sneak peek: kim krans of the wild unknown

kim krans and her husband jonny ollsin lead busy lives as artists and musicians in brooklyn, ny – kim runs the wild unknown, a site that sells beautiful hand-made objects (including kim’s gorgeous prints and calendars) this spring, the couple built this little escape – a tiny cabin in delhi, new york (a little town in the catskills mountains). it’s already proven to be great inspiration – kim and jonny’s band, family band, made their first record at the cabin and this winter they made a music video in the area. i love how every detail in this space feels carefully selected and special. (you can see more of kim’s cabin on flickr!) {thanks kim and jonny!} amy a.

[Before starting to build in the spring, we spent the winter looking at old copies of books from the 1960’s-70’s that featured hand built homes. We had limited carpentry skills, but the help from friends and family gave us the confidence to start a project like this, and eventually taught us all we needed to know. For a multitude of reasons, we did not want to take out a loan or hire a contracting company. Every move and decision (from placing the stone steps to framing out the stained glass windows) was done by family and friends, with the goal of building a simple and sweet space to call our own. Through this process my husband and I slowly became relatively skilled carpenters – able to build cabinets and do more elaborate woodwork. We are now four years into this project, and the work is… almost done.]

[image above: Jonny scored this little organ at a yard sale for ten dollars. It fits the criteria we have for almost everything we bring into the cabin – small, special, and useful.]

CLICK HERE for more of The Wild Unknown Cabin!

[image above: As with all decisions in an extremely small home, the kitchen cabinets were all about the best use of space. It took us three years to decide where and what they would be. Finally a few months ago we put doors on the cabinets.]

[image above: The bathhouse is actually a separate outbuilding from the cabin and was built our second summer on the land.]

[image above: This area isn’t finished yet, as we hope to finish the headboard/shelving area later this year. There is always more to do…!]

[image above: It’s extremely important that our cabin is a space where things happen – where we can go to write, play, and record music. Family Band’s first record was made there. Though it’s a small space, the vibe of the cabin is present in every creative project we do there.]

[image above: The sofa is designed to sleep one guest comfortably with storage space underneath. We sewed the cushion covers and made the pillows custom for the space.]

[images above: These windows were designed before the cabin was built. My mother is a stained glass artist (she makes the prisms we sell on the wild unknown ). So we have put her to work with many of the windows throughout the cabin, as the color adds so much to the small space. The moon window faces the west and the sun faces the east.]

[image above: I am so proud of this table! My mom and I built it together! I saw a picture of this design in a magazine and it was well over a thousand dollars… so I tore out the picture and saved it in my picture file. I later showed it to my mom and she said no problem, we can build that! Just one day and one hundred dollars later we were eating breakfast on it.]

[image above: The Catskills are gorgeous in every way – there are epic views, spring-fed ponds, and everything you could dream of. I’ve tried to keep the gardening and landscaping simple, with plants that grow well in the area.]

Kim’s Catskills Favorites!
The area is filled with so many small shops that carry local goods from farms in the area; my favorite is Lucky Dog in Hamden. The best place for a breakfast sandwich is Russell’s, a sweet little shop that’s been in business since 1823. The best glass of iced tea you could ever imagine is at Tay Tea.

  1. anne-claire says:

    lovely! my boyfriend is a musician / carpenter too. i am going to forward this to him in hopes he will get inspired…! great work.

  2. Wow, I absolutely LOVE this.

  3. Toni says:

    Oh my goodness! This is my dream home. Absolutely beautiful and charming! Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Monica says:

    Love the use of the warmth of the natural wood.

  5. Anna @ D16 says:

    This is PERFECT, seriously. I really, really love what you’ve done here. (& yay! The Catskills!)

  6. michelle says:

    I already loved Kim’s gorgeous work…now I have a bit more of a crush ;)

  7. Becka says:

    oooh, I love the rustic look here, such a great escape from civilisation at this cute cabin!

  8. Tricia Rose says:

    I have those books! ‘Converted into Houses’ and ‘Hand Made Houses – a Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art’. I have called myself a woodbutcher ever since, the books are so inspiring. Kim and Jonny’s lovely cabin is a wonderful descendant of the original handmade houses.

  9. Whitney says:

    I want to live there with all of you.

  10. Karen E. says:

    It is absolutely a dream of mine to build something like this with my family. I had the privilege of living in a similar cabin for two years in Snohomish County, Washington, but it was made by someone else … it was their 70s dream! Now that I have a son, I hope he’ll help me build my/our 70s dream!

