Oh woah, it’s nearly August already? I forget that having two kids with July birthday’s really makes the month fly by.
I’ve been working on a lot of little things this summer, each of them taking up a day here and there, sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’m really making progress at all. I was really hoping by now that I’d be able to share photos of the new exterior paint on the cabin. It’s been a bummer that it hasn’t gotten done yet. I had high hopes that I would get time to enjoy the cabin’s new look the majority of the summer. The painter we hired has been a bad communicator so we have no real idea as to how long it will be before the job is complete. To be fair, it’s not entirely our painter’s fault, the weather is mostly to blame, but the lack of ability to answer an e-mail or phone call doesn’t help either. All I know is that it has been very wet and now it’s pretty dry and still no paint.
The painter did show up once a few weeks back to sand and clean the cabin, so now we’ve gotten a chance to enjoy that faux-country-shabby look. I know you want to pin those images.
Please notice the new exterior barn lights I added to the outside of the cabin. I really love them. I purchased the parts here, you can customize the look by choosing any neck style and pairing with a shade of your choice.
On a more positive note, this spring we ordered a bunch of new dock parts! I don’t stop at interiors when it comes to making the most of a space, and I was determined to reconfigure the dock so that we could make it into what I am labeling “the dock deck”. The idea was to move the dock over to the left of the stairs. Moving the dock over 8 feet would allow for a larger swimming area for the younger swimmers, and would give us enough room on the end of the dock to extend a large deck over the water. The larger dock creates enough space for a few chairs and the teens (and maybe even me) love launching themselves off the end of the dock and climbing up the new ladder. It’s nearly 7-8 feet deep past the end of the dock, so it’s the perfect spot for cannon balls (or accidental belly flops if yer me).
Over the course of a few spring weekends, we completed our first project as a married couple (16 years deep), Jeff even learned how to use the drill, which he referred to as “the screwer”.
You should have seen us! Real city slickers with waders. We were up to our nipples in a freezing cold May lake trying to put our dock-deck together. We managed to get it after a few failed attempts and a handful of weekends. We are both very proud of our work as country folks! We finally feel like we’re starting to fit the part. Anywho, the dock-deck has been such a great addition to outdoor life at the cabin.
I’ve also started the painstaking process of staining the entire two levels of deck and all of the stairs. The last stain job (which I had nothing to do with) on the deck was not holding up, so I’ve been working at re-staining the deck in small sections. I’ve never done this before, and I’m hoping that I’m setting myself up for success. I power-washed the deck this spring, and have followed up with a stain stripper, and light sanding before I begin applying the solid stain.
The new stain on the deck is looking real fresh and I’m excited to see it with the new paint color.
On a weird mom note, I created a nature trail for the kids. I kinda felt like a real hippy out in the woods with my birch logs, making trails and gardens. The teens love running up and down the steep part of the hill. I didn’t want them to slip (or I should say, slip less than they were) so I laid out some logs as temporary steps and garden borders. The gardens and plants are meant to help with erosion since the hill is pretty steep. Although the teens are nearly teens, they still cry when they fall down and I was sick of hearing it, the new birch treads have lessened the crying. One of the trails leads the lower level deck, and the other leads to a hammock I set up for the youth by the water. I force them to go down and read books every once in awhile. I’m the worst.
Our old grandma cat, Nami has retired to the cabin this summer. She is getting so old, and doesn’t move much. We didn’t feel like putting her through the card ride, so we just have left her at the cabin. We’re never gone more than a few days and the old girl is happy been enjoying the R&R.
Let’s hope the next update comes sooner. I’ve completed demo in the main-floor cabin bathroom and working on stage one. I suppose it would be helpful if I included a post about that soon. Who decided to make summer so busy anyways?
Stunning photos. Love hearing updates on your cabin… what a beautiful place you’re creating. Also.. you’re sense of humour is the best.
Hey, Thanks. I feel like my humor doesn’t always come across when I write.
Looks amazing! I just adore getting updates on your progress out there! I have a slightly-related question for you. We are in the process of searching for our dream lake home/cabin and my partner is convinced that he needs a grassy area near the lake to be able to enjoy the shore. I notice that y’all don’t have much land at the bottom of the slope – it that an issue for you? I’m convinced that with the right dock, we’d have plenty of play space. What do you think? Also, can you see the shoreline from the cabin? Are you able to keep an eye on young swimmers from the deck?
Yay! This makes me happy to hear that you guys still like hearing what I have to say. Sometimes I feel like the internet is so crowded that it’s hard to pay attention.
I too wanted a beach or a flat area near the lake so that a lot of people could all be hanging out the water at the same time. Honestly, it hasn’t been a problem, and it’s not something I even miss now. I would like to add a small sand box near the hammock so really little kids can play in the sand. It’s just flat enough in that area that I could make it work.
Regarding Decks and watching kids: We do have the lower level deck, which was good for watching kids swim before we had the dock-deck. Now that we have the dock-deck, it’s even easier and we usually just sit on the chairs with a cocktail while we chat with the kids while they swim. I often just watch them from up on the top deck though.
I think the bonus about having a lake with an incline is that the views from inside the cabin are much more dramatic and I think prettier than with a low elevation.
Oh, and when you’re thinking about properties and docks, we used Tommy Docks, it’s a really modular system and fairly straight forward when it comes to install. Good luck in the hunt!
So many good updates! Love seeing it come together. Such a perfect, tranquil spot. :D
Thanks, Sarah! It is a really special spot.
ALISON!!!! I am so lucky to have found your blog and pics (and inspo) on pinterest. We just recently purchased a “cabin” in big bear lake, ca…and your work (and talent) is so fun to see and learn from. THANK YOU for such GORGEOUS images….that get be excited about all the work that lies ahead with our second home. EEK! Can’t wait to get your next newsletter! – Reni
RENI! So sorry for the delay in response. Congratulations on your new “cabin”! It’s been so great to have a home out in the wild, I’m sure you’ll love your new place. Thanks for saying, “hey”!
I love the phrase “dock deck”! It’s perfect! haaa
It is! I can’t stop referring to it as such.
The dock deck looks awesome – what an amazing place to sit and enjoy summer! I’m working on staining the deck at our house… well, I’ve gotten as far as power washing (mistakenly hoping all the failing stain/paint would come up) only to leave it looking worse than ever. Were you happy with the stain remover you used? Willing to share the brand or any tips?
Hi Kara! The power washer moves a lot of loose paint or stain, but leaves so much behind. I don’t want to recommend a stripper because I found that noose to the grindstone sanding worked best. I just used my orbital sander with 60 or 80 grit paper (depending on what I had around). It didn’t take it all off, but it took most off and left a smoother surface. Hope that helps.
I always love your writing. Your cabin is looking quite good and that lake…swoon. We’re currently on Mille Lacs Lake and I briefly thought, ‘hey! maybe we’re close to Alison’s cabin.’ But then I remembered the whole 10,000 lakes thing and figured not.
Cathy! Sorry for the delay in reply. I saw that you guys were cruising through Minnesota, you’ll have to look me up next time. What a fun trip for you and the family! Mille Lacs is soooo big, and shallow – and we are about 3 hours from there… Hope you enjoyed your time in MN!
Your cabin is beUtiful and the lake seem:-)s so calming!!!
Hi Dawn! The lake is small but mighty, and it is often very calm. I love seeing the reflection of the trees across the lake.
Man, I loved this post so much. It was like reading a newsy letter that we used to write to people. Thanks for being you and sharing it.
Ha! This is how I used to write all of my blog posts. I miss that. I hadn’t blogged in so long it just came out like that!