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There’s something so alluring about a cozy cabin in the woods—especially as a city dweller’s retreat from the usual hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. That’s exactly what this Catskill A-frame was meant to be. 

When homeowners Danielle and Ely Franko purchased the property, it was in dire need of a facelift. “This flat top A-frame was built in the ’70s and was really neglected in the years before we purchased the property,” says Brian MacArthur, creator of opportunities for The Hunter Houses. “It needed a full gut renovation of both bathrooms and the kitchen.” Not to mention, the existing wood stove was a big fire hazard and the floors needed a lot of love in the form of sanding down and refinishing. 

But there was so much potential for the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home to be that cozy, nostalgic cabin in the woods everyone can envision. “The idea with this place—and all of our properties—is to make it a place where people feel comfortable, inspired, and leave with memories of the time they spent there with loved ones that they’ll talk about for the rest of their lives,” MacArthur says.

You get the first taste of just how special this house is when you’re greeted by the 16-foot wall of glass windows at the front of the house. “They let so much natural light in, and when you’re sitting inside cozy on the couch listening to a record watching the snow blanket the trees and ground outside, there’s nothing quite like it,” he says. 

To play off all that natural light and keep the space airy and cheery, the team leaned on soft, natural tones. They painted the walls white and avoided bold flourishes and decor. Instead, they included plenty of warm wood tones and greenery. 

To make the space feel one with nature, the trio made sure to add plenty of plants to the home. “We have plants in every room,” MacArthur says. “They really bring the space to life and are a key piece to the design.” Of particular note? The “plant wall,” which features about 30 succulents hanging on the wall going up the stairs. “It’s definitely a photo op,” he adds. In fact, there are photo ops abound from the gorgeous and expansive farm table, to the hanging chair in the living room, to the brass light fixture at the top of the stairs (the only thing from the original house that stayed!). 

At the end of the day, the home’s open floor plan—the big, open living space combined with the loft—is all about providing a cozy and inspiring place to unwind and create lasting memories as a group. And the function is there, thanks to plenty of seating and a kitchen built for making big meals. 

There’s also plenty of fun to be had with extra special touches like a high-quality sound system and plenty of board games and books to keep you entertained for days at a time. 

And despite the elevated style, the home isn’t at all fussy. Everything is designed with renters in mind. The kitchen is practical and stylish with Semihandmade DIY Shaker fronts, couches and textiles that skew warmer, and you won’t find any stem wine glasses in the cabinets. “Honestly, we design it the way we want to, and our guests always treat it really well,” he says. “We really haven’t had any issues!” 

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Renovation

We don’t believe that renovations should be daunting. The key is to arm yourself with the right knowledge, people, and products to achieve your goals. It also helps to ask the right questions: How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen? How do I find the right general contractor in my area? Where do I even start if I’ve never remodeled before? This is where we come in. Through hard-to-believe before and afters, first-person renovation accounts, and step-by-step DIY projects, we demystify every aspect of remodeling and give you a ton of full-house, bathroom, and kitchen renovation ideas. Semihandmade was built on a strong make-it-yourself spirit and we’re carrying that legacy beyond DIY kitchen cabinets (though we’ll certainly touch on those too) by bringing you a ton of weekend projects for novices (have you ever tried making your own planter?) and experts (try your hand at a full-wall media center). What do people really mean when they say a house has “good bones”? Before and after projects show first-hand what’s possible in a transformative remodel. How do you make the most of a narrow galley? Should you swap your upper cabinets for floating shelves? What would it look like if you opened up your small kitchen? Renovation ideas abound in our spotlighted projects. A lot goes into a kitchen renovation, but it’s usually hard to tell from a beautiful “after” shot. Our monthly series “Island Hopping” is about getting a behind-the-scenes account of what the process is like through honest conversations—you know, the kind that typically take place around a kitchen island. We’ll chat with designers, homeowners, and architects about their projects, hoping to peel back the curtain on picture-perfect spaces.