3 Cabins, 3 Styles: Is This the Ultimate Forest Hideaway?
Deep in the Washington woods, the creative minds behind Seattle’s coolest retail concept, Glasswing, created an idyllic creekside compound.
There’s a kind of romantic idealism around so-called “cabin life” that’s been brewing for years, collecting hashtags and admirers along the way. People who search for these woodland retreats, the more rustic and remote the better, are longing for peace, quiet, and simpler times.
It’s important to remember that anyone 30 and under has never lived in a world without readily available cell phones. Nokia released its first mass-produced iteration in 1992. The ensuing three decades have seen the tech sector explode with new ways to interrupt your peaceful afternoons. And people are feeling the crunch of constant accessibility in crowded cities with excess concrete acutely.
Two young Seattle creatives, Andy Whitcomb and Forest Eckley, designers of the modern furniture line Brackish and owners of the Glasswing store and greenhouse, were among those design-conscious urbanites searching for a way out.
“We had the concept first before the location,” says Whitcomb, who spent his weekends driving out to the nearby wilderness for long hikes, and wanted an option to extend his stay.
The business partners, who have been making furniture for a decade and have had the shop for about eight years, watched their beloved city explode with development, and not always happily.
“There’s always been between seven to 10 cranes in the skyline as long as I’ve lived here,” says Eckley of the construction that contributes to Seattle’s rapid growth. “The increase in density has been constant. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to get out in the mountains.”
In 2018, they drove out to see a property in Granite Falls, near Everett. “The area has incredible fishing, river kayaking, hiking, climbing, and backpacking,” says Whitcomb. But there was nowhere to stay. “Once we drove out there and saw the river, and the unique and goofy asymmetric A-frame on one of the lots, we knew we had to figure out how to get the money to buy it and make it happen.”
After convincing a few friends to invest in the two neighboring parcels with them, one with a one-room fishing hut (which Whitcomb says “was a lifeless shell of a building, just a shelter”), the other with the aforementioned A-frame, they knew they were onto something special.
“There’s something about the river and the rocks and the trees with moss,” says Eckley. “It creates a magical environment that you can’t really understand until you’re standing in it. The photos don’t really re-create that feeling.”
Over the next two years, they brought in professional contractors to upgrade the plumbing and the electric, and they did much of the rest of the finishing work themselves. They took a slow, deliberate approach to furnishing the structures with a thoughtful mix of handmade furniture, art made by their friends, and collected vintage pieces. They acquired a neighboring vacant lot, removed the abandoned RV that was left on it, and brought in a tiny shipping container. The three houses all feel like they’re of a piece, but maintain their own unique personalities. By early 2021, all three cabins were “activated,” as they say, and ready to rent.
The cabins can be booked separately, but there are select weekends on the calendar when all three properties are blocked off to be rented together, for reunions, group events, or retreats. Whitcomb and Eckley trek out to the cabins about once a week to check in, unplug for a minute, and take in their surroundings. Even though it’s just a 10-minute drive into the nearest town, it feels worlds away.
“We always encourage guests to buy groceries and maximize their time at the cabins,” says Eckley. “Plan one or two hikes or activities. It takes so much energy to pack and get out the door and get settled that it’s good to book two nights. Otherwise, it’s hard to relax.”
What is there to say that hasn’t been said before about our desire to unplug, to be in a place where the Wi-Fi isn’t needed and the only things competing for our attention are the crackle of a fireplace and the sounds of wildlife in the distance? We’re stressed. We’re addicted to dopamine. We’re finding it increasingly difficult to live away from screens.
And a cabin in the woods is an environment tailor-made for a kind of fast from modern life.
“Sit in the hot tub, make a fire, drink a little whiskey, make some food,” says Whitcomb. “It’s hard to leave the cabin when you’re there. By nature and by design, you just want to stay and enjoy. And not leave.”
Check out the cabins and book your stay below:
More Cabins to Bookmark for Your Next Getaway
Designed for people to check in and check out, these rustic-chic cabins embrace life off the beaten path, from the high desert of California to the deep woods of British Columbia.
Fun and functional single-room huts furnished with leather ottomans, daybeds, and comfortable bedding dot this 20-acre property in southern Utah. Each of the 22 cabins has a private fire pit and a picnic table for al fresco meals.
Winter Park, Colorado
If you’re as big a fan of the A-frame as we are, this hotel should be in the running for your next vacation. Construction is almost finished on the 31-cabin property, complete with a historic saloon turned restaurant. Designed by Skylab Architecture, the 450-square-foot cabins are set on low stilts and connected by a series of boardwalk-like pathways amid the pines, so it doesn’t disrupt the ecology of the forest floor.
THE LITTLE CABIN AT JOFFRE CREEK
Mont Currie, British Columbia
Sit on the deck and listen to the babbling creek. Admire the view of the mountains. Hop in the cedar barrel sauna. Drift off to sleep in a loft bed nest. Repeat. Just 45 minutes from Whistler Mountain, this secluded cabin, which shares a property with a larger rental house, is ranked among B.C.’s best retreats. And it’s dog-friendly!
A young family embarked on a DIY adventure to turn a two-bedroom cabin into this “Hygge Barn.” With a picture-perfect outdoor gathering space and boho interiors, the barn is ideal for long nights in. It’s away from it all, but walking distance from the Lake Tahoe.
BLUE SKY CENTER
New Cuyama, California
“Offbeat but comfortable” is how the team behind this experience describes five Shelton huts on a rustic but homey property. The design is as simple as it gets. But the nonprofit’s larger purpose will appeal to anyone who prioritizes using tourism dollars to support local initiatives.