That’s when my mom’s friend of a friend brought us to her abandoned moss-covered cabin just around the corner from my parents’ house. I had walked by the place many times in my life and thought to myself that it was sad to let an adorable cabin fall into the ground. The forest was consuming it. Mice inhabited every inch. Blackberries not only covered the yard but were crawling up the walls. Tarps and boards covered broken windows.

  • The Creative Cabin (2019)

As we stepped inside across the sloping wood floors, dust danced in the sunlight, and I saw a glimmer of hope. THIS was going to be my creative space. I looked at the owner and said, “We will fix it up! We will do anything it takes to stay here!” Kory looked at me like I was insane. But he agreed it was the best option we had.

We put the van build on hold and spent two straight weeks reclaiming the cabin from nature. I put on rubber gloves, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work on the inside. I bleached the floors where there had been piles of mouse poo, cleared the cobwebs, and scrubbed everything down. In total, we trapped a colony of twenty-five mice. I replaced broken windowpanes and Kory got to work on the outside, clearing the forest debris from the hidden remnants of a driveway, hacking blackberry bushes back, and weed whacking the yard.

The cabin had electricity but no running water. Kory built a composting toilet and we took showers at the gym. We hauled five-gallon jugs of water from my parents’ property. We enjoyed fires at night in front of the woodburning stove. In total, the place was about five hundred square feet, not including the loft, where we put our bed—sitting room only.

  • Kory and I homesteading at the cabin

Slowly but surely the cabin’s magic began to shine. Sitting above a ravine, we befriended the owls, deer, and forest creatures that inhabited that slice of heaven. It became our creative oasis. I spent most days painting on the back deck above the ravine, listening to the forest sounds. Kory set up a desk inside and began building his own book publishing business. Just a five-minute walk up and down a hill from the Puget Sound, we went swimming and paddle boarding in the summer.

  • Painting inside the cabin

  • Cabin chores

We couldn’t have been in a better place when the stay-at-home orders and pandemic hit in March 2020. We had our own private little Creative Cabin. We were living closer to nature than ever before. Kory even built an outdoor shower for us, since the gym was closed.

  • Stay Home portrait of cabin (2020)

  • Painting cabin barn door (2020)

But as time went on, our careers were both growing rapidly, and the cabin began to feel too small. We were essentially on top of each other. Not to mention, winter was looming, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it through with freezing outdoor showers. I began looking for a place of our own to purchase back in the same maritime town where we had first lived together.

Just as effortlessly as the cabin had flowed into our lives, it bade us a tearful, bittersweet goodbye. Within a couple weeks of searching for a home we found the perfect spot to buy. It was a beachy-feeling fixer-upper on a quarter acre that had a separate outbuilding the same size as our cabin . . . perfect for an art studio. Nestled under the mountains and on a bluff above the sea, we have our first real home base, where we continue to build our careers, surf, and van camp. 

The rest of this story is being written in real time.

  • Painting mural in my current studio (2021)

  • Painting in the studio

May this story inspire you to reach for your dreams! Thanks for reading!