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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The Pros and Cons of Classic A-Frame Cabins

by Holly Welles

The A-frame house, in its purest form, is a triangle-shaped cabin featuring two steeply angled sides which usually begin at the foundation line and serve as the roof. While this style of home has been popular for nearly 100 years, they have become more mainstream in recent years, acting as vacation homes, cabins and even everyday living space for people around the globe.

However, if you’re considering moving into one of these homes yourself, you must first weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

The Cons

While A-frames have managed to remain popular for decades, there are a few downsides to living in such a house.

1. Unconventional Storage Space

For one, the storage space is a bit different from a typical home. Since there aren’t many vertical walls in an A-frame, space for installing closets and wardrobes is much more limited. So if you have a big family or generally need storage space, you may find it difficult to adjust to A-frame storage and living.

Since most space in the home is located at floor-level, you may have to lean towards dressers, floating shelves or other creative solutions for storing things.

2. No External Walls

Aside from the front and back walls, there are no external walls in an A-frame. And, typically, these walls aren’t really “walls” at all, since they either serve as windows or doors. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder — so some people may enjoy this design.

However, this can pose problems when you go to decorate. Sure, there may be plenty of wall space, but it’s on an angle. You’ll have to find new ways to hang photos, tapestries and other items.

3. The Roof

The feature that gives an A-frame its unique charm can also be one of its biggest downsides. The roof, which makes up nearly 100% of the home’s exterior, takes the brunt of hail, wind, sleet, snow and more throughout the course of its life. Of course, this often means more repairs and frequent maintenance.

However, roofers can’t step on the roof because it’s too steep. So they’ll have to consider alternative ways, like ladders or scaffolding, in order to repair or replace it. DIY-savvy homeowners may be able to perform some of their own maintenance on all that accessible roof space, however, provided the scaffolding is properly set up and secured.

The Pros

Although there may be downsides to A-frame homes, people are still drawn to them for a number of reasons.

1. Simple Build

One reason why A-frames entice homebuyers and designers alike is because they are so easy to build. If you’re a skilled woodworker or builder, you can construct your own home from scratch. And if you are new to building, you can still buy prefab kits or plans for constructing your own.

These plans are also easily scalable, meaning you can build a larger or smaller house if you wish. And since they’re generally cheaper and easier to build, many find the option attractive.

2. Scenic

A-frames make perfect vacation homes and many people have used them for such. Thus, many A-frames appear in scenic areas. Whether it’s in the middle of the woods or on the beach, this style of house evokes images of teepees and natural, minimalistic living.

Plus, it’s incredibly easy to install wall-to-wall windows at the front or rear of an A-frame house, allowing you to enjoy the scenery and natural lighting of your surroundings.

3. The Roof

Yes, the roof can be a nuisance at times. But the steep, dramatic sides are what makes an A-frame an A-frame. So, of course, this essential characteristic remains a positive one for many. The high ceilings, partnered with a wide-open floor plan, give the home a cathedral-like feel. Plus, with the correct window placement, an A-frame home can be filled with light most of the day, making the atmosphere bright and cheery.

Choosing an A-Frame Cabin

When it comes to deciding between a typical four-walled home or one shaped like a triangle, the choice ultimately depends upon you and your interests.

For instance, if you want a small but unique home with lots of windows and scenic views, an A-frame may be more your style. But if you require lots of storage space, you want to incorporate more decorative items or you simply prefer vertical walls, you may want to steer clear of these classic dwellings.


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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Tips for Snowy Winters at the Cabin

by Holly Welles

Winter months are hit or miss for cabins — you might find them packed with tourists or they could sit empty during the coldest months of the year. If you own a lake home or cabin, preparing for snowfall should be part of your annual routine.

Here are some tips and tricks to make winter snow management easier, especially for structures that might be empty during the cold months.

Close Up The Cabin for The Winter

If you’re not going to be spending the winter in your cabin, and it will stand vacant through the cold months, you need to close the property for the winter. This can take quite a bit of preparation, but you want to make sure that everything is ready to weather the cold without you.

This includes stowing anything around the building that might get buried in the snow — such as patio furniture, lawn equipment, barbeque grills, and firepits, just to name a few — and making sure your gutters are clean and ready to divert water away from your cabin and it’s foundation when the snow starts to melt in the spring.

Have Plenty of Snow-Removal Equipment

It can be hard to track when snowfall might occur, so it’s important to have plenty of snow-removal equipment handy in case you end up snowed in. This could include anything from an electric snowblower to a gas-powered model or even just a shovel to clear the walk and the driveway so you can get in and out of the cabin.

There are a few tricks that can help you push or plow snow with ease. If you keep getting stuck with your snow shovel, for example, spray it down with some cooking spray. The oil will make the shovel slide smoothly into the snow and make your job that much easier.

Look for a Reliable Snow Removal Service

Of course, if you’re not planning to head to your cabin frequently in the winter, it might be more cost-effective to outsource snow management altogether. While a friendly neighbor with a snowplow can be great, make sure your cabin is getting reliable care before you shell out any money.

