Home News Miami Couple Builds Off-the-Grid Holiday Hut in the Bahamas: Photos

Miami Couple Builds Off-the-Grid Holiday Hut in the Bahamas: Photos

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They started the project in 2016 and approached it as a side project. Since their property was on a remote island with limited resources, one of the Brillharts’ main concerns was to make it easy to build a hut.

hut model.

brillhart architecture

“It had to be affordable, it had to be able to be shipped in a shipping container, and it had to be something you could assemble yourself.

The couple experimented with the cabin design by building miniature models.

“We had a kind of creative design strategy that combined a bar frame with a column and beam structure that Jacob could build by hand on site.” she said.

Jacob assembled the frame of the house in his backyard in Miami, took it all apart and sent the parts to Elecera.

hut frame

The Brillharts first built a shed frame in their Miami backyard.

Brillhart Architecture.

“Miami had more tools and capabilities than an island back then, with no power or water,” said Jacob.

This gave him control over what the frame would look like, which determined how the rest of the construction process proceeded.

“Having put the frame together first means we can get everything to fit and work, and we can put it back together on the island in much less time,” he said.

The couple were able to complete construction of the cabin in early 2021, more than five years after work began.

The skeleton of a hut under construction in the Bahamas.

The skeleton of a hut under construction in the Bahamas.

brillhart architecture

Eleuthera is a 55 minute flight from Miami and the house is a 30 minute drive from Eleuthera Airport. The couple spent long weekends and free time on the island to work at their vacation home.

They started living there before the house was ready, she added, building the rooms and facilities they needed as they went along.

“We moved ahead of where we should have been,” she said. “When my daughter Sims first stayed there, she was three months old. It was just plywood.

The finished shed is approximately 600 square feet. The house is flanked by smaller outbuildings connected by a boardwalk that runs through the entire 1.8 acre property.


Living room downstairs.

William Abranowitz/Art + Commerce

The main hut has two floors, with the kitchen and living room on the ground floor and the bedroom and small bathroom on the second floor.

“Jacob literally made everything in the cabin, with the exception of the dining chairs he bought from a hotel in Miami a long time ago,” said Melissa. This includes furniture such as kitchen tables, sofas and bed frames.

They did most of the work themselves over the course of five years, so it’s hard to estimate how much they spent overall, says Jacob. ”

Brillharts originally planned to use all glass walls on the ground floor, but ended up with a half-glass, half-screen design.

dining area.

One side of the kitchen area is a glass wall and the other side is an adjustable screen that can be raised to create a covered outdoor space.

brillhart architecture

“When we were building it, we were working with limited funds, so we used screens to keep bugs and animals out,” Melissa said.

The couple liked the look of the screen, but found it too windy. Ultimately, she said, they made a compromise.

The hut is completely off-grid. Brillharts collects rainwater from the roof into a reservoir and relies on solar panels for power.

“For waste, we dug a septic tank and prepared a drainage pit,” said Jacob. “The stove and water heater are powered by propane gas that can be refueled at local gas stations along the way.”

The outbuilding has evolved over the years from its original design.

outdoor shower.

The outbuilding (right) has a bathroom and kitchenette.

William Abranowitz/Art + Commerce

It now has a bathroom and kitchenette, but previously it was just an outdoor shower, Melissa says.

“After living there for a few years, I wished I had another bathroom and shower. said.

Brillharts plans to expand the property. They recently purchased adjoining land and plan to turn it into a pickleball he court or an amphitheater.

Exterior of Brillharts cabin.

Exterior of Brillharts cabin.

William Abranowitz/Art + Commerce

So far, they are enjoying life on the island and are excited to begin the next part of the project, said Melissa. Because we are truly connected with nature. ”

The biggest difference they had to adjust to was the weather in the Bahamas.

“Whether it’s raining, sunny, or too windy, our daily activities depend on the weather. “We don’t have air conditioning.”

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