Four Ideas to Cozy Up Your Winter Cabin

By Craig Middleton

While it is a hot summer, it is time to start getting ready for the cold and getting your cabin up to date. One of the chief concerns an owner of a cabin in the woods has is how to keep it warm and toasty in the winter, especially if winters in the area tend to be grueling. Here are four ways to keep a cabin cozy:

Stock Up on Pillows, Throws, Afghans and Blankets

Pillows and throws aren’t just for the bed. Place them around the rooms of the cabin to wrap up in or cuddle with. Pile pillows of all shapes and sizes against the bed’s headboard and toss throw pillows in the other rooms. Throw pillows come in all sorts of cozy fabrics, including cashmere, denim and faux fur. Like bed pillows, they come in many sizes, including those big enough to plunk on the floor and sit on.

Throws and Afghans are basically blankets for other places besides the bed. Like throw pillows, they are made of all types of fabrics, but on a cold night nothing beats the warmth of wool. Wool doesn’t need to be scratchy but can be meltingly comfortable against the skin. Indeed, some blankets and throws are made of a wool silk blend for extra luxuriousness.

Warm Drinks and Comfort Food

Nothing warms a person up faster than a warm drink. It’s not necessary for there to be booze in the beverage, but if no one’s getting behind the wheel, it can’t really hurt. Caramel milk is a simple drink that adds two tablespoons of dark brown sugar and a drop or two of vanilla extract to a cup of hot milk. It’s sipped out of a mug cupped between the hands. Though it probably shouldn’t be had before bed, hot mocha punch is also a good beverage to warm up the tum. Ingredients are a quart of chocolate ice cream and two quarts of hot coffee. Put the ice cream in a punch bowl, pour in the coffee, and whisk until the ice cream is just about melted. Serve it in punch cups and sprinkle on some fresh grated nutmeg for garnish. Toddies are traditionally a spirit mixed with boiling water. One recipe calls for one or two tablespoons of bourbon, a tablespoon of honey and two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice all mixed in a cocktail glass with boiling water.

Comfort food includes filling casseroles such as mac and cheese, beef or chicken stew or vegetable dishes such as ratatouille. Homemade cookies, cakes and pies that are served while they’re still warm from the oven are ideal. So are hearty soups such as French onion soup with its crust of Gruyere cheese.

Ventless Fireplace

Nothing says “cozy,” like a fireplace, and now ventless fireplace logs are an option. Having a fireplace in the winter is equivalent to having a pool in the summer if you want to get a headstart on the summer consider doing a quick search of “pool designs Pensacola” or the city you have your cabin in to get some inspiration. Regular gas logs need to vent to the outside to rid the room of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, but the logs in a ventless fireplace use their fuel so efficiently that the amount of carbon monoxide is very low. At the same time, the fire burns very hot. To make them even more safe, they come with an oxygen depletion sensor, or ODS that turns the fireplace off if the level of carbon monoxide becomes too high. The cabin owner can put these gas logs in a regular fireplace made of brick or stone or a firebox that mimics one.

Go for a More Neutral Color Palette

Interior decorators claim that darker colors make a room feel warmer, but when it comes to a winter cabin professionals claim that lighter colors make the space more cozy. This is because it contrasts beautifully with the short days and cold dark nights of winter.

A warm fireplace, hearty good, lots of pillows and blankets and soft colors are only four of the tips for a cozy cabin. They will make the cabin a place anyone would want to visit even in the dead of winter.

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Your Cabin Home: Traditional Design, Modern Function

by Craig Middleton

There are many reasons you may want your home to look like a traditional cabin. Cabins evoke a sense of history, simplicity and nature. What distinguishes cabins from other home designs is a rustic, casual feel. They tend to be smaller and less refined than other styles of houses. However, no matter how rustic you may want your home to appear, you still need modern comforts and amenities. Here are some ways to have a traditional, rustic-looking cabin that functions in today’s world.

Clean Lines

Cabins are all about practicality; you want nothing frivolous or fussy cluttering up the facade. Most cabin designs follow a minimalist approach, where form must follow function. A steeply pitched roof is a must in snowy regions, but boxier shapes are fine in dry, warm climates. No matter the overall shape, one thing most cabins have in common is a tendency toward simple lines and a tidy aesthetic. Do not bother with ornate molding, gables or gingerbread trim on your cabin’s exterior; load-bearing columns may be necessary, but keep them hefty and plain.

