two full bathrooms.

Avarme Duo Series

If you have a large family or need extra storage space, the Avrame Duo features a full loft. There’s also the Trio, which has two floors and three bedrooms. Also, feel free to add a deck for extra outdoor space. 

Bivvi Cabin

The Bivvi cabin is a pre-fab structure that sells for just over $35,000. It’s classified as an RV rather than A-frame. We included it on the list because it was too unique to ignore. Consider the structure a distant cousin to the A-frame home.

Madi A-Frame Home

You won’t find a more energy-efficient A-frame home than the Madi. The design allows room for solar panels and a storage battery. If living off the grid is your goal, MADI A-frames are energy-independent.

A-Frame House Interior Design Elements

A-frame homes come in many shapes and sizes. The homes have multiple floors and bedrooms. However, all A-frame homes have the same interior characteristics.

Vaulted Ceilings

A frame interior design View in gallery

A-frame homes are known for their vaulted ceilings. The ceiling design is organic, given the shape of A-frame homes. A vaulted ceiling is your only choice with A-frame house design.

Because of the roof’s angle, vaulted ceilings are difficult to insulate. And because heat rises, A-frame homes can be difficult to heat as a vaulted ceiling would suck up the heat at the top. 

Ground Level Dormer Windows

A-frame dormer windows cover the front and back of the homes. They begin at the bottom and extend to the top. With A-frame orientation, the home should face 20 degrees to the south.  

Open Floor Plan

By design, A-frame homes have open floor plans. The layout makes assembly easy. You don’t have to think twice about how you will design your home.

Loft Bedrooms

A-frame bedrooms feature loft designs. Most designs have two bedrooms. 

Kitchen Island On Wheels

When designing your kitchen space, a kitchen island on wheels would make your setup more convenient. When you’re not cooking, your moveable kitchen island can be pushed away and stored elsewhere. This would give you more space when you’re not preparing meals.

A-Frame House – Exterior 

Blue print a frame house planView in gallery

A-frame exteriors are basic by design. When living in forest areas, your biggest concern is protecting your home.

Sloping Roof

a frame kitView in gallery
Thebackcountryhutcompany

The sloped roof is the most important feature of an A-frame home. It’s more of a shell than a roof. With a traditional home, the roof only covers the top of the house.

An A-frame roof covers the top and sides of the home. Its sloped roof design makes it easier to add devices for solar heating and cooling.

Roof Material

The best roofing material for A-frame homes is metal. With a metal roof, you won’t have to worry about leaks. Metal will also keep you protected from wildfires. 

Vinyl Frame Windows 

With window installation, you want to use vinyl frame windows. Vinyl frames provide the best insulation. Vinyl frames are constructed with PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which makes them moisture resistant and non-corrosive.

How Much Do A-frame Houses Cost?

A-frame home are cheaper than traditional homes. There are a few reasons that make them affordable, with the biggest one being their materials. 

Building an A-frame home costs $150,000, which makes them cheaper than traditional homes.

Lot size is a separate expense. The average lot size for an A-frame home is 1.5 acres. The price of the land is between $20,000 and $30,000. 

A-frame House Materials

Here is a brief rundown of the most popular materials used to make A-frame homes.

  • Metal roofs
  • Wood clad interiors
  • Vinyl window frames
  • Polyurethane insulation

What Are The Benefits Of An A-Frame Home?

Let’s take a look at the benefits A-frame homes offer, and why they’re important.

Small Carbon Footprint

For those concerned about carbon footprints, the A-frame house is for you. Building an A-frame home does not require heavy construction or machinery. During the building process, pollution isn’t created. Plus, the homes do not require as much power as traditional homes.

Privacy

A-frame homes in the wilderness are solitary structures. The homes offer an escape from the noise of big city living. 

No Neighbors

With A-frame homes, you won’t have to worry about nosy neighbors. Have you ever seen multiple A-frames built alongside each other? This is part of their allure. People who live in A-frame homes prefer to live alone or with their families. 

Solar Power

A-frame homes encourage solar power energy sources. Their roof designs make it easier to attach solar devices on them. The home are small and do not require a heavy power source to heat during the winters or keep cool during the summers. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of A-Frame Houses?

