Concept: The Modern Cabin


Fall is by far my favorite season. It makes me think of sweaters, hot tea, colorful leaves, cozy blankets and mulling spices. I love that the temperature gets cool enough that I can go on hikes without worrying so much about mosquitos and sweating profusely. The woods have a lot of naturally beautiful things to offer, but I can’t help but think about homes in the woods with awesome views. I don’t camp but I would stay in a stylish cabin any day. But you don’t need to live in the forest to get that cabin feel and contrary to what you may think the cabin feel doesn’t necessarily need to be rustic.


Nature is very textural—bark on a tree, the current of water in a stream, bright green moss, interesting rock formations. Although colors in nature range the entire color spectrum, the textures of all these things is what makes nature feel warm even though much of the palette is often green (which is considered a cool color).

I pulled items that you just want to run your hand across while walking through a space. I started with textiles, because when I imagine myself in a cabin in the woods after a day of hiking I picture myself curled up and reading a book in front of a fireplace. The fabrics here range from a high-quality faux leather, a tweed, to a cotton velvet. These upholsteries are in a mid-toned to dark-toned, vintage feeling color palette but play upon the senses with visual and physical texture. Any of these can be used for large pieces of furniture or for accent pillows.

Now for your vertically installed materials. I found this beautiful, jet black, modern cladding that can be used on an interior or exterior. The material is made using a technique called Shou Sugi Ban which is an ancient Japanese Tradition. The wood is essentially preserved using fire. In the woods, you have so many beautiful things surrounding you, at least one stunning accent wall would be appropriate in a cabin-inspired space.

I pulled some classic subway tiles that could be used in a kitchen or bathroom. The wall above a range or cooktop would be a great place to see an accent tile with a dynamic pattern. I imagine most traditional cabin kitchens to have stained wood cabinetry, but some modern cabins have an all white or dark kitchen. This 8x8 tile would look fantastic in any of those environments.

Lastly, don’t forget about your hardware! Hardware is a little detail that makes a huge impact in a space. I used to hate anything other than brushed nickel in my first few years as an interior designer, but that has that changed! Warm metals such as oil-rubbed bronze, bronze or antique golds would be lovely in a space like this. They have a richness that is difficult to achieve with cooler metals. Think about your kitchen hardware, faucets and other useful elements such as coat hooks.

As with any space envision how you are going to use it. What do you want to see while you walk through your home? What do you want to feel when you run your hand along a wall? How do you want to feel when you relax on the sofa? You can definitely bring a cabin like element into your home, without taking it too literally and feeling like you’re roughing it 7 days a week.

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