Project Spotlight: Transforming an Old Restaurant into a Rustic Cabin Getaway

July 1, 20132 comments

Located in the northern parts of Wisconsin on a beautiful lake is my client James’s cabin. But this isn’t your ordinary weekend getaway home. When James purchased his cabin in the spring of 2012, it came with a very unique history.

A Lodge With a Story

Originally constructed in the 1920s, the building functioned as a lodge and was built by a lumber baron. Years later, the lodge traded hands to a new owner who converted it into a restaurant. A commercial kitchen was added, complete with the archetypal stainless steel appliances and red tile flooring. When the business closed, James picked up the property with an idea of turning it into a year-round cabin.

Dayton Painted Harbor Kitchen Cabinets

With the right combination of colors and materials, we captured the rustic look James wanted.

Working With the Client

James, his contractor Greg, and his architect Bill — who I primarily worked with — came to me and to design the layout of the kitchen cabinets. They wanted to maintain some of the original characteristics of the building but bring in updated functionality and new appliances to the kitchen.

James immediately chose our Harbor painted finish and Dayton door because it fit with the rustic look he envisioned for the cabin. After James made his selections, we talked about the requirements of the project.

Requirements for the Kitchen Design

James kept the original, still-functioning 72-inch range and hood from the restaurant and wanted to work this into the space. Even though it is so much larger than your standard stove, I knew we could get it to work. James also wanted to preserve the red clay tile flooring because of its rustic vibe.

What interested me most was the creative focal piece James dreamt up. He had harvested a cedar tree stump, lacquered it, and was hoping to use it as the supporting base of the peninsula. Keeping these requirements in mind, I set to work designing the space.

Dayton Painted Harbor Kitchen Cabinets

Notice the hutch next to the refrigerator. It’s the perfect complement piece for the space.

The Final Design

Due to the size of the range and hood, its placement was fairly obvious from the beginning. We positioned it in the center of the left wall and added cabinetry on both sides. To the range’s left is convenient storage for pots and pans and the cherry butcher block peninsula with James’s lacquered cedar stump. To the right of the range is a short run of cabinetry with a built-in microwave above. This area was tricky because of a small step in the floor. The solution was lowering the toe-kick for the cabinets on the step to maintain a single countertop height.

We decided to build a wood hood façade for the stainless hood to create a more seamless look in the upper cabinets. I drew up plans for a custom design using panels, fillers, and a valance, and contractor Greg was able to put it all together perfectly. Across from the range is the basic sink area with a dishwasher. The refrigerator was placed on the adjacent wall next to a unique birch hutch, which added additional storage and appeal.

Dayton Painted Harbor Kitchen Cabinets

The chairs and custom light fixtures help create that familiar cabin feel.

The WOW Factor

In addition to the new kitchen, more improvements were made to the space. A large pantry was built in just beyond the microwave area. And, perhaps most importantly for a cabin on lake, a wall was removed to bring in sunlight and gorgeous views of Calm Lake.

I’m very happy I got to work on this project because it allowed me to think creatively while working within tight parameters. It also gave me the opportunity to do something completely different from anything I’ve worked on before. When all was said and done, James was thoroughly pleased with the results and said the new cabinets “gave us the ‘WOW’ factor we wanted.” I agree; the place looks great!

Author: Sammi Neumann

Showing 2 comments

  1. Thaddeus G. Parks Reply

    Wow! Love it all. I’d never have guessed that beautiful floor was vinyl. Glad I saw your pics — doing a facelift (countertops, flooring, backsplash on my kitchen keeping the existing cherry cabinets. Your backsplash is the perfect inspiration for what I want.

  2. Nicole M. Kirby Reply

    My third log cabin was built for someone who runs a business from home, buying and selling jewellery. The log cabin design features steel reinforcing, ensuring both an enjoyable and secure space. One of the additional benefits is that the client didn’t require planning permission.

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