Self-taught builder Jacob Witzling has spent much of the last decade building secret fairytale cabins in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. Working primarily with reclaimed materials and whatever he finds onsite, Witzling gained a reputation for creating beautifully unconventional structures with unique shapes, moss-covered roofs, and handcrafted details. Since buying a parcel of land on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, Witzling and his partner Sara Underwood have taken these creations even further, building an entire compound of magical cabins.
Witzling’s very first cabin, erected on a friend’s property, cost just $800 to build. With an experimental approach to building and no fear of taking risks, Witzling came up with ever more ornate designs. One 80-square-foot cabin made of salvaged lumber features an undulating cedar shake roof. Elsewhere, a tiny camper built into the back of a pickup truck boasts complex angles, skylights, and a lofted bed inside. A 200-square-foot diamond-shaped cabin on the couple’s land, with its pointed roof stretching toward the sky, might be one of the coolest things you’ll ever see in the woods. But nothing tops the Castle Cabin, a series of connected two-story structures measuring a total of 900 square feet.
The crown jewel of Cabinland took 18 months to build, with Witzling, Underwood, and some friends and family members doing most of the work themselves. Triangular dormers, one of Witzling’s signature elements, poke out of each mossy roof, while the walls are covered in cedar shingles. Short walkways connect each volume to the next, and a private courtyard is tucked away in the center. As you’d imagine, the complex geometries of the rooflines create some seriously gorgeous interior ceilings.
Prior to building the Castle Cabin, Witzling and Underwood occupied a series of other cabins on the property, sleeping in one and using another as a freestanding closet and dressing room. Now, the Castle functions as their private home. Details include doors made of red alder, railing made from salvaged red cedar that was once the subfloor of a collapsed shanty on the property, and all the stunning wood grain you could ever ask for on every interior surface. The couple shared their design and building process on YouTube, and it’s a fun watch.
“We’re so happy to finally be sharing our newest creation with you!” The duo writes on the Cabinland Instagram. “The Castle Cabin is our forever home and has been a sanctuary to us. It took us 18 months to construct from start to finish and there are so many people who helped along the way that we can’t possibly list them all here… thank you for your patience everyone as we waited for just the right time to unveil our work to you. We’ve already started working on more projects here in the rainforest as well as Cabinland 2.0 in the desert of the Southwest and we look forward to sharing everything with you.”
If you’re in love with these fairytale creations, there are lots more photos and videos to be found on Instagram, many of which prominently feature Underwood (model and former Playboy Playmate of the Year). You’re also going to want to check out their dreamy handmade wood-fired hot tub.