This Cabin in Ecuador Is Flooded with Light and Feels Like a Treehouse

published Jun 18, 2024

This Cabin in Ecuador Is Flooded with Light and Feels Like a Treehouse

published Jun 18, 2024
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“The impetus for the purchase of this second home was, like for so many others, the pandemic,” begins Nathalie Levy, who along with husband, Gregory, purchased this 950-square-foot cabin in Ayampe, Ecuador, for themselves and their young children. “During that time of fear and uncertainty, we had chafed at the lack of fresh air in our Key Biscayne apartment. We had wanted distance from others, but in a way that we could be surrounded by nature.”

Nathalie explains that a big focal point of the renovation was actually the "painstakingly-tended green backyard," and the gigantic windows they added helped center the yard.

“Both Greg and I are avid travelers from a young age, having lived in over a handful of different countries each and traveled to dozens,” Nathalie continues. “We wanted our children to benefit from their inherited wanderlust, not just by traveling routinely to new places, but also by having a second home somewhere that was so starkly different from the perfectly, deliciously safe cookie-cutter first-world life we live in Key Biscayne, Florida. So we decided that our second home should be in Ayampe, Ecuador, a relatively undeveloped and totally unspoiled, raw beach town we had fallen in love with. Greg first fell in love with it when he visited in 2012, and I had fallen in love with it when I first visited in the ’90s.”

"Our cabin treehouse renovation captures the essence of why people come to Ayampe or why they leave any big city — to put down their phones, spend time in nature, walk barefoot in the backyard, play with friends or family, breathe fresh air, and be enveloped in a green garden," explains Nathalie.

“So when we purchased the casita in Ayampe, we bought it for the lot only, with a vision to start over and build from scratch. We thank our stars every day that we decided not to tear down this unique treehouse cabin. The casita is a far cry from what we purchased — a hippie cabin on a muddy, barren lot — save for a peppering of a dozen achingly tall Neem trees, just a three minutes’ walk to the beach.”

While it was very close to the beach, it was missing many creature comforts. “It lacked glass windows, hot water, sufficient lighting, air conditioning, a real roof, a proper kitchen, or an enjoyable backyard of any kind,” Nathalie describes, explaining that everyone they knew suggested tearing the casita down and starting fresh and “building a concrete modern vacation home with floor-to-ceiling windows.” That was even what the couple originally intended. But the couple saw promise and instead settled on renovating what was already there.

“But the moment we visited the casita, we saw what we had missed in the real estate pictures — this was a treehouse! The former owners had elevated the cabin several feet off the ground to avoid digging up all the strong Neem tree roots. If we were to build our planned vacation home, it would mean killing these magnificently tall trees,” Nathalie explains.

“So we did an about-face on our plans, embracing the treehouse cabin vibes while renovating the interior and exterior, step by step. After a serious and careful revamping, the casita de Bambu now lives up to its potential — it exudes light and coziness, it provides the perfect amount of comfort to please any first-world travelers, and its green oasis is indescribable and mesmerizes anyone who visits.”

Our only life goal is to spend time with our young kids. We know how fleeting these years are, and we strive to find constant opportunities to connect with them. We enjoy each other the most when there are no distractions and we are in a relaxed, cozy setting, and la casita de Bambu exudes that type of energy.


  • Dining Table/Shelves — Made by Local Carpenter
  • Sofa/Table Chairs/Island Chairs/Lounge Chairs — Marriott
  • Momofuku Milk Bar CookbookMilk Bar Store
  • Customized Candle — Taja Collection
  • Book Clock — Once a Book
  • Mini Sofa — Marriott
  • Bed/Shelves/Nightstands/Closet/Picture Frames — Made by Local Carpenters
  • Artwork — Made by Our Kids
  • VW Print — Etsy

Thanks, Nathalie and Gregory!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.