A Cabin Rehab Re-cap with special feature: Adventures in Ikea Assembly

Our first visit to the cabin this season was both awesome and awkward, a warm welcome home to a place we didn’t yet know very well. It was like that summer camp crush analogy again — but more like seeing your summer camp crush at Target with his mom in the wintertime and he’s still sooooo cute and sooooo sweet but you’re not sure where you left off and if that even transfers over into winter. So you’re not exactly sure how to start a conversation. And even though he’s cute, he looks a little different with his mom. But, in the end, he tells you that he’s going to camp again this summer and you feel that spark ignite and you know it can be the same. You’ve just got to get away from Target.

We turned on the lights, the dropcloths came off the furniture, the rugs went on the floor, the beds got dressed in fresh sheets and then…. I stood back and assessed our progress.


FLOORS:  The Nixon-era Herpes Carpet is gone, replaced by warm almost-hardwood floors —  from the most stressful HoDe visit ever — and a flat weave cotton Blue Diamond rug from The Company Store. I don’t know that a rug has ever made anyone so happy. I might write a whole blog post about this rug and its ability to do a cabin right.

photo-8 copy 5

KITCHEN: The camp kitchen that served as a wildlife refuge for Unknown Creatures from the Outdoors has been replaced by an 8′ x 8′ u-shaped culinary space that my true love Wesley might refer to as a KOUS — A Kitchen of Unusual Size. Or a “One Butt Kitchen,” a term coined by Mike’s almost 100 year old grandma.

Despite its size, the KOUS has a full-sized dishwasher for maximum rest and relaxation. We still need drawer pulls and a piece of art over the stove to transform our KOUS into a KOUC (A Kitchen of Unusual Cuteness).

photo 2

BATHROOM: The Bat Poo Tub and mouse traps full of mouse fur were ripped out of the bathroom and replaced by a still-not-quite-functioning shower (if you could sign my petition urging the Finnish Carpenter to come back and attend to the punch list items, that would be great. Thank you for your support. Actually, could you sign this other petition first – urging the Finnish Carpenter to acknowledge the existence of a punch list? Thanks once more for your support. Together, we can accomplish great things).

Even if we can’t shower in the shower, the river oak underfoot and the cedar sauna-like shower walls are nice to look at and a huge improvement over the guano tub. And the new cedar ceiling means that I don’t even look up before I pee anymore.

photo-8 copy 4

FURNISHINGS: During Trash Out, Tammy of the Manly Voice and her wiry cohort Duane removed a dirty whorehouse couch and everything else that dead strangers ever sat on or laid upon. Given its mere 800 square feet, the furniture needs were limited. We have a Danish modern find from HomeGoods for $199 and a leather butterfly chair from Urban Outfitters (also $199). We still need art to make this room feel like our personal family refuge instead of a wooden box that we sleep in.

Many of our other furniture pieces came from Ikea via forged documents at a warehouse in a suburban industrial park — and they required assembly. This portion of our program is called Adventures in Ikea Assembly. I helped by taking photographs.

photo-8 copy 7 photo-8 copy 8

Here is a really poor quality photo of Mike assembling our sectional couch with hidden storage that pulls out into a full-sized bed. I took this photo out of fear that the Ikea hinges wouldn’t hold and the whole top half of the couch would slam shut, slicing my husband’s body in two. I will use it for the trial.


The is the Brimnes platform bed, also with hidden storage. So much hidden storage at the cabin. I continue to help the assembly process by taking photos.


It is 2pm. I know this by looking at this pretend watch on my wrist. I bet this will only take a small commitment of my time.


Look! There are instructions. I bet they will be helpful.


This amorphous nonhuman is very nonthreatening. He makes me feel good. and even a little happy. I feel positive about my ability to build this bed.


This is a lot of pieces. I know what happened….they accidentally sent me pieces for two beds. I will donate one to a homeless shelter. I am a good person.


Uh oh.  


What the?


Quick! Show me the picture of the amorphous nonhuman again.  That’s better. I can do this. Goddammit!


Dad, let me try.


No! You are only a child and you can’t even read the language of the amorphous nonhumans in these very helpful instructions!   Oh.  Thank you.


K: Will you go check on Dad?  L: No. He very specifically said, “Don’t touch me.”

In the end, we can eat, sleep, sit and pee at the cabin. We cannot yet shower. But we do have a beautiful lake that will cleanse our bodies and our thoughts and our souls should it be necessary.

And we also have a new ritual. At the door of our cabin — the best door on any cabin that ever existed, IMHO — we hung a picture frame with hinged doors on it. Behind the doors lies a drawing of a little cabin with a plume of smoke curling out of its chimney. Above the drawing are the words “Up North.”

photo 1  photo 2

Upon arriving at the cabin, we open the doors to welcome us, like the opening bell. And upon leaving, we close the doors, marking the end of our time at the cabin….

…. just one weekend of many to come, each one adding a page to our family history.

Enjoy your long weekend, everyone. Say hello to your cabins for me. 🙂


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s