A man built a 290-square-foot cabin filled with books in the middle of the woods
- Norwegian-British artist and photographer Jason Koxvold built a standalone cabin as a guest room near his
homein upstate New York.
- Filled with thousands of books, the guest room doubles as a
- He named it "Hemmelig Rom," which is Norwegian for "secret room."
- The room comes with a bed, armchair, desk, and woodburning stove, but no bathroom. There's also Wi-Fi and electricity.
When Jason Koxvold built a weekend getaway for his family in upstate New York, he had to clear a lot of trees from the property.
The Norwegian-British artist and photographer said he found himself with thousands of pounds of wood, more than he could sell or ever use as kindle. So, he decided to build something with it, transforming the leftover red oak into a 290-square-foot cabin that acts as a guest room and library.
He named the cabin, "Hemmelig Rom," Norwegian for "secret room."
Jason Koxvold's idea for a standalone room was inspired by his Norwegian roots, while its design was influenced by Japanese architecture
He told Insider that his family has had a farm in Norway since the 1950s, which started as one house built by his grandfather, but grew building by building over time, becoming a sort of compound arranged around a courtyard.
"I thought, 'no reason I shouldn't do something similar,'" he said, describing his upstate property as "a contemporary sort of reinterpretation" of his grandfather's project.
He said that he's long admired the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban ("burnt cedar wood" in English), which involves charring the exterior wood of buildings, and that Scandinavian countries are known for their black-painted homes. Koxvold says painting the cabin black felt like a perfect way to combine his Norwegian heritage with the Japanese
While a friend helped him with the design, and a contractor framed the building and installed the windows and roof, Koxvold said he and a group of friends did the rest over the course of around two years without any real prior experience in construction.
"With manpower and YouTube, there's almost nothing you can't figure out," he said. "Yes, it might take longer than if you had a professional contractor do the work, but there's also a lot of learning involved and I really enjoyed that aspect of it."
Inside the cabin, the planks of wood lining the walls were arranged using a stacking technique, with the spaces in-between creating shelves that are perfect for books.
Filling the room with thousands of books and turning it into a library came naturally to Koxvold
"I've always had a love of books, and I have a ton of books and liked the idea that this could be a kind of quiet place to read," Koxvold, who founded Gnomic Book, a fine-art publisher, said. "I guess I've just got a longstanding love affair with books and needed somewhere to put them in a way that sort of felt architectural."
Koxvold said that initially, he put all the books he had no intention of reading in the library, but that over time they've almost all been replaced with books he's read and books on things he's interested in.
It's also a homey space, with a bed, armchair, and desk, electricity and Wi-Fi, and a traditional Norwegian woodburning stove. There's no en-suite bathroom, but the main house isn't far.
Koxvold previously listed the entire property, including the guest room and library, on Airbnb. Now, he and his family live there permanently, having left Brooklyn for upstate New York amid the pandemic.
The space has since become a sanctuary for Koxvold and his wife, who alternate enjoying some brief alone time in the cabin to take a break from caring for their two young kids.
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