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The Margaretville cabin renovation: the living room.

The core of the cabin. Where you and guests get cozy and kick back.

Chapter 6 — The living room.
(If this is your first time here, go back and start the journey at Chapter 1)

Let me catch you up with a sequence of before to afters —

I’m sure this image is burned in your brain by now. Various type of wood paneling, flannel, bears, oh my.

*Poof* all gone. Clean slate!

As the panelling came down, we realized there was this extension of wall creating a hallway between the bathroom and the guest bedroom. We didn’t have to think about this one much. We blasted it.

Et voila!


Down with the old, up with the new: insulation, sheetrock and new windows in place.

Let there be light.

Before/After #1

Before/After #2

Electrical work and lighting design & positioning.

We replaced the breaker box and let our contract lead with where to position power outlets according to code requirements. There is an outlet every 6 feet in every direction. We originally were going to run two outlets for TVs (living room and upstairs) but we only got one set up in the end.

We have baseboards running in symmetry in the space. See this nifty guide Phil whipped up to summarize the electrical design specs (the dotted blue highlight notes the living room area):

Wood-burning stove positioning and code shenanigans.

You don’t mess around here. Between your county and manufacturer requirements, all detail matters. You want the setup to avoid being near combustibles and there are multiple ways to go about this depending on your design preferences and the space you have to work with. For example, we didn’t need a heat-shield on the wall behind the stove because we placed the stove far away/enough so that it wasn’t a risk but we did ensure to have a large surface are of tile or stone for the hearth (floor area beneath and around the stove to avoid combustion with wooden flooring nearby). Iterations of nifty guides; left to right:

Tiling around the wood-burning stove.

You saw that super simple and easy-to-setup tile in the guide above? Well, we didn’t go with that because we didn’t find tile we liked in that shape. So of course I fell in love with a complicated M.C. Escher-like design and our tile-guy hates me for life for it. But, our tile guy is amazing at his craft and I’m told he was super proud to lay out this complicated hearth (Our contractor however was blunt with me and said I couldn’t have picked a more complicated design — but you know what? I’m only gonna pick tile for my dreamy wood-burning stove once, and this stuff is permanent so let the art director come through please :D). We went with SomerTile 8.75×8.75-inch Concrete Cubic Big Ben Porcelain in white with light grey grout:

A couple of key learnings, tips and notes to leave here from this chapter:

  1. The devil is in the detail: Don’t giggle at our sketches, we made loads of them. Over about a month, we worked out specs, layouts and designs. I recall us going up to check on progress and our tile master had set up a mock layout of the design of the tiles to be triple sure we’d get it right. Photoshop, sketches, photos, anything helps be 100% sure you are on the same page.
  2. Mark things: When it comes to a new breaker box and new positioning of outlets, make sure you understand height, placement preferences vs code requirements and test out everything. Then label your breaker box with detail that will make sense to you or anyone visiting for a repair.
  3. If I had to do something different in this phase — it would be dedicating a space at the house where we put up all these guides for both us, team and contractor to reference. How we kept track of estimates vs tasks via email, calls and texts still blows my mind!

Thanks for tuning in!

Wood-burning stoves:
Old: All Nighter Stove Works(Big Moe model) ← This beast can heat from 10,000 to 75,000 BTUs, it can burn 14–30hrs, it can heat up to 3,000 sq. ft. and weighs 510 lbs. A well known and respected Connecticut-based-manufacturer.
New: Osburn Soho Wood Stove (OB01520 model)

Tile for the hearth around stove:
We went with SomerTile 8.75×8.75-inch Concrete Cubic Big Ben Porcelain in white with light grey grout.

Sneak peek into the full cabin reno:

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