The scientific name for Western red cedars derives from the Greek plicata, or “folded in plaits.” It´s perhaps fitting that Heidi Danilchik — who, although her name conjures images of braided girls in Nordic lands, actually lives in Washington — has called a stand of red cedars home for the last five years. After seeing a coffeetable book with pictures of treehouses, Heidi and her husband hired the author, Peter Nelson, to build a cabin in their woods near a tidal strait in Port Orchard Bay.
The house´s ramp rises 50 feet to the front door, where a plaque reads, “Traumen sie auf…” German for “They dream on….”. The house is hung from buttressing volts, so when wind comes through the trees, the whole house sways. There’s no shower or stove, but there is a bathroom, and it’s near a former family structure with modern amenities. Friends’ names are carved into the massive fir slab which makes up the kitchen table, and Heidi´s daughter sleeps in an inglenook with two cozy twin beds, fit for fairy tales. No surprise that the bookshelf is filled by other dreamers: “Heidi,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” and a well-read copy of “The Giving Tree.”
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.