All the Major Finishes in the A-frame Renovation

September 10, 2018

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Big renovations started on our A-frame at the beginning of August and by the end of September, I think/hope all the major players will be in place. It’s going to be another busy month up there but I thought I would give you a big update on everything that has been done and will be done in the next couple weeks. We’ve nailed down almost all of the foundation choices (flooring, stone, exterior!) and it’s hard to believe by the end of September/beginning of October, we’ll be installing the kitchen–there’s a really big announcement at the end of the post of about that! Here’s what I can tell you about each of the major players:


This is what has torn up the majority of our cabin. Previously, our a-frame was only heated by a wood burning stove and a pellet stove. Both required constant feeding and attention and took actual hours to heat up the cabin, not to mention it wasn’t something we could control or regulate from our home an hour away. There was no AC and it would get sweltering in the summer! We decided the best time to tackle this was upfront. We made 1 zone for each level (there are 3) with ducts running throughout the house and thermostats in the main living spaces and standard vents in each of the rooms. There will be A/C and heat and absolutely, there will still be fireplaces on the main level and basement level that heat the space, fueled by a giant 1000 gallon propane tank on the property (see it right here!) we also had recently installed (we’ll need to have it refilled once or twice a year). The best part of it all is we’ll be able to control the temperature zones from our phones remotely. At the same time, we have updated the furnace, water heater (we went tankless as to not burn through propane constantly) and even though this is literally the least fun way to spend $30K*cue the tears*, and has no impact on aesthetics, we know that this is the thing that will 100% make our cabin an enjoyable place to stay.

The floors

The wood floors:

If you watched this CLJTV video than you know that after looking at so. many. samples. we decided to go a little bit outside of our comfort zone and go with a lighter option–KÄHRS OAK ASPELAND from Stuga Studio. They have a beautiful white finish and rustic cracks that encompass the vision of what we hope this cabin to feel: cozy, rustic, cabin-y, but still modern. Stuga Studio only sell Kährs of Sweden, the oldest hardwood flooring company in the world. They invented engineered hardwood flooring back in 1941 and were the first company in the world to remove all chemicals from their finishes, way back in 1983. The flooring will extend throughout the entire main floor living room, kitchen and bedroom (we have other plans for the bathroom), down the stairs and throughout the entire basement level and up the loft stairs (bye, bye aggressively orange stairs!). However, the loft will be carpeted…

The carpet:

We imagine the loft to be a fun place for kids to hang out. We plan on packing in the single beds with trundles and making it the sleepover spot of our dreams. And while we’re definitely going to have area rugs elsewhere, we’re excited for some soft wall-to-wall carpet underfoot in the loft. We were honestly going to get the exact same carpet we have in our home because we love it so much. We are going to go with Stainmaster Pet Protect carpet (it cleans up like a dream) Secret Dream in Canvas (top right sample above). It’s low-pile, looped/Berber carpet that’s incredible soft. The canvas color is two-toned and warm and we think it will hold up beautifully up there.

The fireplaces

Since we were doing away with the wood burning and pellet stoves, we had to pick new stone for both fireplaces. The main fireplace has always looked so squatty because they only took the stone up about 5 feet (and the ceilings are 20+ feet!). We’re going to take the stone all the way up and have it match upstairs and down. We went to a local stone yard (rocky mountain supply for anyone woondering) and zeroed in pretty quickly on larger stone that felt warm, casual and welcoming. It’s called GREYPEARL CRAFT ORCHARD LIMESTONE (see above). At first Chris laughed when I called the stone welcoming, but after I showed him the contrast between sharp/jagged stone and the slightly rounded/smooth stone that we decided on–he agreed, it felt welcoming. It’s a great mix of warm grays.