Solar Power

Cabins remind us of a time when people could build what they needed, using just what the environment provided, a little ingenuity and the strength of their own two hands. To capitalize on that self-reliant notion, use solar power as much as possible. A solar water heater can supply you with steaming hot showers all year-round for a fraction of the cost of an oil, electric or gas model. A solar attic fan will help you keep the cabin cool during the summer. Solar panels, either in a rooftop or ground array, can increase your energy independence. A robust solar system may completely eliminate your reliance on other power sources. Install a solar power battery, or a bank of them, to store solar power for use after the sun goes down.

Durable, Sustainable Building Materials

Many traditional cabins harmonize with their surroundings; they look as if they have been there for generations and will stand for generations to come. That sturdy appearance comes in part from building with strong materials that weather well. Wood is a popular natural choice; use recycled or repurposed timber if you can. Wood-look composites are an easy-care, low-maintenance alternative, and are also resistant to rot and insects. If you prefer to stick with natural materials, a stone facade is an excellent choice.

For the interior, exposed beams — steel or wood — suit the informal cabin vibe. They add interest, highlight architectural features and give height to living spaces while still feeling cozy. Use low-maintenance, locally sourced materials throughout. In the kitchen, install butcher block counters and an oversize farm sink. In other rooms, you will love details such as sealed concrete floors, wrought iron stair rails and reclaimed barn doors. For warmth, a living room fireplace is a must.

Large Windows

If your cabin is on a hillside, by the coast, beside a stream or nestled in the woods, you want to make the most of your view with large windows. Even in less picturesque settings, installing large windows creates a cheery home by letting sunlight stream in. In the winter you will also appreciate the sun heating your rooms. However, to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, be sure you get energy-efficient windows for your cabin. The best windows have double panes encased in treated wooden frames. A tint or coating can increase the ultraviolet protection and maximize the energy efficiency of the glass. Your investment will pay off in performance, durability and looks.

Ample Connectivity

For a vacation home, you may want a remote cabin that is totally off the grid. However, if you are living in your cabin year-round, Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity is essential. Keep cords and cables hidden, either within walls or by using cord organizers. When possible, avoid cords altogether by using smart devices that operate over Wi-Fi. Today’s hubs, control panels and other items are small, sleek and unobtrusive, so you can combine rustic design and high-tech devices beautifully.


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How To Maintain Your Cabin Year-Round

By Craig Middleton

If you have a cabin you know that one of the greatest pleasures is to disappear to your cabin for a chance to unplug and relax. As you read this you are probably thinking about sitting by the cozy fireplace, roasting marshmallows under the stars in the fire pit outside or about how peaceful and quiet your cabin is. Likely not a part of your daydream is walking into your cabin to find a water leak or rodents. When you have a cabin it’s important to ensure you are properly maintaining it so it can remain the relaxing escape you daydream about. Below are some tips to maintaining your cabin year-round.

Address Pest Problems Swiftly and Effectively

Pests can cause larger issues to your cabin, such as damage to the wood or unsanitary living conditions. That is why it is important to take care of any pest problems quickly once you become aware of the issue. For example if your cabin is in North Carolina, there are great pest control services in Raleigh that have experts who can help you identify the issue and create a plan to resolve it. Some pest control places even guarantee their treatment and will retreat the area for free if the initial treatment plan did not work. Though you can try to resolve the issue yourself, hiring pest control professionals is more likely to have the desired outcome and keep pests away for good.

Properly Take Care of Pipes and Water

If you have a cabin you do not use year-round, it is important to have a plan for what you will do with the water in the pipes. In the wintertime water that is unused and left sitting in the pipes can freeze and cause the pipes to rupture if heat is not on or is too low. When water pipes rupture it can cause water damage to your cabin. It also means you will have the expense of hiring a plumber to replace or fix the pipes. The best plans of action are to turn off the water, if possible, or to leave the heat on and have someone you trust that lives nearby check on your cabin a couple of times a week and run the water to get it moving through the pipes. If you turn off the water be sure to drain it out of the pipes and blow the remaining water out with an air compressor.

