A Renovated (Several Times Over) 1939 House Is Finally a Magical Cabin Retreat

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Name: Diane Gordon, husband, two college kids, two cats, and a bird
Location: Rollinsville, Colorado
Type of home: Historic cabin
Size: 1085 square feet
Years lived in: 9 years, owned (part-time/weekend home)

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Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Our log cabin was built in 1939 and sits at 8700 feet, overlooking the Continental Divide, a few miles outside of the hippy mountain town of Nederland. Originally the cabin was one large room with a stone fireplace, 545 square feet, and an outhouse, which stills remains. Eventually (and thankfully), a bathroom was added, and in 1991, a mud room and bedroom were added onto the house. In 2011, we purchased the home and Apartment Therapy featured it before we had completed any major improvements. In 2013, we added a master bedroom onto the home, making the total square footage now 1085; before that the kids were sleeping in the only bedroom when we visited and my husband and I slept on the sofa bed… that got old quickly.

After many years of putting band-aids on structural issues, 2019 saw a major renovation, which included correcting the four inch out-of-level floor in the old part of the cabin, an all new and slightly larger kitchen to accommodate a real refrigerator (previously, we only had an undercounter refrigerator in the mud room), new bathroom, and improved fireplace. Our kids are now in college and still enjoy visiting on weekends from Boulder, only a half hour from the cabin, and we always tote our three pets up there with us. Our “guard cockatiel,” Georgie, enjoys sitting at the window and alerting us when the foxes come out to play. The once barn red cabin is now a striking black on the exterior, while the interior finishes are light and bright.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Magical cabin retreat.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the living room. Somehow this room is just the perfect proportion at around 15’x15′ but the vaulted ceiling makes it feel so much larger. The views from the room to the 13,000+ snow-capped Indian Peaks beyond, including sunsets each evening, are just breathtaking. And you can’t beat reading by the fire and listening to records.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Wallpaper for the kitchen! I searched far and wide for the perfect thing, and found this wallpaper that evokes a winter forest scene. Also, my new living room rug from Loloi.

Any advice for creating a home you love? As a designer, I am always urging clients to choose items they love, and not to think about resale so much. I think if people would do that more often, they wouldn’t feel the need to move every seven years! While my Denver home is full of color and energy, my cabin is more serene, so as to promote relaxation for us on the weekends. Each piece I put in my home has meaning to me and my husband, so every time I look at my objects, they make me smile or bring back a memory. Clearly, we have a lot of antiques!

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.