Modern or Traditional Cabins?

As the temperatures start to rise in the Midwest and winter finally starts to release its tight grip, people start dreaming of being at their cabins. But with the current pandemic and stay at home orders it’s not possible right now to travel. So why not use this time to start planning a cabin makeover for when you can finally get back to that little piece of heaven on the lake?

Living in Minnesota, the vacation rental market is all about cabins, lots of them! Something I’ve come to realize is that to be a true Minnesotan, you have to vacation in a cabin ‘up North’ at some point during the year. Before the pandemic happened, my husband and I and our two dogs went to stay in Biwabik, Minnesota at the Giants Ridge Ski Resort in one of the lakeside cabins. I soon began to understand why this type of vacation is so popular.

A frozen lake at Biwabik, Minnesota
A frozen lake at Biwabik, Minnesota

The purpose of our trip was actually to purchase one of these cabins as an investment property, but after a lot of back and forth we concluded it wasn’t going to be a good deal for us. But it did get me thinking about design…

So many of the cabins I’ve seen are of the traditional style – log walls or golden timber cladding, plaid, a moose picture somewhere, or maybe even a bear, giant stone fireplaces and furniture made out of logs. It’s certainly cozy, and don’t get me wrong I do like it, but what about the alternatives?

Big Moose, New York Log Home rustic-living-room

I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to shopping for houses. I’ve already decorated the bathrooms, and laid out the soaps in my head before I’ve even made an offer! This was no different. I started to research ‘modern cabins’ online and found my new favorite style. Here’s a collection of my favorite.

Like this simple, cozy and elegant bathroom by Baucos Group.

Cabin Master Bath modern-bathroom

Or this amazing modern kitchen by PurParket Inc.

PurParket Porcelain- CABIN Project Sales Centre modern-kitchen

Or this kitchen design by CLB Architects. I love that they’ve transformed the chunky traditional log cabin walls just by painting them white.

Yellowbell Renovation rustic-kitchen

I love the juxtaposition of the modern clean lines against the traditional log cabin wall here in this design by Haus.

Scandinavian Rustic Cabin scandinavian-powder-room

Or this cozy little reading nook by Fernau and Hartman. They’ve kept the warm golden wood cladding but styled it in a more modern feel.

Outdoor living in Palo Alto scandinavian-family-room

This bathroom by First Lamp Architects is a beautiful balance of warm wood and clean modern whites.

Herron Island Cabin Master Shower / Tub modern-bathroom

This design by Marcusse Construction is a little more transitional with the shaker style kitchen cabinets, but definitely has the muted pallet and warm Scandinavian vibe.

Blackshire scandinavian-living-room

A beautiful entrance way by DeForest Architects. I love how everything is so simple and clean, except for the beautiful piece of old gnarly wood they’ve used on the wall as decoration.

High Desert Modern modern-entry

The Scandanavian style can even translate to the staircase. I love this design by Texas Construction Company.

Clifford Residence scandinavian-staircase

And don’t forget about the exterior. This bold barn style cabin in black by Alchemy Architects is just about as perfect as it gets.

Winhall Barnhouse farmhouse-exterior

So which do you prefer? Are you a traditional log cabin lover? Or do you prefer the clean lines of the modern Scandinavian style cabins? I hope this post has inspired you to re-think the traditional cabin look just a little bit. To see the possibilities of what else they could be.

Thanks for reading.

Jo @Britflipper


Using color and texture to bring the inside out

We had our first taste of 80F+ weather here in Minnesota this week and it’s got me thinking about our deck and indoor / outdoor living. When our kitchen finally gets finished I want the deck off the kitchen to feel like an extension of this room. Now I’m about as un-green-fingered as they come, so don’t expect any plant maintenance tips in this post! But I can tell you what I’ve found out about bringing the inside out through color and texture. (Translation note: a garden is a backyard in British English.)

Tip 1: Keep a similar color theme inside and out

I think this is where we’ve been going wrong. Our house is dark brown outside and we’ve been accessorizing with burnt orange as it added a pop of color and tied in really nicely with the brown. But nothing inside our house is orange so it just makes the outside feel very different to the inside.

Our new kitchen will be warm grays, whites and natural wood. So to tie in the deck to this room we need to accessorize with neutrals to make it flow. I absolutely love this London garden by Claire Mee.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

The colors are beautifully neutral. She kept the paint on the wall neutral with Dulux Chalky Downs, and tied in the fabrics in a similar warm grey. Even the plants are neutral! Which is an important point to make. Don’t buy all your furniture and soft furnishings in your theme color then forget about planting colors (like I often do!) The plant colors should be part of the design, not just the flowers but the foliage too.

Tip 2: Don’t forget about plant color!

She used white and green flowering plants, such as hydrangeas and cyclamen, and plants with silvery foliage such as the olive trees in the back. She also used round buxus topiaries to add more green and also structure.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

Tip 3: Use fabrics to make an outdoor room cozy

Texture can also play a big part in bringing the inside out and making a cohesive space. The fabrics Claire Mee used in this modern country garden design are natural in cotton and linen and work well for this style.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

Usiing fabrics outdoors can also help make the space feel cozy and make it feel more like an outdoor room. Louise Jones’ garden below uses lots of soft furnishing and makes this space feel very welcoming.

Mediterranean garden by Louise Jones

Tip 4: Use other textures such as wicker

Claire Mee also used a lot of wicker, even the planters. I love these planters! They add so much texture and tie the warm grays into the design that little bit more.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

You could tie in the wicker by using wicker chairs around your dining table like this design did.

