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We Bought a Cabin!

November 8, 2017  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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After 1 year and 3 months of searching, and a few close calls along the way, we finally found the cabin of our dreams and were fortunate enough to close on it this week. It’s a beautiful A-frame in the Palisades of Idaho, nestled in the trees overlooking the reservoir and mountains–pinch me!

Our hearts were really set on an a-frame and we spent a year looking at several in Island Park, before deciding to start exploring the Palisades, and boy are we glad we did! It’s an insanely beautiful, quiet, peaceful area and while most of the properties weren’t any where near our price range, this one popped up and we went to see it immediately, fell in love and put an offer in that day!

While the above photo is from the listing (I took the rest), the exterior is currently sporting a lot more hand rails for insurance purposes and some shade sails, too–but we have better ideas for shade than covering up those gorgeous windows.

While the A-frame alone excited us, what sold us was the view. The view. The view. The view! I grew up in Pittsburgh, but even having lived in Idaho the last decade, I’ve never seen anything like it. The water is a deep turquoise and the mountains are so crisp. I included a video, but you’ll just have to come see for yourself one day.

Our plan is to take the next year-ish to renovate the cabin and then we’ll rent it out (you’re invited!) and continue to enjoy it as a family, too. We already had a wonderful night with friends and took our girls up, too, so although she’s not much of a looker right now–we’re already enjoying it so much and are looking forward to making many memories here, starting now. While this post doesn’t include any mood boards, our plans are to definitely produce a cozy cabin vibe. We love the natural wood walls in the main areas and can’t wait to add in even more modern, rustic vibes to our mountain getaway, and fully expect to be challenged along the way because a-frames! Those angles! Here’s how it looks on the inside now.

The front door, per se, is actually in the back of the cabin, and upon entering, the view is the first thing that takes your breath away.

But you actually pass by a bedroom on your left with a sunny nook, I can’t wait to build a reading bench or daybed or something into.

And a bathroom off to the right.

Here’s looking back at the “front door” and the kitchen, which we’ll be tackling first–only because it’s really the only space in the house that actually needs help to function. Most all of the updates we’ll be doing will be aesthetic, but the kitchen’s function is hanging on by a thread right now.

If you look closer, some cabinets aren’t attached to the wall, there’s bare backer board and multiple heights of counter space that include peeling particle board.

We already took measurements and are working on a game plan. Through the kitchen, you enter the living room/dining space and those tall, glorious a-frame windows.

There’s a set of aggressively orange stairs that lead up to a loft, where we envision two sets of built in bunks with queen on the bottom and twin on top to take advantage of the angles.

Right now, there’s a queen bed up here, and a few (okay, five!) dressers and chests. There’s also a closet, that will be perfect for games (!!) and a small half bathroom.

Although it’s tiny, this toilet closet with a pedestal sink was a huge selling factor for us. Since we imagine kids staying up here, having a bathroom close (especially one where they didn’t have to go down stairs in the middle of the night) feels like a huge win.

Speaking of stairs, there’s a set that leads downstairs in the kitchen.

This level is sparsely furnished, but they did leave behind a very ornate pool table.

There’s the same spectacular views and multiple decks out this level. We envision adding a hot tub just outside these doors–I mean, how could we not?!

In addition to a dated laundry room (that I forgot to snap a picture of), this level has another bathroom with a black shower I kind of truly dig (nix the curtain and paint color)…

And a spacious bedroom. Although this is the only room in the house that doesn’t get a ton of natural light (it’s in the back of the house and there’s a window well with a ladder leading outside), we have grand plans to make this feel cabin cozy.

As you can see, the cabin came partially furnished and, pretty much, fully stocked. There’s toilet paper and tools and soap, a palette of pellets for the pellet stove–even mac and cheese! It’s something we didn’t expect but feel so grateful for.

Today we’re celebrating our 9th anniversary and throughout the past nine years, I’ve learned that everything feels possible with Chris by my side. We are so excited to be able to create a place for not only our family to enjoy, but for any of you to eventually come and experience, too.  It’s something we’ve wanted to do for so long and we can’t wait to get started. Now, pass me a hammer!

What do you think?

  1. So exciting! Love that area of Idaho. Our family has a cabin in Island Park and we love it up there too.

    Your a-frame reminds me so much of our friend’s. They gutted it and did such a good job!

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/17388664

    The way she changed up the kitchen layout was so genius I thought. Wanted to share!

  2. Carrie says:

    Hi guys, just wanted to let you know your front page is not updating. I’ve been reading the new posts from the links in instagram, but this is still the top post on the main page.

