Our First Night in the Cabin Loft with Saatva Mattress

February 5, 2020

This post is in partnership with Saatva and contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small percent of the sale at no additional cost to you.

Saatva Mattress in Cabin Loft

In December, we spent our first night in our cabin on a creaky old queen size mattress that was included in the sale.  It was blue with a floral pattern (you know the kind), of indeterminate age, slept on by who knows how many people, and horribly uncomfortable. We got very little sleep with springs digging into our backs. Every move from the other feeling like being flung from the other side of a see-saw. We looked at each other in the morning and said “never again.”

That first night was spent in the master bedroom but we’d dreamed of sleeping in the loft since we first set eyes on it. So open. Such windows. Such view. And with the main floor of the cabin very much a construction zone (have you been watching my stories?), now is exactly the right time to move on up to the loft. Saatva swooped in and gifted us a mattress and bedding to make our first night in the loft a comfortable reality.

About the mattress:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it for the next 6 years – I am in my 30s and I love luxury – I am in my Luxury 30s. To me, luxury means comfort and convenience and Saatva provides both.

The Saatva Classic mattress is available in three firmness options: plush soft, luxury firm, and firm. We went with the luxury firm option because it’s their most popular mattress and suits most sleeping styles. We got a king size because the loft is nice and spacious, and because since upgrading to a king-size bed at home, we can’t go back.

So is this a pillow top mattress? One of those memory foam mattresses? Does it have springs (do we even still like springs)? It has a little bit of all of that – The Saatva Classic has a euro pillow top, plus a memory foam layer, plus individually wrapped coils.

Unlike most mattresses that you order from the internet, Saatva mattresses are delivered via a white-glove service instead of arriving compressed in a box. That means we didn’t have to drag a heavy mattress box up to the loft or wait for a mattress to decompress. The free delivery service also includes mattress removal, so we were able to part ways with the old and mismatched twin mattresses and box springs that were left behind by the sellers.

So what did we think of the Saatva Classic?

The first thing I noticed about the mattress was how much easier it was to put sheets on compared to our mattress at home. The Saatva Classic has just enough weight to feel substantial but was light enough that I could lift the corners without straining.

The Saatva Classic has a lot of features meant to reduce back and joint pain and provide spine support – all of which sounded great to me as someone who frequents the Chiropractor’s office. I laid down to sleep with aching hips and woke up well-rested and without pain. My body felt fully supported with no areas of pressure.

Andy fell asleep quickly and slept through the night, which is all he asks for before a day full of flooring demo. We agreed that compared to our mattress at home, the Saatva is bouncier with slightly more motion transfer.

Penelope the corgi really enjoy perching on the loft bed during the day, keeping an eye on all the activity below.

Is this the mattress for you?

I can’t tell you if any mattress will be the one for you because I am 100% sure our bodies are different.  Mattresses are not one-size-fits-all and it takes time to know if a mattress is right for you. Saatva offers a 120 night trial with a $99 return fee if you don’t love it.

The Pillows and Sheets

The Pillows

Our new sheets and pillows arrived first, so we ended up using the pillows at home before the mattress arrived at the cabin. The Saatva Pillows are a very satisfying, hefty weight and magically both soft and firm at the same time. I like a pillow that has some give but hate when a pillow flattens after just a few nights. I’ve tried every combo of memory foam, shredded memory foam, down, and down alternative but nothing has been quite right.

The Saatva pillow does all the things I’ve been looking for in a pillow because it has a shredded latex core wrapped in a plush fiber that feels like down. It’s all the things! We brought the pillows back home with us to use every night.

The Sheets

The Lofton Organic Sheet Set is lightweight and made from organic cotton in Fair Trade certified factories. They fit our new mattress perfectly and washed up well (cold water on a gentle cycle, tumble dry low) and came out even softer. Andy really couldn’t stop talking about how soft they were. The fitted sheet has a small tag on the short ends to let you know which side is meant for the head/foot of the bed – a detail I really appreciate.

I am looking forward to so many more extremely cozy mornings waking up to the sun through these windows. Our cabin is a long way from finished and everything feels like chaos right now, so having the loft bedroom as a place to escape has already been wonderful. The loft bedroom itself is far from finished, but it felt very satisfying to style it with a few things I’ve picked up for the cabin and a simple vintage rug from home. Making a little bit of time to create this retreat was so worth it and made me so excited about our future in the cabin.

