Two Musicians Live in a Cozy Yet Surprisingly Bright Log Cabin in the Countryside

published Jun 9, 2021

Two Musicians Live in a Cozy Yet Surprisingly Bright Log Cabin in the Countryside

published Jun 9, 2021
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Bedrooms
Square feet
1100
Sq ft
1100

Name: Daniel and Lauren Goans, and son
Location: Countryside north of Charlottesville, Virginia
Size: House: 1,100 square feet and Studio: 640 square feet
Type of Structures: Three spaces: Home – log cabin; horse stable-turned-recording studio; and work van-turned-home-on-the-road
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

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Married couple Daniel and Lauren Goans, who are a touring band known as Lowland Hum, were actually on a tour when their realtor, Jackie Kingma at Nest Realty, sent them this home’s listing. “After seeing a video of her walking through the home and surrounding property we made our offer from the road! It was a bit of a risk but we had that feeling when we saw it that it was the place for us,” explains Lauren. Nestled into the wooded countryside a little ways from Charlottesville, Virginia, their log cabin is the perfect remedy to their lives as busy musicians. “Our house feels like it is nestled in its own little ecosystem with its own micro climate (the air literally feels different at adjacent properties),” she says. “We love being surrounded by the green of the wooded lot and neighboring pastures as a peaceful foil to the stimulating palette of city, asphalt, and concrete that dominates much of our time on the road as touring musicians.”

Credit: Minette Hand

Beyond the log cabin’s stunning architecture (of which the inside was already painted white when the couple moved in) and the natural surroundings, the house also came with a bonus space: a falling-down former horse stable. “We turned the derelict stable on the back of the lot into a cozy recording studio and finished it just in time for COVID,” Lauren explains. “The year we moved in we planted a tiny orchard and garden in the pasture behind the stable/studio and this year we are finally seeing some fruit! We have loved learning about the native plants growing on the lot and have enjoyed gradually expanding our little herb and flower garden next to the house.” 

Credit: Minette Hand

There’s another small but important part of the couple’s musical country compound: Their tour van, which Lauren says is the perfect tiny home away from home. “We got tired of forking out what felt like so much money for sterile and impersonal hotels, especially on nights when we were arriving super late at night and having to leave super early in the morning,” admits Lauren. “With the help of our friend Brent Clifton in Austin, TX (of Clifton Craftwork and Design) and other generous folks who wish to remain anonymous, we were able to build out a work van and convert it into a homey, comfortable home on the road. We sleep so well in our van and it is such a psychological and emotional help to have the constant of a private space as we bounce all over the place and spend so much time in public settings.”

Credit: Minette Hand

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We are drawn to natural materials and objects that have stories from lives lived before they arrived at our home. Much of our furniture is either family pieces passed down (our oldest dating back over 200 years), or antiquing, roadside, and thrift finds. Daniel has a proclivity toward minimalism (he misses the days when he could move with all of his possessions piled up in the back of his old Honda Accord), which reins in my love of objects and proclivity toward clutter. The overstimulation of life on the road has caused us to opt for keeping many surfaces clean and some walls blank. Besides, the abundance of texture present in the walls of our home provides plenty of visual stimulation. We want our home to feel peaceful but lived-in and comfortable.

Credit: Minette Hand

Inspiration: I think we primarily draw inspiration from nature, ancestry, and our travels. It feels truly special to extend the life of things we grew up seeing in our grandparents’ homes, which were like second homes to us as children. The places we’ve stayed on the road that have resonated with us the most seem to always incorporate a marriage of comfort and clean simplicity with the distressed and aged. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Favorite Element: The banister up our stairs is one long, continuous piece of wood. I was inspecting it the other day and I still don’t fully understand how it works after living here for three years… Whoever built the house seems to have found a perfectly L-shaped piece of wood in nature? Maybe it was a large bending vine once? It’s hard to tell. Regardless, it is beautiful and feels like it carries with it a mysterious power from its former life in nature.

Credit: Minette Hand

Also, our wood stove feels like the heart of our home, especially in the colder months. It is the area we regularly congregate for rest after dinner, for conversion and drinks, for contemplative time, for stretches and yoga, to listen to music. After our son was born and I couldn’t climb the stairs due to my recovery, we all slept downstairs by the wood stove as a family for several weeks. That experience transformed the way I see that room of our house forever.

