Nestled in the quiet of Topanga Canyon, Mike and Charlotte Beavers are living at their own pace. With a recent move from San Francisco, the couple have built their home from the ground up. With an unknown history to the land, Mike, a woodworker has transformed the rough foundation into their ideal cabin. Charlotte spends her days painting watercolours of the ever-changing canyon landscape.

“We lived in a house on the property for a couple of years, waiting for the right time to build. It gave me a lot of time to spend in the space and create a mental inventory of our possessions, what we actually used and needed. So, it’s designed for a simple version of how we tend to live, which is cool and creates interesting checks on accumulating things.”

“I worked at a wood shop in San Francisco and started my own thing when we moved down here, which was really a big change. Rather than working in the wood factory making the same things every day, it’s empowering to have agency over what comes next. Topanga offered such a soft landing into “LA,” which it feels close to but is such a world away from. Really, just waking up here is the best part. The birds in the morning, watching the light change with the seasons. Developing a deeper understanding of the little hill where we live. And seeing Charlotte thrive here. I often notice her stopped in the middle of the path looking at plants or birds or whatever else might be buzzing around. We didn’t know how not city people we were until we were here.”

“It’s empowering to have agency over what comes next.”

While listening to live Grateful Dead shows, Mike relies mainly on his intuition, materials and process as his source of design inspiration.

“I can sketch something up, but it always feels different when looking at the actual materials in that shape. I can’t imagine drawing a picture of something and having someone else build it. That would likely come out looking and feeling super disconnected.”

Since we’re both around most of the time, we tend to be able to have lunch and coffee together. I feel really lucky that we can have that time and check in with each other in the middle of the day. Recently, we’ve been getting up and going for early morning runs that have provided a huge shift for the better on most things. Spending time running slow, watching the day begin, just breathing and moving my feet puts the day on a positive course.”

Mike, on what is both over, and underrated.

“The ladder of achievement is overrated. It’s a struggle to feel good about what you’re doing when always looking ahead to something ‘better.’ On the flipside, personal finance bookkeeping is underrated! Why don’t they teach this in school? It feels to me like one of the keys to freedom.”

Feature for In Bed with words by Serafina LoGiacco