If you’ve ever spent any time pinning or pondering whimsical off-grid getaways, you may have stumbled across @CabinLove. An ultimate sourcebook for all things woodsy retreats, far-away places, and rustic lodgings around the world, the cabin-focused Instagram account has long been a digital haven for serial wanderlusters and adventure-seekers alike.
“I’ve always been enamored with the idea of folklore and places far away,” says Lindsey Bro, the California-based creative and cabin-obsessed ‘grammer behind the picture-perfect page.
As the daughter of a flight attendant and general contractor, you could say she was born with a natural passion for travel and design. After studying abroad and getting her feet wet in travel writing, the foodie-turned-photographer worked as a high school history and psychology teacher before taking a chance on Instagram.
“I wanted to create this little moment of escapism; a little moment where you can go and dream of something and walk away with this little secret in your back pocket for the rest of the day,” Bro tells Domino of why she started the account.
But her love for cabins isn’t confined to social media: Bro has started taking her aesthetic to cabins IRL, and recently had the opportunity to decorate a tiny A-frame in the Catskills designed by seasoned cabin builder Jacob Witzling.
The recently completed structure is a lesson in geometry, light, and simple living. Witzling, a second grade teacher who builds dreamy cabins in his leisure time (just check out his Instagram), spearheaded the design and construction of the cabin, which was intended as a hideaway for Bro’s close friend, Jill Borenstein, and her partner, Matt Benham.
“With cabins, I think why people love cabins so much is that they’re such a possible dream. It’s this thing where it’s not a huge vacation if you want a weekend away. It’s not buying an entire house. It’s possible,” explains Bro. “I think that attainability is something that people find wonderful. There are no rules with a cabin.”
Facing less-than-ideal, wintry conditions, Witzling—alongside his brother, Ethan Hamby, and friend Scott Pearson—worked tirelessly to complete the design and construction of the cabin in less than three months, while Bro dreamed up the modern-meets-Gothic interiors.
While Cabin Love is, in essence, a testament to the fact that cabins don’t prescribe to a single formula (followers will find images of seaside huts, classic A-frames, sky-high tree houses, and everything in between), this sublime structure, in a way, also serves as a reminder that there is no one way to build a cabin. The design for this abode was largely inspired by the many cabins Witzling has built over the years, and, at its core, represents the evolution of his designs.
Dubbed “The Crosspire Cabin,” the white pine and reclaimed wood structure boasts a number of fundamental elements one might traditionally find in a cathedral, including a cross-shaped floor plan, protruding alcoves (one for the kitchen, the bed, the entry, and the fireplace), and soaring ceilings (21 feet high). Large windows grace each of the home’s walls, bringing as much of the outside in as possible.
“I think place should really dictate how a space is built, and what the interior of that structure look like,” notes Bro. “A cabin is a place that wants to talk with the outside world. It wants to be a part of it, rather than a part from it.”
Inspired by the sun rising over the Catskill mountains, Witzling created a dreamy, starburst pattern using salvaged wood from an old cabin that had been torn down. “Building is an experiment for me,” Witzling wrote on Instagram. “Being open to where the materials and environment take me is one of my favorite parts.”
Taking a timely cue from the colors of fall—Witzling and his team started constructing the home in November of 2017 and finished up on New Year’s Day—the cabin’s palette consists primarily of “mineral undertones of yellows, reds, grays, and greens”—earthy, calming hues that help combat the inherent busyness of the space’s many lines and kaleidoscope-inspired ceiling.
Wanting to make the most of the teeny retreat’s limited square footage, the team installed shelves around every corner and nook so Borenstein and Benham have enough room to stash their personal belongings and decorative knick knacks without compromising precious floor space. Antique skis, worn vintage ice skates, and other familiar camp finds introduce a sense of local flair.
In the kitchen and on the walls, battered hooks and salvaged flathead nails are used to hang art and hold essential tools—freeing what little counter and prep space remains of potential clutter.
Not-so-typical cabin accountraments and decor, however, also make their way into the space. Imparting a fresh dose of texture and style to the neutral-toned area, a rad leather safari chair and little wooden stool offer a charming spot to kickback near the fire.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want to just get a simple, Scandinavian chair.’ I’ve seen it, and this place doesn’t want that,” suggests Bro. “I wanted an interesting chair to put by the fire and a cool stool that could also be a table. It’s also really lightweight so you can move it around a lot and it can collapse down. It adds this really interesting texture, so it feels a little camp vibe.”
While the teeny forest getaway is, above all else, a private retreat where the owners can get reacquainted with nature, the Crosspire Cabin is also very much a reminder to all those with serious FOMO to get out and make their travel dreams happen.
“It’s so fun to be able to curate images or take the photos and go to these places, but it’s really essential, for me, to get people from the place of dreaming to doing. I don’t want you to just dream about going to a place—it’s the actual act of going and being out in nature or being somewhere simple, wherever it might be,” says Bro. “A cabin is just an excuse to connect. I don’t want people just experiencing these places through their phones. I want them to start doing it.”
To help her followers move beyond sheer inspiration, Bro, alongside the Prairie Mountain Folk School, is set to host two new building workshops this year for die-hard cabin dwellers who want to get their hands dirty. While dates for this summer’s workshops have yet to be announced, you can find details and information about upcoming session by following @cabinlove on Instagram or by visiting Prairie Mountain Folk School. Just be sure to keep an eye out, as tickets for last year’s events (one of which covered Japanese timber framing) sell out fast.
This story was originally published on April 24, 2018 and was updated with new information on April 26, 2018.
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