A Cozy Cabin in the Mountains Is Filled With Vintage Finds From Old Owners
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Name: Sophie and German Sherpherd mix, Lucy
Location: Sierra Nevada mountains near Yosemite National Park, California
Size: 1,200 square feet
Type of Home: Cabin
Years Lived In: Two years, owned
My home is a 1,200-square-foot cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains (near Yosemite National Park!). I’m the only second owner of the cabin — which means it was full of retro ’70s/’80s touches when I moved in (some good, some very very beige). Updating the cabin while respecting the original design as much as possible has been my passion project for the last two years and I’ve done a lot of the work myself. The old owner left quite a bit of furniture behind that I’ve salvaged and/or worked into my interior design scheme (like a set of old speakers that are now nightstands).
The first thing that caught my eye about this home was the ceiling in the living/dining area. The vaulting and wooden beams really lend to the cabin vibe and makes the house feel larger because the ceiling is so high. The second thing that caught my attention about the home is how much light the place gets while being among big old trees! Put those together and this place feels like a grown-up (retro) version of a tree house.
I have been living in the cabin full time — getting an internet connection for remote work was one of the less glamorous updates — but plan on renting it out later this year.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: This cabin is a mishmash of vintage, color, and comfort/functionality — I like pieces that can be repurposed or have multiple uses while still being fun or eclectic. If the cabin had a personality, I like to think it would be “grandma who used to be a globe-trotting hippie.”
Inspiration: For this home: the outdoors, my friend Miki (@plot.twist.interiors) and her love of color/maximalism, the 1970s, and interior design of the 1930s — though that last one probably doesn’t come through as much as the others!
Favorite Element: The kitchen light fixtures! They’re fun and vintage, and helped guide the style of the kitchen.
Biggest Challenge: There have been several, but between the cabinets and the flooring, the kitchen has been the biggest challenge in terms of sheer work.
Proudest DIY: The kitchen, though the outdoor dining table comes a close second! When I first saw the house, the kitchen was incredibly beige — beige walls, beige floors, brown cabinets, and even a clunky beige refrigerator. Adding color and life to the kitchen has made such a difference. I redid the cabinets in green, painted the floor (after a prior DIY laminate tile install fail), added trim and under-cabinet lighting, replaced the faucet, and did things like spending far too long finding a stainless fridge that matched the counter depth and size of the space (thank you Bertazzoni for making a fridge in the exact “non-standard” dimensions I needed).
Second place: The outdoor dining table was a wreck when I found it. It was really rewarding to fix it, paint it, and turn it into something I’m proud to use.
Budget: While I try to reuse/thrift, I also had a couple of splurges decorating this home like the living room rug from West Elm and the Bertazzoni fridge. I also love vintage/antique finds!
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? As much as possible, I’ve tried to work with what the cabin gave me. That has meant leaning into the wood paneling, the existing layout/structure, and the late ’70s/early ’80s accents like the flower light fixtures in the kitchen. But, with this home, it has also meant working with furniture that the former owner left behind in the sale. I’ve had old lamps rewired, used defunct stereos as nightstands, and refurbished furniture like headboards, end tables, and the outdoor dining table.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I look for pieces that do double-duty: coffee tables with storage, couches with shelving, bed frames with storage space underneath, etc.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Work with what you already have and go from there rather than starting from scratch! I believe in “shopping your own closet” and many of my pieces have made multiple moves but look different with new art, paint, and accessories like lamps or pillows.
PAINT & COLORS
- Kitchen Cabinets — Behr Marquee “Trailing Vine”
- Kitchen Floor — Rustoleum Floor coating “River Mist”
- Living Room — Behr Marquee “Polar Bear”
- Sofa — Ekebol Sofa from IKEA (covered in blankets)
- Teak coffee table — World Market
- Velvet chair — Roberta Armchair from Wayfair
- Sofa pillow — Sewn with Ikea fabric
- Rug — West Elm
- Throw blankets — Amazon
- Pendant light — IKEA
- Candles — Basik Candle Co.
- Bookshelf — Nathan James for Home Depot
- Throw pillow in chair — World Market
- Green corduroy dog bed — Petco
- Cabinet — Antique
- Tv stand/console — World Market
- Lamps — Vintage from prior owner
- Curtains and curtain rods — Target
- Dining table and benches — Unsure
- Chairs — Left with house
- Jute rug (under dining table) — IKEA
- Rug — West Elm
- Fruit bowl — Heath Ceramics
- Electric kettle — Haden
- Ceramic mug on counter — Sunny Ceramics ATL
- Coffee pot — Alfi Eco Carafe
- Fridge — Bertazzoni Professional Series
- Light fixtures — Vintage
- Accent cabinet — Target
- Hanging plant pot — Target basket (repurposed and added hanging handle)
- Vases — Vintage
- Bed frame — Fintage
- End tables — Redone (from prior owner)
- Carpet — Antique
- Pendant — Opalhouse-Jungalow
- Bookshelf — Nathan James for Home Depot
- Mirror — Antique
- Lamps — World Market bases
- Shades — Hand-painted
- Dresser — Ikea Rast dresser (with new handles and stain)
- Curtains — Target
- Bud vase — Sunny Ceramics ATL
- Candle — Brooklyn Candle Studio
- Bedding — Bed Threads Set in Petrol
- Sheets — Linenwalas
- Throw pillow — Sewn with Ikea fabric
- Patterned throw blanket — Target — Opalhouse
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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