Sources: [ Saatva Classic Mattress | Saatva Pillow | Lofton Organic Sheet Set | 6′  Fiddle Leaf Fig | Arm Sconce | Black Side Tables | Bed Frame | Duvet Cover ]


Cabin Tour: A Look at the Loft, Outdoor Sauna, & More

December 16, 2019

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small percent of the sale at no additional cost to you.

Stone fireplace with holiday garland

[ Garland (x4) | Pillow | Stool | Faux Fur Throw ]

I’ve made you wait long enough, it’s time for MORE CABIN CONTENT. Today I’m gonna show you the cabin’s loft area (with commentary and scattered thoughts throughout) plus a quick photo tour of our outdoor sauna, shower, and fire pit. One of the many things that sold us on this house are the outdoor amenities. Can’t believe I typed that and watch out, I’m gonna use that phrase a lot because we have OUTDOOR AMENITIES. A nice fire pit was a wishlist item when we were cabin shopping but we never dreamed of an outdoor sauna and outdoor shower. And it’s all landscaped and hardscaped so nicely, which is perfect for us because we are not very talented with outdoor design.

Let’s get into it!

Cabin Loft Floor Plan

a-frame loft floor plan

Here’s a simple SketchUp floor plan for you so you can more easily map out the following photos in your head. It’s a pretty open, simple space. The sale of the house included almost all the furniture, so you’ll see it all in the photos. The multi-use space is currently furnished with twin beds, a sofa, an ottoman, a secretary desk, and a tall dresser.

Cabin Loft Photo Tour

Cabin a-frame loft view looking towards windows

This view from the loft is so good. It gives you just a little bit of the mountain view through all those fantastic wood beams. I’m picturing a sconce upgrade on that beam and a modern ceiling fan.

Triangle windows at side of cabin

To the left of the previous view is another set of windows.

Triangle windows in loft living room

Another, almost the same, view because I love this nook so much.

Twin bed near triangle windows in cabin loft

And another because why not. In this view you can see the knee wall and sloped ceiling where the twin beds live.

Triangle windows and ceiling fan in cabin loft

The light in here is so good. There’s so much potential here, we just wanna put a big bed in that nook so we can wake up to all the views.

Back view of cabin loft

And here’s the other end of things.  Behind that wall that bumps out and cuts the window in half is the powder room. The previous owners added the powder room within the last 5-10 years.

Loft Powder Room

Small powder room

She’s small, she’s got a sloped ceiling, and she’s understated, but she could be so cute.

Small powder room with tiny door

The tiny door leads to a small storage nook.

Twin beds in cabin loft

Andy for scale.

Loft room overlooking kitchen

And here’s a look at how the loft looks out onto the kitchen from this angle.

Cabin Exterior Amenities

Because the loft tour was so short and sweet, I thought it’d be a good time to throw in a tour of the good ol’ outdoor amenities. I’ll be showing you the outdoor sauna, outdoor shower, and fire pit.

A-frame Outdoor Sauna

a-frame outdoor sauna building

Here’s our outdoor sauna and she’s really cute. Give ‘er a black door and a more modern lantern and she’ll be set. We just spent our first weekend at the cabin and realized we don’t have a key to the sauna! Pictures below are from when we first toured the property (with my dad, which is why you see him creepin’ in the woods in the pic above.)

Inside of outdoor sauna

It’s simple and lovely. The door in the back goes to a small shed-type space and the glass door on the left goes to the sauna portion of the building.

Wood interior of outdoor sauna

Tylo heater in outdoor sauna

I really wanted to get a better “inside of sauna” pic for you but until we get a locksmith out there, this is the least blurry photograph I have. The sauna is in brand new condition as it’s only a few years old. And the best part is there’s a switch inside the house to heat up the sauna before you head out to enjoy it.

