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The Journal

Home - Waking up at a Cabin in the Pacific Northwest

I met Jacob Witzling (@jacobwitzling) less than a month ago. All I can say is that his energy is contagious. We pulled up in his driveway to the sound of Future being blared out of portable speakers. He popped his head out of his unfinished cabin and casually offered us glasses of wine.

If anyone was wondering, Jacob is the man behind some of the most unique and iconic cabins that you find occupying both the Internet and the Pacific Northwest. Since our initial encounter, I’ve spent three total nights at his cabin, tucked away in Washington. The smell of fresh cut cedar still inhabits his home, newly built over the summer and finished only days before I arrived for my final stay. On my first visit we stayed up to the crackle of the fire and traded stories over the warmth of companionship. When it was time for sleep, I left the door open and drifted away to the sound of rain falling on the ferns outside.

Jacob is an architect and a dreamer. He sees things that most people don’t. His creativity resides in the everyday. By profession, he teaches underprivileged second-grade children in innercity Boston. He walks with a tender heart and brings intentionality to his every interaction. 

The homes he builds exhibit the same traits. After meeting him and seeing his work in person, I felt as if his homes are just extensions of himself and his imagination in a physical form. Individualism. Character. Freedom. This is what makes Jacob the person he is, and this is what characterizes the homes he builds.


Jacob and his most recent build, taken on my first night in the cabin.


Fire, moss, and laughter. Cabin essentials wherever you are.


Waking up in the woods. What morning looks like in Eastern Washington.


Simple moments. Sun rays breaking through ferns, stoking the fire, morning coffee, and a deceased dear that we found on the property. 


Morning rays at the cabin, late night snuggles around the fire with Kevin (@kevinkinghorn) and KJ (@kjpinc), and the back view of Jacob's first cabin.


I learned a lot both about myself and the scanty of places such as these during my stay. My time out here was brief, but the small, simple occurrences were what made me want to return. While I was here, Jacob described the process he goes through envisioning and creating these homes. They aren't perfect, he stressed, but that is what makes them special. He showed me where the wood on his initial cabin had expanded from the relentless Northwest rain, giving way to a gap in the architecture. Pointing at this gap he proclaimed this is what makes these houses special. If he wanted, he could fix that gap.  But this is character. The character that builds these places.

There's a metaphor for life somewhere in there. Sometimes its the scars that show us who we really are. Most of the time I find myself chasing perfection, always looking for the best. But more often than not, these natural blemishes, imperfections, whatever you want to call them, are what make us who we really are. It often takes just stepping back to see this. Our character is formed from our flaw. And character has never been anything to be ashamed of. 

Thanks for reading,

Peace & Love,


Forrest Smith