DIY 70s A-Frame Cabin Renovation

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Ryan and I got married in 2017 and on our honeymoon we stayed in an a-frame cabin. We both instantly fell in love. We had never been in a cozier home and we started dreaming about owning one of our own someday. After 3 years of full-time travel, we decided to look for a home base for us to stay in between traveling. We were looking for a place back in our home state of Illinois and we couldn’t stop thinking about a-frames. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of a-frame cabins where we grew up. We looked at several other homes but our hearts kept dreaming of those triangular houses.

Then after countless hours of searching, I finally stumbled across the most perfect a-frame cabin in our price range only an hour from where I grew up. This little 70s home might have needed some TLC but we were more than up for that job. It felt perfect to us and we couldn’t wait to restore it back to all it’s glory.

Laundry Room

The first project we tackled was the laundry room. We wanted to get this done first so we could use this room to store all of our stuff while we worked on the remainder of the house. This room is really big so we decided to make it have multiple purposes. Now it’s our exercise room and the pet’s room as well as our laundry room. We replaced the old wall panels with new birch paneling. I wanted to keep a lot of natural wood in this room so we finished the walls with Polyurethane and added some black trim to make it pop.


Our bathroom was one of the biggest projects in the entire house. The shower had been recently tiled but was not leveled and had some serious water leak concerns. The shower did not drain properly and unfortunately needed to be torn out to prevent further damage to the floor below. Since we knew we needed to start over entirely in this room, we decided to swap out the shower for a clawfoot tub! We also added in a picture window for some more natural light. I have been dreaming about a pink and green bathroom for awhile and decided to go for it with Behr Taffy Twist on the walls.

I decided to save the vanity because it was in really good condition. I used pole wrap, new hardware, and painted it Green Agate to upgrade the look. I love using pole wrap because it is so easy to work with and a cheap way to make a big difference! We also switched out the mirror, light fixture, and faucet.


In the kitchen, we immediately decided to take down the upper cabinets because the space felt really crowded. We replaced them with some open shelving instead. I know open shelving can be controversial but personally I think it gives the space more of a cabin-like feel. And since we previously lived in less than 200 square feet, we have pretty minimal things and didn’t need the additional storage. We decided to keep the white lower cabinets for now, but might switch these out or paint them down the road. We switched out the countertops for butcher block that we cut and finished ourselves.

One of my favorite, but most controversial projects in this house, is the pink fridge. We had a stainless steel fridge that worked well but I wasn’t happy with the overall look of it. Instead of buying a new fridge we didn’t really need, I thought I’d try using automobile vinyl wrap to change the look! I went with this gorgeous glossy pink color and switched out the handles and am so happy with how it turned out!

We used leftover butcher block from out countertops to create the shelves and switched out the sink for this beautiful farmhouse sink. I added a pop of color with this handpainted tile from Fireclay Tile and used white subway tile on either side to complete the look.

Living Room

One of the biggest transformations in the house was definitely the living room. There was a very small upper bedroom above our living room and dining room area that we weren’t really using. Part of the reason I loved a-frames so much was the dramatic ceilings so we decided to take out this upstairs bedroom to create a vaulted ceiling. Although we sacrificed a bit of square footage, it was so worth it to have this big open living space and all the natural light.

Some of the other changes we made in here include swapping out our door for something that brings in more light and replacing the grey floors. It’s all about the small details in this room, though, like this custom built bookshelf made to fit perfectly underneath our staircase.

Most of the furniture in this space is thrifted and it’s really come together to create a beautiful living space! I also added this fun 70s wallpaper to the dining room area and upgraded the light fixtures in here.


The bedroom was one of easier projects, mostly just needing new floor. But we also added a cedar accent wall to cozy up the space. I spent months looking for nightstands that I liked at a decent price but after not finding anything in my budget and style, we decided to build some ourselves.

Sticking with the triangle theme, I added this super fun wallpaper to the wall right outside our bedroom. After taking out the front upstairs bedroom, we transformed this area into a balcony space the we use as an office area.


From the beginning, I knew I wanted to do an all black exterior. Although we did a majority of the work ourselves, we did hire someone to do the metal roof. It was a little terrifying watching them walk up and down this steep roof! But the black metal turned out so sleek and we went with Green Black from Sherwin Williams for the exterior color. The old balcony you see in the first photo was in really bad shape. We rarely walked on it and it would have needed to be completely redone to be used. Since we took out that upstairs bedroom, we just decided to get rid of the balcony altogether.

This huge front porch is one of my favorite parts of the entire house. We used recycled lumber from the house to build some benches to sit out here! Plus the old beams from the balcony are perfect for hanging plants and a hammock.

On the back of the house, we went with the color Green Black also from Sherwin Williams. We built on a small back deck that we plan to stain and possibly build garden boxes onto this spring. There was also already a rugged firepit in the back that we cleaned up and added some rock for an outside hangout spot.


We kept this renovation right on budget at $40,000. It took us the better part of 2022 to complete and there are still a few more projects we’d like to tackle in the coming year. We did about 90% of the work ourselves, only hiring out speciality subcontractors for things like the roof and plumbing which was a huge part of why we were able to do this renovation so affordably! This year we plan to spend more time on landscaping, our huge garden, and continuing to add our own personality to this beautiful home.

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