Lack Of Insulation

A-frames are notorious for not having proper insulation. They’re hard to seal and air leaks are common. For A-frame homes made of wood, insulating them is difficult. If the wood gets wet, the structure will erode. Erosion and wood rot are two of the biggest concerns among A-frame homes. 

Indoor Acoustics

Where A-frame homes offer outdoor privacy, they lack in indoor privacy. When inside an A-frame home, you can hear everything. The rooms and bathrooms aren’t sealed because of the home’s shape and size.

Remote Location

Some can’t live without WiFi. If this applies to you, A-frame living isn’t for you. Due to their remote locations, internet access is problematic. There are workarounds to this problem, but living off the grid means off the technology grid. 

Limited Views

A standard A-frame home has two windows. The glass structures are large, but still, they only provide two views, at the front and back. Their lack of windows make the space feel smaller for some people.

Are A-frame Houses Energy Efficient?

A-frame homes do not require much power, which makes them energy efficient.

Require Less Power

When you live off the grid, you don’t have a power source. By default, the homes use less power because they don’t have access to it. 

Natural Lighting

A-frame homes have to walls that are made entirely of glass. Natural lighting is a built-in feature. 

Prefab A-frame House

If leaving a zero carbon footprint is your goal, then a prefab A-frame would be your dream home. Remember when you were a kid and you built homes with LEGOs and other toys, well, a prefab home offers the same satisfaction.

A-Frame Home Design Ideas

Our team of experts has chosen the latest A-frame home design ideas.

Prefab A-Frame Cabin

Prefab A-Frame CabinView in gallery

Prefab A-frame cabin kits are easy to assemble. The kits are also cheap. This example is from Backcountry Hut Company, known as the  Hut System 00.

The single room A-frame cabin comes flat-packed and with an installation guide. The structure is big enough for five people. It take one week to assemble. 

Feel free to modified the structure use it as a single bedroom, art room, or yoga studio. Prices start at  $45,000.

Small A-frame Cabin

Small A-Frame CabinView in gallery

Avrame is another popular prefab A-frame cabin kit. The prototypes come in three sizes. The Avrame Solo is the smallest. It has small house proportions at 16 feet high with one story and loft space under the ceiling.

It has one bedroom and no bathrooms. The smallest Solo is 184 square feet.

Mid-Century A-frame 

Midcentury DesignView in gallery

Who wouldn’t want to live in a 1960s A-frame on Fire Island? Bromley Caldari Architects elevated this home from a seasonal beach rental to a stunning retreat. The full wall of windows opens up the interior. 

Modern A-frame Cabin 

Modern Cabin View in gallery

From William O’Brien Jr, this A-frame cabin is known as Allendale House. The structure includes three linked A-frame sections. The mid-section has a living area with two floors, a bedroom, and a bathroom. 

A-frame Wilderness Retreat

A-Frame RetreatView in gallery

This A-frame hideaway is a popular artist retreat in Oregon. The home’s interior is quaint and efficient. The destination allows one to connect with nature. 

Amsterdam A-frame House 

Amsterdam A-frame House View in gallery

Chalet Cabin Y100 AtelierView in gallery

Designed by SH House, this Amsterdam destination combines modernity with additions such as the glass walls on the ground floor and the deck with the old parts of the house.

A-frame Home Extension

Chalet Cabin Y100 AtelierView in gallery

Chalet Cabin Y100 AtelierView in gallery

Chalet Cabin Y100 AtelierView in gallery

From design studio dmvA, who said you had to be limited to the A-frame paradigm? This A-frame example is near Brecht, Germany.  The structure is an A-frame cottage that includes a modern house extension. 

A-frame Cottage

Chalet Cabin Y100 AtelierView in gallery

For those who want life to resemble a fairy tale, this A-frame is ripped from the pages of Brothers Grimm. Located in Santana, Madeira, Portugal.

Sky Haus 

Modern A-frame Cabin View in gallery

Located in Seattle, Washington, this A-frame sits nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. As an Airbnb getaway, the destination sleeps four guests.

Contemporary A-frame

Contemporary A-frame CabinView in gallery

From architect Todd Gordon Mather, this A-frame is in Lake Tahoe, California. A contemporary vibe was achieved by combining a natural wood exterior with interior surfaces.