  3. Laura says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! I can’t wait to watch what you do with this cabin! Thanks for sharing

  4. Eric says:

    I want to be first in line to rent! That view is gorgeous!

  5. Ivy Castle Simpson says:

    I’m going to save a little each month and by the time you’re done, we’ll make our first trip to Idaho to see your cabin when it’s finished! What an adventure!!

  6. Kate says:

    Island Park is quite enchanting. We like renting a cabin at Harriman State Park, but Palisades is such a great location! A lot closer to amenities, but still remote feeling. My in-laws live in Idaho Falls. We always go cross country skiing at Kelly Canyon over Christmas and it is magical. Really jealous!

  7. Vicki says:

    Wow! Such an incredible view! I can’t wait to see what you two do with this almost blank canvas. Sure it will be amazing. And the view! Did I mention how incredible it is? So happy for you!

  8. Sarah says:

    It has SO much potential!! I can’t wait to follow along with the reno :)

  9. Isabella Bainco says:

    I can’t wait to see what you both will be doing with this cabin! The interior of my boyfriends and I’s house is all wood with a matte black fireplace and we will definitely be using your cabin as inspo for our cabin-esque house! Haha. Cozy vibes year round I suppose! Wish you guys all the best and all the love to your family!

  10. Linda Grubbs says:

    Oh wow! The view is incredible! This is very exciting…so many possibilities. I CANNOT wait to follow what you do with the place….I know it will be awesome. Congratulations on your purchase….and your anniversary!

  11. Allison says:

    Congratulations!! I love the picture of Chris cuddling Polly while taking in the view. That property was absolutely worth the wait! I’m excited to follow your work in this house, and would love to know more about the buying process, too. (How common is it for vacation homes to be fully furnished? Did you tap into your primary residence’s equity for a down payment, or how do you go about buying a second property?) Maybe a rapid-fire Q and A on the podcast?

    • Julia says:

      I love that idea!! But to answer your immediate questions, we had a down payment saved up to buy a property last year when we started looking and fortunately, we just kept adding to it until we found this one. I think it is way more common for a vacation rental to come at least partially furnished than a normal home. Lastly, we looked into a few lenders before landing on one that had a lot of experience with second homes AND self-employed buyers. Not a lot of banks are totally willing to give a loan to someone who is self employed but we hit the jackpot with our lender.

  12. Dani says:

    So stoked for this! And happy anniversary! I’m now fantasizing about a vacation in Idaho!

    PS – “Aggressively orange” is going to be my new favorite thing to say.

  13. Brittany says:

    So exciting!!! Congrats! We dream of having a Tahoe cabin one day, as I grew up frequenting the snow as a kid and hope my kids can have a similar experience. Can’t wait to see what you do with the home!

  14. Christy Gray says:

    I am so HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY for you guys…. This is like a dreams come true…. As soon as you get done and ready for renters let us know..If I am able ,due to my health, I would LOVE to bring my family here for a family vacation.. GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  15. Amanda says:

    This is WONDERFUL! I can’t wait to see what you two do with it. Commence the journey.

  16. Jeanna says:

    Congratulations! That view is stunning! So very happy for you, and can’t wait to see what magic you both work on the place :)

  17. Sherri says:

    It’s GORGEOUS!!! Congratulations – I’m so happy for y’all!

  18. Nicole M. says:

    OMG, that view!? CONGRATS!! The place has amazing potential, I am so excited for you and the family :) Cabins are such a trend right now in the blogosphere. Looking forward to following your journey!

  19. Megan says:

    It is absolutely beautiful, can’t wait to see what you do with it!!

  20. Sondra says:

    The A frame window, super high ceilings and view are to die for!! Congratulations!! ???????? Can’t wait to see all the changes you two will make to the place!

  21. Jessica says:

    Congratulations! So excited for the next phase of Chris and Julia renovations!

  22. Julia R. says:

    So beautiful! As a mountain person (rather than a beach person) this is the dream. <3

  23. Lisa says:

    You and Emily Henderson renovating mountain homes at the same time? So much fun for us readers!

  24. Alisha says:

    It’s beautiful (minus the aggressively orange stairs, lol!) and SO worth the wait! Hope Willow was able to enjoy some cabin time with your family too!

  25. Kelsi DeCarlo says:

    Congratulations y’all!I️ know how much you have wanted this cabin, and I’m so happy you waited for something that truly felt right! The most amazing gifts seem to come when we do that

  26. Bethany Lee says:

    I’ll just live vicariously through you until I one day reach my own cabin goals!! Congrats on the lovely new mountain getaway!