Exterior Hardscaping

Cabin exterior stone steps

Cabin exterior hardscaping

All the outdoor amenities are joined together with paths made of pavers and stone steps. Again, landscaping and hardscaping are skills/areas where I’m completely lost, so I really appreciate all of this being so well thought out and DONE. Our tenants told us that the previous owners were fantastic gardeners and that there are so many beautiful flowers that’ll pop up in the spring.
Exterior pavers in circle with planter

Oh this? Did you spot this? I don’t know what it is. I’ve described it as an urn on a column and well, I don’t think there’s a better description. This round paver area seems destined for a better purpose than holding this planter. Maybe a round hot tub? And that’s it, I’m out of ideas.

Cabin outdoor shower

The outdoor shower lives under the deck. If you look above it and to the left, you can see some metal sheeting with a downspout that drains into the shower. This creates a dry zone under the deck for avoiding the rain on the way to the shower and also just for sitting outside peacefully in the summer rain.

Detail of outdoor shower

The outdoor shower has a river rock floor for drainage and larger stone slabs to stand on while showering. I’m not the bold type when it comes to nudity (surprise) and I’ve never used an outdoor shower, but I’m hoping to give this a go at some point. Since this is a lake house, it’s less likely that people will shower off the lake before heading inside the way they would the sand and ocean at a beach house – so I think this is largely for showering after sweating the heck out of yourself in the sauna.

Fire Pit

Cabin firepit pavers

The paver path leads to the big open fire pit. You can see the view from the fire pit in our cabin announcement post and our tour of the main floor. It’s stunning. I really can’t wait to put a set of Adirondack chairs out there and have friends over for a fire.

That’s it for now! What’s left? The lower level/basement tour will be next in our cabin tour series. And I’m also so close to sharing our initial thoughts on the main floor layout. Now that our renters (and new neighbors) have moved out and I’m recovering well from my surgery, we’ll be spending more time at the cabin and can’t wait to get started on making it our own.


Statement Blankets and Throws

November 13, 2019

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small percent of the sale at no additional cost to you.

Moody Green Bedroom Walls with Blanket Ladder

[Image of our guest bedroomBlanket Ladder | Dresser | Lamp ]

It’s blanket ladder season which means it’s also BLANKET SEASON. I am at my happiest cuddled under a blanket on the sofa, watching Schitt’s Creek or maybe Castle Rock if I’m feeling brave. When it comes to picking a throw blanket to bring into your life (and your home) there are times for subtle textures and reserved plaids. And then there are times for bold looks, unexpected patterns, and grouchy animals. Now is that time, this is that post.

Below are my picks for bold throw blankets that could totally double as wall art.

8 Bold Pattern and Statement Throw Blankets

Bold pattern throw blankets

[ 1. Peyote Throw | 2. Arlo Throw | 3.  Playscape Throw | 4. Minna Abstract Throw | 5. Spencer Throw | 6. Norden Geo Copper Throw | 7. SanJunipero Throw | 8. Cat Throw ]

I am really in a peach, rust, and beige mood this season – with a good dose of moody green thrown in, of course. These colors are really deep in my brain as I think about the design direction for the cabin. I hope to also bring a more modern touch to the cabin with a healthy dose of weird. Every home should have a hint (or more) of somethin’ unexpected.

mid century dresser modern traditional bedroom

[Image from our master bedroom]

Same blanket ladder, different spot.  If you’re worried you can’t mix a bold, slightly goofy accent in your home, YOU CAN. You can mix traditional with modern. You can put a weird cat throw in a victorian house. Just consider the color palette and scale of the pattern and make sure there’s some cohesive thread through it all – even if that common thread is simply that you like it.

What other cozy, or statement, or weird picks can I round-up for you?


Cabin Tour: A Look at the Main Floor

November 11, 2019

A-frame Style Cabin Exterior in the Fall

[photo by Andy Cosnotti]

This is a post about the main floor of our cabin. It’s the biggest square footage area in the house, is very open, and has that amazing view you may remember from our cabin announcement post. We plan on spending most of our time on this floor of the house, so we’ll probably tackle it first. I’ve got dreams of beautiful, wide plank wood flooring that adds a more modern, more cabin-y feel. And that fits with Andy’s only request for the cabin: that it FEEL more like a cabin — cozier, cabin-y-er than it does today. While we are planning to get professionals to help make some changes to the house, upon the suggestion of a friend, we are also planning to invest in some garage tools which can be used by us. We have already looked at a few tools like the best miter saw, axe and wood refiner, which we are planning to buy soon.

