Transforming a dark log cabin into “the beach chalet”

I NEVER wanted a log house.  Ever.  I find them too dark.  But when the ideal property at the right price turned up during our search for a beach home, we snapped it up.  After all, the old adage of buying the crappiest house on the nicest street must have some merit. Right? So the process of transforming a dark log cabin into the beach chalet began.

It was a log kit home built by the one and only owner 40 years ago.  And it hadn’t been updated since.  The long term plan is to remove the house and have it placed on another property, freeing up the land to build our dream house.  This log chalet belongs on a mountain, not by the beach.  And it is not set up for our lifestyle.  But in the meantime, until we can afford to do all that, we do have to live in it.  Here’s what we were faced with:


log home
Our log house, nicknamed “the beach chalet”.  The deck on the side was rotting and had to be replaced.
The beach – the reason we bought this house.  It never gets old.
Living room – so dark that lights need to be on all day.  Love how none of the furniture is positioned to take advantage of the ocean view.
A chef’s kitchen – NOT. Ain’t no sunshine in that ceiling fixture.  The original owner hand built all the cabinets himself.
The dining room – is there not enough wood in this house already?
One of the bedrooms. Loving that carpet.
I’ve heard of peekaboo views but this is insane.  Where’s the ocean?

Knowing that we wouldn’t be keeping the home down the road, we needed to make it liveable in the short term without breaking the bank.  First order of business was ripping up the forty year old carpet and spraying every wall, except the log ones, white.  This included the ceiling and painting out the trim.  We did the unthinkable by painting over lovely cedar planks but we had to in order to brighten up the house.  Otherwise we’d both actually become depressed by how dark it was.  It doesn’t help that the house faces north east and that all the southwest facing windows are in a bedroom, bathroom and mudroom, not shedding any light into the main living area.


Painting everything but the logs
Laying laminate flooring
Replacing the kitchen didn’t make financial sense so we painted the cupboards – I still can’t stand the icky laminate countertop though

We updated the bathrooms with water saving toilets, new vanities and baseboard heaters.  We did keep the original bathtubs and surrounds.  The main floor’s bathtub and surround was in decent shape.  The upstairs bathtub was a different story though.  The colour of the tub is so out of date that it’s actually back in style!  I just saw one in a magazine this colour.


Throughout the house, there’s been a dramatic improvement, even though it was mostly just paint and flooring.  Keeping the furnishings light has also contributed to the new beachy vibe.

Painting over the seventies faux stone on the fireplace made a huge difference
Looking towards the water
The cupboards painted with melamine paint and new hinges and pulls.
The bathrooms did require that we replace the vanities and toilets but it didn’t break the budget by using IKEA vanities – we did opt to paint the logs in this room as it was so small
The upstairs bathroom
Amazing what a difference white made in brightening up the dining room. I even painted an old buffet with Fusion paint to lighten the wall
The counter height table takes full advantage of the view
And speaking of view, we had a crew come for one day to create “windows” in the trees.  One day’s work was all we could afford at the time.
No more crappy carpeting and old exercise bike in this room, now being used as an office
The guest bedroom
The master bedroom – our old bedroom furniture was given a new life with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
We did invest in a fire table so we could sit out in the shoulder season, watching for whales.
One big, unexpected expense was replacing the entrance deck as the old one had rotted.  My great niece says, “your house looks creepy on the outside but it’s really nice inside.”

We’re now loving the beachy vibe we’ve created even though we may still paint the log walls.  We’ll have to see if we can survive the wet rainy west coast winter with them.  Wish us luck!

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to comment below.  Did you like it better before or after?