Another helpful trick? Create contrast in a big way. Feldman suggests employing a combination of clear, unfinished cedar with other materials. “The contrast between the light-colored paint (China White by Benjamin Moore) on the rest of the walls and the cedar definitely adds another layer of comfort,” he adds.
For changes Feldman can’t make himself, he enlisted the help of Seattle-based RD Interiors, who created an updated kitchen and bathroom that not only work with the unique A-shape of the house but emphasize it. “Don’t try to do absolutely everything yourself,” he warns. Some tasks should be left to the professionals, so finding a local contractor or designer is always a good idea when embarking on a renovation.
Layer as much as you can
“We intentionally mixed textiles throughout the home, put a variety of local art on every wall, made sure there were chunky knit throw blankets in every room, and ensured warm overhead lighting was complemented with lamps,” Lauren Coleman, founder and CEO of The Sursy, says of the bright and airy cabin she designed in Golden, Colorado. A smartly layered home will never look too heavy or overwhelming—especially if all of the elements pair well together. The interior designer also suggests salvaging as many original architectural details as possible. In the cozy cabin, which was built in 1962, she opted to keep the wood-burning stove as the primary heat source. Not only does it actually work pretty well, but it adds an ambiance that can’t be replicated with a furnace.
Set a budget
After nearly two decades living in New York and Los Angeles, Atlanta native Annie Chernecky recently returned to the Southeast to build her rentable cabin in Highlands, North Carolina. “I was inspired to recreate the experience of the mountains that I remember as a child, but more elevated,” she notes. Though Chernecky worked with Raleigh-based architects Jake Heffington and Erin Lewis, she did quite a bit of the heavy-lifting herself—especially because she had a modest budget. By doing some things on her own, she was able to focus her spending on the bigger projects.