The sale of the house included all the furniture which means we can take our time picking out exactly what we want as we go. We plan to donate and sell it what we can as we replace it. Our overall goal is a cozy, updated, and intentional space. Ok, let’s tour that cabin!

The Cabin Main Floor Plan

Cabin Floor Plan - Main Floor Layout

Whenever you’re going somewhere, it’s good to have a map. So before we get into the pictures, above is a mostly 2D floor plan of the main floor of the cabin. I’m not great at putting doors in my drawings (just doorways) but there really are doors in this house. I made the above plan with SketchUp and Photoshop.

The Cabin Exterior and Entry

Cedar Home Exterior

The cabin’s entry is at the opposite side of the house from the big windows (pictured at the beginning of this post) and the view. The cedar is in lovely shape but this side of the house could certainly use an update. It would benefit from a sleeker front door, more appropriate outdoor lighting, and maybe a little metal awning for above the door. And I can’t tell you how much I want to paint the window trim black.

The Entryway and Kitchen

Open Floor Plan Cabin

As soon as you enter the house, there’s a short diagonal path through the entryway (caused by a coat closet and a kitchen wall) but you can pretty much immediately step into the kitchen and see this view. From here you can look through the kitchen and into the living room and all the way to the mountains.

The main floor is very open (which is right for this 2004-built house) but lacks unity. The diagonal line of different flooring that separates the living room from the kitchen is a strange visual stop. Replacing the linoleum-style floor tiles and carpet with wood flooring will do wonders for warming up the space and making it cohesive.

The Kitchen

Open Kitchen Slanted Ceiling

The kitchen feels huge because it’s so open and the slanted (a-frame-ish) ceiling just goes on forever. But when you take a second and third look, especially with counter space in mind, there’s not much to it. This is the view looking back at the entrance to the house, you can see how the door is half obstructed by the kitchen wall. And if you look at the corner hutch/curio cabinet you can see the small nook created by the coat closet. The house has such good flow, so this little corner stands out. I’d love to be able to walk into the house and have a clear sightline straight to the view.

I’ve got some ideas to fix this and I’ll give you a hint – the key change involves moving the front door.Oak Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen needs some love and modernizing – can you believe we’ve purchased a second home with almost the same honey oak cabinets as our Pittsburgh home’s kitchen? We know this home’s purpose is going to be about gathering and cooking with our friends and family, and the same for anyone who rents the cabin in the future, so this kitchen is going to have to get some smart upgrades.Long wall in kitchen with loft above

Looking across the island, one sees this long wall with two air returns and some metal tree art lit by can lights. I’ve got some big plans for this wall.

This angle gives you a sneak peek at the loft that slightly hangs over into the kitchen. The door you can see on the left is the powder room and the doorway on the right leads to the basement.

The Dining Area

Cabin Dining Room With Pine Planks

Between the living area and the kitchen is the dining nook lined with pine planks. I love all the windows in this space and a fixture update alone would do wonders. (Plus wood floors, plus better window treatments.)

The Living Area

Stone fireplace in living room

Here’s your first look at the stone fireplace. The door to the left of the fireplace leads outside onto the deck.

Stone fireplace beside pine paneling

The TV is mounted on the wall next to the fireplace and the white panel on the window is some sort of television signal gathering device. This is not the desired future location for the TV.

To help organize this awkwardly shaped living space, I’d like to divide it into zones with clearer intent: a fireplace zone and a TV zone. I’m thinking that the poppy canvas art location is a pretty swell spot for the TV with storage underneath.

Here are the stairs leading to the loft, decorated with two wooden fish who have had some sort of disagreement and cannot look at each other. The railing could be so much more special – I have some ideas here too but there’s something about DIYing a railing that makes me very nervous. All I can see are people tumbling over the railing because I am a chronic worrier. Maybe this is a project we’ll hire out.

The Master Bedroom and Bathroom

Off the kitchen is a little hallway (can you call something this small a hallway?) that leads to the powder room on the left and the master bedroom on the right.

The master bedroom is modest in size but with some rearranging, will fit a king-size bed comfortably.

There’s just really not much to see here.

The master bedroom has its own sliding door to the deck. Can you see that little roof outside? That’s the outdoor sauna.

