A turn-up for the books! A small reading cabin outside Warsaw looks set to be the hottest summer booking
A tiny rural escape specifically designed with readers in mind has caught the public’s imagination ever since an initiative was launched to help crowdfund its creation. Nestled by the village of Adelin, 45-minutes north-east of Warsaw, the Bookworm Cabin was the idea of Bartek Kraciuk, an entrepreneur best-known for his involvement in Grupa Warszawa, a hip, fresh-minded firm responsible for some of the capital’s most innovative food and drink concepts.
“In this over-stimulated world I wanted to create a space that would let people kick back and escape distraction,” explains Kraciuk of his latest project. “Reading is a great way to focus on just one thing at a time, relax your mind whilst simultaneously taking yourself on incredible journeys. Meanwhile, the location of this cabin – in the woods, but only 50 kilometres from Warsaw – allows guests to take a digital detox whenever it suits them. They can, potentially, check-in after work on a Tuesday afternoon but be back in the office for first thing the next morning.”
Aiming to welcome its first visitors on June 1st, construction on the cabin is currently well underway with the speed of progress surprising even Kraciuk himself. “So far the whole process has actually been fairly straight forward and easy,” he says, “and it’s been genuinely rewarding working with people from outside the big cities for a change. We sold 30 stays during the crowdfunding stage, a result we’re very happy with given that crowdfunding tends to be considered as a form of charity in Poland, but the greatest value we’ve taken from that campaign was the ensuing and incalculable marketing outcome.”
Already featured in the likes of Newsweek Polska, Elle, Przekrój and Noizz, the media attention that has been generated by the cabin has taken Kraciuk aback. “I’m completely surprised about the reaction,” he admits, “I sincerely am. This was a very private idea that came from the heart rather than from a business plan, and although I wasn’t expecting this level of feedback I managed to get it all!”
The rising number of bookings has been reflective of this wave of interest, with weekends already sold out until mid-September. “We’re now getting enquiries every day about availability,” says Kraciuk, “and I’m having to take calls at the most unexpected times asking if it’s free for a weekend – of course I don’t mind though, I’m hoping for a lot more of those kind of calls!”
Covering a total floor space of 25 square metres on the ground level, and a snug 12.5 square metres mezzanine floor, the cabin’s shell was designed by the POLE Architekci architectural studio whilst work on the interiors has been left to Bartek’s wife, architect Marta Puchalska-Kraciuk. Made almost entirely of wood, features of this off-grid retreat number a five-metre high window offering unimpeded views of the rolling countryside, an outdoor deck and furnishings and final touches that plan to place an emphasis on upcoming and established Polish designers. It is books, however, that remain the most important element of this enchanting space.
“We want to have hundreds of books,” says Kraciuk, “and though the majority of them will be fiction, there’ll be a good amount of cookbooks included.” Confessing that his dream guests would include Simone de Beauvoir, Szczepan Twardoch and a hellraising Ernest Hemingway (“he’d most likely trash the place,” he laughs, “but at least we could make a film about that after”), the birth of the Bookworm Cabin has proved to be an intensely personal experience for Kraciuk, but one that has gone deeper and struck a chord with the public’s enduring fascination with cabin life.
“With the constant beeping of notifications and texts we’ve become wired to networks and have had our privacy compromised,” says Kraciuk when asked to consider the allure. “So even if such disturbances are of one’s own doing, I think we all secretly long for some kind of downtime and detachment. Cabins create that physical space small enough for us to feel in complete control – some would call them cosy.”
Furthermore, there has been a feeling that the stars have aligned in this case to conjure up an experience that stands to promise something completely unique and at harmony with the world around. “I’ve had the idea of building a cabin for a while now,” says Kraciuk, “but from the many locations I looked it was only here in Adelin that I could really envision the entire thing coming together – aside from the overall privacy, I thought it was vital that the plot had a little hill that would allow for spectacular views. It’s a magical place, and I could tell that from the moment I laid eyes on it.” The general public, it would appear, have been unanimous in agreement.