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Building a Dream in Hudson Valley: How a Weekend Escape Became a Full-time Passion

Photographer and entrepreneur Cubby Graham has spent the last year restoring a cabin in upstate New York. What was once a weekend escape is now his primary residence. We provided him with our C2 Guard product so that he could protect, seal and waterproof his precious investment. Read more about his restoration journey!

What led you to your retreat in the woods?

Growing up in a log cabin in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve always had a deep love for the outdoors and an appreciation for being able to connect with nature. Over the past decade I’ve been living and working in New York City, and my partner and I had always dreamed of having a small place outside the city. After spending a year working from our one-bedroom apartment during the pandemic, and our companies enabling us to work remotely, we decided to search for something a little more permanent and embrace the upstate life full time. After many months of searching, the Hudson Valley Cabin came into our lives. 

It's a beautiful piece of property. What else do you hope to do with the land?

We have a lot of hopes and dreams. This year, we’re really excited to get our hands dirty and grow our first garden. There are also a few fields and an old barn on the property, so we look forward to reintroducing some animals including goats, alpacas, and a donkey. For now, we have eight chickens! We’d love to build small guest cabins to host even more friends and family for a little getaway or creative retreat.

How did you hear about C2 Guard?


Staining and maintaining log cabins come with their own challenges. It’s important that you use a high-quality stain that allows the logs to continue to breathe. We had our hearts set on staining the cabin black but were having a hard time finding one until we came across The Blackwood Cabin (@theblackwoodcabin) that had used C2 Guard Carbon. After researching C2 Paint, we were blown away by the rich finish (it almost had a Shou Sugi Ban look to it) that protected the wood on a cellular level while still celebrating the beautiful natural grain. 

Why did you choose the color Carbon?


My partner and I have always been drawn to minimal and modern Scandinavian design. One of our first international trips together was to Iceland, and we love how black homes blend so beautifully into the landscape and are so cozy. 

What’s been the most challenging part of your restoration?

One of the biggest challenges was the existing stain that was used on the house previously. It wasn’t allowing the logs to breathe. Before applying the new stain, we had to sand off the old stain to give the logs a fresh start. 

What was using the product like for your painters? (any insights, challenges or tips?). 


The C2 Guard is a thin consistency, so the logs soak it up very well. It has really penetrative coverage, and we used the wet-on-damp application technique. One of the things you experience when maintaining and staining a log home is there are often lots of checks in the wood. Using a spray bottle or a pump sprayer is great for getting into those hard-to-reach spots and then back-brushing it in. 

What was your experience working with C2 Paint?

We worked with Harry Adler (@adlersri) for all of our C2 Paint product needs and had the most wonderful experience. This was our first time staining a log cabin, and he was so helpful every step of the way, from helping us choose the right product to sharing all his wisdom and application tips. We felt much more confident and prepared for our project because of him. Harry went above and beyond to make our project come to life and was such a delight and pleasure to work with. 

You always have so many fun projects in the works. What's next on your agenda? 


Much like C2 Paint, we’re also inspired by nature and are passionate about doing our part to care for it. Which is why we’re really excited about our next big project. We’re converting our home’s heating and cooling to geothermal before winter arrives. After researching different systems that are economically and environmentally friendly, we discovered a really cool small business called Dandelion. They’re on a mission to make geothermal more accessible and empower homeowners to save money on heating and cooling while also reducing carbon emissions by about 400,000 pounds of CO2. That’s the equivalent of removing 40 cars from the road for an entire year!

If you’re interested in learning more about geothermal, definitely check them out.

And of course, if you’d like to follow along as we continue to make updates to @hudsonvallycabin, you can see the latest on Instagram. 

About Cubby Graham


Cubby Graham is a photographer based in upstate New York and calls the Hudson Valley Cabin home. Since 2013, he’s been using his lifelong passion for photography and storytelling as a member of charity: water’s creative team. charity: water has helped fund clean water for more than 15 million people around the world. 

Cubby truly believes that stories have the power to change the world and his genuine passion for people, contagious happiness, and minimalistic aesthetic is reflected throughout his work. In his free time you can find him in hot pursuit of a tasty cup of coffee and exploring the outdoors.

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