This is, admittedly, a very unhelpful picture. But at the same time, it tells you almost everything you need to know – the shower is a one-piece kit, the floor is linoleum, the walls beige, and it has a tiny window. In its current state, it’s far from luxurious but it is big enough to have major potential. The idea of moving plumbing terrifies me and I’m going to avoid it throughout the house except for this bathroom. It sits above the basement’s unfinished utility room which means a lot of the plumbing is accessible from below.

The master bath in our Pittsburgh home is too small to add a bathtub so I really want to try to add a soaking tub here for Andy. The man loves a bath.

The View Again: Fall Version

The photos in this post are a mix of those we took when we first saw the house back in June and those from subsequent visits in the fall. Above is the view in the fall with the leaves at their prettiest. We can’t wait to see everything covered in snow this winter, and to see this house in every season for so many years to come.

There’s so much cabin content rolling around in my brain, but in the near future, I’ll be sharing a tour of the loft, the basement, and the outdoor spaces! Plus, you know I’ve been messing with furniture layouts and kitchen remodel plans in SketchUp since before I even had accurate measurements. And how about mood boards? So. Much. To. Share.

What are you most excited to hear more about or see more of?

Cabin Interiors Inspiration

Friday Catch Up: Cabin Inspiration Edition

October 25, 2019

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small percent of the sale at no additional cost to you.

MidCentury Cabin Living Room

[image via the River Cabaan Airbnb listing]

Thank you again for the kind and warm response to our cabin news this month! I’ve had a different kind of cabin fever all summer and I started following some fantastic Instagram accounts that only made it worse. In today’s Friday Catch Up post, I’m sharing my the best cabin and a-frame Instagram accounts. And guess what, almost all of them are available to rent on Airbnb.

My Favorite Cabin Instagram Accounts (and Airbnbs)

I wanted to share some of the cabin accounts I’ve been obsessed with these many months.

Black Exterior A-Frame Cabin

[Image via the Lilla Norr Airbnb listing]

Curved sofa in an a-frame cabin

[Image via the Lilla Norr Airbnb listing]


I love this sweet petite a-frame in the woods of Minnesota. Named Lilla Norr (little north), this true a-frame sits on 5 beautiful acres. Built in 1978, the cabin was lovingly restored by friends and is available to book here on Airbnb.

A-frame house exterior

[image via the A-Frame Haus Airbnb listing]

White a-frame kitchen

[image via the A-Frame Haus Airbnb listing]


Another beautifully renovated a-frame, this time in Heber City, Utah. The home was built by owner Kara James’ grandfather in 1989 and is now the perfect blend of modern, warm, and rustic. You can read more about the A-Frame Haus website or book your stay on Airbnb.

Mid Century Cabin on a River

[image via the River Cabaan Airbnb listing]

MidCentury Cabin Living Room

[image via the River Cabaan Airbnb listing]

MidCentury Cabin Livingroom

[image via the River Cabaan Airbnb listing]


This secluded, midcentury modern cabin sits on the Wilson River in Oregon. I love the bright interior and perfectly picked furnishings. It’s so simply done but so warm and inviting, and guests even get private riverfront access. Book the River Cabaan on Airbnb.

Forestbound cabin instagram

[image of the Foresbound Instagram feed]


Alice Saunders is the owner and designer of Forestbound Bag Co. and has been renovating this incredibly perfect, rustic cabin with her boyfriend. It is so simple and warm and totally off-the-grid. It is tucked away in the woods of New Hampshire with no electricity and no running water. Follow Saunders for peeks at this cabin and her peaceful canoeing stories. For more on this cabin and the renovation, read this Remodelista feature.

Redaframe exterior and interior photo grid

[image of the Red A Frame Instagram feed]


Another Oregon find, this lovely red a-frame is located near Hood River. I love the thoughtful, carefully decorated, warm and cozy interior of this sweet little red cabin. This classic mid-century home is available to rent on Airbnb.

Blackwood cabin instagram feed grid

[image of The Blackwood Cabin Instagram feed]


I’ve been watching the construction of this newly built (but could have been there for 100 years) log cabin in the Pacific Northwest. This is a secluded family home complete with a guest house and pump house on the property. You can’t rent this one out but you can follow along and wish you could on Instagram.

