When we bought our piece of Montana property back in 2012, it was off-grid, didn’t have running water, a septic system, or anywhere to live. It was as primitive as it gets, but we got it at a very swinging deal, so no complaints whatsoever. In fact, this stunning piece of property has forced us to do our research, educate ourselves, learn and practice construction, practice patience, and probably become better versions of ourselves.
I still remember that first summer, when Garrett was granted his summer vacation (while I was still working at a different uni in Korea) during which he nonchalantly built a neat little cabin. With the help/guidance from his dad, he spent a whopping $400 in materials (many of which were recycled) and constructed the Shanty, which we lived out of during the following summer (when we started working together and vacationing side by side).
During another summer, the barn was built and we no longer lived in the Shanty, so she stood there all alone in the woods, waiting for her time in the spotlight.
Yet another summer went by and an idea was born to put the Shanty up on Airbnb and just to see what happens… (mind you, this idea seemed crazy to the rest of the family, but a little voice inside me thought that this is as good as a vacation destination as any, especially for city folks, East Coasters or anyone who is into forest bathing.)
To everyone else’s surprise, the Shanty did quite well that summer, and our hosting gig was born.
In the beginning, it was as simple as a hunting cabin and we were content with it (at the time):
Over the next three summers, the Shanty has been going through small facelifts here and there, but a larger (and maybe final) redesign was in order. After doing lots of research on Pinterest, I was drawn to the brightness of a whitewash on the walls. A bright and cheerful combination with white is an All Americana Red and White, which is often used in American Diners. Red and White polka dots, plaid fabric, and other in theme paraphernalia are pretty easy to find/make, now I just needed to convince the right people to let me do this.
While Garrett still needs convincing (I think), my mom-in-law loved the idea and was eager to help me out. Because our summer vacation doesn’t start until the middle of June, we decided to open the season with the Shanty already done up in May, so that meant that she would do most of the work herself. We discussed the details during our winter vacation in Vietnam and I was so eager for the summer to come.
The project was executed wonderfully because my mom-in-law is a splendid seamstress and a very speedy painter. I couldn’t have been more proud of how well she dressed it all up 🙂 Take a look:
All in all, this redesign cost about $200 ( for fabric, new dinnerware, bed sheets/duvet/pillows, towels, blanket, kettle, paint/brushes, and other accessories).
Even the guests have commented on how lovely and darling the interior looks, so I’d say that is a great compliment to this 7-year-old cabin.
Here are a few more images of what she looks like now:
Hey, if you or someone you know may be interested in staying here, save this listing and give us a shout!
We enjoy brainstorming and improving our cabins from year to year and decided to incorporate a few improvements to the Shanty during the summer of 2020. We felt like we could brighten up the first floor by incorporating a window. Taking out the sink/table/shelving also opened up more space and made it feel a lot roomier than it was. Check it out below.
To increase the number of occupants in this tiny cabin, we also decided to include a foldable queen-sized mattress, which can be utilized on the ground level.
What do you think about the overall improvements inside the Shanty? Would you stay here? What would you do differently?
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