The rustic, hand-built cabin in the woods—with no creature comforts, but with the promise of solitude and a reprieve from daily responsibilities—has come a long way, as Rock the Shack, a newly-published book, mouth-wateringly illustrates. The very hip title aside (taken from a song by the forever-cool British rock band, New Order), the book’s synopsis, positioned as an ode to “furnished cabins, cottages, second homes, tree houses, transformations, shelters, and cocoons,” is our first clue that the definition of the humble back-to-nature refuge has been stretched in ways far removed from Thoreau’s Walden. Which is to say, no cobbled-together, charmingly uneven, make-it-up-as-we-go log cabin builder need apply.
Rock the Shack is a decidedly 21st Century version of the great escape, a survey of sophisticated, thoughtfully-designed abodes, given all the detailed attention and image consciousness typically reserved for primary residences. From the dazzling geometry of an artist’s studio in New Foundland, to a radical hotel concept in Sweden, “These kinds of refuges offer modern men and women a promise of what urban centers usually cannot provide: quiet, relaxation, being out of reach, getting back to basics, feeling human again.” And, one presumes, a chance for us less fortunate modern men and women to share in this utopian promise with vicarious, slack-jawed wonder.