The exterior

Are you going to paint your cabin? Yes! We will be staining and sealing all of the many decks ourselves in the next couple weeks and will be hiring out the exterior paint job at the same time–fortunately, the majority of our a-frame is a light warm orange roof, so it shouldn’t be too expensive and we can avoid those scary heights. Currently it is stained a bright red (which is so alarming with those large trunks in the front), our plan is to paint it a warm black and keep the decks a nice wood toned–we’re gathering a lot of inspiration from @invernessaframe below! We can’t wait to see it come to life. For the green around it all the really shine even more. To see the black against the white snow in just a couple months, or the blue water. We’re still nailing down the exact shade-but we love the inspo below and we’ll definitely keep you posted.

(via @invernessaframe)

The kitchen

(via  Brad Krefman)

(via danawolterinteriors)

Our kitchen plans really deserve their own post–so that’s coming. But we just got the green light to spill the beans! We’ll be using our own cabinet line we’re launching with Semihandmade in the next couple months!!! Ahhhh!!! A year ago, they reached out about a collaboration and we started brainstorming and pinning what we wanted to bring to the table and I was drawn to shaker wood doors over and over and over again (See my whole Pinterest board full of them here). As a refresher, Semihandmade makes cabinet fronts to fit Ikea cabinet boxes ( we’re also working on compatibility with at least one other brand!) was all about it and our initial launch will have light wood, light grayish wood and dark wood cabinet fronts! Over the past few months, we have gotten increasingly more excited as we have gotten samples and have definitely seen wood returning to the kitchen and bathrooms and homes in a fresh way. We can’t wait to use them in our cabin and see them in the homes of many others, too! Much more to come about this. :)














What do you think?

  1. boyd knudsen says:

    Hi Chris and Julia,
    We are designing out A frame cabin located in the Black Hills. I really like the dimensions or yours! Would you share with me the overall dimensions or your cabin? Length, width, roof pitch or height. Inside dimensions aren’t necessary, I’m trying to get the scale right from the outside.

  2. Emily says:

    Exciting!! Can’t wait to see your floors and the wood choices you make for your kitchen cabinets!!

  3. Sharon says:

    looks beautiful, just curious how you afford all this ? Do you have day jobs, or just using the blog?

    • Julia says:

      We both work on the blog, social platforms and we have multiple lines. We also do what is called rollover budgets where we setoney for a project and anything we don’t use, we rollover to the next project.

  4. Love the plans and love the new partnership. You have me second guessing my kitchen cabinet plans, now!

  5. Katy says:

    Ah! Exciting!!!! I don’t love Semihandmade’s current wood options so I’m dying to see what you will bring to their lineup.

  6. Jennette says:

    Excited to see your new line! I’m in the market right now for new cabinets and have been considering semi handmade, though not sure if I want to go completely custom so I can get the inset style I prefer. I’m curious how you will tie the wood tones in with ikea bases.

    PS. I really miss your podcast!

  7. Love LOVE! EVERYTHING about this post. Black exterior? Light decking? Welcoming stone? Your new line? Yes yes yes to all of it! Can’t wait to see it progress. Ps, congratulations on the line!

  8. LAURA says:

    It is all going to be so amazing. Love the black exterior. The cabinet project is super exciting. You guys are so busy!

  9. Lori says:

    I am so excited to see your collab with SemiHandmade! I desperately need to redo my kitchen, as the cabinets are literally falling apart, but haven’t been completely happy with any of the options so far. Crossing my fingers, because I love your taste and am also feeling the light wood trend!

  10. Christina Knight says:

    I’m confused I thought that you had Stainmaster’s Medford line in Fizz in your home.Can you tell me how the two styles are different? Looking for bedroom carpet this month and loves both!

  11. Mary says:

    This is soooooo exiting. I see a kitchen renovation in my future :)

  12. Sarah says:

    AHHHH! The cabinet colab announcement is so exciting!! I have an ikea kitchen and love my fronts, but now I’m dreaming of replacing all the drawer fronts… I love, love the wood cabinet inspiration pics you posted. If you release some in that color, I will have no choice but to purchase :)

  13. So excited about ALL of these things! The wood shaker style is a dream. I love, love, love that it’s coming back to kitchens in such a fresh way.