Ensure the Roof is Maintained

A well maintained roof is one of the most important protections against water damage, pests and mold. If you notice shingles that are curled, missing or look lifted it is important to call out a roofing specialist and have them repair the roof. Missing or damaged shingles can lead to water leaks, which can cause mold and mildew growth in your ceiling. Additionally, if there is water damage it can cause weak spots in your roof or ceiling that may later result in holes or caving. Address any issues with your roof as soon as you notice them to prevent any further damage and expenses.

Reduce the Risk of Fire

If you are not going to use your cabin for a while think about how you can reduce the risk of any fires while you are away. Unplug any major appliances that are not necessary to prevent electrical fires. However, be sure to leave on any necessary appliances, such as the sump pump. Make sure space heaters are turned off and turn off the gas if you have properly winterized your pipes and will not be using the heat. If there is good kindling for fire around, such as books or cleaning chemicals, take them with you.

Properly caring for your cabin year-round is a way to protect the lifespan of your cabin and ensure its safety and maintenance. It also means your peace of mind that when you return you can truly rest and relax.


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5 Ways To Improve Your Summer Home

by Craig Middleton

If you own a summer home, chances are you love it and you see it as your own personal oasis. It’s your home away from home where you can entertain and relax to your heart’s content. It’s inevitable that you might reach a point where you can see your house being renovated for yourself and others. How can it be achieved? Read on to learn of some ways you can improve the quality of your summer home.

Landscaping and Lawn Work

Don’t let the grass on your lawn grow to new heights—Mother Nature sees no such thing as a rest. In the months when you’re away from your summer home, your grass and plants will continue to grow and flow with the seasons. During those months, a lawn service El Paso, or wherever your summer home is located, can stop by every week every few weeks to mow grass, trim bushes, plant any new plants, and more. This can save you plenty of time on doing yard work when summer starts.

Cleaning Services

To improve the quality and cleanliness of your summer home, you’ll need to stay on top of keeping everything in top shape. A cleaning service, like landscaping, can swing by your house every so often to keep things tidy inside and out. The cleaners can take on a variety of tasks to ensure a clean dwelling for all. Since you have to do chores and maintenance for your primary residence already, cleaning services at your summer home can take a load off your shoulders. Be sure to consider leaving a tip for cleaners you hire as a courtesy, if you wish.

DIY Projects

Nothing beats the boredom blues like a hands-on do-it-yourself project. No matter how big or small, doing things yourself can save you money and time on further house renovations. Take a look around the internet to find tutorials and videos on how to create a new project. Also, keep in mind that while many projects can be done without the aid of a contractor, there are some projects that are best left to the professionals, like anything involving asbestos. Before taking on anything major throughout the house, consult with a carpenter or similar specialist to rule out logistics.

Solar Energy

It can be a costly investment in the beginning, but having even some parts of your home run on solar energy can bring down electricity expenses by a fraction of the bill. Fossil fuels are the major pollutants that contribute to climate change because of the number of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. When one installs solar panels in their home, they are taking action to reduce the number of fossil fuels used in our environment. Natural energy carries many benefits for humans, animals, and the air we breathe; using solar energy is a wonderful place to start reducing your carbon footprint.

Security Systems

Summer is the season of relaxation and fun in the sun. Unfortunately, it’s also prime time for thieves looking for a quick steal. Without a proper security system intact, a break-in can happen at any time and your things may get stolen; nothing dampers a vacation more than a burglarized home. Keep all the doors and windows locked at all times, even when you and any guests are staying there. Any cleaners, landscapers, and maintenance crew you hire to help with summer home duties can serve as a crucial pillar of security—burglars are much less likely to break into a house where people are out in the open. Also, make sure any valuables in your home are well hidden.

Your summer home is already a perfect getaway, and there’s no harm in working to make it even more habitable and fun for you and your guests. Take any of these improvement tips into account to try something new and keep your home in pristine condition.

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How to Add an Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Area to Your Backyard

by Alejandro Smith

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social distancing guidelines have encouraged millions of Americans to spend more time at home. Despite the pandemic, however, there are tons of benefits to being outdoors, and it can significantly improve your overall health and well-being.

