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Cabin Kings in their Getaway
Cabin Kings in their Getaway
The task is simple — take cabin-building to new extremes. Tackling this on “Building Wild” are opposites.

Pat “Tuffy” Bakaitis knows cabins; he has five of his own. One is just to visit with his family; another is for what he calls his “happy hour” crew. “It just gets trashed every Friday night,” he said.

Paul DiMeo knew little about the cabin world. “It’s a lifestyle that a part of me longs for,” he said.

Now he’s getting a crash course in it. When “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” ended, DiMeo linked with Bakaitis to form Cabin Kings, in Upstate New York. Often using found material and volunteer labor, they bring offbeat designs to off-the-road settings.

Now they have a reality show. What people may notice first is the byplay between these Kings.

Bakaitis calls DiMeo a “city slicker,” given to exotic notions instead of practical ones. That included the time he insisted on using horses for an uphill haul. “My grandfather worked with horses and the horses went out with the Indians,” Bakaitis said. “We’ve got excavators now.”

And to DiMeo, this is a chance to expand his world. He’s working with:

Unusual clients. “We have everyone from Navy SEALs to dairy farmers to a school teacher to an old veterinarian who also is a bush pilot.”

Odd ideas. One week, a portable outhouse slid along a track; another, a rotating cabin.

And a different lifestyle.

DiMeo’s life has been in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles (where, he says, he owns “70 square feet of land”). He has to admire the flip side.

Bakaitis, DiMeo said, “has 350 acres and there are just animals running around and it’s just a world of beauty.” Settings like that bring a communal notion to building the cabins and enjoying them.

“Having … everyone come together to make this happen,” DiMeo said, “there’s a great deal of camaraderie.” That continues afterward, in long weekends of talk, drink and gentle sunsets.

Watch it

“Building Wild”

9 p.m. Tuesdays, National Geographic.

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site

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