Credit: Minette Hand

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge about living in this log cabin has by far been climate control. In the beginning it really stressed us out, but now that we have had time to develop systems, and all of our climate-sensitive instruments live out in the studio, which is well sealed and very climate controlled, we have really embraced the fact that we live in what we refer to as an indoor-outdoor home. Whatever is happening outside affects the way it feels inside and we are okay with that! We took some measures to seal the logs better, and had a material called “energy seal” (kind of like heavy duty, textured caulk) applied between each log and at each joint to help eliminate drafts. The wood stove now keeps us toasty in winter, and dehumidifiers and cooling units upstairs keep us cool in summer. Other times of the year it is a pleasure to open the windows and let the outside in.

Credit: Minette Hand

The biggest challenge about turning the stable into a studio was probably working within the strangeness and limitations of the original structure. We basically removed all of the barn wood siding until we had a handful of large vertical beams and rafters (we called this the picnic shelter phase, because that is exactly what it looked like). From there we did our best to build a sealed and straight/level structure within the wonky and crooked skeleton of the old. It meant we had to get pretty creative in our problem solving. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Proudest DIY: Though the construction of our studio was spearheaded by our crafty friend (and fellow musician), Ben Hardesty, it houses some of our best teamwork, finds, and effort. We reused all of the original barn wood as siding on the exterior of the studio and on some interior walls, and Daniel removed almost every single nail by hand. We made the baffles (sound dampening panels) ourselves from lumber, a type of rockwool insulation designed specifically for sound absorption, and burlap coffee bags donated by our favorite coffee roasters in town. Ben built our outdoor sink using a cabinet we found buried back in a dark corner of the original stable, and an old hair washing sink we found at our local Habitat for Humanity store for $20. We restored a $20 gun rack found at the same Habitat store and used it as a rack for microphone stands and additional storage. We made and installed curtains using poplar dowels, leather cut from remnants purchased from a local leather craftsman, and drop cloths. The outhouse is sheathed in the original tin roofing from the stable. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Biggest Indulgence: The rugs in the studio were probably our biggest indulgence. For all of our scrimping, saving, and industrious upcycling along the way, we knew we wanted some wildly magical carpets in the studio to lay on the good vibes. We worked for weeks with the lovely father-daughter duo at Meade Oriental Rugs in Charlottesville to find the right ones for our budget and space. It was a really fun process of taking stacks of rugs home to try out until we landed on the right ones. Later, additional dreamy rugs from Holding Forth and Circa (also Charlottesville gems) were added. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? One of the first projects we completed when we moved in (and really, the first time we’d ever built anything together) was to turn the backdoor mudroom into our library. It had a washer and dryer hookup but the washer and dryer were already installed in another room of the house and it felt like the perfect nook to build a floor-to-ceiling book shelf. Our last apartment was actually our landlady’s library turned into a studio apartment. We were literally surrounded by her books, floor to ceiling, on two of the four gigantic walls and we really missed that space. This was our tiny way of paying homage to that glorious space she created and that special season in our lives. A print of a painting of our old warehouse apartment building hangs next to our book case; a gift from our realtor. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? In our home: We love the eucalyptus wood lounge chairs on the patio we built during COVID. They have transformed that formerly unused corner of our property into a place we love to be.

Credit: Minette Hand
  • I (Lauren) am in love with my “Hoover air” cordless vacuum. It makes cleaning so easy and fast, that it never feels laborious to keep the floors clean. It’s lightweight (under 10lbs) so I have no trouble whisking it off to the studio for cleaning, or to vacuum out the van when we get home from tours. I’m actually on my second one. I don’t think they make them anymore but I found a refurbished one on eBay when my first one finally died. Not sure what I’ll do when this one goes. 
  • I (Lauren) mostly use diluted white vinegar for cleaning and baking soda for scouring (so cheap it’s practically free) BUT when I want to lift my spirits, Caldrea all-purpose cleaner (in Sea Salt Neroli scent) is such a treat. One capful in a five-gallon bucket of hot water is enough to clean ALL OUR FLOORS and it smells totally divine. I was turned onto it when I used to work for a green housecleaning company when we first got married and, I am not kidding, I am still working my way through the two bottles I bought almost ten years ago. I don’t mop our floors super regularly but still! A little goes a long way. Favorite backup for cleaning floors: Murphy’s Oil Wood Soap. Another divine scent, like bathing in the woods, and much cheaper. 
Credit: Minette Hand