So, the question is: What can you do to make your home more accommodating to outdoor time? Sure, adding a volleyball net and treehouse can keep the kids happy, but what about something that the whole family can benefit from? One thing to consider is creating an outdoor kitchen and dining area. And we’ve got some tips for how you can do it:

Inquire About Cash-Out Refinancing

Even if you’re doing something as simple as making space for a grill and putting out some chairs, you will need some money to make the changes. If you don’t already have cash set aside for your project, one thing to consider is refinancing your mortgage. notes that with cash-out refinancing, you will get a new loan on your home and be able to cash out some of the equity you’ve built. Also, if you’re a veteran, it’s important to learn about VA cash out rules as it applies to your eligibility.

Think About What You Want from the Space

When you’re determining how to plan for your outdoor space, It’s important to factor in exactly what you want from it. Do you want to cook complex meals that require various appliances, or do you want to stick to grilling hamburgers, hotdogs, and the like? Are you wanting to be the neighborhood’s best backyard barbecue host, or do you just want to have a place where you and your family can have a nice dinner and relax in the evenings? Do you want a bar area? Answering questions like these will help you get a solid start on planning out your outdoor space.

Choose the Location

Another consideration will be where to put your outdoor space. More often than not, somewhere near the main living quarters is the most practical spot. This is because you will have easy access to food and other items, as well as to utility lines for appliances and devices. However, if you choose to put your outdoor space farther away from your home, be sure to factor in things like sunlight and shade.

Outfit your Kitchen

When it comes to the kitchen area, the appliances you choose are essential. While it may be tempting to go wild and get every kind of appliance under the sun, it’s best to think about what you will actually be cooking, and invest in a few high-quality items (e.g., oven, stove, grill, etc).

Also, make sure you have plenty of counter space. And when you layout your outdoor kitchen, try to design it so that the cook is safely separated from the party yet still part of the group.

Outfit the Dining and Lounge Areas

There are countless ways to build a dining and lounge area. For instance, you can combine the dining and lounge area into one space, keep them separate, combine the kitchen and dining area, combine all three areas, and so forth.

Again, consider what you want from the space to determine the best layout and how to outfit the dining and lounge areas. For some households, a simple dining table and chairs will suffice. For others, a television, a sound system, fire pit, and/or additional furniture may be in order.

Use the Food You’ve Gathered

When it comes time to plan your meals, remember that one way to save money on your outdoor kitchen and dining area project is to use what you already have. For example, if you’ve stocked up on food like frozen or canned veggies for the pandemic, you can incorporate them into some healthy, tasty recipes. And there are plenty of recipes you can find online.

Spending time outdoors is good for the body, mind, and soul. And building an outdoor kitchen and dining area is the perfect way to ensure that you and your family get more time outdoors. Remember to consider cash-out refinancing, and make good use of any food you’ve stored up over the last few weeks. Also, ask yourself what you want from your outdoor space, and pick a location that will best meet your needs. Then, you will be able to outfit your outdoor areas appropriately.

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10 Tips for Small Cabin Decorating

By Tanya Mayer

The fact that your cabin is small doesn’t mean it needs to feel cramped. With these 10 decorating tips you can easily take advantage of space and enhance the comfort and functionality of every inch.


The use of mirrors is the oldest trick in the book to make any room look larger. Every mirror gives the illusion of depth and, placed strategically, it will feel as if you added on to a room. The best way to place them is to reflect views from windows or focal points. They reflect both artificial and natural light, bouncing it deep into the room, so they’ll make it appear bigger during the night as well as during the day.

Go Light And Monochromatic

Besides the fact that room color affects your mood, it can also create the illusion of spaciousness since bright and light walls are more reflective. So go for whites, creams, or ivories and stay away from dark colors which make the room seem smaller by absorbing light. And try to avoid distracting color changes – the monochromatic palette is the best way to go since it makes the space seem limitless.

Eliminate Dark Corners

All reflections in the world mean nothing if you don’t have enough light since dark corners seem like non-existent spaces eating up your room. Natural light is crucial, but artificial light is equally important when it comes to even distribution. A few lamps scattered across the rooms can make a world difference, but it’s important not to overdo it and riddle your walls with sconces, plugs, and switches which will make them appear cluttered and sloppy. The best way is to combine an overhead fixture with a larger number of bulbs and a few additional strategically positioned lamps.

