January 23, 2014

The Cabin Plan

Lately I've been showing you a lot of the exhausting, yet basic work we are doing at our family cabin up North.  But things are about to start getting interesting, so I thought I would take a step back and explain the plan for you.  First, I think you'll need to understand our current layout.

We never intended on buying a two bedroom cabin.  With three families sharing this place (my parents, my brother's and mine)  along with our children, we knew three bedrooms would really be ideal.  But when we saw this place it was instant love.  That shoreline.  This lake.  The open floor plan.  The garagemahal.  We had to make it work.

Plus, there was this big, empty area they referred to as the Den located right in the main entry.  Here's a photo looking back at it from the Dinning Room.  Nothing but unused furniture.

So now that we're through the first short summer and fall there, we're using the cold Minnesota Winter to get a bunch of stuff done inside.  Cue the list!

1.  The first and most impactful change is that we'll be adding a third bedroom!  We'll build a wall that will separate the Dining Room from the Den.  This new room won't be huge, but it will fit a queen bed and a dresser, which is all we really need from it, a private place to sleep. This room luckily already includes a closet (which was the former entryway closet.)

2. The biggest problem with putting a Bedroom in the Den, is that the front door needs to move.  Once it warms up outside we'll replace the old front door with a window (actually, the window we remove from #5, but more on that later) and we'll have to spend a lot of time this summer removing the concrete front steps and sidewalk to this space. Look forward to Hubs swinging a sledgehammer photos, I know I am!

3. Although it's not ideal, we'll be moving the front door to the side of the house. Our front door previously wasn't much to look at, and in fact wasn't even the original location of this cabin's front door, so I feel confident that as long as we do it right, it can look intentional and original to the home.  Here's a close up.

By extending the existing deck to wrap around the side of the cabin, we'll use the new deck steps as the primary entry.  Imagine something like this (a shot I previously snapped from Trulia that no longer exists) with a deck extending off the back of it.  


That one above has seen better days.  Look at this beauty below from Bungalow Restoration to get an idea of the gable I'd like to build over the new door, (which is already a huge upgrade from the fully exposed previous front door.)

Love this wood planked ceiling and light built into the gable. Swoon.

So you don't have to scroll all the way back up, here's our plan again.

4.  I'll build a coat locker system to sit in the new doorway and serve as the new entry closet.  We also have a coat rack back in the utility room to hold work jackets, snow pants and other extra clothing items that will be getting the boot from the now third bedroom closet.

5. I mentioned removing a window from the Living Room, and here's why- to make room for our new fireplace!  We've barely finished a winter here living with the place, but it's become really clear to us is that the one thing that we really miss is a fireplace to cozy up to.  Since the Hubs and I feel like experts in the fireplace installation game after remodeling our gorgeous one in our Family Room, we're ready to take on the challenge.  Because that TV and that window box air conditioner just won't do. 

6. We'll flank the new fireplace with a set of built ins that can hold decor and a bunch of the stuff that will be kicked out of the former entryway closet (i.e. games, puzzles, etc..)

7.  Finally, I think one of the biggest changes will come from installing hardwood flooring throughout the open concept living space.  Right now there's carpet in the Dinning Room which is nonsense, burnt, gross linoleum in the kitchen, and a strange, curved section of carpet in the Living Room. Here's the overview again so you can see what we have in mind.



Sure, there's other stuff we're doing in there too.  New tile in the bathroom (really a full bathroom reno), new flooring and layout in the 3 Season Porch, etc... but for now let's focus on the first list, because I don't want to get too overwhelmed.  You know, we're just building another bedroom, moving the front door, building a deck, tearing out a window, adding a fireplace, building a large coat locker, a console table and floor to ceiling built ins.... the easy stuff. 

One project at a time. :)


  1. Love love love this! My husband and I would love to have an "up north" (northern Wisconsin) cabin, and I'm constantly searching online from afar (southeastern Wisconsin). Thank goodness for being handy, and being able to have a vision for a beautiful home out of something....not so beautiful!

    - Katie.

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