Before and After: A California Cabin Becomes the Sweet Destination It Always Had the Potential to Be

updated Sep 4, 2019
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As soon as Hope Mendes and her husband saw their Cobb, California, cabin, they knew it was the place they’d been searching for—a home they could use for vacations and also list as an Airbnb. “Although it needed a ton of work, overall it had good bones and only required mostly cosmetic work,” Hope writes. “We knew with a little TLC it would become the perfect rustic and charming retreat we had been wanting.”

The couple’s goals for their renovation? Creating a cabin feel with personal and modern touches, plus as much brightness as possible. “It’s a very small space, and with all of the beautiful trees around it, can also be fairly dark at times,” Hope writes. “It was important to us to keep the space light and airy and not over-clutter it.”

Hope says that she and her husband were pretty naive at the start of the project. “There were times where we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into,” she writes. “We went into this with zero prior experience and thought we could probably do most of the work ourselves. We quickly realized that we would need a lot of help, especially once we decided to do a complete gut remodel of the bathroom.”

Over the course of a little over three months, they also removed all of the cabin’s linoleum and subfloor and painted everything (like, everything). In the kitchen, they swapped out the upper cabinets for open shelves, painted all of the cabinetry Woodland Lichen from HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, and installed black knobs. The centerpiece: An old baker’s table they spotted on Facebook Marketplace, which they hacked with casters to heighten and give it some mobility.

The couple gave the exterior a major makeover, too, power washing it, adding a privacy wall to the outdoor shower, and generally freshening it up. The whole remodel cost about $30,000, including furnishings and decor.

To future renovators, Hope writes, “Give yourself a timeline and add at least an extra month to that! You will definitely get to a point in the middle of it all when you think you may have bitten off more than you can chew, but you will get through it.”

Thank you for sharing, Hope!