From Floor to Ceiling

Many cabin owners make a mistake of cutting off bookcases and drapes partway up the wall, thinking that they’re saving up space that way. But that way they’re doing just the opposite. If you want the illusion of height, you need unbroken vertical lines. So run your bookcases, drapes, and any other vertical elements you have from floor to ceiling.

Landscapes Over Portraits

No matter if you have paintings or simple framed photographs, you should always choose landscapes over portraits. The reason lies in the fact that landscapes will always create the illusion of additional depth in the room.

Say no to Storage

What we mean is that you need to say no to all friends and relatives who think your cabin servers as storage for various knickknacks and old furniture. If you don’t control the accumulation of things all the items will end up in disarray. The key is in the organization, so get rid of everything you don’t actually need.

When it comes to the things you do need, space withing knee walls can provide perfect storage solutions: built-in bookshelves and dressers, mechanical storage for heating, electricity, and plumbing, low closets, etc.

Distract The Eyes

If some of the things have grown to your heart, instead of scattering them around you should arrange them into a collection and create a focal point. This is a great way to distract the eyes of the viewer so they won’t notice the dimensions of a room. But keep in mind not to make too many focal points since they’ll turn into visual clutter and produce the opposite effect.

With Proportions in Mind

When choosing furniture, you need to pay attention to proportions and pick those pieces that are scaled down to fit the dimensions of the room. That doesn’t mean you should just fill the place with tiny furniture. Balance things by using just the pieces you absolutely need and stick to clean lines. That way you won’t block pathways. If you need some larger furniture pieces, place them against the wall and try to get them in the same or at least similar color as the walls. 

Multi-Purpose And See-Through

Another way to save floor space is to use multi-purpose furniture such as a sofa bed, a chest that can serve as a coffee table, bed with storage drawers beneath, etc. You can also boost spaciousness by allowing the viewers to see through furniture with pieces such as a glass coffee table.


We don’t have any remodeling in mind. Simply adding a porch to your design will make your cabin look a lot bigger. The great part of what makes the places small is the lack of spaces to entertain, and porches have always been perfect places for social gatherings of friends and family.

As you can see, all these tips can be grouped into two main parts. The first part is about creating the illusion of space with mirrors, color palette, proper lighting, unbroken vertical lines, and landscape artwork. The second is about creating an interrupted flow with decluttering and careful arrangement with proportions in mind.

Tanya Mayer is a blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to family, home, and home improvement.

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How to Design a Weather-Resistant Lake Home

By Holly Welles

With summer just around the corner, we’re all looking forward to some time under the sun and on the water. A lake house or waterfront property is a fantastic investment and a great way for you and your family to spend some extra time outdoors during the warmer months. Like any investment, a lake house should be protected — in this case, protected from the elements and weather conditions that can occur on the waterfront.

Whether you’re daydreaming about a future lake house or actively planning your lakefront property, here are a few must-have features for a weatherproof home:

1. Flashing

If you’re hoping to design a truly weatherproof lake house, factoring in flashing is a great first step. Flashing refers to the thin pieces of metal or taping you see around windows and doors that keep rain and snow from leaking into your home. Most of the leaking that occurs in lake homes can be attributed to improper flashing.

When designing a lake house, take steps to ensure the doors, windows and other entrances are well-protected from the elements. Doing so will save you plenty of headaches down the road and keep your family dry when they run inside during a thunderstorm.

2. Waterproof Foundation

After you’ve secured your windows and doors against the elements, you can start planning how to keep your home’s foundation dry and steady, no matter what storms may come your way. The moist soil and stormy conditions common near lakes can lead to excess moisture in your home’s foundation. This phenomenon can create a whole host of issues, including odors, mold, rot and foundation movement.

There are many different ways to help keep your lake home’s foundation from drowning in excess moisture. Some homeowners choose to raise their houses on stilt-like structures above the ground, while others opt for specially treated concrete foundations that provide water resistance. Either way, you won’t regret taking steps to protect the foundation, even during design-planning.