  27. Colleen says:

    Oh man! Why you gotta be a 14 hour drive away from Temecula! What a beautiful cabin (A frame FTW!) and I can’t wait to watch you put your mark on it. Congrats!

  28. Kristi says:

    Ahhhh! Thise views are absolutely amazing!!! So excited for your fam and that i get to follow along aa you make it “yours.” Can’t wait to aee it evolve. Again, totally breath taking!!!????

  29. Bailey Renz says:

    Congrats you guys!!! Those are some sexy bathrooms! Can’t wait to see what you do with the place. I’ll be watching and might have to make the drive to enjoy it once you have it open to the public ????????

  30. Darrell Glenn says:

    Send me a price list

  31. Traci says:

    Oh my word!!!!!!!!! Eeek!!! Love! Beautiful

  32. Victoria Kennedy says:

    Congratulations! I am so excited for you and your family as you begin this new adventure. There is something so restorative about being surrounded by nature. We have a cottage (that’s what we call them in Ontario, Canada!) and it truly is our happy place. I wish you lots of happy memories in your new home and hope that is becomes your happy place too!

  33. Kim Turitto says:

    So dreamy! I cannot wait to see how you guys transform the place. Stumbling upon your Instagram page has given me so much inspiration and happiness. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  34. Leslie M says:

    Congrats! I can’t wait to see all of your new projects.

  35. Danielle says:

    Congratulations!! What a beautiful piece of property – and oh, that view!! Can’t wait to see the transformation – I know you’ll make it a stunner. :)

    Congrats, too, on your anniversary!!

  36. Lu says:

    Congrats on the cabin and anniversary! Yay… Cannot wait to see the results of the renovation…

  37. kristy says:

    Ohhhh, and I bet you’ll have huckleberries galore right outside your door. My sister and her family spend lots of time camping at Palisades and in August, it’s a huckleberry wonderland! Can’t wait to see the renovations, and maybe even rent in the future! (We live in the north part of the state, but Idaho Falls is my hometown) Congratulations!

  38. Joellyn says:

    Weeee! I am so excited for you guys and so excited to follow your progress! I’ve never been to that area. I’ve enjoyed both ends- Bear Lake to the south and Island Park to the north. Can’t wait to rent your cabin and explore!

  39. Emily P says:

    Congratulations! It looks truly magical.

  40. Darcy says:

    WOW!! I had NOOO idea that Idaho was soo beautiful — and only an hour drive for you…..AMAZING! That place is awesome, and I cannot wait to follow along and see what you do to it! Hope to be able to rent it one day — I need to start researching how long it takes from Colorado Springs! Happy Renovating!

  41. Julie S says:

    Thrilling!! You and Emily Henderson just bought mountain houses which is so awesome because my family is about to move to the mountains too LOL. I am delighted to be inspired by your future renovation posts and you can rest assured I’ll be taking notes for updating our own home.

  42. Lilly says:

    What a view! I know y’all have great plans for this – can’t wait to see how it all turns out! How exciting!

    https://batalidioranddeweywalkintoabar.com/

  43. Mollie says:

    That is a total steal of a deal with that view! What an amazing new opportunity; I can’t wait to read along!

  44. Susan Atwood says:

    The View!!! So excited to see what you two do with this place.

  45. Audrey says:

    This is stunning! We were planning a family trip to Yellowstone but decided to nix it because of costs and wait a few years. Now I know where we’ll be renting for that trip! KISMET!

  46. marymary says:

    So many things to love at Arhaus, but if I had a budget of $500, I’d be really tempted to splurge on some luxurious linen drapes! https://www.arhaus.com/furniture/area-rugs-and-drapery/drapery-collection/classic-linen-drapery/classic-linen-drape-in-optic-white—50-inch-x-84-inch/

  47. Kate says:

    Exciting!
    Agressively orange stairs ???????? that is the exact color of all the trim and doors in our house that we moved into this spring ???? I’ve been slowly painting but there is so much. But it is just…SO orange!

  48. emma says:

    so exciting!!!!! congrats!

  49. Carrie says:

    My aunt and uncle have a cabin there too! I saw that photo and immediately knew where it was, the view is dreamy!

  50. Jolene says:

    I am soooo excited for you guys! This is the perfect cabin! I can’t wait to follow along for the transformation. Also, congratulations on your anniversary. Your last words of the post really just warmed my heart!

