Reimagining Design-Build With Freres Mass Ply

BuildHouse Re-imagines A-Frame design with Freres Mass Ply

BuildHouse reimagined the traditional A-frame cabin, seeking to transcend its historically humble depiction with the use of modern materials and contemporary design techniques. With the help of Freres Engineered Wood’s Mass Ply Panel, BuildHouse attained its vision of a modern craft, prefab A-frame, creating a warm and inviting, yet dramatic cathedral-like design.


The dramatic proportions and scale from the outside are complemented by the cathedral-yet-cozy experience of the two-bedroom cabin on the inside.
Mark Rylant of BuildHouse


With the goal to build an eye-catching, contemporary A-frame cabin using modern building products, Mark Rylant of BuildHouse set out to construct a unique home in both form and function.

Rylant knew he would have a short window of time to build the cabin before wintery conditions would stall construction on the A-frame, located in Washington’s mountainous Snoqualmie Pass. With construction timelines as one of the main challenges, he chose Freres’ Mass Ply for the walls of the A-frame. Freres’ panels ranged in size but were on average 5 1/8″ thick x 7’10” wide x 31′ long and weighed approximately 3,825 pounds each. The panels were pre-cut with Freres’ Computer Numerical Control or CNC machine to easily fit together. This meant the panels were ready to install upon delivery. In two days, with the use of a crane, the 1,721-square-foot structure was assembled.

In keeping with the broad vision of the project, the architecture and design firm Stephenson Design Collective recommended finishing the exposed wood to create a modern, yet warm and natural ambiance. Lending to its minimalist design, the exposed Douglas fir finishes of the steep, Mass Ply roof-lines over the living room were extended into the bedrooms. Black iron brackets and the black wood stove create a contemporary feel and contrast nicely with the wooden support beams.

Mass Ply Living
Natural wood finishes throughout the A-Frame as shown in the living area and loft bedroom lend light and a natural look, fitting to the surrounding environment.

Download a PDF of the A-Frame Case Study

Project Summary


Quickly build a modern craft, prefab A-frame defying traditional building and design assumptions and creating a distinctive cabin that harmonizes with the surrounding mountainous terrain and climate.


Utilize modern building products, including Freres’ pre-manufactured Mass Ply Panels to speed the building process and build a home that suits its environment both structurally and visually.


With Freres’ Mass Ply, the core structure of the A-frame was completed in just two days. The building design and process leveraged the natural beauty of the wood on the inside of the cabin and the product’s effectiveness in rapid construction, optimizing the building timeline and decreasing environmental impact.