A-frame dreams instagram feed

[image of the A-Frame Dreams Instagram feed]


Lastly, if you’re shopping for an a-frame of your own (or just can’t help yourself and compulsively window shop for houses) this account shares fantastic a-frames for sale across the country. So dang good, so dang helpful.

And Some Really Good Cabin Books

Cabin Inspiration Books

  1. Cabin Porn Inside – Incredible range of cabin interior inspiration. And some fantastic cabin names (how are people so good at naming their homes?).
  2. The Modern A-Frame – Stunning, modern, simple a-frames.
  3. Your Cabin in the Woods – A great vintage looking book about building a cabin out of logs with an ax and your own two hands.

What cabin inspiration did I miss? Gimme all the accounts and books!

Before and After DIY The Scenery House

DIY Stair Runner Install

October 21, 2019

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small percent of the sale at no additional cost to you.

Wood stairs with stair runner

We did it! We DIY installed a stair runner on our stairs by ourselves in our home. It’s rare these days that I follow through on a project but here we are, living in the future with a stair runner on our stairs. When I first brought up the idea of adding a runner to our bare wood steps, Andy was shocked and quickly reminded me of all the carpeting he tore off our stairs as soon as we got the keys to our house (see the first-floor listing photos here). And he reminded me that we had the treads beautifully refinished. The unpainted wood trim in our home is its most shining feature and we treasure it. So with all of that in mind, I did not take covering up our stairs lightly.

We decided to add a runner to improve the safety of our stairs both for our aging corgi, our aging selves, and family. Penelope, our 11 year old corgi, has arthritis and has had more trouble getting up and down the stairs in recent months. And really, I love rugs. I knew adding some texture and warmth to the stairs would make our whole entryway feel more finished.

Black and neutral stair runner on wooden stairs.

It’s like our stairs are wearing a nice sweater. I mean, sure, it’s more like a scarf but let’s call it a sweater. Like a warm hug.

We chose to use runner rugs rather than ordering something custom-made for our stairs. We went with the Annie Selke Dash & Albert Samson Indoor/Outdoor Rug in black. Choosing to use ready-made runners instead of a custom runner opens up different options and can be more cost-effective, but it does mean you’ll likely have to join rugs and thus have rug-joining seams.

Our Staircase Before:

Wood Staircase Before

When we had our floors refinished, we had the treads refinished as well but left the risers alone. The risers show the wear expected in a home that’s almost 90 years old. You can see the marks of carpet installations long ago and the dings and dents of years of use. We could have painted the risers to hide of all that (and they would look so good painted black) but we loved the look of the all-wood steps too much.

Oak Stair Treads

Wooden Staircase Before with Spindles

I really love our slim, simple spindles. Ok, so are you ready? Here’s what we used and how we did it.

Supplies for Installing a Stair Runner Yourself

How to Install a Stair Runner

There are a number of excellent tutorials out there and we used a mix of three in particular. We followed Yellow Brick Home’s tutorial the most, grabbed the same staple gun that Young House Love used, and took rug joining advice from the Annie Selke runner install guide. If you need to run a runner around a corner, follow Deuce Cities Henhouse’s how-to.

First thing’s first, you need to measure your stairs to see how much area you need to cover (and how many runners you’ll need to buy). Measure the treads, the tread nose, and riser multiply but how many steps you have. We needed three 8′ runners to cover our steps plus a little leftover. Use the measurement of your treads x the number of steps to figure out how much padding you’ll need.

Once you have all your supplies, it’s time to get started. Start to finish, we spent about a day on the install, with leisurely breaks for showers, meals, headaches, and photos.

Stair Runner Install Prep Work

Before you can start stapling away, you need to do some prep work to make sure your rug is installed well. It’s math time: measure the width of your treads, subtract from that the width of your runner (actually measure it, don’t go by the width it says it is), and then divide that number in half. The number you get is the distance you’ll want to leave on either side of your runner to make sure it’s centered. You can use painters tape to mark one side to keep yourself on track as you go.

Then, measure the middle of your risers and pop a little mark in the middle. This will help you center your carpet pad bits.

