Victor & Adrienne's DIY Cabin in the Sky

Victor & Adrienne's DIY Cabin in the Sky

Nicole Crowder
Apr 18, 2013

Name: Victor and Adrienne Barranco
Location: Woodbridge, Virginia
Size: 3570 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, Own

Though situated in the suburban neighborhood of Woodbridge, Virginia, Victor Barranco and wife Adrienne's home is built like a self-made cabin retreat in the woods. There is hardly an inch of the home that the couple did not remodel, paint, or build by hand. The crafty pair were kind enough to provide some before photos taken during the renovation process in what may be a first-time before and after House Tour post. You can view bits of the "before" process in the slideshow.

Victor, a full-time trombonist in the US Army Band, uses the garage as his wood shack, churning out homemade creations like benches, mantels, and tables. He even crafted his own "Man Cave" that functions as a karaoke "bar-anco" and saloon in the downstairs basement, complete with repurposed wine barrels that the couple use as tables. And those gorgeous bar stools? Hand cut and carved. Victor's wife Adrienne also has a craft room where she makes beautiful baubles and colorful ornaments for every occasion. 

When they moved in, though the couple loved the neighborhood and size of the house, they were not too fond of the original layout. After breaking out a blueprint and designing a space that would be more open and updated, they made over their entire kitchen, living room, and dining room, and have plans to overhaul the upstairs bedrooms as well.

Nearly every piece of furniture in the home was created out of cherry, mahogany, or maple wood that the couple salvaged from trees destroyed by storms, or found from construction sites. Victor handcrafted the stunning cherry wood bench in the hallway, and the wooden candles on the dining room table were made from Eucalyptus wood found in Adrienne's family's backyard. They turned an otherwise drab dining room into a warm space to showcase family photos and memories, which Adrienne painted and designed by hand.

Detailed photos showing how the couple remodeled the kitchen from top to bottom are viewable in the slideshow.

*Disclaimer this tour was photographed during the holidays and is now happily getting its spotlight. Victor and Adrienne want you to now they have definitely since taken down their Christmas décor. But isn't it still fun to look at?

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: "Earthy-elegance" would probably best describe our style. Ironically, it took a lot of hard work to create the simplicity of our home, but we love how it turned out. We have a lot of clean lines created with bold and solid colors. We then incorporated our love of natural wood into every room, be it through furniture, wall décor or other accents.

Favorite Element:  Our favorite element in our house is its uniqueness. We've left a little bit of ourselves in each and every room. When we first purchased the house, we did so believing it was "move-in ready"; however, being first time home buyers, we soon discovered the freedom that came with owning your own home. We started with painting every room (some of them more than once!), we installed all of our own hardwoods and floor tiles, put in new kitchen cabinets, built our own living room furniture…to name a few…and the projects continue!

Biggest Challenge:  The biggest challenge for us has been convincing ourselves that we can tackle each individual house project. Diving into the unknown has definitely been nerve-wracking, but the thought of hiring an outside contractor who had no personal investment in how our house projects were completed was even scarier. Our motto has always been "if we can't figure it out ourselves, just do more research!"

What Friends Say: Friends are surprised that we have been able to accomplish as many projects as we have, especially in the time span in which we've completed them. We've actually surprised ourselves as well. We very much believe that you will never learn if you don't try. With the internet these
days, there are so many resources at our disposal, so there are endless ways to learn new tricks and give it a go!

Biggest Embarrassment:  We are not embarrassed by any of the projects that we have tackled. Granted, everything we've completed isn't perfect in the house (a few crooked tiles, a few nicks in the wood, etc.) and things might have looked a little better if a trained contractor had done the work, but it wouldn't have had as much character. There are wonderful stories that go along with every project that we've completed and telling those stories to friends and families is a lot more interesting than simply saying "we paid so-and-so to do that". We would love it if our future children viewed our accomplishments with pride and weren't afraid of challenging themselves into doing their own home improvement projects one day.

Proudest DIY:  Our proudest DIY project has been reclaiming our old kitchen flooring. When we initially ripped out the old oak floors, we almost threw it all away, but thank goodness we didn't! With clever planning, we were able to turn our old flooring into a coffee table, three side tables and a bar top for our basement, saving us hundreds of dollars and making us very proud home-owners at the same time!

Biggest Indulgence:  Our biggest indulgence has been the renovation of our kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of our first floor and we really wanted it to be a place where people could gather and converse while cooking and enjoying food. We spent a lot of time discussing and planning our ideal kitchen. A
kitchen renovation is one of those projects that you really have to get right the first time because deciding later that you want a different countertop, or a different cabinet outline, or a different sized dishwasher is not really an option, unless you're willing to spend an arm and a leg. We decided to splurge on high-end cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances, good quality granite
and through-body porcelain floor tiles because we wanted to enjoy our dream kitchen from the beginning…we didn't want to do what so many other people do and upgrade to their dream kitchen solely for resale purposes just before they sell.

Best Advice: The best advice we have is to not be afraid to tackle a project that you don't know anything about. It's scary, yes, but with the unlimited amount of free resources available these days, all it takes is a little time and research and you can obtain any information you want to know. Information is one thing, and skill is another, so you definitely have to be patient with yourself
as you complete a project. We're not professionals, so we can't expect to get something done in a day. Sometimes our first try isn't the best and we learn from our mistakes and get better every day. Prior to starting any project, we watch videos of people who have done it before, we learn from their mistakes and hear their suggestions, we ask questions of friends/family who may have
the skill sets required for that particular job, etc. We definitely gather information from many sources and read lots of reviews about the reliability of particular websites or tools.

Dream Sources: We would love to win a shopping spree at Pottery Barn…we love their look, but not their prices.

Resources of Note:


     • Bench: Victor built out of cherry wood


    • Couch: Ikea

    • Tables: Repurposed kitchen floors

    • Flooring: Lumber liquidators

    • Rug: Ikea

    • Lamps: Bed Bath and Beyond

    • Mantle: Victor built using wood from Eagle Friendly Lumber repurposed from construction sites.

    • Wooden bowls: Target

    • Curtains: Ikea

    • Basket: Crate and Barrel

    • Bowl on Coffee table: Target

    • Vase: Ikea

    • Mirror: Home goods


    • Chair rail and trim: custom designed

    • Flooring: Custom designed

    • Family Tree: Bought online and added photos

    • Table: maple wood from Crate and Barrel

    • Chairs: Crate and Barrel

    • Cushions: Adrienne bought the chairs

    • Rock runner: Cold Water Creek

    • Wooden: wood candles. EucalpytusWood from Adrienne's family's backyard

    • Wine bottle holder to balance: Victor built from walnut tree

    • Vase: Home Goods

    • Branches: Couple's backyard


    • Flooring: Through body porcelain tile by Flooring America

    • Cabinets: Cherry cabinets by So-Cal Kitchen and Bath

    • Lighting fixtures: Lowes

    • Glass tile Backsplash: Home Depot

    • Stainless steel microwave unit: Custom built

    • Installed farmhouse sinks

    • Cabinets on   Custom built


    • Couch: Adrienne

    • Bookshelf: Victor Built

    • Coffee table: Ikea

    • Curtain: Bed Bath

    • Mirrors: Home Goods


    • Seats: Repurposed wine barrels

    • Bar and barstools: Victor built

    • Stone around bar: featured on DIY Network on show "I Want That".  Victor and Adrienne were one of the couples chosen to try the stones in their home.


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