Cabin Charm

Every once in a while, I get to work on a gem of a project.  This little kitchen is just that.  A charming 1940's cabin nestled into a lakefront lot on one of Tahoe's best sandy beaches, it was big on character and low on modern function.

When it came time to remodel, the homeowner wanted to update and shore up the place, which was originally built for summer living only.  The main concern was that the modernization be done without destroying the "Old Tahoe" character of the place.  We tore out, but replaced, most of the original pickwick pine, ripped out the bathroom and the kitchen, lifted the ceiling, installed a fabulous river rock fireplace and rewired and replumbed.

One day, the contractor called absolutely stunned, "When we removed the shower pan, we found... sand. No pipes, nothing.  The water just drained right out into the beach!"

Anyway, back to the kitchen...

You can see in the photo how tiny the kitchen actually is.  The cabinets were all made up custom on the site from knotty pine and the floor is antique hickory in random planks.  Over time, the pine walls, ceiling and cabinets will become honey color with age and use.  The antique antler light fixture is something I found for the client in Europe.  

Wanting, to keep the 1940's feeling intact, we purchased "retro" appliances that are actually brand new.

The client fell in love with this hand-crafted series of pine cone, bear and bee motif tiles.  They were all made up custom in our color preferences.  In order to order the tile for a complicated installation like this, it was necessary for me to draw the backsplashes with every tile sketched into its exact location.  These drawings then gave the tile installers a map with which to work.

Here you see a detail of the tile.  We used many shapes and patterns, putting it all together like a jigsaw puzzle.  On the bottom row, next to the counter we used a little pine cone liner, above that, a pattern of bears, above that a series of green and yellow 2 x 2's featuring several dozen different woodland animals.  This is topped with a twig liner, then a stunning pine cone border tile which we used to wrap around the windows instead of using wood trim.  

Another view of the charming yellow retro fridge and stove.  

Above, details of some of the bear tile insets and bee patterns we used.  On the left hand side of the photo, the little projection is a twig shaped hook that can be used to hang a kitchen towel.

More of the backsplash.  Notice the bee patterned tile that was used to trim the apron front on the counter top.  

Because the kitchen was so small and we wanted to include as much of the tile as possible, we elected to take the tile up to the ceiling and to surround the windows with it.  

This client doesn't cook much and she's usually only up for a few days at a time, but she does use her kitchen to prepare breakfasts and to serve up snacks and drinks for beach-goers.  It is the perfect little kitchen for this.  It's such a pleasure to be in, filled with light and whimsey.  

It's a jaw dropper, too.  I've been on the site countless times when someone new comes in and usually there is a moment of speechlessness... and then pure delight breaks out!

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