Once the glimmer of the holidaze wears off, winter can seem every bit a dry and dim place with everyone switching to hibernation mode after all that festive indulging. For those of us in chillier climates, when it’s freezing temps there’s nothing like cozying up in your favorite flannel and riding out the rest of blizzard season at home with a warm cuppa comfort, fireside with a good blanket and dog on your lap.
Though if you want to enjoy wintertime out in nature at some point, you might consider a staycation at a tiny house in a beautiful outdoor setting like I did at the end of January, the peak of the bleak.
This time last year, I was missing my best friend who had just moved back to Chapel Hill, NC after living in South Africa for about a year. We’ve lived on different continents the most of our friendship, so when we’re in the same country a few hundred miles feels like no distance at all, and a reunion is soon in order.
Since Alex was just getting settled in, I started looking for flights and hotels closer to the East Coast. Having only visited her in the Tar Heel State once, I looked for what was available nearby and came across a charming artist’s cabin on AirBnB in a woodland setting just 20 minutes from her family’s home.
Whether you’re new to resting and relaxing in smaller spaces or you’ve already been won over by their brilliance, I can’t recommend this daydream of a stay any higher for your next getaway.
Just outside Hillsborough, NC, this craftsman cabin is nestled in the enchanting ten-acres owned by Ippy and her husband Neil. Both artists, who share a love of design, the couple has spent the last twenty-five years creating a haven with a peaceful place reserved for guests.
Sit back in the Adirondack chairs and gaze at the water, a timeless pleasure even on winter days here in North Carolina. -The owners
Beautiful in sunshine or in snow, amidst the serenity of the trees and pond, guests are welcome to fish, canoe, swim, or try the hammock in the tiny one-person shed overlooking the pond. You can also step out of the outdoors and visit the neighboring towns of Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh -all a short scenic drive away for any local eateries and attractions you’d like to discover.
Ippy details on her listing that the cabin has been used for botanical and natural history illustration and life drawings, where all the pieces you see hanging on the walls were drawn.
Each colorful piece is hugged with soft natural light spread across creme walls, invoking a harmonious mood in the natural setting.
As anyone who’s lived in 500-square feet or less can appreciate, multifunctional pieces are key in close quarters.
Each morning after waking up whenever we felt like it, we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast on this hardwood drop-leaf table that also served as a workstation when we needed to send the occasional e-mail or mull over our work-in-progress vision boards (because look at this place, it’s an inspiration).
Outside the French doors, the lawn is bordered by a sculptural brick wall built by the cabin’s designer, with beautiful mid-twentieth century sculptures appearing throughout the raised gardens.
While Alex slept soundly in the full bed on the main floor, I opted for the loft because sometimes I miss being a kid and like to keep my child-like sense of wonder.
Up top, a very comfortable single mattress is outfitted with soft linens, a lamp, and a porthole window with a great view for star-gazing as you drift to sleep. There is an electric outlet for the lamp/those who are more likely to fall asleep by blue light over starlight (though science says otherwise), but I highly recommend that you leave your phone to charge on the table below and treat yourself to the celestial sky.
Kind, knowledgeable, and considerate, Ippy is the perfect host whose radiant spirit instantly makes you want to be friends. Reading about her early life in South America and her experience in the world of art on her AirBnB host profile alone made me want to interview her out of curiosity and for fun (maybe next time)!
The mini fridge and pantry were thoughtfully prepared with fruit, granola, coffee, (your choice of) milk, juice, and other conveniences: stoneware plates, mugs, wine glasses, as well as napkins and silverware to complete everything we needed to enjoy our stay. The bottle opener was particularly handy when opening a fine pink sparkling wine Ippy generously gave us as gift shortly after we arrived…
When we showed up, the heated flooring of the cabin unexpectedly wasn’t working, so Ippy graciously welcomed us to tour and consider her personal creative studio as an alternative place to stay. It was lovely of course and we considered taking her up on it just for its expansive window-wall that faced evergreens as far as the eye could see. We admired both studios but decided the cabin would still be magical with the space heaters she preemptively brought out to the cabin for us. I think because we felt the need to spontaneously dance the twist within an hour after checking in, we obviously weren’t disappointed in the slightest.
While we did take a quick road trip to Raleigh, we mostly spent our long weekend practicing yoga, talking and laughing on walks around the foresty grounds, talking and laughing dining in town, then taking our leftovers home to the cabin to talk and laugh some more with arts and crafts and wine.
Maybe it’s the buckets of sunlight and expertly cast mood lighting, or the bright energy of loving homeowners, or lingering cheer from happy guests, but there is an enchanting glow about the place that makes you consider if you really have to leave. Though rest assured, whatever it is, after a short stay the restorative effects of this artist’s cabin will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to return to your usual life, wherever it takes you next.