Just about every Oregonian has heard of Crater Lake, our only national park. In-the-know metro-area residents may have been to Lakeview, on the state’s southern edge, an important migratory corridor for Canada geese, where the high school teams compete as the Honkers.
But it takes a real command of Oregon byways to have heard of Lakeside, a blink-and-you've-missed-it community on the edge of the Elliott State Forest between Coos Bay and Reedsport, as easily reached by boat as by road.
So naturally, that’s where the woman hailed by Dwell and Sunset as the creator of the cutest, quirkiest vacation rentals this side of the Mississippi is building her latest minimalist property—after she completed work on a tiny home inside of a giant potato in her home state of Idaho, of course.
Let’s back up. Kristie Mae Wolfe started out as a tiny-house superfan. In 2012, Wolfe, then working at a potato packing factory in Idaho, gambled pretty much all her meager savings on a forlorn piece of property on the rainy, jungle-y side of Hawaii’s Big Island. She had a napkin sketch of the treehouse she wanted to build, her very handy mother as her crew member, and YouTube tutorials as her guide.
In short order, her tiny treehouse on stilts went live.
Renters came swarming and Wolfe built more properties—a hobbit hole in Chelan, Washington, a restored fire lookout in northern Idaho, and of course, the potato abode (for which she hollowed out the interior of a giant concrete tuber that was once the traveling mascot of the Idaho Potato Commission). Now comes her first-ever Oregon property, which she bills as a “wood-clad Airstream” of sorts.
The Lakeside getaway, which is set to open as soon as Wolfe gets the last remaining permits from Coos County, is just 230 square feet, and is Wolfe’s first property made from a prefabricated structure—a cross between an igloo and a hut made by an Estonian company.
But she’s added a deck with an outdoor soaking tub overlooking 10 Mile Lake below, a wood-fired sauna, and a shower with wildflowers pressed right into the glass. A preview of what she’s calling the “Cocoon Cottage” that she posted on TikTok already has nearly a million views.
Want to stay? It’ll run you about $300 a night, it’s about four hours from Portland, and you can’t reserve it for more than three nights.
“A small space feels really magical and beautiful, (until) you've lived in it for a week, and your luggage is spilling out everywhere,” Wolfe says. “A week is just a little too long to be in the small quarters.” (Guests agreed; Wolfe instituted the three-day limit for most of her properties after noticing that the longer the stay, the more tempered her guest reviews were.)
She’s already on the lookout for her next Oregon property, Wolfe says—she’d like to put a windmill somewhere in the Hood River Valley, but we’d politely suggest a sequel of sorts to the Idaho tater, only this time with Oregon’s state fruit: who wouldn’t want to fall asleep inside of a perfect pear?