01/04/2012 08:55 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

See How 4 Compact Vacation Homes Take On New Forms For The Modern Age

The word "cabin" draws to mind a number of images and meanings, many of them stemming from Henry David Thoreau's stay at Walden Pond in Massachusetts. His two-year "life in the woods" was stripped to its essence and necessities (food, shelter, clothing and fuel), and to this day, cabins are associated with a roughing-it mentality, where time is spent in nature without modern conveniences.

Many contemporary buildings that adopt the cabin moniker certainly exist as a break from the city, allowing the owners to live reclusively and close with nature for a short period of time. But they also incorporate the modern conveniences that many people rely upon: electricity, running water, sanitary plumbing, heating/cooling, telecommunications. This points to the fact that roughing it is a relative term. The following cabins illustrate how these buildings are still compact and relatively simple abodes that relate to the natural context in particular ways.

To see them all, visit Houzz.