A Hollywood Director’s Refined Off-the-Grid Man Cabin by Commune Design

Where does Anthony Russo come from – who, with his brother, co-directed four Marvel films, including the highest-grossing film of all time, Avengers: Endgame– go decompress? In the wilderness of the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, where his 1900s cabin awaits you with the promise of off-grid, Thanos-style loneliness.

The Russo Stone Retreat was originally built as part of the U.S. Forest Service’s program to promote responsible land use. The wanted director was captivated by the idea of ​​having a remote place to get away from the constant buzz of phone alerts and the intricacies of modern life. But if he was more than willing to confuse him, he preferred to do it in style. Enter Commune Design, whose work for Ace Hotels had caught his attention, he told AD in a recent interview.

The footprint of the structure measures only 600 square feet, so one would be forgiven for assuming that this must have been a small and quick project for Commune. Building and renovating in a secluded area accessible only by a canyon trail, however, meant everything had to be brought on foot, either via a hand-made wheel barrel or pack mule. “We started the project in the fall of 2017”, tells us Steven Johanknecht from Commune. “Most of it was finished by fall 2019.”

Yes, it is still a work in progress; the storage and shower cabins are not yet finished. But luckily, Johanknecht’s client knows a thing or two about complex projects.

Photograph by Stephen Kent Johnson, courtesy of Commune Design.

The cabin is perched along a picturesque creek laden with rocks.  The exterior remains unchanged except for a new front door and fresh paint (Farrow & Ball Studio Green).  The lower part of the cabin must be a dormitory, still unfinished.
Above: The cabin is perched along a picturesque creek laden with rocks. The exterior remains unchanged except for a new front door and fresh paint (Farrow & Ball Studio Green). The lower part of the cabin must be a dormitory, still unfinished.
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Above: “The solid white oak Dutch door is new, and we worked with Van Cronenberg Hardware to make a custom bronze door handle that is a direct cast of a stone taken from the stream in front of the cabin” , explains Johanknecht.

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