Jenny escaping the city–and humans–to regain her sanity at the cabin she built in Wisconsin. (Photo: Tona Williams)
The Scandinavian cabin in progress. It’s tricky to get a good photo because of the giant mushroom column used to support this converted warehouse space, but you get the idea. The casement window is a reclaimed window she purchased at the Rebuilding Exchange.
Jenny built the desks and other storage items in the office and brought in a lot of her own furnishings for the space.
She also introduced me to a phenomenon called “nature deficit disorder” when she lent me a book called Last Child in the Woodsby Richard Louv last year, which I’ve managed to not return because it completely floored me and because I’m lousy that way. Nature deficit disorder is not an official medical condition, but it takes about five seconds to realize that it should be. In a nut shell, the book discusses the alarming rate of sickness, stress, aggressiveness, and obesity with kids in the U.S. and attributes this, in large part, to the fact that they are spending almost zero time running around outside. This was later confirmed when I worked on a project interviewing folks who work in and with our local forest preserves and who talked at length about how astonishingly disconnected kids are from nature. For example, some high schoolers believe there are lions and tigers living in the trees, and the majority were completely terrified of our woods in general, which don’t exactly emulate the enchanted forest of Brothers Grimm fairytales. Adults may be slightly less intimidated by nature (and I stress might, as I know some who would crumple if they didn’t have heated leather seats to lounge on while resting), but you can add heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, and no doubt depression to that list of health concerns related to a lack of exercise and frolicking about.
Cutting down wood on the weekend to create furniture for the inside of the office cabin.
Seating for the office cabin, which has built in storage underneath and which was precisely calculated to ensure that it was long enough to allow for daytime work naps for its designer, naturally.
A “standing desk” she designed and built according to the varied heights of herself and her employees.
Some essentials on the land: Thomas Jefferson study materials and a cordless power drill (no ma’am, no electricity).