3. Water-Resistant Siding

When designing your house’s exterior, keep in mind that your siding and other exterior features will be facing a lot more water and moisture than they would on a traditional property. While wood siding is beautiful, it tends to decay when exposed to water for long periods.

Opting for more durable and water-resistant siding materials like vinyl or concrete will make your residence look great. Additionally, it will keep your lake home attractive for years to come, no matter how many storms it faces.

4. Landscaping

Now that you’ve planned out weatherproofing for your lake house itself, it’s time to think about landscaping. Although it may not be the first feature that comes to mind when designing a weather-resistant home, high rainfall and a lakeside location can lead to erosion. This issue happens as water continually runs over the soil surrounding your home. Soil erosion around your house can result in gullies or trenches, which can cause your foundation to shift.

You can protect your property from erosion while adding some charm by planting ground cover over any bare soil. Use porous paving materials — which absorb water — for pathways rather than nonporous ones, which can lead to water pooling.

Designing a Weatherproof Lake House

Every lake home is unique, but all waterfront properties require some degree of weatherproofing. The features we’ve outlined here will help you cover the basics of weatherproofing while designing the lake house of your dreams. Following this advice will ensure you and your family have a safe summer gathering place for many years ahead!

Holly Welles is a writer and decorating enthusiast. She shares tips on home improvements and design for homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update. She’s also a regular contributor to industry publications including Build Magazine and Today’s Homeowner.

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Color Combinations Perfect for Rustic Lake Homes

By Holly Welles

If you’re after a rustic look for your vacation house, you’ll want to choose natural materials. Different metals complement various woods – and often, textured rugs add a bit of organic comfort to a room. Yet what about your color scheme? It’s essential to choose the right hues for a laidback, aged feel.

Take a look at these color combinations so that you can create the perfect rustic atmosphere.

1. Deep, Cool Reds

A farmhouse wouldn’t be complete without a few splashes of red. You may want to be a bit selective when it comes to this color, though. Red can overwhelm a lot of spaces, so it’s necessary to choose wisely. Pick shades that have cooler tones underneath. A light red often looks a little more country than rustic, and, in general, less vibrant colors work best.

Many homeowners love to create red accent walls in their bathrooms or entryways. This hue looks terrific against neutral-toned cabinetry, as well. Try not to pair your preferred shade with other intense pigments, as too much color can create a negative effect. If you use red sparingly throughout your house, you’ll achieve a beautiful rustic appearance.

2. Taupe-Like Grays

Subtle browns and grays look flawless alongside metals and woods. Typically, they’re best in spaces that get a lot of natural light to ensure your rooms won’t appear too dull or dim.

These colors provide a neutral base for kitchens. For example, white, marbled quartz countertops are super popular design choices at the moment. If you go down that route, a muted gray or off-white tone would add a certain amount of depth to your space. With dark wooden shelves and a bit of stonework, you’d achieve the ideal rustic atmosphere.

These shades can be used in other spaces, as well. You can make a small bathroom look larger with lighter colors like these. It’s also clever to add different gray accents throughout your house.

3. Smart Blues

You don’t have to paint your walls blue, but a few navy touches can help you achieve the right atmosphere. It’s essential to consider your home’s location when you redecorate. If you’re by a lake, for example, you’ll want to pull in outdoor elements – like the water.

Again, you should stick with deeper shades. Rustic design features a casual and cozy vibe that doesn’t pair well with bright colors. Think about blue rugs and pillows in rooms that feel more neutral. If you paint your bathroom an off-white, a set of dark blue towels will look wonderful. You’ll find a lot of ways to incorporate smart blue tones, like bluish-greens and charcoal blues, into your home.

4. Whites and Creams

A lot of rustic houses focus on bold, earthy details. Tastefully weathered furniture, like dressers and benches, tend to be common selections in rustic design, and neutral hues, like white and cream, allow for a blank slate.

In guest bedrooms and home offices, plain walls provide a clean landscape. Hallways and staircases look terrific in white, too. You may want to opt for color in more frequented areas of your house, however. Then, bring in furniture that accentuates these neutral shades of white and cream. You can also be a little more creative with your decor.

