Bryan Knauber


A cabin project in the Wisconsin northwoods

Intro Field Cam Posts

Touching grass

Across the road from where I grew up in Wisconsin is a bunch of undeveloped land – a field, some forest, and a small lake. When I was younger but already kind of a weird nerd, I remember thinking, “someone should build a cool cabin here, it can have big windows and fast internet.”

Some of my priorities have been pretty consistent since high school, it turns out.

Well, it’s a bunch of years later, and that land is now mine. And I’m gonna try to do it: build a little place there, maintain the trails the previous owner cleared, and generally touch grass.

Circa 1997, that’s the field in the back there

The field sits at one of the higher points of relatively flat northern Wisconsin terrain, and from the edge you can see for a few miles. Between the woods and the field there are 60 acres total, enough that it’s hard to walk the whole thing on foot. (Especially in the winter with a foot of snow.)

Looking south up the hill from the lake (click to zoom)

This whole idea is ambitious. The land doesn’t even have an address yet. I’ve never tried to coordinate a construction project like this before. After walking around for a while this summer and getting dirty and eaten alive by mosquitos, I realized I need to get 100% more outdoorsy real quick.

But there’s this thing, almost a meme now, of designers who have spent years in front of a screen moving pixels around wanting to make something more permanent. I totally feel that. And even the process of exploring the land and taking some photos has started to scratch that itch for me.

I’m going to try to blog this process here. My style is usually to not put things into the world until they feel done, so it’s a leap for me to do this with something that might not even work. Follow @afield_wi to keep up to date, too.

PS: I’m calling this project Afield, like the word that means “at a distance” but also because a big part of the land is a field. Get it? Like it? Nobody I’ve pitched it to does, but I do, so that’s what it is for now.

Profile photo of Bryan
Oct 26, 2023 · 11:46am