Apr 21, 2017

A Tiny Cabin in the Woods

Happy Friday, friends! 

I have some fun and exciting news to share with you today!

Back in October of 2015, I shared our road trip to my brother's lakeside cabin at Twain Harte, California. It was a such a relaxing and soul-rejuvenating vacation for my husband and me. In the mornings we enjoyed our coffee on the deck while watching the Canada Geese take flight through the mist from the little lake below. During the warm sunny days we hiked in the mountains and explored the charming nearby towns. In the evenings, glass of wine in-hand, we watched the geese return to the lake as the sun set, and as the mountain air chilled we wandered inside to snuggle in front of the cozy fireplace and read our books.  

Payette Lake, Idaho
Staying at my brother's cabin was a life changing experience for me. After we returned home, I found myself yearning to recreate that soul-satisfying sense of relaxation that we experienced there. I wanted our own cabin, and I started seriously considering it. 

Chris and our girls at Payette Lake, Idaho, in 1992
Like many people, we had dreamed of one day owning our own mountain cabin here in Idaho, but the realities of our single income family budget and the expenses of raising our daughters kept it just that - a dream. However, now that our daughters were out on their own and with that magical Twain Harte vacation experience fresh in my mind, I started investigating vacation property real estate listings in our part of the state. Everything I saw seemed out of reach and either too expensive or too rundown. I looked at every possibility including cabins, condos and unimproved property in every direction within a three hour drive of Boise.

Payette Lake, Idaho
I soon realized that to fit within our budget it would be a long search to find that one in a hundred listing that combined an affordable price and a realistic fixer upper undertaking, but I had faith it was out there. After all, that's how we found our little cottage twenty-nine years earlier; the only property we could afford in the North End of Boise where we dreamed of raising our children, the one in a hundred listing we could make into our dream home with a combination of penny pinching and hard work.

McCall, Idaho
One year after our Twain Harte vacation we were planning a day trip to the little mountain town of McCall just north of Boise to check out potential rentals for our Thanksgiving weekend. Our family has been camping here on Payette Lake for 30 years, and I shared our 35th Anniversary trip to McCall here back in 2013. Before we left, I bookmarked the VRBO rentals on my phone and did a quick check on Zillow for sale property. As a world class vacation destination McCall property prices were way out of our budget, but my quick search did bring up a tiny one bedroom cabin that was actually within our price range. I thought to myself, it probably doesn't have indoor plumbing or has a caved in roof, or something like that. It seemed to fit that old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but I added it to my bookmarks anyway and thought it couldn't hurt to drive by.

Chris and Tucker in Ponderosa State Park, Idaho, on our 35 Anniversary
Later that afternoon, just before heading back home, we did drive by the tiny one bedroom cabin. My husband took a quick look as we drove slowly past and ho hummed it, but something about it resonated deeply within me. This tiny cabin was adorable in a neglected, run down, needs our love kind of way. I didn't say anything because my husband was so underwhelmed, but over the next few days I couldn't get the little cabin out of my mind and I kept going back to the Zillow listing to look at it. I figured it was my longing to own my own cabin along with the tantalizing idea of owning one in wonderful McCall that was skewing my judgment. Surely, this little affordable cabin was too good to be true. Right?

Cabin location marked by my x on a beautiful photo of Payette Lake and McCall Idaho.  Source: Idaho Airships, Inc.
So I texted the listing to my daughters for confirmation that I was being crazy to fall in love with a tiny seventy year old dilapidated one bedroom cabin that was just barely in our price range with no money left over to fix it up. 

Tiny cabin in McCall, Idaho
They took one look at the listing and said, 

"BUY IT NOW!!!" 


And of course, I'll be sharing the whole adventure with you!



  1. And it is SO close to home!!! Congratulations! I'm looking forward to your renovation ~

    PS ~ were you as disappointed as I was to not getting thunder yesterday?!?!

  2. Oh, Laurel- I am so excited FOR you. We are close to doing the same thing. We are selling our house and looking at a small one bedroom place here and then would rent something south for the winter. Life is a crazy journey sometimes and I always feel that if it is meant to be-it is meant to be and will happen. It looks like it really DID happen for you...and that little ol' cabin is ADORABLE!!! Congratulations! xo Diana

  3. How fantastic! Congratulations on your new cottage - can't wait to see you fix it up all pretty :)

  4. So gorgeous. So excited for you both. xx

  5. You totally put a smile on my face this morning with your post about this little cabin. Hard work, lots of time, and a bit of money are going to make this the most beautiful cabin in the woods. Have fun with it!! xo

  6. Oh, my! It's adorable! It all sounds so perfect. I would love to have something like that. I've never been to Idaho but wow, how gorgeous. Enjoy. I can't wait to hear more.

  7. Oh my gosh, Laurel! That is so exciting! I can't wait to hear all about it! Congrats, you're going to love the adventure. The setting looks gorgeous.
    Btw, I was the same way about our farm. I just couldn't get it out of my head and actually was "decorating" it long before we bought it.

  8. I am so excited for you!

    And who cares if you can't fix it up right away.

  9. How cool is this, congratulations!

  10. Congratulations! What a Happy Ending....or a Wonderful Beginning to a new adventure. Enjoy..

  11. So fantastic! I too dream of a cabin near the lake where I spent the summer of my childhood. Maybe someday... Congratulations!

  12. How wonderful, Laurel! I am so happy for you guys. It is going to be so much fun to see what you do. Congratulations!

  13. Fantastic, Laurel! I am SO excited for you. That big smile on your face says it all! Congratulations. I'll be following along on your new adventure. Fun, fun, fun!

  14. Congratulations! I would have bought it too. It's adorable :)



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