The Minnestuga

A-Frame Minnesota CabinView in gallery

From design studio Taiga Design+Build, the historic A-frame home sits nestled off the shores of Lake Superior. The home is an A-frame kit design from the 60s. 

Modified A-Frame House

Mid-Century Modern HouseView in gallery

In this example, the mid-century A-frame was first built in the 40s, and extensions were added through the 70s. Both exterior and interior designs preserve the different eras represented.   

Sustainable A-frame Home

Sustainable Tiny CabinView in gallery

Robin Flack built this A-frame with the environment in mind. Flack named it Nolla, the Finnish word for “zero.”

Chalet A-frame

Chalet CabinView in gallery

Y100 Ateliér built this gem in Donovaly, Slovakia. The chalet design blends with the outdoor surroundings. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Where do I find A-frame house plans?

You can find A-frame house plans when you search on any site that has traditional house plans, or you can also look at sites that have dedicated plans for kit-style houses and cabins. These sites offer complete plans with a list of everything you need to build the house.

Where do I find A-frame house kits?

There are many providers of A-frame kits. The most popular four are Avrame, Backcountry Hut Company, Den, and Ayfraym. With most of these companies, there is a range of options for house types, sizes, and options for just purchasing the plans or the whole kit. These kit levels range from just the plans up to all the pre-cut wood.

Where can I find an A-frame house for sale?

A-frames have had a surge in popularity in recent years thanks to new iterations of the style that are simple and clean. However, you can still find historic A-frames to renovate, or you can purchase kit options and build one yourself.

How large is an a-frame interior?

Most A-frames are not large but have ample square feet for at least two people. Some have up to four bedrooms and two bathrooms, but this is the exception, not the rule.

How to build an A-frame house?

If you are building from scratch, it is best to call in a professional to help. However, if you use a kit house, the building does not require professional experience.

How long does it take to build an A-frame cabin?

A-frames are much easier to build than traditional houses. However, framing from scratch always takes time. If you use one of the kits and have some help, some cabins can be built in around one week if you have 4-5 people helping.

How Much Do A-frame Windows Cost?

A window frame costs anywhere from $200 to $1,000 to replace, depending on the material type and how much material needs replacing. You’ll replace a sash rather than repair them unless you’re restoring historic windows.

What Is The Best Foundation For An A-Frame House?

The base the A-frame works as an insulated floor slab. This type of construction does not need to rest on a flat foundation slab. It is recommended to leave at least 30 one foot of clearspace between the bottom of the floor construction and the ground. 

What Is The Most Common Mistake When Building An A-frame Home?

When building an A-frame home, the foundation built on the site must match the one detailed in the design instructions. If they’re not the same, or if you overlook this step, you will need to demolish your A-frame home and build a new one. 

Can An A-frame House Have A Basement?

Yes, a full basement is possible. An A-frame home requires three support points. They can be supported by a metal beam in the middle, and the stone part on the sides.

How Is Homestead Living Different From Living Off The Grid?

Homesteaders manufacture produce and tangible goods to sell within their local community. Those who live off the grid may grow food, but it’s just for themselves. Also, homesteaders are reliant upon utilities like water, gas, and electricity.

Are Insurance Policies Available An A-frame Home?

A-frame homes are at high-risk given their location and material make-up. Depending on the region, wildfires remain a constant threat. And because A-frame homes are in remote locations, they’re harder to protect. Today, insurance carriers provide off-the-grid coverage policies for A-frame homes and cabins.

A-frame House: Wrap Up

The major point that hasn’t been addressed when discussing A-frame homes is the value of their location. Residential neighborhoods governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) typically prohibit homes that do not fit with the style of the surrounding homes.

A-frame home looks nothing like a suburban home. Most US homeowners would object to living next door to an A-frame home because it would devalue their property.   

A-frame homes are cheaper to build than traditional houses. They’re smaller and require fewer materials. However, another factor is location. The homes are relegated to forests because building laws and zoning regulations aren’t as stringent. Also, the land is cheaper.

An acre of land that is close to good schools and modern hospitals is more valuable than an acre in a remote forest, far from modern society.