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Our cabin bedroom has been 10 months in the making. Sometimes I can’t believe it has taken us this long, but then I look around and see that we replaced or improved every single surface, and I guess I’m kinda impressed we did it at all. It’s safe to say that I love this room. It feels light, summery, a little playful, and makes a great case for contrast trim in modern interiors. We took a bedroom that felt stuffy and lacked personality and turned it into a welcoming, cheerful space.
My goal for this bedroom transformation was to come out on the other side with a room that felt like it belonged in a cabin, not the taxidermy, lake-life kind, but something more modern and fresh. Though the end product turned out a bit differently than I’d originally envisioned, I am delighted with the outcome. If you’d like to see the original plan, I wrote all about it in this post! Let’s take a quick look at where we started and then dive into those shiny after photos.
The Cabin Bedroom Before
This is a poorly lit iPhone photo from when we first visited the cabin, but you get the idea. Even with a queen bed, the room felt packed with furniture and difficult to navigate.
Rooms just don’t feel as welcoming or flow as well when you enter into the side of a bed.
Once we closed on the cabin and moved out most of the furniture that came with it, we set up a king bed and lived with everything else as is (including the art, I don’t know why) for a year.
For the full story of the before state of this room and to see our original plans for it, you can read my Cabin Bedroom Plan post. Are you ready for those after photos yet? Here we go!
The Cabin Bedroom Reveal – Modern Cabin with Shaker Touches
Article’s Lenia Bed has been stuck in my brain since we first started to work on the cabin bedroom, and Article graciously partnered with me for this project. Though I planned for the oak version (it’s so good) for a very long time, I made the last-minute swap to the black ash finish. The spindle bed brings a light shaker touch while the dark finish leans more modern. It is hard to find a bed that’s the right height – tall enough for Penelope to crawl under it, high enough for our aging bodies, but not too tall that I have to jump up to get into bed. The side rails are another touch that I appreciate – I can tuck sheets or the duvet neatly inside without worrying about messy bedding edges. The black finish on the bed ties in beautifully with the plaid curtains (you’ll see them soon!) and the other black furniture accents throughout the cabin’s main floor.
As I agonized over choosing the right bench for the end of the bed (something sturdy, easy to clean aka no upholstery, oak!), Andy stepped in and spotted the Seno Oak Bench from Article. An end of the bed bench is one of my favorite ways to make a room look complete, and I was so glad that Article was able to partner with us on this piece as well. Plus, they’re functional. You can set a suitcase on the bench while you unpack, set a laundry basket, or store all your decorative pillows while you sleep. The oak wood and tapered legs give another nod to the other Shaker-inspired elements in the room like the bed and Shaker peg rail.
The Trim + Shaker Peg Rail
You may know I have a thing for unpainted wood trim. I love the shellac-finished, honey-toned trim in our 1929 Tudor. And heck, I love the warm-toned pine in our cabin living room. Therefore, it may shock you to learn that we decided to remove the wood trim from this room and replace it with new trim, and then paint it. This decision comes down to character. This started as a very simple, standard room, and it was my goal to turn it into something both special and simple. I decided to add charm to the room with chunky contrast trim, properly scaled, and a matching shaker peg rail.
Because our cabin is near a lake, I am adding hooks for hanging towels and beach bags and any hangable thing just about everywhere I can. This big blank wall was the perfect spot for a custom-built, sturdy peg rail. It adds visual interest with a ton of functionality, to boot.
The new trim is chunkier with a modern profile and painted a sage-y, classic green hue: Benjamin Moore’s High Park.
The Nightstands and Sconces
Choosing the right nightstands for this room was not easy. Once I finally nailed down the bed, things got easier, and when Andy told me he’d really prefer to have a nightstand with a drawer, things got even easier. I chose the Ebell nightstands from Crate and Barrel because they’re the right shade of oak, have round lines that work well with the shaker touches and the room, and have a special linen-like textured drawer front.
I wanted to maximize the surface area on the nightstands and opted for hardwired, wall-mounted sconces over table lamps. I chose the Cypress sconces from Rejuvenation in the white and brass combo to help soften the higher contrast black and white elements in the room. The sconces have a built-in on-off switch that makes a very satisfying click when turned.
One of my favorite moments in this room is the curtains. I wrote in my original cabin bedroom planning post that it was spotting this fabric that really got my brain turning on the vision for this room. I am proud to have sewn, from scratch, my first curtains with a black-out lining. And just like everything I do, and you’ll hear me say this a lot, it took forever. I added a euro pleat at the top for an elevated, modern look. We hung them on a super simple and inexpensive curtain rod with a french return to let the black-out curtains wrap around fully to block all the light.