In our studio: 

  • Our Berkey water filter. We have running water at the outdoor sink because there was a water line where there used to be a horse waterer, but there is no running water in the studio itself and to keep permits simple we decided to keep it that way. Berkeys are the favorite filtration system among those preparing for the apocalypse, so now we feel extra at ease drinking whatever the horses who lived here before us used to drink…
  • The rugs from Meade Oriental. Almost a year after bringing them home I still find new details, colors, and things to love in them. They are truly works of art.
Credit: Minette Hand

In our van:

  • Our Dometic trucker refrigerator has changed our lives on the road. Where before we used to have to wonder whether the hummus in the cooler had become unsafe for consumption, we now have no doubts, we waste less food, and we are able to prepare and eat fresh and healthy meals on the go. It was one of the more expensive elements of our tour van renovation but it’s been a game changer.
  • The bamboo flooring! We fought hard for a hardwood floor and because the floor space is only about 3’x3’ it was easily achievable within our budget! It makes the back of the van feel homey and is super easy to clean. 
  • Our natural cotton futon mattress and cool memory foam topper. We sleep so well in our van. Even when Lauren was pregnant we slept so deeply on that thing. 
Credit: Minette Hand

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Utilize dead space! The half bath in our upstairs guest room used to be a closet. Due to the sloped ceiling there was a great deal of space behind the toilet going unused. We now store our luggage and bins of hand-me-down clothes for when our son grows older back there. A simple and cheap curtain made from a drop cloth hides it all. We store camping gear, holiday decor, shoes and tons of other stuff in rolling bins under our beds.

  • Embrace multipurpose! Hunt for furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes. For example, the coffee table in our upstairs guest room/nursery is Daniel’s great grandfather’s old wooden tool chest. We store blankets and linens in it and dressed it up with his grandmother’s silver service platter. 
Credit: Minette Hand
  • Cover it up! If you’re like us and you don’t like a lot of clutter (even in spaces hidden from view), hide it! Natural cotton drawstring bags (that some products come in, or can be purchased cheaply on Amazon) make lovely clutter hiders. Fold down the upper edge of the bag and stand bottles of hair and body products in them. I keep one drawn up around the tissues and room spray on the back of our half bath toilet. Collect containers you like the look of (secondhand baskets or old tins make great places to stash medicine, cotton balls and Q-tips, teas, snacks, etc). We store snacks and some produce up on top of the fridge in canvas bins and a ceramic basket I found at a yard sale. It’s functional, makes use of that vertical space and the clutter is out of sight.
Credit: Minette Hand

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Take your time and don’t worry about matching! Have you ever been in a room where it feels like everything was purchased all in the same day from the same store? Building a space that flows from your personality and passions happens in layers over time and the result is worth it. More accurately, it is a process that is always evolving and never fully ends! Waiting for the items that speak to us hands down always feels better in the long run than purchasing something just to fill a space or act as a place holder. Also, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to love your space! We have found most of our absolute favorite things at yard sales, thrift stores, and best of all on the curbside or Craigslist “free” listings! Of course, splurging on a piece of original art or comfortable sheets is 100 percent worth it, but saving money along the way by checking out what pre-loved and free offerings are available in your area helps make those splurges possible. You may end up finding a one-of-a-kind treasure!

Resources

Credit: Minette Hand

PAINT & COLORS

  • Log cabin was already whitewashed when we bought it, so not sure what the manufacturer or exact paint color is
  • Van interior — Behr “Polar Bear 75”  semigloss
  • Studio interior — Valspar “White Gallery” flat
  • Studio accent wall — Valspar “Provincial Peach”  flat
  • Studio Exterior — Sherwin Williams “Tricorn Black”  satin
Credit: Minette Hand

ENTRY

  • Second hand rug — Circa
  • Wooden hanging pegs — Amazon
  • Young deer skull — Found
  • Pink Warehouse print — Charlottesville Artist: Edward Thomas
  • Wooden shoe rack — Curbside
  • Copper wire basket — Yard sale
Credit: Minette Hand

