Becke & Lee's Vintage Cabin

Becke & Lee's Vintage Cabin

Janel Laban
Nov 30, 2009

Name: Becke, Lee, Pierre and three geriatric cats (Badooda, Magiggles and Einar)
Location: Lakeport, Ontario, Canada
Size: 1800 square feet
Years lived in: 1

Becke & Lee are self-described "artists, computer nerds and wheelers & dealers" of vintage goods (at The Vintage Cabin on etsy) who made the move from the city to the country a year ago. Becke writes, "My husband & I made the move out of the city & into this house a year ago so we could have more space to garden, be creative and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. Since we've been here though, it's been nothing but work!"

"It's all very rewarding work, mind you, but the house was in need of an overhaul which is just finally winding down now. When we first saw the house we knew we had to have it. It had a great layout, a large and fully fenced yard for our piglet son, Pierre, tons of historic charm and a 150-year-old barn that we can use for our workshop. It's also located a stone's throw away from the shores of Lake Ontario, so we were drawn to the nautical & beachy feel of the house and area.

My style is a mishmash of mid-century & vintage with Americana and primitive elements - I know, kinda weird. I have always been in love with mid-century decor and it's been my predominant style since I was a teenager. Since we moved into this house, however, I have gained a new appreciation for the way many clapboard style modest houses would have looked back in their early days. I like to call it modest minimalism - plank floors, neutrals, only essentials on display - no over-the-top glamour whatsoever. I am trying to work in elements of that while bringing in some mid-century style at the same time."

We absolutely love the interiors of Becke and Lee's home - the combination of the crisp cool white walls with the amazing collection of the vintage pieces. It is a testament to sticking to your unique aesthetic style no matter how your surroundings change. The look is just as successful in their new rural home as it would be in an urban setting because their personality really comes through. We enjoyed discovering this unique home though Becke's wonderful photos and think you will too - enjoy the tour!

Becke's Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: A mix of mid-century & cottage style with Americana and primitive elements thrown in. I have always been in love with all things mid-century but, since moving into this house, my style has simplified itself a little bit more. I gravitate toward modest styles and I think primitive and mid-century décor have a lot in common - practical, clean, simple and well-designed.

Inspiration: Canadiana, Americana, New York City, English cottage gardens, turquoise, chartreuse, red, all things strange/creepy and the music of mark kozelek.

Favorite Element: Our wood windows and plank floors. You can work almost any style with that combination! Our 150-year-old barn is also a big reason why we bought this house. It will eventually be our studio space.

Biggest Challenge: We live on almost an acre of property that always needs to be maintained in the summer months. It takes us 2 ½ hours to mow the lawn and we also have perennial gardens at the front, side and back of the house as well as a big vegetable garden. When we bought this house, it was all overgrown and the vegetable garden was taken over by poppies. Have you seen the tap root on a poppy!? It took us almost a year just to get it in some kind of order. Now we have to figure out ways to get rid of more grass, as we want to keep our lawn mowing to a minimum.

What Friends Say: "I see why you would want to leave the city for this…but how long did you say it takes to mow your lawn?"

Biggest Embarrassment: That would have to be our rotten shower stall that has an early 90s circuit board pattern on the glass…and the bacon grease coated track lighting in the kitchen. Those will be the next projects we tackle. I have a great pair of 50s barn lights I plan to paint and hang in the kitchen over the butcher block.

Proudest DIY: Restoring almost all of the original wooden windows in the house (re-glazing, re-painting and re-fitting). And, as much as I love the windows now, I will NEVER do that again!

Biggest Indulgence: I'm not usually one for indulgence but to ensure our house was energy efficient, we replaced our old oil chugger with a high-efficiency gas furnace and we did a lot of insulating. We also installed low flow toilets and plan to do a few other improvements to bring our old house into this century.

Best advice: Don't be afraid to say no to stainless steel appliances.

Dream source: Smeg, Dyson, a fireplace in both bedrooms from Eco Smart


The white paint throughout the house is Benjamin Moore Decorator's white. The fireplace is Benjamin Moore Chartreuse.

Almost all of my furniture is from Craigslist, Kijiji, flea markets and a few pieces are from Ikea. Don't be afraid to buy something that is beaten up because it could only need a can of spray paint and/or a light sanding to bring it back to life (thanks for the tip, mom!). Of course, yard sales, rummage sales and the garbage are the best and cheapest way to decorate your home. Don't be ashamed to be a garbage picker.

The living room curtains are from Ikea (Merete) and the rest of the curtains upstairs are just white sheets doubled and sewed together. The curtain rods are made from painted doweling from the hardware store with finials from the thrift store painted to match.

The chalkboard doors in the kitchen are your typical cheap louvered doors. We just cut out the slats, used some MDF board and painted it with chalkboard paint and screwed it onto the frame.

Want to add to or complete a collection? eBay and Etsy are still your best bets for finding that needle in a haystack.

(Thanks, Becke & Lee!)

Images: Becke Gainforth

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