Now that summer is past its midpoint, and the dog days of August are upon us, the need to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life is at its greatest. Technology and the digital revolution has made everything so easy for us these days: we can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. But the old adage still applies: just because you can, does not mean you should. It's perfectly healthy to unplug every once in a while and take a break from work, from social media, from your laptop and/or cell phone. Right about now, a retreat to a small wooden structure in the middle of nowhere – though preferably near a body of water – sounds like heaven. I'm talking about cabin fever!
Thanks to the Tiny House movement, shacks and small cabins are very much de rigueur these days, and they look nothing like the typical cabin-in-the-woods Hollywood loves to use as a location for an endless series of campy horror flicks. The New York times calls it Woodstock-in-a-bottle, a way to get back to nature and the outdoors.
Raw, unfinished wood interiors are a classic choice, highlighting the beauty of the natural material. Extra points for using recycled and repurposed materials.
The super-trendy will opt for plywood: it looks cool, it’s affordable, and – if you are so inclined - it’s totally DIYable. Plywood has been around since the 19th century, when it was used as a strong material for making tea chests. These days, you’re likely to see this engineered, layered wood used as temporary fencing on construction sites or as an alternative to fiberboard for projects such as shelving, cabinetry and staircases. Traditionally, those projects are then painted. But today, plywood increasingly crops up as a star material, unpainted and proud.
A black exterior and/or interior is a striking choice for a cabin-in-the-woods. It’s authoritative, bold, and a bit haunting. It amplifies modern architecture, making hard lines and angles even sharper. It can also breath new life to aged and dated homes, removing bland and murky hues for a timeless color choice.
If black just seems a little too harsh, paint everything – and I mean everything – white. This is a classic decorator's trick when you want to draw attention away from questionable architectural features, wonky proportions and imperfect walls.
White is also the perfect backdrop to showcase a few carefully-curated summer accessories – think boating flags, oars, and vintage sport accessories. Use some restraint though, you don't want your summer getaway to be mistaken for a seventh-grade sleep away camp. Hudson Bay blankets are always a great choice to ward off chilly nights.
Mismatched quilts, throws and pillows are another must.
The best accessory of all? The outdoors! Take as much advantage of whatever view your abode offers – and bring the outdoors in with a soft, organic color palette.
In the wonderful words of Henry David Thoreau:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,
to front only the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.