our blog


Tour These Whimsical Cabins Made From Recycled Materials

by | Mar 13, 2020 | Real Estate

Some are off-grid. Others cost next to nothing to build. All are hidden among the trees, at the intersection of imagination and creativity.

If you’re going to build cabins inspired by, salvaged from and built around old-growth trees, it is perhaps only fitting to do so in the aptly nicknamed Evergreen State.

Every summer, Jacob Witzling, a second-grade teacher near Boston, flies the 2,400 miles from Watertown, MA, to Olympia, WA, to build whimsical cabins out of old-growth cedar, fir and hemlock.

He salvages lumber from demolished buildings, upcycles appliances and incorporates fanciful geometric shapes along the way, giving the cabins an imaginative, Seuss-like appearance.

“I always like the notion of sculptures that people can live in, like homes being more than just a place to live. Maybe something like art,” Witzling said. “I’m an artist.”

It makes perfect sense, then, that Witzling’s love for fanciful homes started with a book called “Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art.” His father owned the early ’70s tome that Witzling fell in love with. That — and the classic childhood inclination to simply build a fort.

“I always made forts as a kid, you know, out of blankets and pillows and in the couch and stuff like that,” he said. “I guess that’s where it all started.”

When Witzling moved to Olympia to attend college, a friend was living in a fantastical cabin in the woods. He saw it and was immediately hooked.

Shortly after, Witzling decided to make a go of building similar homes. Without a budget, he rescued materials: old floors from a bowling alley that eventually became a cabin deck and granite countertops that were discarded from a construction site, among other things. He taught himself the basics along the way.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, and then when I built my first cabin, it was all recycled materials that I scavenged like a vulture,” he remembered. “I built it. It was so tall and rickety and was going to fall down, I thought. But by the time I built my second cabin, I had a stronger grasp on what to do.”

In the decade since then, Witzling has built a number of tiny cabins in the woods, with each home having a footprint under 200 square feet. Some are completely off-grid — all honor the natural environment by using reclaimed or local wood.

A few are even covered with moss, making them living, breathing works of art.

“I want them to meld into the environment. They’re kind of like sculptures in a way — livable sculptures,” he said. “I want them to accent and honor their environment. That’s why I like to use the moss and the local wood, cedar and whatnot. It’s your home, and it’s in its home.”

Being calculated about sourcing the building materials also forced Witzling to think about his environmental impact. (He’s lived in all of his cabins at some point.)

“It forces you to be more intentional about stuff. I can’t have dishes all over the place. There’s no space for it,” he said. “So you use your bowl, you clean your bowl, you put your bowl away. It’s really rewarding to have to be intentional about stuff. I have to keep my two pairs of shoes in their little nest in the corner, because otherwise they take up too much space.”

That doesn’t mean he skimps on details. A recent build included an unusual cabin with an octagonal pyramid roof. The geometric space holds the lofted bedroom.

“I like it because no matter which way you wake up, you’re looking outside,” he said. “I always tell my students you can do things with math and that math is real. The world is built out of math. It’s very fulfilling.”

In addition to his students, Witzling has inspired an even larger audience of dreamers along the way, building a massive following on Instagram. He chronicles his projects and methods and shares insights and tips.

“Building things is really human. It’s something people have been doing for thousands of years,” he said. “I have ideas, and I just want to get them out there.”

Photos by Erik Hecht


Powered by WPeMatico




An accomplished real estate professional with a distinguished track record of success.  She has spent over 17 years in Atlanta representing buyers and sellers of $1M+ properties and is a tremendous negotiator.  Micki has a unique knack for forming close and authentic relationships with her clients; she steps beyond the real estate transaction and provide them with after care.  Micki has unparalleled marketplace knowledge and thrives on being resourceful; she studies and follows the data beyond the average agent.



Set up a FREE consultation with me today. I’ll be sure to make your real estate experience as unique, simple, and satisfying as I can.