Cut the carpet padding/rug pad into rectangles just a little shy of the depth of your treads (and width of your runner, if using padding that comes wider than your runner). Mark the middle of the rectangle to help align it in the center with the mark you made on the riser.

Wood steps with carpet padding

We used 1/4″ thick rug pads with rubber grip on one side. I chose this as an extra measure to try to keep the runner in place. We put 3 strips of carpet tape (one on each end and in the middle) on the fuzzy side of the padding and then secured them in place on the center of the stair tread.

Blacken staples with sharpie

You’re almost ready to staple! I used John and Sherry’s trick of using a Sharpie on the staples before loading them into your staple gun. This really helps hide the staples in the dark areas of your runner.

Using the carpet tucker tool on the stair runner

We started by stapling the runner just under the tread nose and drove staples into the trim on the riser. Because of the bulk of the end of the rug, you can definitely see where the staples went in. It’s noticeable in this photo but it is not something that catches my eye much in person.

Using a staple gun to install a stair runner

We continued by adding staples on the underside of each tread nose and then at the bottom of each riser. It’s important to use the carpet tucker tool to tuck the runner tightly into the corner where the riser and tread meet.

Here’s our progress with one whole 8′ runner installed. Next, it was time to add the second runner.

Adding the Second Runner

To join rugs, you need to layer the end of one rug on top of the beginning edge of the next. Our first runner ended at a point where there wasn’t quite enough overlap, so I tore out the end seam with a seam ripper.

Undoing the edge of the runner also helped reduce the bulk where the two rugs meet.

Detail of joined rugs on stairs

We placed the second runner on top of the first runner’s end flap (I’m just making up terms here) snug against the back of the tread and stapled. We followed the Annie Selke tutorial and merged the rugs on the tread instead of the riser. I like this method (vs joining the rugs on the riser) because it’s less obvious when you stand back and admire the stairs.

We repeated this process to add the third rug. When we reached the bottom of the last stair, there was quite a bit of rug left over. I used my scissors to trim the rug leaving about two extra inches. We tucked the extra bit back and under and the rug, making a nice finished edge.

Our Staircase After:

Corgi on stairs with stair runner

Here is our finished runner with Penelope on her favorite step, keeping watch. When I first showed the swatch for this rug on my Instagram stories, a few very kind people reached out to say that the horizontal stripes would be a nightmare. They warned me that they wouldn’t be straight and that it would drive me nuts. And I really really second-guessed myself and thought about how much perfection I wanted. (I usually want only perfection.) But I am equal parts perfectionist and stubborn person, so I ordered it anyway.

While we installed the runners, I saw that we couldn’t keep the lines perfectly straight nor lay the pattern exactly the same on each step. AND I’M OK WITH IT. I loved it instantly. Maybe I woke up at 4am worried I’d made a huge mistake, maybe I couldn’t get back to sleep for two hours. But when I woke up and looked at it again, I was just happy. The pattern itself is organic and I think the imperfections match the well-loved state of our stairs.

Stair runner view from top of stairs

A view of stair-safety at its most cozy.

View of staircase from the side

I just really love it.

Detail of stair runner through spindles

corgi running down the stairs

Here’s proof of Penelope’s new confidence to run full speed down the steps to bark at a lawnmower.

Now that the runner is in, I am extra motivated to finish the entryway. I’m ready to add art and I’m keeping an eye out for the perfect entryway table to nestle in by the stairs.


We Bought a Cabin!

October 14, 2019

A-frame style chalet in the woods.

We bought a cabin! Wow. Well, it’s not really a cabin, it’s more of a chalet or a mountain house or an almost-a-frame. It’s pointy and it’s in the woods on a mountain by a lake. And we kept it a secret until now. It almost didn’t happen (a few times), but that’s another story.

Through the whole process, with each hiccup, we kept asking ourselves where this plan came from, how we started at a conversation about our future in our current home and ended with the decision to stay here and buy a second home. It’s terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I’ve definitely woken up feeling like I’ve made a huge mistake, but I’ve also been so energized by the idea of this house.

So why did we take this leap, what are we even doing?