5. Light and Dark Greens

Earthy greens, both light and dark, look fantastic in rustic homes. Try to aim for organic shades that look best against natural foliage. Don’t use pastels – they’re far too bright for the design you want to achieve. Instead, sage and forest tones do the job.

Green can work throughout your home. It looks splendid in bedrooms, especially because it evokes a calm and restful atmosphere that’s hard to beat. Wherever you decide to paint, try to pair these colors with natural metals and woods. A white or gray bedspread acts as a classic accent. Of course, you don’t want to forget any outdoor elements. Potted plants and flowers perfectly complement green shades.

Use These Tones for a Beautiful Rustic Property

If you’re in the middle of a remodel, you’ll want to consider these color combinations. From reds to grays to blues, you can’t go wrong with a few of these shades.


Holly Welles is a writer and decorating enthusiast. She shares tips on home improvements and design for homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update. She’s also a regular contributor to industry publications including Build Magazine and Today’s Homeowner.

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Keeping Your Cabin Safe While You’re Away

By Craig Middleton

You bought a cabin or second home to provide a little sanctuary from your regular life. Unfortunately, you aren’t present at your cabin on a regular basis and this makes it a potential target for burglars. Here are the steps to take to keep your property safe.

Don’t Keep Valuables in Plain Sight

Can people see anything valuable when they look in your cabin’s windows? If so, you need to put it all away. This includes:

  • Computers
  • Flat-screen TVs
  • Other electronics

Store anything valuable in a closet or interior room. Put expensive sports equipment where it’s locked up, such as a secure shed.

Install Motion Sensor Cams

Use technology to your advantage by installing motion-sensitive cameras that activate whenever someone tries accessing your property. This comes into play when you need documentation of exactly what happened when a burglar tried gaining access to your cabin or second home. The camera might even get a good view of their faces or license plate, making it easier to identify the culprits.

Install Motion Sensor Lights

Exterior lighting that goes on via motion sensing technology is a great add-on to your camera system. This means you don’t need to keep a light on 24 hours a day. Instead, give anyone who shouldn’t be there a nice surprise when they’re lit up in a spotlight and see your signs saying they’re also on camera.

Give the Cabin a Lived-in Appearance

Break-ins happen most often when it looks obvious that no one has been there for a while. Change that immediately. Find a property management company and pay them to shovel the snow or cut the grass. See if a neighbor might be willing to use your driveway as a place to park one of their cars. Use interior light timers so it’s not dark inside at night.

Install an Alarm System

Why not go all the way and install an alarm system? This way, any potential burglar who ignores your lighting and cameras will be met with armed security while they’re trying to load your possessions into their vehicle. If you happen to have a home warranty, you might find that you get a nice discount on your alarm system.

Become Friendly with the Neighbors

Do you have some neighbors who stay more often in their cabins than you do? Become friends with them. Not only will you have more fun while staying in your cabin, but you might potentially find your friendly neighbors have no problem keeping an eye on your place. They might even be the type of people who help with cutting the grass or shoveling the snow. Simply asking them to walk across your yard to leave footprints in the snow will go a long way in giving the cabin a lived-in look.

Catalogue All Belongings

Make a complete list of everything you leave on your cabin’s property. List out serial numbers. Now, make it obvious to burglars that you’ve taken this precautionary step. Post a note stating this fact so they know you’re going to have an easier time tracking down any stolen goods. Knowing they’re about to sell items that can be traced will make them think twice about entering your cabin.

Limit Property Access

Place a gate across the cabin’s driveway when you leave. This makes it obvious no one is living in the cabin. However, it might slow things down enough for potential burglars that they decide to move on to a different target.

Keep Boats Out of Sight

Never leave a boat or other watercraft sitting on top of your dock. Nothing screams no one is home more than that. As well, it’s easy to steal! Keep your boat far from the water. Consider removing some parts of the motor so it doesn’t even operate.

Post Signage

Use signs that say, “No Trespassing” to your advantage. Use a sign telling burglars the property is monitored by cameras. This makes it obvious your cabin isn’t an easy target. Put these signs near the driveway, dock and on the front door.

Keeping your cabin safe from break-ins while you’re not there isn’t difficult. It simply takes a little thought and preparation.


