Submitted by Kris Potter, Minneapolis

First it was a tool shed. Then my mom got the brilliant idea that it could be a little cabin for her children. She pressed her cousin and his Swedish, central Minnesota carpenter dad into service, and it soon became the bunkhouse, a miniature 14-by-14-foot cabin. Two bunks, a chair, a mirror, a rocking chair, an antique coat hanger and some blue and green shag carpeting, and we had our own little children's world and home. We loved it and feared it. As cars went by on the dirt road, my brother and I would freeze in our bunks — we were sure we would be kidnapped. We lay on our bunks frozen with fear. Bugs coated the ceiling and walls. Why in the light of day had we thought this was a great place to be?

My own children would never agree to sleep in it — too buggy, too scary, too many feet (about 60) from the main cabin. Hence its modern day conversion to a sauna. Our carpenter refashioned the bunkhouse into a beautiful refuge from the busy city. It's quiet, it's dim, it smells like trees. Your outer business and inner turmoil evaporate once inside. We love it best in the fall and spring, when the water and air outside the sauna are cool enough to shock you but not completely freeze you. Our carpenter even added a cooling deck with sitting steps for us to take our first cool-down. In the deep of winter it is the only thing that can warm these now aging joints. Forty years of loving a simple structure. The bunkhouse has flexed, adjusted and breathed in its aging — as we all must.