LIVING ROOM

  • K390 Sofa (second hand) — Rowe 
  • Ivory Sheepskin rug — Ecowool
  • Custom Turkish natural hemp tribal symbol (arrow) pillow — Holding Forth
  • Vintage hand knotted Oushak wool Kilim rug — Holding Forth
  • Vintage hand knotted wool rug — Holding Forth 
  • Second hand sheepskin rug — Circa
  • Mirror and marble top buffet — Family heirloom
  • Vermont Castings Aspen C3 wood stove — Wooden Sun
  • Lamps — Family Heirloom (crystal) and curbside (black floor lamp)
  • Vintage Walnut Ohm Walsh 2X0 Speakers — Friend-me-down
  • Small wooden branch table — TJ Maxx
  • Small pastoral oil painting — Von Kimbrough
  • Picasso Minotaur print — Gift
  • Small steel sculptures — Lauren Goans
  • Handcrafted walnut bud vase — Jaysond Neill 
Credit: Minette Hand

DINING ROOM

  • Dining Table and Chairs — Family Heirloom
  • Jackson Press — Family Heirloom
Credit: Minette Hand

KITCHEN

  • Hand-knotted vintage Herki wool runner (rug) — Holding Forth 
  • Berkey water filter — Berkey
  • Bosch 800 Series Dishwasher — Appliances Connection
Credit: Minette Hand

BEDROOM

  • Dressers — Family heirlooms
  • Vintage Navajo rug — Etsy (retailer no longer selling)
  • Bedside lamps — Thrifted and curbside
  • Marble lamp — Family heirloom, lampshade from Target
  • Antique white hobnail coverlet — Family heirloom
  • Oak rocker — Family Heirloom
  • Cast iron and glass end table — Friend-me-down
Credit: Minette Hand

GUEST ROOM / NURSERY

  • Jenny Lind Crib — DaVinci Baby
  • Small sheepskin rug — Woolroom
  • Antique red tree love seat — Estate sale
  • peanut changing pad — Keekaroo
  • “Calm” mobile — Etsy – retailer: depeapa
  • Linen throw pillow — Ralph Lauren – TJ Maxx
  • Drop cloth curtains — DIY
  • White woven coverlet — TJ Maxx
  • Small wooden table and ladder back chairs — Antique
Credit: Minette Hand

OFFICE/LAUNDRY:

  • Oil painting — Curbside
  • Desk — Secondhand
  • Curtain — Antique American woven coverlet, family heirloom
  • Antique pie chest — Family heirloom
  • California Coastal seaweed+eucalyptus arrangement — Lupinora
Credit: Minette Hand

BATHROOM:

  • Glass soap and shampoo pumps — Amazon
  • Black metal cage sconces — Amazon
  • Tropical print — Antique
  • Driftwood — Found
Credit: Minette Hand

EXTERIOR:

Credit: Minette Hand

STUDIO

Live Room: 

  • Hand-knotted antique Serapi Heriz (closest to couch) — Holding Forth
  • Antique Rugs — Meade Oriental
  • Upright piano — 1960 Kawai K8
  • Guitar hangers — amazon
  • Couch — Crate & Barrel
  • Piano lamp — thrifted
  • Curtains — DIY
  • Brown vinyl chairs — Habitat For Humanity store
  • Antique gun rack — Habitat For Humanity store 
Credit: Minette Hand

Vocal Booth: 

  • Red music stand — Friend-me-down
  • Antique rug — Meade Oriental
  • Curtains — DIY
Credit: Minette Hand

Control Room and Hospitality Room

  • Antique Gabbeh rug — Meade Oriental
  • Repurposed barn wood desk — Custom 
  • Berkey water filter — Berkey
  • Frigidaire minifridge — Curbside
  • Small woven antique roadrunner wall hanging — Circa
  • Large stormy oil painting — Curbside 
Credit: Minette Hand

Loft:

  • Wool runner — Secondhand
  • Teal leather comfy chair — Yard sale
  • Quilt — Family heirloom
  • Original art — Lauren Goans
Credit: Minette Hand

VAN:

Thanks, Lauren and Daniel!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.