Home / Architecture / Interview: ‘Cabin Porn’ Book Highlights the Gorgeous Interiors of Handcrafted Homes Off the Grid

Interview: ‘Cabin Porn’ Book Highlights the Gorgeous Interiors of Handcrafted Homes Off the Grid

Cabin in the Wilderness

Stealth Barn
Photo: Tim Crocker and Jeremy Phillips
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You might feel tethered to your devices more than you would prefer. If you dream of disconnecting—not for just an hour, but making it a true getaway—chances are that you’re privy to the blog Cabin Porn. The popular site showcases gorgeous dwellings nestled in thick forests with views of mountains and valleys in the distance. For those with wanderlust and an eye for design, the images communicate beauty, freedom, and ultimately, independence from the grind of our day-to-day lives.

Zach Klein is the creator of Cabin Porn. It started as many blogs do—as a way for him to gain inspiration for the eventual Beaver Brook community that he and his friends would create over 55 acres of forest in Upstate New York. Beaver Brook became a place where the group could experience nature, build things, and enjoy each other’s company. As Klein started to share his progress and plans, the site gained popularity and people from around the world began to share their handmade homes, too.

In 2015, Klein released the first printed volume of the same name. Cabin Porn, the book, has remained a huge hit in the years since, and it has inspired countless people to find their own quiet place. Klein followed up the original in the fall of 2019 with Cabin Porn: Inside. This volume invites readers into the handcrafted abodes to see how these cabin dwellers live—often simply and with pleasure. You’ll witness the ingenuity that comes with these spaces, whether it’s an interior fashioned out of stone or one clad entirely in particleboard.

We spoke with Klein about the Cabin Porn phenomenon as well as what readers can expect in his latest book. Scroll down to read My Modern Met’s exclusive interview.

Cabin Interior

Stealth Barn
Photo: Tim Crocker and Jeremy Phillips

For those unfamiliar with Cabin Porn, how would you describe it? What was the initial inspiration behind the project?

I created Cabin Porn 10 years ago as a collection of inspiration for the family camp I wanted to build in Upstate New York. As we worked on our place, I made the collection public, posted photos of our progress, and others started following along. Since then, more than 20,000 people have shared their cabins with us to post. We have now published two books featuring the cabins, shelters, and homes made by members of the Cabin Porn community.

Cabin the Woods

Photo: Ruedi Walti

Cabin Interior

Photo: Ruedi Walti

Cabin Porn is more than a photography project—it’s become a lifestyle. Did you anticipate that it would have this impact?

I did imagine, and I have been interested in a long time, what it would look like when the first online generations started to move offline. It was the same impulse that drove me to pursue my fantasy Upstate. But I did not anticipate that Cabin Porn would become so symbolic of this shift.

And that is exactly what happened: Cabin Porn has transitioned from a photo collection into a lifestyle. It’s hard to pin down exactly what is causation versus correlation—but the interior quality of cabins has certainly made its way into mainstream decor just as the qualities of a rustic outdoor aesthetic influenced fashion and style. Over the past 10 years we have seen hand-painted axes become collectible design objects, a revival of cooking on cast iron, reclaimed wood in modern restaurants and homes, Hudson Valley is now rivaling the Hamptons, and several startups exist to connect people to glamping getaways, or a tiny house they can construct in their backyard. Meanwhile, a Cabin Porn book has been the bestselling residential architecture title on Amazon, five years and counting.

Cabin Interior

Finnish Archipelago
Photo: Archimo Spheres

Cabin Interior

Finnish Archipelago
Photo: Archimo Spheres

Your in-depth profiles highlight the cabin and its inhabitants. What is the most memorable cabin interior you’ve featured?

My favorite interior recently is a summer cabin constructed by a couple on an island in the Finnish Archipelago. I feel that the best cabins are ones that give us an opportunity to experience the sublime qualities of nature, upfront and at all phases of day and night. I deeply admire Scandinavian traditions of spending long stretches of time out in nature during their summer-long days. I love their common use of local materials so that nothing present at the site feels unnatural, I love their use of a sauna to encourage interfacing with chilly nearby water for a cold plunge, and most of all—as showcased in this project—I love the breezy transitions between indoor and exterior so that there is never really a feeling of being enclosed—really, you’re just sheltered but you always feel the outside.

Cabin Interior

Finnish Archipelago
Photo: Archimo Spheres

What do you think the cabin can tell us about our modern world?

Cabins have always been popular. All around the world, there are traditions to rest and relax in a rustic place. What’s remarkable now is that the cabin has become a durable symbol for a lifestyle of disconnecting as more and more of us find it necessary to be online to make a living. As we spend more of our time always-on, reminders of the natural sublime—and how simple a satisfying lifestyle can be—become more poignant.

Cabin Porn Interior BookWhat do you hope that people take away from Cabin Porn: Inside?

I hope that more people will realize that it’s possible to have a good life without throwing money around. Most of the rooms featured in Inside are simple in their construction, and what make these places great are the time and intention that people gave to make each moment in the room themselves. This is a lesson we can apply wherever we live, city or woods.

Cabin Porn Interior BookCabin Porn InteriorCabin Porn Interior Book

Cabin Porn: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Zach Klein.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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