To appreciate the story of this transformation, we have to rewind a bit, casting the clock back to March 2020.
For everyone on earth, it was a month that changed things—on a global scale, and on an individual scale. Changes big and small impacted everyone uniquely. For us, life’s broader events hit on the exact week we got the keys to our cabin home.
Nestled in a small community of 100 or so cabins, our place hadn’t been touched since it was built in 1980. Everything was original. The main floor looks something like this:
We spent Spring gutting the entire place: removing flooring, walls, and rooms, while carefully preserving the original wood features that gave the space so much warmth and charm: the pine ceilings, the posts and beams, and the exterior structure, of course. We loved the history of our home and community, and knew then that any space of ours is bound to be anything but polished anyhow, so having some nicks and dings and history suited us just fine.
Our design vibe from the get-go was cabin rustic with hints of traditional and European with a mostly black and white scheme, softened with natural and textural aspects.
Demo was tiring, but swift.
We were able to completely remove all flooring, walls, insulation, electrical, plumbing and every last cobweb, nail, and sign of moisture, rot or age. We were still living and working in Squamish at this time, which meant traveling to the cabin after work hours making for long days and many dump runs, but we got into a nice rhythm and even set up some workbenches in the home to keep ourselves organized.
By April we had the place ready for an electrician and plumber to come and do their thing while we started framing our bathroom, blocking in the previous entryway, and preparing for the insulation and vapour barrier.
By this point, we had to be out of our former rental in Squamish in a few weeks, so it was time to get serious about pulling some triggers when it came to finishes.
After all, this place had to be in a finished enough state that we could bathe, wash, prepare food, and live comfortably in the space in about a month. Need I remind you we had no plumbing, no electrical, no source of heat or energy or light. It was an intense month. Good thing we already had a great sense of what we wanted!
Having found out we got the place on December 24th 2019, we spent most of our Holidays dreaming and drawing up floorpans and pinning inspiration (funnest time ever!). And the plan was as follows: we’d swap the former laundry room and entryway, and expand the bathroom, reworking the entrance to it at the same time which offered us the opportunity to expand the kitchen as well. Here’s what the main floor looked like over the course of that month while it was being wired, plumbed, insulated and drywalled.
With some walls up, the flow and layout of the main floor could finally be revealed, and we loved it.
Covering up the former entryway (the space to the right of the wood stove) and moving it to former laundry room (now downstairs) was the best call. And right as walls were taped and mudded, we were moving in full-time!
With us moved in and living by the end of June, it was time to start laying down our gorgeous engineered hardwood from CRAFT Floor!
We started laying our Hayloft Pine flooring upstairs first, then did the main. You read all about our process here! And afterwards, it was time for wall treatment: we chose a natural alternative to paint and lime washed our walls (using Sea Salt from Pure & Original). The process was super messy, but super fun!
With floors in and walls ready, installing millwork was up next which is where the excitement really began and some serious style was introduced thanks to Elmwood Cabinetry.
For almost 50 years, Elmwood has been creating custom, high-end cabinetry focusing on form, function, and quality. Not only do they source sustainable materials, but they exceed industry standards which was important to us in our effort to renovate and design our cabin as eco-friendly as possible.
What I loved most was the ability to fully customize every aspect, from crown molding profiles and paint colour, to hardware, screens, and interior fittings. We would have never been able to squeeze in our coffee and tea cabinet beside the dishwasher, or hug our beams and ceiling perfectly with a big box manufacturer!
Suffice it to say, pulling the trigger on the cabinet style, colour, hardware, and specific aspects like interior drawer fittings took me months to figure out, but the Elmwood team were not only patient, but took just as much care and consideration to each inch of the kitchen.
The kitchen arrived in lovely crates on our driveway on December 17th and within a week, our cabinet installer had our kitchen installed. And a week after that, I had it styled.
So without further ado, are you ready to see the final transformation?
Let’s have one last peek at how the space looked like one year ago before:
Almost a year later, our kitchen and main floor are finally complete!
Ready to dive into all the details? 🙂
We went with Elmwood Cabinetry’s Harwood style which offered a slightly more country or European traditional flush-frame cabinet, painted in Vineland by Benjamin Moore. I am obsessed with the cabinet interiors and drawer organizers, and the crown molding (EK910 profile), and shaker detail on all side panels.
