Cabin Fever: How to Immerse Yourself in this New Trend

Find someone, anyone you know who even moderately likes design and interiors and ask them if they’re into cabins. They will be, there’s an international cabin obsession going on. Maybe it’s because we’re frighteningly disconnected to Mother Earth and are all a bit overly plugged in – that sort of mental state leads to a heavy hankering for nature, all camp fires, hanging out on a porch near a lake playing dominoes and living off grid.

We decided to bring together some ideas on how to feed this need, from creating a cabin in your garden to how to work a Modernist cabin look. How to follow someone else’s chic restoration of a cabin (and steal ideas from it) and – this could help us all – how to holiday in a cabin in the trees.

So go on, grab your moccasins and best lumberjack shirt, find an animal skin blanket and a patch of land to build a (legal) fire on and spear a marshmallow with a fork – ready?

Build a cabin at the end of your garden

Lamb cabin | The Chromologist

Retrouvius cabine  The Chromologist

Courtesy of Debi Treloar © Ryland Peters & Small from Reclaiming Style by Maria Speake and Adam Hills of Retrouvius

You live in a townhouse, you’ve got barely any garden but there’s just enough space at the end for a structure that you could use for a guest bedroom or work space. Wouldn’t you enlist super-salvagers Retrouvius – AKA Maria Speake and Adam Hills – to design a rustic cabin if you could? This central London outhouse – that’s right, I said central London – was tailor-made for TV presenter George Lamb from salvaged materials such as sliding doors from a chapel, reclaimed floorboards (some from Heathrow Terminal 2) and old pew seats. It also has a delightful boardwalk leading up to it across the garden from the main house, which is made from the same hardwood boards that are used inside the cabin. Would you even bother living in the main house if you had this in your garden? Green in every way, not least in how it’s making us feel.

Copy someone stylish – how to make a small and ordinary cabin special


Smitten Studio  Sarah Sherman Samuel Cabin  The Chromologist

All photos courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel

We all love following a renovation story. This one, from California-based designer Sarah Sherman Samuel of the blog Smitten Studio, focusses on the makeover of her holiday cabin on the shores of Lake Michigan, which I’m reliably told (by a cabin-loving Detroiter) is a cabin hot spot in the States. Before Sarah got her creative mitts on this place, it was a humble brick affair with red paintwork and an unkempt deck with dying plants on it. She wisely painted the structure black all over, completely redid the interior, with a cute kitchen, lovely bathrooms, all-new bedrooms and some great cosyfying details such as the curtains on the bunk beds and animal skins, rugs and blankets everywhere. It all works a treat on top of white-painted tongue-and-groove panelling on the walls. Outside meanwhile, it basically feels a bit like a mini Soho House thanks to the addition of some swish sun loungers and a huge dining table – oh yeah and the beach at the end of the deck doesn’t hurt. You’ll have to scroll through Sarah’s blog for full details of what she did and how she did it, but it’s happy, inspiring reading.

Find a plot for the ultimate Modernist pre-fab

Vipp Shelter  Cabin Style  The Chromologist

The Vipp Shelter – you just need a plot for this bijou pre-fab

Unbelievably the people behind a stylish Danish bin have made this groovy modern vision. It’s a 55m2 prefab cabin that you can buy off the peg and have installed on your plot in a matter of days (3-5 apparently). Quick lets all get a plot. The Vipp Shelter’s design is all about connecting you to nature and also, presumably, making you feel like you’re winning at life. It’s a real beauty with high spec interior fittings from the swish kitchen and bathroom modules right down to that fire – they really know how to get us. Black rules here, and doesn’t it look dramatic yet fitting next to nature?

Book a holiday cabin in the trees

Treehotel  Cabin style  The Chromologist

The ultimate cabin holiday up in the pine trees in a lake-side corner of Sweden

In many ways the easiest one to achieve, this set of six ecological holiday cabins has three things going for it. 1. They’re in arguably the mother country of cabins – Sweden. 2. They’re all built up in the trees with a wonderful view over the Lule River. 3. Each one is an architectural delight, from the shocking red cabin to the mirrored design that doubles up the surrounding amazing views. Treehotel is located in a pine forest in the area of Harads, around one hour’s drive from Luleå (Kallax) airport. Each treehouse is accessed via a ramp, bridge or electric stairs, making them accessible to all, and there’s even a tree sauna for the full Scandinavian holiday experience.  When you fancy taking a breather from nesting with your book in your own private treehouse, there’s a central hostel – Britta’s Pensionat – serving breakfast, dinner, tv and internet in cosy surroundings. But honestly? It’s the idea of being unconnected and at one with nature that appeals to us.

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2018 | Farrow & Ball

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