CSRA Market Update | Augusta Metro Real Estate Conditions | Augusta Realtor Micki Esposito

It’s All About Supply and Demand | HOME PRICES

As we enter the summer months and work through the challenges associated with the current health crisis, many are wondering what impact the economic slowdown will have on home prices. Looking at the big picture, supply and demand will give us the clearest idea of...


  Welcome to 215 Hornsby Lane located in the luxurious River Island neighborhood. This stunning move-in ready home is nestled in the charming cottage section of River Island, offering a lifestyle that combines modern luxury with timeless appeal. With a listing...

Real Estate Market Trends?

The Changing Real Estate Market: Remote Work and Technology The real estate industry is constantly evolving, my friend. Trends and factors shape how buyers, sellers, and agents navigate the market. Today, I want to discuss the latest market trends that are shaping the...

17 Hobbies Just Right to Become Money-Making Side Hustles

If you’re looking to make some extra money, side gigs like babysitting and Uber are great options, but they aren’t the only ones. Whether the pandemic quarantine ignited a love of baking or the excitement of shopping in stores again hasn’t worn off, you can find ways...

How To Sell Your Home With Better Listing Photos

Did you know that over 90 percent of buyers start their home search online, and most first impressions are made from online photos? If you want to make sure that people are interested in buying your home, you need to make sure that the impression it makes is a good...

6 Ways to Overcome the Emotions of Selling a Home

Selling your home can stir up a range of emotions you may not have expected. While you may feel excited about the opportunity to move into a new house, you may also experience feelings of sadness or loss as you prepare to sell your home. Use these tips to help...


            Don’t lose potential buyers due to any flaws or unsightliness on the exterior of your home. Use the tips below to wow people at the curb and get them in the door! The best part is, you don’t have to spend a fortune or break...

What does it mean to you: the Future of Home Price Appreciation?

Many consumers are wondering what will happen with home values over the next few years. Some are concerned that the recent run-up in home prices will lead to a situation similar to the housing crash 15 years ago. However, experts say the market is totally different...


"The Best of the Best"

“Best of the best! If you are looking for a personal, boutique-style home purchasing experience, I highly recommend Momentous Realty. Micki Esposito was fantastic! We discussed what I was looking for in a home in detail, and that same day, she emailed me a short list of properties tailored to what I asked for. I felt like she truly listened. No generic emails with 50 listings of houses you have to weed through yourself. She weeded through the fluff and was able to focus the search on homes I would actually consider. As a result, my home search actually went much quicker than I anticipated. Micki was there from the beginning and even after the closing. She was not only my realtor, she was an advisor and my advocate behind the scenes. I believe that because of all her hard work, the entire process was efficient and much more painless than I expected. I would not hesitate to work with her again and I cannot say enough good things about Micki!”

– Dr. A. Jeffery

Her in depth Knowledge & Integrity are clear from the start.

We were so lucky to have worked with Momentous Realty | Micki on our home purchase. Her involvement in leveraging our position in our home purchase and synergistic solutions are the very reason why we are homeowners today. Her service was beyond compare, even a more powerful statement knowing that we aren’t her typical market. Her strong in-depth knowledge + integrity are clear from the start.

– M/M Woodson, Senior Executives

The results were amazing

She was very professional. Kept us informed every step of the way for a quick worry-free closing. Definitely will use her again.

– Dathne Johnson

One Call That's All...

MICKI is awesome she will help you with all your real estate needs. One call that’s all. Thank you for everything Micki.

– Stacey Manson

The epitome of integrity and grace.

Micki is the epitome of integrity and grace. I love and appreciate her wisdom and willingness to share her words of knowledge with those that she encounters. I can always look to Micki to be uplifted and encouraged.

– Lease Youmans

Our Go-To Realtor, knowledgeable, professional & dependable.

We couldn’t have been any happier with Micki and her professionalism throughout our temporary relocation process to Metropolitan Atlanta during filming requirements. Almost immediately, Micki and her team provided us with leasing options based upon our family requirements. She thoroughly explained the leasing process, attended every showing with us, and provided us with enough information to ultimately make our decision to purchase another home within the area.

MICKI, thank you and your team for the amazing work!

– M/M Washington, Entertainment Industry



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This