Search for a local snow removal service or landscaping company to start. In the offseason, contractors often equip their heavy machinery with snowplows or attachments that can handle large volumes of snow with ease. You’ll rest easy knowing the next blizzard will be cleaned up efficiently.

Be Ready for Snow on the Roof

Depending on where your cabin is located, you can often expect to find several feet of snow piled up on the roof during the cold winter months. This is to be expected, and northern roofs are designed to stand up to the excess weight, but that doesn’t mean that you can neglect them year in and year out without consequences.

Take the time to inspect your cabin’s roof each year before the snow starts to fall to ensure that it will stand up to another winter of punishment.  Having enough insulation and proper ventilation can help prevent ice from forming on eaves and overhangs that could create a weight problem for the roof.

If you get a lot more snow than rain, and a lot of the fluffy white stuff builds up on your cabin roof, forego gutters.  A chunk of snow sliding off can rip them off the roof and take some shingles with it.

Enjoy Your Winter Wonderland

Whether you’re spending the winter at your cabin or not, once the snow starts to fall, all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy your winter wonderland, secure in the knowledge that you have all the tools you need to manage the snow at your fingertips.

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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The Most Popular Architectural Styles for a Lakeside Cabin

by Holly Welles

Lake Home plans come in many shapes and sizes to ensure its functionality meets your design preferences. Whether you’re designing your year-round lake home or a vacation home, you have plenty of options to choose from.

So, what exactly are the elements of the perfect lake house? What makes them so special, and why should you consider them before you begin your home-buying process? Check out the top five most popular architectural styles for a lakeside cabin to learn what’s trending in lakefront properties.

1. Log Cabins

Nothing is cozier than a warm fire in a log cabin in the woods. While log cabins were traditionally small and difficult to manage, new structures provide spacious and elegant designs while maintaining the classic feel.

These homes are constructed from logs that have not been converted into framing lumber. You can even modernize your log cabin home to include a garage, vaulted ceilings and other amenities — perfect for any family vacation on the lake. Options like these are sure to perfectly fit your design needs as you blend the feeling of the days of the frontier with modern amenities and trends.

2. American Craftsman

The American Craftsman model — also referred to as the Arts and Crafts movement — combines many different styles into one unique home. You can choose from either a traditional or modern home plan to meet your preferences and functional needs. Additionally, the design comprises natural materials that are both highly durable and economically sound.

Their impressive detail makes American Craftsman models perfect for your lake home, where it will shimmer in the reflection of the lake. You’ll surely make a statement in your neighborhood with one of these American classics. After all, what’s more American than different styles coming together to form one unified structure?

3. A-Frame

Perhaps the most impressive style that’s currently trending in lake home design is the A-Frame house plan. This triangle-shaped home offers many benefits that lakeside dwellers across the country enjoy. For instance, the steep pitch in its roof helps with snow removal. Beyond snow, its unique design can withstand any weather conditions it faces, making it the perfect style for a year-round home.

Most designs come with a second story to provide more space for a loft or storage. And, A-Frame houses are easy to build and require minimal maintenance — after all, when you spend time vacationing on the lake, the last thing you want to worry about is regular house maintenance. With its stunning detail and ability to be personalized to your exact requirements, the A-Frame home is truly an American classic.

4. Cape Cod

The Cape Cod design, which hails from New England, exudes tradition and comfort. You’re likely familiar with many of the style’s most indicative features, including the steep, pitched roof, stately chimney, dormer windows and sturdy shingled siding.

Since the home’s shingle style is typically weathered to provide a natural look, it is a particularly popular option for lake homes. Big windows and open floor plans add to the flow of the home’s modern interior without sacrificing its classic American exterior appearance.

Cape Cod homes can make a statement even outside of New England, and you can have yours built in any size to accommodate your and your family’s needs.

5. Cottage

Cottages offer some of the coziest, most romantic vacation home plans. Versatility is the main factor that makes this style such a perfect option for your lake house. Traditionally, these homes were small with gabled roofs, an arched entry and brick walkway. Now, you can create a personalized look that reflects your character.

For example, features like balconies or porches give you the most out of your lakefront property. Depending on the house plan you choose, cottages can also be extremely budget-friendly, meaning you can still have a special place to vacation with your family without breaking the bank.

Despite their reputation for being relatively small, modern cottage homes can be customized to your size and style preferences.

Choose the Lakeside Home of Your Dreams

With so many timeless styles and add-on options out there, the architectural world is your oyster when choosing your lakeside cabin. Take inspiration from these five most popular options and choose the one that best suits you and your family. Then, enjoy a one-of-a-kind vacation home for generations to come.

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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What You Need to Know About Building a Lake Home

by Holly Welles

Building a home can be a great alternative to buying. You get increased control over customization and pricing, and you can create an efficient construction from scratch instead of retrofitting an old house. Plus, you witness your personally curated design come to life. Watching your dreams come to fruition is undeniably satisfying.

You’ve set your sights on constructing a waterfront home, and who can blame you? They’re pinnacles of serenity and beauty. However, building on the lakefront offers a different set of guidelines from a regular home.

