Take a simple idea and run with it...

White paint, dark wood, a dollop or two of primary color and a few favorite accessory collections.   In this Michigan cabin, Mark and Linda Heister, former fashion designers, show how taking a simple idea and repeating it everywhere pays off in creative impact.  

Above, simple curtains inspired by traditional Hudson Bay blankets give this room its wow factor.  Furnishings are kept pared down and rustic; an old table with camp-style lodge-pole legs and antique hickory chairs. 

So much impact for so little effort.  Here a vintage chest of drawers and mirror have been painted in high gloss green and set in a background of white, white, white.  

A few rustic pieces and a handful of charming camp inspired accessories create whimsey on a covered porch.  

Art pottery, rustic cooking implements, taxidermy and snow shoes.  It's funky, it's sophisticated, it's perfect for comfortable cabin life.  

Above, a detail of the nature prints, old gas lanterns and art pottery that are part of collections repeated throughout the house.  

In an update to the kitchen, the fabulous old sink was saved but the cabinets were given new wood fronts.  A wonderful collection of old jars for storing dry goods, white china and the perfect valance give this kitchen vintage personality.  

More old iron cookware hangs beside a 1933 stove.  I love nothing more than an antique stove.  Why do we feel the need to update?  These old stoves usually cook beautifully and provide a charm and personality no modern appliance can touch.

Let a cabin be a cabin.  Sophistication can come in the form of lack of pretension.  Vintage items inherited with the house have been curated for comfort and rustic story telling. 

Cabin porch living.  Wonderful old hickory pieces are dressed up with a little red.  The hunter green deck paint adds the fun and flair.  

A charming white china collection on handmade brackets.  Perfect!

Originally published in Country Living Magazine.  

Is that a Camper with a Boat Roof?

Yes, Martha, I do believe it is.  And check out the matching station wagon...

Spotted in Tahoe City.  Here's my question--is the camper a convertible when you put the boat in the lake?  Just asking.

By the way, my parents once owned this car...

It is shown outside of my grandparent's house in Blue River Wisconsin.  I have vague memories of it from my early childhood.  I know we used to take it camping up in the Sierras.  I guess that explains my love of the mountains...and station wagons!!

Easy Log Cabin Livin'

 It's always fun to see how people choose to live when they can afford to live pretty much in any house in the world.  Here are some photos of a property Bruce Willis owned up until a few years ago. 

This was a trio of log cabins Willis had built on a Sun Valley property back in the 90's.  To his credit, the cabins are comfortable, rugged and welcoming.  Nothing too fancy or precious here, just a wonderful place to be with one's children for mountain pleasures and easy living.  

Chinked walls, rag rugs, and primary colors characterize this handsome home.  It has everything you need and not much that you don't.  

Looking happy outside his mountain home and I can see why.

Above, a cozy living room with beautiful log walls and great views out a wall of windows.  I always love it when a room allows you to put two sofas opposite each other.  It's perfect for visiting with family and friends, don't you think?  The log cabin carpet is the perfect understated but mountain-appropriate anchor for the room.   

Above, striped sofas and a rag rug, make another welcoming cabin living space.  

Once again, comfort and practicality rule.  Bring in the dogs and kids.  Have a good time.  We're here for fun not fuss.

It seems to me that this is a great place for any dad to spend time with his kids.

Happily Ever After in the Adirondacks

This house, owned and designed by Atlanta designer Bill Cook, is the most charming fairy tale of a mountain house I've run across.  Is it a chateau?  Is it a chalet?  Who really cares?  It's a great adventure, for sure.

Visual stories for the wandering eye are to be found in every room.  This is indeed a story book fantasy.

Take the entry below, where even the stairs are labelled with "Once upon a time...".  Cook has assembled a wonderful collection of 19th century Swiss carved Black Forest pieces here, from the carved bear hall tree, the carved deer mounts, the little chair, the small cigar table on the landing, and carved picture frames and birds on the stairwell wall up above.

In the living room, below, more carved Swiss pieces mingle with old skis, beautiful oil paintings, a sumptuous rug and wonderful French antique furnishings.  Wherever one casts the eye, there is an adventure to be had.

Again, antiques mix with rustic furnishings, whimsical tramp art, refined upholstery and beautiful objects, above and below.  Each item has been lovingly curated.

I love the way branches and logs have been incorporated into the stonework on the fireplace (see detail, above).  

Below, this is a kitchen one can live happily ever after in.  Again, rustic but charming.  Spacious but cozy.  Tidy but warmly cluttered.  

A rustic French farm table, leather chairs and whimsical appointments grace this wonderful dining room.  A place to linger late at night, after tales of travels.

Every comfort has been attended to in this elegant bedroom, below.  Each item is a treasure and a thing of beauty.  Luxe fabrics are amply strewn about.  Hides, woolens, paisleys, tartans, animal prints and needlepoint are all in play here.  The beauty of the screen behind the bed and 19th century landscapes contrasting again with the rusticity of the ceiling.  Rough, refined, rough, refined. Your eye is continually bounced around from one contrasting texture to another.

In the room created for the owner's mother, flower motifs and femininity rule.  Everything is pretty.

Below, in the same bedroom, beautiful old English arts and crafts tiles are embedded in the stonework.  The Chinoiserie desk and French chair make the perfect spot to read one's correspondence and enjoy a moment of quiet repose.

The bathroom below is simply the best mountain house bathroom I've ever seen.  Period.  Bar none.  The fireplace above the sunken tub, the pebble and river rock surfaces on the shower walls and floor, the aged beams and soaring ceiling, antique pharmacy signs--all contribute to make this complex room both welcoming and yet, somehow, clean and spacious.  Every surface and detail is either perfectly rustic or charmingly whimsical or sophisticated and modern.  And yet it all goes together in just the right way.  Like Goldilocks and porridge.

And finally, a guest room filled with dogs and other amusements.  A place for happy dreams.