Craig Middleton is a SLC-based business consultant who enjoys blogging in his free time. Having grown up surrounded by mountains and lakes, he enjoys spending weekends in his various cabins along the Wasatch Front. 

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Photography Tips for Selling or Renting your Cabin

by Kristy Jones

Realtors and real estate agents these days are fully aware of the benefits given by high quality photography in selling a property. And cabins are no exemptions. Since no two cabins are identical and there are specific tips to be considered especially in interior and exterior photography. Because of this belief, every angle in a photograph is also different.

High quality cabin images have really impacted its sales and rentals. Producing quality photos make a big difference. It is the very fundamental step to real estate business because buyers get the important ideas through listings and photos. Capturing images of either the exterior or the interior of cabins is just the starting point of everything. The post-processing techniques, though it is professionally done by skilled editors, are as equally as important.

By knowing the part of the cabin to be considered will define properly how you are going to shoot real estate photography. Shooting professional photography for cabins seems a little tricky at first. You know for sure that most of the time, you only have one chance to make high quality photos. That’s why choosing the right exterior for your shoot might be the perfect way to make a good impression.

To avoid any unnecessary mistakes in the future, the following are tips on how to shoot cabin exterior and interior for beginners.

Start carrying a good digital camera with wide angle lens.

Newer digital cameras have higher pixel resolution that you need in sustaining quality image. The lens to be used should have wider angles. Wide angle cameras allow you to just stand in the corner of interior rooms which might also include panoramic views for the exterior. Use a tripod to mount your camera for steady shoot.

You can shoot 2 wide angle shots for the cabin’s interiors like the bedroom, living room, and bathroom. For the exterior part, you can take as many as 3 photos of the backyard and 2 shots of the front.

Use proper lighting

This tip will benefit indoor shoot. Good lighting is a defining moment which requires balanced lighting. Balanced lighting means the use incandescent bulbs frequently instead of fluorescent lamps.

But it’s up to you to decide whether lights must be turned on or off. Turning the lights on will make the space warmer. Turning them off, on the other hand, can bring lighter temperature.

Housekeeping the area

This is one most important assignment before venturing into photo shoots is to de-clutter the area. The build-up of small bits and pieces of unwanted objects scattered in the area must be removed for better photo shoots. For the interior, make sure that table tops must be clear as possible. Closets should not be photographed unless they are spacious enough.

Make a survey of the area before the scheduled shoot

Walking through the cabin before start shooting is one mandatory task of every photographer. Each log cabin is different and this is always the assumption. As a photographer, you must get the feel of the spaces inside and outside of the property before picking up the camera for a whole day shoot. You need to get the best angles possible and this is the opportune time to get to know the homeowners more.

Use flash

There are many homeowners who are always in a hurry to put their homes on online listing. Using your camera flash is a perfect way to help you continue going from one area to another swiftly. Turning the flash also makes the light bounce off a wall, the ceiling, of on a big closet which allows light to diffuse into space. This is important in giving a good look of the space.

Avoid distortion

Keeping your camera straight especially when you are shooting at different angles will help you avoid any distortion. When cameras are moved up or down frequently, vertical lines may start to slant. Distortion is seen from many directions.

Make the color more appealing

Improving the color of your photos make them more appealing to the buyers. This is a practice that is common to real estate photographers. Cabins must be taken by boosting the right color for both the interior and the exterior. Enhancing the looks will make it more vibrant and dynamic.

Transform the photos through post-processing

You can edit individual photo using Adobe Lightroom. You can instantly make the proper adjustments in your photos. You can easily align lines properly so as to balance the image. You can also enhance the colors by making an improvement from the original color. Called color boosting, this task is meticulously done so that the image will never look fake.

With this app, your photos can improve the clarity and sharpness at the same time. Thus, after undergoing Clarity slider of Adobe Lightroom, you can definitely fine-tune any image that you want to enhance.

High quality images are what buyers want for cabins. Either for rent or for sale, you must ensure that the photos in your listing will make a positive impact on the decision of the customers.


Kristy Jones is a DIY fan and enthusiast. She loves implementing life hacking topics especially about home improvements. She also contributes on writing other informative articles about basic architecture and house renovation.


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