Living Small

Inside a Modern Cracker Cabin

Mike's Hammock combines aging-in-place requirements with sustainability, a cool modern aesthetic and more than a little Cracker house in its DNA.

By Robert Plunket January 2, 2020 Published in the January 2020 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Mike's Hammock was designed and built by contractor Josh Wynne for his dad. 

Image: Ryan Gamma

Sometimes it seems that every small home has a story to tell, and Mike’s Hammock is one of the best. In appearance it’s a highly styled modern home of just 600 square feet, the sort of structure that might be the guest house on a movie mogul’s estate. In reality, it’s the retirement home of Josh Wynne’s father, Mike. And it’s located on a working farm near Nokomis. In fact, it occupies the space where the pigpen used to be.

“My dad adopted me when I was 2,” Josh explains. “He was the hardest-working, most selfless man I know.” Josh grew up to become one of the area’s leading custom home builders, the man you go to if you want the highest-quality and soundest sustainability factor. Just as important, his buildings invariably have a touch of the poet.

Mike's Hammock is situated on a working farm in Nokomis.

Image: Ryan Gamma

His father’s dream had always been to someday retire to a cabin in the woods. As he grew older and developed health issues, Josh decided the time had come to make his dad’s dream come true. The home he designed and constructed combines aging-in-place requirements with sustainability and a cool modern aesthetic that shows more than a little Cracker house in its DNA.

To minimize the footprint, the home is built on piers and cantilevered amid the surrounding vegetation so it seems much larger than it really is. “The goal was to make it feel like it was floating in the palms,” Josh says. Only one tree had to be removed, and three more were added.

The Southern pine shiplap that covers the interior comes from a nearby construction project and was measured and cut so carefully that “we barely filled one dumpster during construction.” It covers both interior and exterior walls, sometimes running horizontally, sometimes vertically. The interior walls that define the space are kept white so that they visually disappear and reflect light.

The full-size, modern kitchen.

The cabin boasts a full-size kitchen with a hidden pantry and concrete counters. The cabinets are from IKEA, but there are no upper ones that would be out of reach for an older resident. The bathroom is oversized and features a large walk-in shower.

The attention to detail is spectacular, as befits a labor of love. The yellow pine was milled in specific sizes to create precise alignments. And the exterior corrugation matches that of the nearby 70-year-old barn. “Yes, I overdid it,” Josh admits. “That’s the benefit of small spaces.”

Mike’s Hammock, as the house is known, has won several major awards. But the real satisfaction comes in the improved quality of life it provides. “My dad’s health has improved drastically since he moved in,” Josh reports. “He loves his home. He’s out tending the chickens right now.”

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