Wicker dining chairs add texture

I tried to take all these points into account when giving our balcony a make-over last year.

We were on a very tight budget so I actually reused plants out of the garden and planted them in some inexpensive resin wicker planters we bought from At Home. The loungers were from Wayfair for around $300. And the lanterns were from Pier 1.

I’m hoping to create a similar style on the lower deck this year. Using neutral colors, adding in some fabrics, and textures to create a cozy homely feel. Stay tuned for that one.

For now though, thanks for reading and I hope it was helpful. I’d love to see how you make your outdoor spaces feel more like home. Please share your tips and photos with me.

Jo @britflipper

TV Room Make-Over: Part 3

If this hadn’t have been Part Three of a series of blogs, I would’ve entitled this one “Peel and Stick Wallpaper – Divorce Material!” Neither me or my husband had ever hung wallpaper before. Friends had told me in the past how easy it is to do. Turns out, they were lying.

I’m the kind of person that has very little patience at the best of times, but coupled with an 8ft piece of sticky acrylic I had even less! I’m really pleased with the end result (minus the few imperfections), but my advice is: if you’re a beginner to wallpapering, quit whilst you’re ahead and pay a professional to install it.

There are lots of custom mural printers out there, just do a Google search. I chose Pictorem (based in Canada) because their website was easy to use, and their prices were very competitive. They were also really helpful when I emailed them about the photo specs and quality needed. Our mural cost just over $300 for a 12ft x 8ft wall, but I had quotes at over $1000. I was really happy with the quality of Pictorem’s product, so would recommend them.

If you are a seasoned decorator or really want to have a go at installing it yourself, here are the steps to follow; (if you don’t, then you can skip over this part):

  1. Make sure the wall is clean, perfectly smooth, free from any nails, lumps or bumps. The Pictorem mural is fairly thick and textured like canvas so is quite forgiving, but it will show up some imperfections.
  2. Lay out the rolls of wallpaper flat for a few hours before installing to make sure they’re flat when you go to install them.
  3. Measure the width of either the left or right hand roll, whichever you want to start with it doesn’t matter which side, and subtract 1″. Then draw a perfectly level line on the wall from the edge of the wall where you’re going to install the first piece. This will be the position where you line up your first piece of wallpaper to. It’s very important that you get this perfectly level (use a plumb line or a spirit level) otherwise all your wallpaper will be at a slight angle. The 1″ subtracted from the width allows for a 1″ overhang at the edge of the wall so you can cut it perfectly to size. Chances are your walls won’t be perfectly straight or 90 degrees so this helps to make sure your mural goes right to the edges.
  4. Start sticking the first piece of wallpaper from the top by peeling back about 4″ of the backing paper. Again have an inch or two overlap at the ceiling, so you can trim it perfectly to size. Make sure the length aligns to the plumb line that you drew on the wall though. This means the top may not look perfectly symmetrical to the ceiling as the walls and ceilings may not be at a perfect 90 degrees. But aligning to the plumb line will make sure the wallpaper is hanging perfectly straight.
  5.  When you have the first piece straight, continue peeling the backing paper off and rub the spatula over the top of the paper from the center outwards to remove any air bubbles. If you do get any stubborn air bubbles you can pop them with a pin, or just un-stick the paper a little to let the air out and try again.
  6. After you’ve got the first piece installed, you need to line up the next piece. If it’s the center piece like ours, we drew another plumb line in the same way as before but instead of a 1″ overlap, we drew it to a 1/2″ overlap, which is what the manufacturer recommends. The strips of wallpaper actually overlap each other, but it’s not that obvious when you look at it. The most important piece of this step is to make sure the pattern matches perfectly and that the strip is perfectly straight again. The mistake we made was that even though the top of the paper looked perfectly aligned, when we got nearer the bottom, we’d obviously not got the strip perfectly level as the design started to misalign. Very frustrating for a couple of perfectionists!
  7. You repeat this last step until all your pieces are installed. You should have an inch or so overlap at all edges. You then simply take a spirit level or other straight edge and a knife and cut them away, leaving you with a perfect finish. Or if like us, you messed up, so instead you cover the edges with a small piece of trim!

The result was worth all the hassle, but at the time I wasn’t so sure. It’s definitely a two person job, and ideally at times, even a three person. The strips of wallpaper are really wide which made it difficult to handle. I think if they had been smaller it would’ve been easier.

I’m glad we did it though, and not just repaired and painted the wall or even installed shiplap. It was cheaper than re-skimming the wall, but definitely more difficult than installing shiplap. But now we have something unique that no one else has, and it’s completely personalized.

As I mentioned in my last blog, this photo we used was by a friend in our neighborhood Tammy Brice of Tammy Brice Creative. I saw it one morning on Facebook after driving past the exact same scene and not having time to stop and take a photo as we were late for work or something (as usual). The scene was breathtaking. As a mild climate native, I’d never seen ice on branches like that before and remarked to my husband as we drove past it how magical it looked especially with the mist over the lake. To me it epitomizes the beauty of Minnesota and the beauty of the place we call home – North Oaks. We feel blessed every time we look out of the window. And for me, my favorite time of year is winter here, and scenes like this are the reason why.

I hope this blog has inspired you to customize your space with something personal to you. It’s so inexpensive and easy to do (if you pay a professional to install it that is!) And I think the result is definitely worth it.

Thanks to Tammy for capturing the beauty of our neighborhood and allowing me to admire it all year round.

What will you do? Post your comments and photos below. I’d love to see others inspired to install something beautiful and personal in their homes.

Stay tuned for the grand reveal in Part Four of this series.