Embracing Imperfection: DIY Tiny Cabin Project, Part 1 of 3

My dreams came true this year when my hubby Jared and I bought a little cabin in the woods in New Hampshire. We spent a lot of time designing and crafting everything we could to make it our own cozy space; from the chairs to the loveseat to the end tables to a murphy table to the bed to a wall-mounted-nightstand to a multitude of outdoor projects including a total reno of the outhouse! We also did as much as we could using salvaged, reused, and thrifted materials. Here are some photos of all of our hard work on the inside of the cabin. Stay tuned for Part 2 on our outdoor projects, and Part 3 on transforming our outhouse.
 
cabin

Our idea to furnish the space entirely ourselves began when we were visiting my sister over Christmas last year. She and her husband are both architects, and have an amazing collection of books about design. When Jared picked up a book about Dutch designer Rietveld and his "crate furniture" designs, he was inspired. You may have heard of Rietveld, or likely have seen his most famous chair (thanks to MoMa for the photo):
 
Rietveld chair

Rietveld's "crate furniture" style is much simpler, and we thought it would be perfect for our cabin: sturdy, simple, and easy enough for us first-time furniture makers. Thanks for "How to Construct Rietveld Furniture" by Peter Drijver and Johannes Niemeijer for the instructions!

 

Rietveld book

 

When making Beryllina jewelry I'm a total perfectionist. Having never made furniture before, I decided to approach it with a somewhat looser perspective - none of our furniture is perfect, and I don't try to make it that way! This freer way of making was a nice contrast to all of my jewelry making, where everything matters down to the half-millimeter. I'm glad to have this balance in my life.

Since we had minimal woodworking experience, we started off with the easiest project: a stool. We then moved onto the chairs, and then used the Rietveld "crate furniture" style to inspire designs for our own tables and shoe bench. Then we officially had the woodworking bug, so we decided to make our own loveseat and murphy table as well. This all required a lot of wood!
 
Shakedown lying on our materials for the furniture

You may start to notice a theme here...our pup Shakedown wants to be nearby at all times! Here he is making sure the very first stool we built is nice and sturdy.

Shakedown on our first Rietveld-inspired stool
 
Here's the loveseat in progress! I adapted it from a design I saw on pinterest. 
 
DIY loveseat

I also scoured pinterest for ideas to make my own rug, and found great ideas on weaving your own rug using recycled t-shirts. Perfect! Shakedown approved.

Shakedown on my new DIY braided t-shirt rug

Here's all our newly made furniture in place in our cozy cabin. I ordered the cushions cut to size and then I handmade all of the cushion covers using this amazing all-natural hemp/organic cotton denim from a hemp store online and sewed on snaps I found in a free pile. This fabric is the most durable, beautiful, and eco-friendly fabric I could find and I love it!

cabin interior

I stained all of the furniture we built by hand using coffee. Yep, that's right, coffee! Our apartment smelled great during our building binge. :) I sealed the coats of coffee using an eco-friendly non-toxic ultra-low VOC semi-gloss clear stain. Turns out the color of the coffee was just right to go with our cabin's original knotty pine walls!


Up next is one of the pieces we're most proud of: the murphy table! We love it. It's so handy to pull down when needed, and totally out of the way when it's not! I also designed the table next to it to be the same size and height, so we can move them together and create a large square table when we have guests over for a meal. I made the copper hardware by hand at my studio.

 
 
And here's the view of our cute little cabin from the loft!
 
cabin view from loft
 
This guy got comfy right away. Can you believe I didn't pose him for this?! I actually found him snoozing in this adorable position. 

Shakedown hard at work at the cabin

Here's the nearly-complete Rietveld-inspired shoe bench I designed. We love how it turned out. I handcrafted a copper turtle for the front, which helps stabilize the middle leg and looks super cute!

Rietveld-inspired shoe bench in use

We crafted a stainless steel backsplash for the kitchen using a steel sheet we found in a free pile and some scavenged 1x3s to frame it on the the backside. We carefully drilled through the steel and hung it behind our electric burners, which are also sitting on a table that we designed and made for this purpose. Perfect for cooking our favorite morning breakfast, kale and Beyond Meat plant-based sausages!

cookin' up breakfast at the cabin

I designed a bed for the space, to fit special water-tight storage containers under the bed. There aren't any closets in our li'l cabin, so we needed the extra storage space, and wanted to be sure that no critters could get in the bins.

Laurie Lynn making her bed

Here's the bed almost complete, I'm just missing a photo with the mattress on top.

DIY storage bed

One of my other favorite things in the cabin is this special wall-mounted nightstand I designed and built. My side of  the bed is against the wall (the bedroom is teeny!), so I needed an innovative nightstand. I'm so pleased with this design, and love how the wood was all scraps from other projects and the fabric was leftover scraps from drapes I bought at the thrift store and made into a quilt (several layers of recycling going on there!). This nightstand is super functional and I love its minimalist beauty. I'm quite proud of it, and it makes me happy to look at and use!

wall-mounted nightstand designed and handcrafted by Laurie Berezin

On our last day at the cabin this summer, we figured we should take a day off, so we went kayaking on this beautiful nearby pond.
 
kayaking break in NH

Shakedown loves kayaking too!

Shakedown kayaking in NH

Thanks for reading and allowing me to share our creations with you. Both Jared and I were super inspired and worked very hard to bring our cabin to life. Every moment of work was worth it, we are absolutely in love with the space. There's something so special about walking into a place that was made with love. Hope you're feeling inspired to make something and fill your space with love too!

DIY cabin inspiration

Laurie Lynn Berezin
Laurie Lynn Berezin

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