  • Having a vacation home, a place in the woods, has been a dream of ours.
  • If we choose a home in a popular vacation spot, we could Airbnb* it to offset the costs and even make money from it.
  • Investing in real estate could yield more of a return than a savings account and sounds a lot more fun.
  • In the words of Julia and Chris Marcum: don’t wait.
  • I manage my anxiety about the state of the world by preoccupying myself with projects and if everything goes under, maybe the safest place is a cabin in the woods.

*Real estate investors snapping up affordable housing to Airbnb in big cities is a growing problem. We feel ok about Airbnbing this property in this specific neighborhood because it is largely second homes and seasonal rentals and was priced accordingly. Seasonal visitors help support the area’s economy.

The idea of this cabin sparked something in my brain. And my brain hasn’t been so active, so completely creatively obsessed (we say that word all the time but it’s always hyperbole, but honestly, it’s all I could think about) in what feels like too long. The stimulus that is this cabin dream awoke a part of my brain that’s been in a solid snooze for months, probably since we made over our bedroom for the last ORC.

The idea of buying a second home where we could entertain friends and family, get away, enjoy nature, and offer that same experience up to others through short term rentals was too enticing for my brain to leave alone.

And I have to say that the internet plays a role – we all fell hard and had our hearts broken along with the ChrisLovesJulia and their A-frame cabin, and I watch Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home renovate their treehouse (and their new two-flat project) with admiration. Alison of Deuce Cities Henhouse has been sprucing up her extremely sweet, cozy lakeside cabin. I’ve been glued to watching John and Sherry of YoungHouseLove‘s Cape Charles duplex renovation and am always in awe of The Grit and Polish and how they’ve retired in their 30s, supported by their rental properties. And I can’t not mention Emily Henderson‘s incredible Mountain House, which is like a more grand version of our pointy house.

What we wanted was an A-frame or cozy cabin with good bones, room for improvement, with a view of something worth looking at. With all this rolling around in our heads, we found an a-frame-ish chalet on a mountain by a lake I went to every summer with my family growing up. What got us hooked on this home was the exterior and THAT VIEW of the mountains. The interior is very nicely kept – this is certainly not a gut job – but pretty bland/standard/builder grade with lots of warm knotty pine and walls painted builder-beige.

Tell me more about that house.

The house has 2 floors with a loft. There are 2 private bedrooms (the kind with doors, walls, and ceilings) and an opportunity for an open bed area in the loft. It has 2 full bathrooms, one is an ensuite attached to the master, the other is in the basement. The loft has its own powder room and there’s another off the kitchen on the main floor. Outside the home are a firepit, outdoor shower, and sauna.

It was built in 2004 and is at the top of a mountain ridge that overlooks the lake. Our new house does not have a lake view (the homes on the other side of the street do) but we really love that mountain view. The house sits in a wooded development near a boat launch attached to a large, manmade lake.

So what’s the plan?

We know what we want the end goal to be in the broadest sense – we want to create a space that has the comforts of home but that feels like somewhere different. Our timeline is loose because we don’t want to stress ourselves out and because life has brought us some surprises: see my health update I hid in my last Friday Catch Up post. It would be amazing to wrap everything up by the time peak rental season arrives (May-August 2020) but we just aren’t going to rush it. We can and will enjoy this home as it is right now.

Oh, and did I mention that the house came with month-to-month tenants? The former owners of our home rented the house to their friends and neighbors who are building a new home across the street. The tenants have run into a lot of issues with the build of their new home and have ended up needing to stay at our house longer than they’d hoped. Although this means we don’t yet have free use of the house, we really appreciate the way they are caring for and watching out for the house. We know they want to get out of our new house and into their new house ASAP.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have content to share! I’m gonna share more photos of the home and some trusty SketchUp floorplans so you can get the full picture. And I’m still thinking through the style of this home – I’ve been collecting tons of inspiration images on my Cabin Pinterest board. And once we’ve chosen a direction, you bet there will be mood boards.

This house needs a name.

We’ve been collecting name ideas for MONTHS with no clear winners. But it really needs one both because every house should have a name and because you bet it’ll have its own IG account and hashtag.

And why didn’t we invest in fixing up another old house?

We live in a 1929 home full time and we love it. It is full of charm and surprises and we wouldn’t have it any other way. For our vacation home, we wanted something that felt different and required less of the blood, sweat, and tears that an old house demands (and is worth). But don’t worry, there are more old houses in our future.