  51. Erika says:

    My family has a home in Ketchum on the Big Wood river and it’s basically the most magical place ever. I spent my childhood going to all the lakes in the Sawtooths and to date, Idaho is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been! The time we spend with my own son there now is absolutely my favorite. Big congrats on this amazing new adventure!

  52. Amy says:

    What an awesome cabin, and that view! The Snake River sure looks a lot prettier there than where I grew up haha! Can’t wait to see what you do with it :)

  53. What a great space–and a stunning setting. This is such a great example of buy a place with potential and the basics of what you want/need (bathrooms on each level!). There is a lot of room in what looks like a little building! I think my favourite part are the windy stairs around the fireplace (although not the colour). Congratulations on your purchase and your anniversary.

  54. Hannah says:

    Oh heck yes, consider us signed up already!! We’ve vacationed in Couer d’Alene twice and are just in love with Idaho, but Palisades is closer to us. By the time you’re done renovating we’ll be overdue for another getaway!

  55. Emma says:

    You are so right the black shower is awesome! It will be so fun to follow along and you and Chris transform this space.

  56. Lisa says:

    The final photo is the best – congratulations!

  57. Michelle says:

    Swooning… this looks amazing!! Happy Anniversary!

  58. Laura says:

    This is amazing! Can’t wait to follow along on the renovations!

  59. Anna says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

    This one looks like a gem, and truly worth the wait! So excited to follow along on the journey.

    We’ve never been to Idaho before, so maybe a future visit is in store once you’re open for visitors :) How do I add my name to the wait list? ;)

  60. Christy says:

    So exciting! can’t wait to see what you guys do with the space!!
    How far away is it from your house?

  61. This totally speaks to me! You’re a constant source of design inspiration to me, keep it up!!

  62. Ashley Emerson says:

    WOW! I love reading your posts, but this one is extra special! What a gorgeous location! We are located in Fort Wayne, IN but would definitely make a trip for this!!! Can’t wait to see what you all do to make it even better!

  63. Julia Krey says:

    Wow that is gorgeous!! Awesome find! Excited to follow along and see you two work your magic.

  64. Melissa says:

    We have family in Driggs and Soda Springs, so we pass through Palisades when we drive between the two and I have always been stunned by the green blue of the water ???? I wasn’t expecting the cabin to have a basement level, but it looks like a wonderful home away from home for any family!

  65. Emelia says:

    I AM OBSESSED! you guys are living my dream!

  66. Patricia says:

    Wow ! Idaho – I had no idea you were so beautiful ! Congratulations ! I’ll be first in line to rent for a week !

  67. I can’t pinpoint my favorite part – it’s all so, so beautiful (helllooo, view), but the potential might be the most exciting part. Cannot wait for this to unfold! Happy anniversary, you two!

  68. I read every post and rarely comment…but holy. crap. That view!! SO excited to follow along. I’ll be using every minute of the renovation to talk my boyfriend into taking a trip up there. So, no rush. ;)

  69. Joanie says:

    Love it! Congratulations! I’m in SW Idaho and I cannot wait to see the transformation and be on the list as a prospective renter at some point. What a great place to make memories with your family. All the best to you!

  70. Wow!!!! I’m so happy for you and for us blog readers to see all the change!!!

  71. Jillian says:

    WOW!!! Such a stunner even BEFORE you guys add your magic!! SO excited to follow along and watch the transformation!! Our family’s 5 year plan is to move to the mountains and this will be total inspiration! Excited for y’all!!

  72. Karen L. says:

    Wonderful decision–so very beautiful there! How far is it from your house and from an airport (for prospective renters)? I will enjoy watching you transform it into something special for your family as well as for an income producing property, too. Strange, challenging kitchen but one you’ll figure out! :)

  73. abby says:

    yay, this is so exciting!! congrats. it will be fun to see what you do with the place. and that view–ughhh it’s making me want to go up to the mountains RIGHT NOW.

  74. Sarah M says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! I can’t wait to see what you do with it – I’m sure it will be a stunner. THAT VIEW THOUGH…oh my! It’s amazing…I can see how it stole your hearts. Timing is everything and the rights things find a way to you. So happy for you!

  75. Allie says:

    OMG THAT VIEW!

  76. Kara says:

    Beautiful! Now I’m dreaming of a winter vacation!

  77. Kelli says:

    That view is AMAZING! Congratulations – I’m so excited to see what you do with the cabin!

  78. Brittany says:

    Congrats! And those views are INSANE!