  11. Maya says:

    Love it – it’s so charming. And wow – so impressive that you built it yourselves! We’re just a short hop away and are huge fans of Lucky Dog (oh, their CSA!) and Tay Tea as well, and now of course we’ll have to try the breakfast sandwich at Russell’s! Thanks for the lovely glimpse of your cabin.

  12. Casey says:


  13. verhext says:

    I love it!!! I’m building a little cabin in Vermont, about 3 years in and only managing to work on it a couple weeks a year — so jealous of how finished yours is! It looks amazing!

    I also pored over handmade house books before starting!! So good.

  14. Anna @ D16 says:

    Pssst…could the Flickr set linked in the post be made public? I’d really like to see more. :)

  15. sally says:

    this is an absolute dream! and those stained glass windows, oh my…!

  16. Anna says:

    Wow! Can’t believe you were carpentry neophytes, but how wonderful to acquire that skill while working to build something lasting.

  17. Rebeca says:

    I love this mix of rustic simplicity. Who made that especially wonderful “Focus on one thing” painting?

  18. kim says:

    The “focus on one thing” painting is by Barara Reiser. Though her work is difficult to find/buy on the internet, it is absolutely worth contacting her for samples of images. I have several of her works and each one of them is a showstopper! here’s the best link I can find to see more info/contact her

  19. Nickie Frye says:

    This is fantastic. Just so pretty. Love.

  20. Jodi says:

    Congratulations Kim and Jonny. This is so inspiring and exactly the kind of cosy home I’d like to live in. Have sent it to my friend Geoff (a drummer and talented photographer) who has what you guys call a “country cabin” – and Aussies call a “bush hut” – he plans to retire to. In an age of giant energy-consuming houses – Australians are having smaller families but conversely living in larger homes than ever before – such down to earth projects can only be admired and encouraged. PS I am hanging out to learn carpentry having caught the bug doing small-scale furniture projects: even as a little girl, I always wanted to build my own house in the bush!

  21. melanie says:

    so lovely! it looks like such a perfect little getaway. i love it so much.

  22. max says:

    A perfect place to get away from civilization and soak in the nature. I love those bunches of dried herbs, so rustic.

  23. aunt mim says:

    Reminds me of upisland on the Vineyard! Thnaks for sharing.

  24. julian says:

    This is one of the best! I would love to have a place like that. Yes!

  25. Eva says:

    nice, it must smell like wood. I like that. very cozy!

  26. Anna says:

    What an absolutelt gorgeous cabin! This is what cottaging should be!

  27. Terri says:

    Beautiful! The stained glass windows are stunning!

  28. Melanie says:

    What a beautiful place, I love how understated but interesting it is. It’s perfect!!

  29. misma and kris monkey says:

    this is my idea of heaven. possibly my favourite house on sneak peaks yet x

  30. Sandy Foster says:

    Not only can I believe how gorgeous this is, I can’t believe I live near them and never heard of them!

  31. Kat Bridges says:

    Kim and Jonny’s cabin is beyond dreamy. My guy and I just started a Catskills cabin renovation ourselves, and I’m so impressed with our neighbors’ amazing, cozy homes!

  32. Lynne says:

    Oh, I love your beautiful little house! I also love the thought and time you took to design and build it – this how I would love to build my own (if I’m able to fulfill my dream someday).

  33. Lloyd Kahn says:

    Kim and Jonny,

    Did you get my emil of Feb 16 about hi-res pix? Following up here in case it went astray.



  34. ginny branch stelling says:

    how did i miss this delicious slice of heaven???? one of my fave sneak peeks!

  35. Kate (Lyons) DiCarlo says:

    Beautiful Kim! It’s amazing how we are in the U.P. and then one day we’re living 1/2 hour from eachother! I live across the river in Hudson. This place is amazing and suits you so well…

  36. Grantt & Annie Banks says:

    Hey I love the way your cottage my wife and i are also building our own…. i have gotten an inspiration from your pictures thank you….Grantt an Annie

  37. Kelli Shambrook says:

    Kim & Jonny,
    Your cabin is amazing. I want to visit some day and bring Rikki, Mike and Carter too! Hope all is well with you!
    Cousin Kelli

  38. Cindy Badder says:

    OMG, I love it all, just sent the link home so I could show hubby. I have barn wood that would make beautiful cabinets and your sleeper sofa is perfect!

  39. Michael Jeremiah Hughes says:

    i love the authenticity this buys the owner

  40. Rachel says:

    this place is gorgeous! thank you for sharing these great photos of your home!


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