I can’t choose one big thing about the kitchen that I love, it’s all the little custom touches perfect for us two and Piper, like the floating shelves for our nut and seed jars, the custom blackened stainless steel hood vent we had made , Piper’s dog door, and the crank table we found serendipitously…
Over the course of making decisions for the kitchen, one of the easiest choices was to go with Dekton by Cosentino for our surfaces, specifically Lunar for both our counters and backsplash. You can truly use the stuff for any surface you like, and each colour comes in a multitude of thicknesses. Check out their library of over 100 colours here (I apologize for the lost hour browsing and swooning 😉
One thing that was not as easy a call was deciding on if we wanted a fixed built-in island, or a table of sorts, and I’m so glad we waited and ordered our cabinetry because in the meantime we found this awesome crank table which we can adjust to be counter or dining table height! We love it and appreciate the open airiness it adds, and don’t miss the lost storage much. Seating four bums comfortably was the price we paid for more stuff.
We paired it with these boucle upholstered counter stools which are super comfortable and cushy (I can sit on them for an 6-hour stretch, and have)! They’ve been on backorder because of popularity, but we have two more on the way now and I can’t wait.
One of the aspects we’re most proud of in the space is the hood vent we drew and built and then had fabricated. We framed it, drew up proper drawings and had a local fabricator cut it out of blackened stainless steel.
We also made a matching wine rack which we slipped in between our pantry cabinets which hugged our ceiling beam perfectly.
Our clear litre jars are from our local Home Hardware which were the perfect simple complement to our ribbed ceramic ones (also used as our utensil holder). They come in three sizes, and have a matching spoon rest which we also have. The wine decanter does wonderfully with our brass, and we use our Finex Cast Iron Dutch Oven a few times a week–same goes for our Kitchenaid Pro Stand Mixer.
Our floating shelves are pine, which match our main floor bathroom vanity (reveal coming soon), and our cabinet hardware is Emtek’s Providence Cabinet Knob, all in unlaquered brass.
And how cute is our little 10″ tea and coffee cabinet? It actually tapers at the back to a triangle because of our angled walls, and if we hadn’t gone custom with Elmwood, that would have been wasted space!
Despite the mostly traditional and rustic vibe, one thing we did that was unconventional was go with pull-out refrigerator drawers, specifically two 24″ undercounted refrigerator drawers from True Residential. With four drawers, we keep food groups separate and organized. Our drawers are as follows: top left is veggies and fruit, below that is condiments and sauces, dairy and beverages are top right, and below them is a drawer for leftovers, prepared foods or overflow fruit and veg. We love the function, and love the fact that they don’t look like fridges even more. We had Elmwood create cover panels for them, along with our dishwasher for a streamlined look.
Turning the camera away from the kitchen (I know, it’s hard), our living area got quite the transformation as well. Let’s jog our memory of the space before real quick:
Removing the entry door from the location where our pine cabinet now sits changes the whole feel of this corner of the main floor. Everything you see was thrifted: the leather couch, the pine cabinet, and the antique mid-century modern armchair. Even the Turkish kilim and Turkish oil distiller. Some new bits are the wood stove (from Vermont Castings) and some accessories like the fireplace poker set from Crate and Barrel.
Another massive aspect that we’re super proud of is our fir stairs. Michael and I put them together ourselves after we had slabs of fir cut locally by Daintree Manufacturing. They are 3″ thick and robust, and they help make the whole floor more open and airy. Now from the entryway, you can see through the stairs to the windows and appreciate the whole space from the moment you walk in!
And in the entryway, let’s reflect on how it looked the day we got it:
I cannot believe this space used to be a dark, crammed laundry and mechanical room! It’s definitely one of the most dramatic space transformations in our whole home! The front closet millwork is absolutely breathtaking, and a little different from what Elmwood did in the kitchen. We opted for these fun lion door pulls, and got Elmwood’s SS Dakota mesh in the upper shaker panels for a little visual interest.
All in all, despite it being a wild year in more ways than one, I am so happy and so lucky to have a home that’s safe, warm, and full of love and care.
It’s amazing to look around and remember every how each nook and cranny looked at each stage. Wile the space looks picture perfect now, we’ll never forget the memories of the adventure and challenges of this main floor.
This post was made possible by some amazing partners I’d like to thank!
A kitchen is more than just a place where food is made. For me, it’s the most important room in a home. It’s where I cook, sure, but also where I perform a walking meditation, daily. It’s where celebratory rituals take place, making it more like a temple. It’s where everything from pens to tinctures to mugs are housed. Teas, spices, and syrups. And I cannot thank our sponsors enough for bringing us the space of our dreams.
Elmwood Cabinetry, you have been incredible to collaborate with! We adore our millwork.
Dekton, you have been beyond accommodating with date changes and we love our unique surfaces!
Delta Faucet, we love our black kitchen hardware, but especially our soap dispenser–it’s a game changer!
Thank you Emtek for the hardware, we are beyond grateful to touch your lovely products daily!
True Residential, we think your drawers are uniquely unconventional and awesome and we can’t wait to help convince people to consider them! And Plexi-dor for making Piper’s dreams of true freedom come truer 😉
And my lovely photographer Darby Magill (hire her for all your photo needs)!