  79. Debbie C says:

    This cabin is amazing! So worth the wait. I look forward to seeing your vision materialize! Also, congratulations on 9 years! Truly the blog is aptly named, you guys are an inspiration. ❤️

  80. Sarah says:

    Congratulations! Buying a second home was one of our best decisions ever!

    PS- Love the podcast ;)

  81. Megan says:

    I have been waiting for this announcement!! What a beautiful cabin and that view! So excited for your family! I can’t wait to see what you do with it and more importantly, I can’t wait to visit!!!!

  82. Jennifer Kennedy says:

    It’s so beautiful!! Can’t wait to see what u guys do!!!

  83. Candace says:

    SO GORGEOUS! And I love that you are working with the walls! I can see that black shower working into the neutral-natural style you rock.

    #jealous!

  84. Ashley Jensen says:

    Congratulations!!! I love love love A-frames and that view is to die for! We recently built a new home and we have a similar wall-o-windows looking into our woods behind the house. I vote you keep the black tile in the shower downstairs and I can’t wait to see what you do with the kitchen!

  85. Emily says:

    My family has had a cabin in Palisades for 45 years and we love it up there!! So excited for you guys!

  86. Kara says:

    So exciting!! Can’t wait to see how you work your magic, With those views, you just can’t go wrong.

  87. Sonya says:

    Chris and Julia! I am SO happy for you guys! This looks amazing!!! I hope to be able to vacation there one day! I am sure it will stay booked solid. I love your closing paragraph. Happy Anniversary! My husband and I have been married for 24 years and it is so great to have someone always by your side.

  88. Lauren says:

    Congratulations! Those views are breathtaking! I’m excited to see what you do with this gorgeous cabin.

  89. Kori Holmes says:

    i’m also really digging the black shower. pleaseeeeee keep it!

  90. Christina says:

    Gorg!! Have y’all checked out the @insieme_house on instagram?! It’s my favorite little aframe!

  91. Kay says:

    Ah-mah-zing!!! Cannot wait to see what you do with it. I LOVE it!!!

  92. Kelly says:

    I am seething with jealousy but am also very happy for you guys! What a wonderful, magical place to escape with your sweet family. <3

  93. Leslie says:

    It’s perfect! The view is beautiful, just beautiful! Can’t wait to see what you do with the cabin!

  94. Julie says:

    The Idaho tourism association (is there such a thing?!) should be thanking the Marcums!

  95. Mary says:

    This just LOOKS like you guys! So excited to follow along on this process!

  96. Rebecca says:

    Those views are amazing!! I’m excited to see the transformation! I just told my husband I want a cabin now. ;)

  97. Noelle says:

    Congratulations! It’s stunning as is, but I can’t wait to see what you do with it. It will be so fun to follow along!

  98. Blair says:

    how fun! What amazing views and to have such a special place to create happy memories!

  99. Kristen says:

    Congratulations! What a great thing to be able to do for your family! I am looking forward to following along as you renovate this cabin, I know it will be amazing. Enjoy!

  100. Carol says:

    HOORAY!! Congrats! So excited to see this property flourish!

  101. Sherry Fagin says:

    I can hardly wait to watch you work your magic and make it incredible!

  102. Kristin says:

    Oh my gosh, what a view! I can’t wait to see what you do with this cabin which, if I’m honest, is already pretty darn charming!

  103. Phoebe K says:

    Oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful! Glad y’all found a great one and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  104. Amber Wallace says:

    It’s beautiful, cannot wait to follow along!

  105. Congratulations guys! What an absolutely stunning place! I can’t wait to see the transformation once you get started with this beauty :)

  106. Jessica says:

    It’s so beautiful! I’m so happy for you all! It’s perfect

  107. Kelly says:

    Congratulations! That view is absolutely STUNNING. I can’t wait to see what you two come up with… and come visit some day :)
    Best,
    Kelly

  108. Jen says:

    Those windows are totally breath-taking! Can’t wait to see what you do with this magical place.

  109. Jessica says:

    Oh wow! That looks like quite the project to tackle, but there’s so much potential! I can’t wait to see what you do with it — it’ll be hard to beat those views, though! ;-)

    https://curatedcouple.com/

  110. Victoria says:

    Love it! My permanent residence is shaped very similar to the cabin, with the same window layout along the back of the house. We have been struggling with ways to block the sun and add a little privacy without covering the windows or completely blocking our view of the lake – I can’t wait to see what ideas you have!

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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. 

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