These Mini Japanese Cabins Are a Book Lover’s Paradise

Curl up and read a book
Curl up and read a book | © StockSnap / Pixabay
Julia Goicochea

Think compact spaces only exist in the city? One upstate structure is bringing a “make it work” feeling to the New York forest. Part-guest house, part-library, and all original, this is one book you won’t want to judge by its cover.

While many people choose upstate New York as an escape from the confined spaces of the city, one local man is merging urban sensibility with country living. With Hemmelig Rom, Norwegian for “Secret Room,” photographer Jason Koxvold has created your dream reading nook. Inspired by Norwegian and Japanese design, as well as Koxvold’s childhood memories of visiting his grandfather’s family farm, this 320-square-foot cabin is part-guesthouse and part-library. Fittingly, this bibliophile’s paradise boasts an engrossing story of its own.

Before Hemmelig Rom earned internet fame and captivated imaginations around the world, it was a (surprisingly practical) idea. Like many homeowners, Koxvold wanted to install an area on his property specifically designated for guests. A lover and creator of art himself, the visionary quickly realized the greater potential of this would-be guesthouse and set out to create a live-in library. Employing recycled materials and the help of architecture firm Studio Padron, Koxvold would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Lucky visitors of Hemmelig Rom would do well to remember the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The structure’s all-black, angular exterior gives way to a bright and welcoming cabin environment, complete with honey-blonde wood, a floor-to-ceiling window featuring forest views, and a wood-burning stove. The space, which houses a bed and desk for guests’ convenience, specializes in compact living, country style.

Koxvold’s creation even manages to accommodate built-in (literally) entertainment. Upon entering the cabin, guests are greeted by floor-to-ceiling Lincoln Log-style shelves housing Koxvold’s personal collection of more than 1,000 books. The volumes, which cover genres from photography to military policy, are enhanced by handwritten messages tucked between their pages by former readers. It’s the perfect place to curl up with a good book (or a thousand of them); if you wanted to spend your entire upstate adventure here, that could be our little hemmelig, we mean, secret.

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