Know what the process entails before diving in. You’ll have greater confidence in tackling your goals when you understand the details.

1. Choose a Waterfront Property

Obtaining a waterfront property is a contrast from choosing an inland lot. Your municipality might dictate the distance your house must be from the shore. Ensure your chosen property is available for construction and have it checked for septic tank placement, soil condition and erosion history.

Your inspector will inform you of flood plains, septic tank drainage plans and the ordinary high water mark (OHWM). The OHWM tells you where you can place your home to prevent water damage or erosion. The local climate will also determine the building’s quality and the materials you’ll use.

Consider the lake itself — is it safe for swimming and fishing? You don’t want to set your heart on a property only to find the water isn’t suitable. Check with your local health department about the water quality and keep an eye out for restrictions on boats or wave runners.

2. Find a Builder

When searching for a builder, look for reviews from other homeowners. Waterfronts require unique expertise, which means you’ll need a builder to match those standards. An excellent contractor will know how to build on a lakefront lot with efficiency and wisdom.

Building your perfect home will require someone who’s understanding of your vision and open to design modifications. They’ll figure out how to situate your bedroom, kitchen or living room with the best lake view without compromising quality or integrity. Conduct extensive research before making a decision — check their permits and industry association memberships.

3. Consider the Costs

Your home’s structure — as well as the materials you use — determine how much you’ll pay to build it. Solid materials like granite and real wood cost more, but they also have a long lifespan.

The upfront price makes the investment worthy if it saves you from doing maintenance for the next decade. Large homes will naturally be expensive, but pricing can vary depending on the shape. Square houses, for example, tend to be cheaper because they require fewer materials.

The key is to avoid stretching your budget to where covering costs becomes difficult. Downsize or eliminate additions if necessary. It can be easy to get caught up in possible frills, but these are often elements you can incorporate down the road.

4. Plan the Design

The terrain will play a part in your home design. Builders typically advise you to avoid areas prone to erosion or with unsuitable topography. You’ll likely want a view of the water from various rooms, meaning you need an accommodating design.

Then, there’s residential factors to consider. Choose a plan big enough for your family and potential guests, especially if you often have people over.

Living near the water doesn’t mean you have to choose the standard coastal look. Experiment with a range of designs to discover one that fits best. You might opt for an all-glass home, a cozy cabin or a Mediterranean style abode. Whichever plans you select should embody your favorite elements while considering the location.

5. Check Building Codes

You’ll need municipal approval and a permit before you begin building. Every city has its guidelines about what homeowners can and can’t add to their properties. Some rules are specific, while others are vague.

It’s best to contact your town officials to clear up any confusion you might have about restrictions. You don’t want to plan for numerous additions — like a balcony or sunroom — only to find out they don’t adhere to construction codes.

Research your local zoning requirements. These dictate where you can build and how much land you can use. Zoning laws cover residential, industrial and commercial buildings, and each type has unique limits and permissions. Expect to see guidelines on building length and width, including the placement of garages or driveways.

6. Conduct Inspections

Inspections are a major part of any home buying or building process. You and your inspector will conduct several types during construction, including a foundation and drywall check.

An inspector will examine the home’s structure before the builders pour the foundation, ensuring the woodwork is sturdy. A drywall check consists of plumbing and electrical inspection, and it occurs before they construct the walls.

Accompany your inspector on each of these trips to review the process. You can catch problems early and avoid worrying about them later. Make design changes before your builders complete structural components.

How to Construct Your Perfect Lake Home

After reading this post, your ideal waterfront is a step closer to reality. You’ll have a better understanding of how the process works and what to account for concerning expenses and labor.

Find a builder, draw up your plans and start constructing your future waterfront property.


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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The Cabin Comedian

Laughter truly is the world’s best medicine and this year’s Lake Home & Cabin Show guests are in for a full dose!  Get ready to meet the “Cabin Comedian,” Tom Crowl — a high-energy comedian and ventriloquist who brings more than 30 years of professional entertainment experience into each new performance.

A rare talent, Tom is often recognized from his appearance on NBC’s Last Comic Standing as well as his performances at corporate events, associations, theaters, cruises, and casinos and resorts from around the world.  Tom has been the featured opener for celebrities including The Drifters, Chubby Checker, Rodney Atkins, The Marvelettes and The Diamonds.  Known for his customized comedy, razor-sharp improvisation and total audience participation, Crowl packs non-stop laughter into each of his unique performances.

He is a published author, podcaster, the executive director of the International Ventriloquist Society and is the creator of the first virtual ventriloquism course titled: Learn-Ventriloquism. His act has been captured on DVD in Tom Crowl Alone Again Un-Naturally. Tom’s early influences include Señor Wences of Ed Sullivan fame and the comedic performances of Steve Martin and Robin Williams.

Tom Crowl and his hilarious duck “Dangerous” will be appearing daily on the Northwoods Stage.  Performance times are 4 & 6 p.m. Friday, noon, 2 & 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Sunday.

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