And because I truly couldn’t get enough of this modern black and white fabric, the curtains make another appearance in the closet.
Because this is not our primary residence and, for the most part, we don’t leave much clothing here, we were able to go pretty light on the closet system. My closet storage goal was to have enough room for at least 1 week’s worth of clothing for 2 people, plus extra bedding. I skipped adding a dresser to this room to keep it feeling open and light, so the closet needed to hold both folded and hanging clothes. And really, after more than 2 years of pretty much just throwing my clothes on the floor every weekend, literally anything would have been better.
To help achieve all these things, I landed on the AURDAL system from IKEA. It was easy to customize, easy on the budget, and looks clean and modern. I opted for four wire drawers as I have a tendency to leave behind what I can’t see. The large cubbies above the drawers provide just enough room for extra blankets and pillows. I thoroughly enjoy unpacking my clothes from my weekender bag and organizing them neatly, just like in an IKEA showroom.
The Painting and Framed Photographs
I could have opted for a simple framed print for above the bed but, in classic Emily fashion, I took the more difficult road and decided to make a painting. There’s something about original art that can truly make a room, and I like to push myself to draw and paint as much as possible. I went to college for studio arts before making a couple of pivots and ending up in eCommerce and tech, so I guess I just want you to know I have a light art background in case you are feeling bad about not whipping up a painting in a weekend. Andy followed my How to Make a Canvas Flat Frame tutorial and created a beautiful oak frame to add another oak touch to the room and add a light touch above the dark wood of the headboard.
I have a small collection of old photographs of my parents and their friends and even my brother and me as kids on the lake (I wrote about my summers on the lake near the cabin in this post). I’ve been saving them to hang on the walls somewhere in the cabin and this corner felt like the perfect spot. I chose square oak frames with generous mats to give more presence to these tiny photo prints.
Although we didn’t accomplish much during 2020 (and that is ABSOLUTELY FINE) we did install Stuga floors in the cabin bedroom all by ourselves. My dad and Andy installed Stuga’s Shell in the kitchen and living room (I wrote a whole How to Install Stuga Floors post about it) but decided that carrying the floors through to the bedroom was a project we could tackle by ourselves while we quarantined.
If you follow me on stories you know I said we were never going to talk about the cabin bedroom ceiling again. Feel free to scroll on by while I catch up with the rest of my internet friends. The cabin is chock-full of stippled ceilings. I do not care for them as a matter of personal preference and prefer a smooth, no-frills, pay me no attention ceiling. While my first thought was to cover the stipple with v-groove paneling, lumber prices soared and it just wasn’t in our budget to buy wood to nail to a ceiling. We decided to go with the more economical, back-breaking route of removing the stipple treatment and skim coating the bare drywall. It took forever, it was incredibly messy, and I won’t do it again. But months later with a new, perfectly bland ceiling, I am able to say out loud – I’m glad we did it. Ok, you’re caught up and now NONE of us have to talk about that ceiling again.
So how did we do? Goals vs reality:
Here’s what I set out to do with this room:
The cabin’s primary bedroom should have or be:
- The good bits of a boutique hotel experience (USB ports, wall sconces, smart use of small space) – Done!
- Easy to clean quickly – Minus all the styling bits I added for photos – yes!
- A king-size bed – You betcha!
- Summer-y but not beachy – I think so!
- Room for up to 1 week’s worth of clothes for 2 people – Check!
- Textured – Wood floors, rug, quilt, linen bedding – pretty good!
- Refreshing – I think so, I think it’s like eating a mint.
- Comfortable – Sure is.
Challenges and problems to solve:
- 8ft ceilings with a stipple finish – That stipple finish is goooone.
- Ceiling fan vs. no ceiling fan – We went with no fan (actually no ceiling light at all right now because I can’t make a decision) because we sleep just fine without one.
- Soundproofing (I’m still getting used to drywall vs. plaster) – The curtains and rug help, drywall insulation will help more in the future.
- Half-hot outlets (half of each outlet is controlled by a switch and it drives me crazy) – Fixed!
- Closet with a diagonal wall – Choosing to ignore this forever/hide it behind a curtain.
- Greige (not the good kind) sliding glass patio door – Leaving this alone for now.
- Hollow-core doors – Still there. I’m door shopping and waiting for lumber prices to settle down.
- Builder-grade wood trim – Removed and replaced.
I’m giving myself a score of 14/16 and that ain’t bad. That’s like 87% which is practically an A-. Let’s go ahead and call that an A.