A few days after moving in, I discovered the names scrawled into the 40 year old cement in our garage.
#1: Perry -n- Jo ‘79
The cabin’s tattoo is a permanent record of two people who made memories here decades before us. Were Perry and Jo the original owners, commemorating the year they purchased the land? Or just neighborhood kids who happened upon the wet cement on a warm summer day in 1979? I like to find meaning in just about everything, so I took it as a sign, as my grandfather’s name is Perry and Nick’s dad (who was our realtor) is Joe.
The fact is, this home was meant for us.
We moved from Portland to Truckee four years ago, and have been keeping a close eye on California’s skyrocketing housing market ever since. The routine? Pull up Redfin over morning coffee. Peer through the same measly options. Release an audible sigh, and discuss for a few minutes how the housing market feels impenetrable. How Californians are moving out of California. Should we move to Reno? Rinse, repeat.
Over the years, we toured many Truckee homes in our price range and they all had one adjective in common: shanty. It was beyond disheartening. We never put a single offer in. Until June.
Exactly 24 hours before we knew this home existed, I had a bit of a breakdown. I was tired of our tiny rental; tired of living on top of one another; tired of not having room to breathe. While we were grateful for a roof over our heads in a town that’s currently undergoing a massive housing crisis, I was ready for a real home, a sanctuary. And then — all it took was one more Redfin search — a beautiful cabin in Glenshire came on the market, priced just in our budget. Four days after we first laid eyes on it, our offer had been accepted and we were in escrow.
Christians often like to say that God’s timing is perfect, but in reality, it can be difficult to trust this when there’s seemingly no end in sight. I can honestly say, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this was God’s timing. I had to wrestle with the word blessing for awhile during the escrow process. Like, things can actually go our way? Seemingly effortlessly? I do not believe God is in the business of always making our lives easier, but He is in the business of making our lives better.
I wrote this in my iPhone while we were early in the escrow process:
God is a God of blessing. He desires to bless His children because He loves them. Hardship will occur, but God desires to use it for His glory and our good, and that DOESN’T mean we should expect or want or rely on hardship inevitably occurring. He is a good Father that gives good gifts... not just the eternal gift of salvation through His Son, but gifts here on earth, too. Just… because. He is God; He loves us, his children. He does not look at us and want to punish us: He looks at us and sees the blood of Christ. That is freedom, and that is AMAZING. I am so grateful to have a Father who forgives me, a husband who loves me, and the Holy Spirit who dwells in me and is leading me to be more like Christ. Living our life out with moral convictions and choices — fighting the good fight, choosing right over wrong — is an act of worship, not an act of earning salvation. This house came together almost too easily, at exactly the right time. Last Saturday I had a massive breakdown. One of the main reasons for this was our crappy cabin and how done with it I was. The very next day we go to look at a house in Glenshire, then the very next day after that we put an offer in, and then the following day the offer was accepted. This is such a blessing that I can’t wrap my mind around it. Not to mention the house itself, the location, the neighborhood, the proximity to friends... the list goes on and on. I am a blessed woman. This is a bit of a new concept for my heart to fully grasp but I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it.
Meet Our Home
The home itself? It’s a Lindal Cedar Mountain Home built in 1980: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, giant garage, on a third of an acre, just shy of 1,900 square feet — plus a HUGE expansive back deck — perched on a main thoroughfare in Glenshire, walking distance to Glenshire Elementary (more on why this was so important to me in this post). It backs up to a greenbelt and endless trail systems, and did I mention it’s an A FRAME?! I have been obsessed with A Frames as long as I can remember, and the high vaulted ceilings on this one are something out of my dreams. I wasn’t familiar with Lindal Cedar Homes prior to this purchase, but have been doing a lot of reading, and the design history is really interesting.
We brought only two pieces of furniture from our rental: our dining room table (which needs to be refinished badly, but that’s another project for another day) and our queen bed, which is now the guest bed. Aside from that, we literally started over. New dishes, new furniture, new decor, new rugs, new linens, you name it. While hosting friends the other night, I was asked if I had a baking sheet to put something in the oven and I didn’t have one (embarrassing). We’re getting close to being done with the basic necessities but there are a few odds and ends I still need to purchase!