  14. Julie S says:

    This is beautiful stuff! I am super thrilled to have all this to look forward to in future posts and I really think you guys are doing it right. Hope you have a roomba to handle the dust in the cracks of that awesome wood floor ;-) I especially like the fireplace stone – you are so right about friendly shaped stone vs sharp stone. I do wonder what soft black stain will look like on the exterior with a light orange roof, as the contrast seems very strong and possibly Halloweenish? Despite these minor reservations trust me when I say I’m very excited to see it all happening and know that it will come out wonderfully with your guys’ excellent taste. THE KITCHEN!!!

  15. Melissa says:

    Everything about this makes me want a A-frame!! Congrats on the cabinet line. Can’t wait to see more.

  16. Emily says:

    Perfect timing!! Love the idea of CLJ and semi handmade! I’ve been scouting ideas for our remodel project coming up that will include our kitchen and 2 baths. Can’t wait to see what you come up with

  17. Mara says:

    Omg wood cabinets!!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!! *cue the screaming*

  18. Lauren Pollock says:

    OMG this makes me sooo happy. I have been dreaming of my Ikea/ Semi-Handmade kitchen for over a year now… Since we are still about a year out from the actual remodel, this could be an option… so happy!!

  19. Staci says:

    typo – The see the black against the white snow in just a couple months, or the blue water

  20. Veronica says:

    Love the black exterior idea! Also excited for the semi-handmade collaboration! Congratulations!

  21. Renee says:

    Wow. I have been waiting for them to make the shaker doors in wood stains as there was no way I was taking on picking out a stain etc for the dyi ones! I’m so glad it’s you guys who are picking the colors! Can’t wait to see. Any eta?. I want to use them for my basement kitchen. Congratulations such great news.

  22. Candice says:

    So dreamy… all of it! And congrats on the big announcement! You may have ton of insight on stains and staining decking but if it’s newish to you as it was me… after lots of research I found a brand of stain that I highly recommend. TWP brand (not thompsons). It doesn’t flake, it lasts, and all you have to do for reapplication down the road is clean & reapply (no stripping????. Also if intrested in restoring the natural wood tone/color to those logs or other wood, look into walnut blasting. You can strip but blasting is so much faster:) You may be aware of all of this info but I also know you are frendly to suggestion. Again, I can’t wait to see it all & congrats. We are working on our own piece of paradise in the mountains but wow we are slugs compared.

    TheVillaSequoia on insta

    • Julia says:

      Thank you so much for that suggestion!

    • Stina says:

      Yes!! My kids and I stained several hundred feet worth of fencing last fall after our new fence went up and TWP got rave reviews again and again. It is a bit pricier but was absolutely worth it. I love it.

  23. Cici Haus says:

    AH! That’s so exciting (all of it, but especially the cabinet line). I can’t wait to see it – I’ll be redoing my kitchen in the spring and I really want wood cabinetry!

  24. Jamie says:

    Ahhh, excited for a good looking wood shaker door! Can’t wait to see them! Also – obsessed with the black exterior idea! :)

  25. Mandy Beachy says:

    A cabinet line!!!! So exciting!!! Congratulations! My parents just started building a cabin (my sis and i totally took over designing it????) and I’m loving all your inspo on cabin ideas!!! Perfect timing for us! Yours is gonna be amazing!!❤

  26. Emma says:

    So exciting!! We used semihandmade after seeing you use them and have LOVED them!

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to see the cabin AND those amazing new cabinet doors!!

  28. Katie Rook says:

    Yess Semi-Handmade / CLJ collaboration! We just came across this company and we’re using their walnut fronts for our bathroom remodel. We also have a kitchen to renovate, too, so I will be keeping a close eye on this collab! Congrats!

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

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