In my next life I shall be an architect. I already have a couple of pairs of eyeglass frames suitable for the role, and I once had a corduroy suit, albeit of the wrong colour. But, perhaps more to the point, I’m an inveterate maker. Not for me, though, big buildings or bridges. No, I’ll build dwellings — and, by preference, small houses. Cabins, if you will.
Surprisingly, there’s quite a lot of competition out there for the job of cabin builder. And even more enthusiasm for the business of dreaming about building cabins. Indeed — you’ve heard of porn, right? and then (see here and here, e.g.) library porn? (rank them how you will) — there’s even the notion of cabin porn, which turns out to be the title of an as-yet-unpublished book that grew out of a website I want to show you today.
In the Cabin Porn tumblr there are some 116 pages of photos, each page sporting around a dozen pictures of cabins. Some are clearly the work of rich patrons and expensive architects, while at the other extreme, many are “homemade” specials, charming in their ramshackle, approachable nature. Here, for an example of the former, is a bit of a photo of a Swiss cabin that uses concrete; and then another thumbnail photo that shows a lot of bricolage. (Both photos are linked to the originals on the Cabin Porn site, where you’ll see the full image.)
Part of the lure of building a cabin is the DIY impulse. It feels good to meet and overcome a fundamental challenge, such as constructing shelter. Then there’s the appeal of miniaturization, I suspect, probably rooted in the same obscure impulses that make us go ga-ga over big-eyed babies. As well, there’s freedom: most of these cabins are built in the woods or wilderness, not in what Leadbelly called “a bourgeois town.”
No lawns (necessarily). No sidewalks to shovel. No neighbours to tell you that your dream doesn’t fit in. (While I’m on this track, it might be a good time to point you not just to the great Huddie Ledbetter but to Malvina Reynolds and her ever-right Little Boxes.) And perhaps, too, the appeal lies in taking the time to build slowly, incrementally, improving year after year, everyone her own “mad” King Ludwig.
So if a “place somewhere” is part of your dreamt future, scroll through Cabin Porn to expand your imagination. And then start planning for this life, with or without an architect wearing cool glasses.