I adhered to a strict budget throughout the whole process, and kept track of each and every purchase in a spreadsheet. We did the bulk of our shopping at West Elm, Anthropologie, Wayfair and Scandinavian Designs, with a smattering of Target and Amazon in there, too. Here are some takeaways:
Furnishing Our Cabin
I’m no interior designer, but I knew one basic rule: move into the space before you make big decisions, like buying a new couch or selecting paint color. I initially thought I wanted a leather camel couch but I am SO glad we didn’t go this route as it would have been too warm with all the wood interior, something that wasn’t obvious to me until we were living in the space.
Just because it’s a cabin in the woods doesn’t mean you have to decorate it like a cabin in the woods. The previous owners definitely did embrace this theme and we’re still rocking rustic light fixtures and bear outlet covers (which truthfully, I don’t hate). I created a Pinterest board and got a lot of inspiration there, as well as on Instagram. Overall, the style we settled on is mid century modern meets boho, with some minimal Scandinavian elements and a hint of farmhouse.
As I mentioned, I created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all expenditures, big and small. I broke my overall budget into smaller categories per room, with the most money going towards the couch and our new bed (we figured the two places we’re going to spend the most time should have the most investment). I also used this spreadsheet to keep track of shipping dates — at one point we had furniture arriving on a daily basis, and it was really helpful to know what was coming when.
Speaking of endless deliveries: if you’re like me and go to an office every day, you will rarely be home when packages arrive. Sign up for UPS My Choice and create a FedEx account (both free) so you can authorize the release of packages without physically being there to sign for them — assuming you live in a safe place where theft isn’t an issue. Of course, for larger in-home installation deliveries, you will need to physically be present. Don’t forget to recycle all the subsequent garbage!
I think the ultra trendy white-everything look is on its way out, so if you are embracing a clean, minimalist palette, make sure you’re choosing timeless pieces that you’ll still love in a decade. Don’t be afraid of pops of color! House plants are a good way to fill in corners and add some life — I have a couple babies and want about a million more. Just make sure they’re getting plenty of sunshine and water!
SHOP SALES. This was far easier than I realized it was going to be! Nick and I saved literally thousands of dollars by simply befriending sales associates and casually asking if they knew about upcoming sales. We must have walked into West Elm five times to look at the same couch before we went in to purchase when it finally went on sale. Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and all the rest are constantly having sales. We did most of our purchasing around Labor Day, which coincided with “end of summer” sales and worked out perfectly. We got so used to this process, that we basically demanded Scandinavian Designs give us 30% off our bedroom furniture purchase as we “knew” it would go on sale soon (we didn’t actually know that). The store manager had to get special permission to give us the discounted price, but they honored our imaginary sale! No sale to be found? You can likely save at least 10% off your purchase if you sign up for the company’s marketing emails.
Don’t get suckered into a store credit card. The sales associate will make it sound like the deal of a century, but if you want to keep your credit score looking peachy, just say no. It’s far better to save for what you want and just pay for it then and there, or if you are going to use a credit card, use one that will earn you miles! Hint: many stores have a loyalty program you can sign up for instead, which can yield surprisingly good deals — West Elm and Cost Plus World Market are my favorite ones.
I’m grateful our cabin was move-in ready, and some fresh furniture gave it new life! Now, don’t get me wrong: there are countless house projects still calling our name — it will take years for our full vision to come to life. First priority was replacing the rotting front deck and putting new siding on the house, which should be completed next week, and buying new furniture, of course. But we have a list as long as the tall vaulted ceilings of other projects we’d like to do. I’m not in any rush, though. We’re not going anywhere.
And with that… here are photos of our new home! I didn’t include the bathrooms, laundry room or the second spare bedroom (it’s currently a “catch all” room). But you get the idea.
The Living Room, Dining Room & Wet Bar
Loft & Master Bedroom
Garage & Backyard
While this is not the first house we’ve owned, it feels completely different this time around. I’d like to think this cabin treated Perry and Jo well back in the 80’s; that they had years and years of happy memories here. I’d like to think it will be like that for us, too.
I am NOT an interior design expert, but I would love to answer any specific questions about our home, our new furniture and the design process, or living in Truckee in general. Feel free to leave me a comment below! Thanks for reading friends, and for all the support throughout this whole process.