Buying our new cabin (as is) in the woods

As is. Two words that can strike fear in any home buyer. When we purchased our small cabin in western Missouri we knew we were taking on a challenge – but we felt were up to the task.

We had been dreaming of a place where we could get away (think Unplugged Nation on the FYI network) relax, enjoy the peacefulness and hear the quiet. I love living in a big city and all it has to offer but growing up in a small town left me with an itch to get back to the country.

It started about 8 months ago when we put a bid on a 1930’s school house in central Kansas. We had committed to that place – I had planned it from the floor plans, landscaping and finishes all the way to the old hand crank pencil sharpener I would mount right next to the chalkboard in the new all white kitchen. But some things just don’t work out and we could never come to an agreement with the terms of the contract. It just sort of fell through and we decided maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. We kept looking though, expanding our search to a larger area. One day this funky little cabin popped up on Zillow. It had only been listed for 14 days, was close to our home on a manageable piece of land that was not too big, not too small. It looked just right. So my husband called the real estate agent and, boom. It already had a contract on it. Okay. That happens. But then, we received a call the next day saying the buyer had backed out and did we want to see it? Heck yeah! So we drove out the next day.

The Cabin Tour




backyard of the cabin

Inside the Cabin

cabin kitchen

Here’s the kitchen. Everything inside the cabin is pine. Literally everything.


There is the bathroom beyond with sliding door to a deck outside.  Yep.  We will be filling that sliding door in.  The ladder leads to the upstairs loft, with room for a king sized bed and a reading nook.  We will be adding a staircase to the upstairs loft, because as darling and sturdy as that ladder is – I am not climbing down it in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. God bless the people of Tiny House Nation and their tiny homes and all of their ladders and tiny staircases, but that is not for me.

At 1,000 square feet, I think we qualify as a “Tiny House” but for right now it’s just going to be our weekend retreat.  (Hopefully we won’t end up like these people from the TechInsider article “People who abandoned their tiny homes”.)

wood rot in the cabin

In case anyone is thinking, “Wow that looks like it’s in pretty good shape” Here’s a close up of what the windows look like.  I’m pretty sure we will have to rebuild them.


New roof, new deck, new exterior stain, new windows and new doors also will be required.

cabin loft

We ended up loving it and buying it, along with the 10 acres of wooded area it sits on.  Are we nervous? Heck yeah. Electricity hasn’t been turned on and the toilet hasn’t been flushed for 4 years. But my husband is an Architect and I was an Interior Architect for 12 years, so renovations aren’t maybe quite as scary for us. But they still can be stressful. Very stressful. And this is “as is”. As in trees in the gutters, termites chomping at the back door and we’re pretty sure a family of mice have taken residence somewhere, we just haven’t found them yet. Oh, and there is a snake skin wedged between the pine boards in the closet upstairs. Ewww.

Let the magic happen.


  1. Is it spider free too!? Ha! Looks amazing Karen, can’t wait to see what you all do with it. Congrats!

  2. Susan Nelson says:

    Congratulations on your new cabin! It looks like a beautiful property and I know you will make the cabin a very special place with all your talents. I know there will be stress, but it will be for a good outcome! You are my favorite blogger and I love seeing all the great things you create!

  3. Sooo excited for you! We are dreaming of just such a renovation – but on lake. Looking forward to following along on your reno journey.

  4. So excited for you both!! What a wonderful get-away and I know you’ll both do wonders with it!! Love the pic of hubby in the loft!! Congrats and happy remodeling!! <3

  5. Love it! I can’t wait to see the “after”.

  6. rita ricks says:

    What a wonderful adventure. Rita

  7. Robin Breault says:

    Can’t wait to see how this journey unfolds!

  8. I’m new to your blog and can’t wait to follow your progress with the cabin. It will be a labor of love.

  9. I am so excited for you! Looking forward to seeing the renovations. I’m sure it will be beautiful.

  10. Congrats on your new cabin. You already have a new quilt for it. Good luck with the renovations.

  11. Sherry Cattau Vemmer says:

    All kinds of possibilities… enjoy the process and results, best wishes!

  12. Gwen Ebinger says:

    Omg my husband and I bought our lake house 15 years ago
    Lots of lace curtains,dark wood and overstuffed furniture
    Now lots of color, no brown and as my friends call it pee wees playhouse
    So much fun I have purple carpet Enjoy!

  13. We’ve been looking for some acres and hoping for a cabin on it for a couple of years. Nothing yet, but the dream lives on! Looking forward to seeing how yours shapes up. How far do you live from yours? We looked in WV for a while, but realized the travel time would prevent us from going there enough. Still looking…

    • Hi Karen Sue, It’s not too far, perfect for weekends, but I wouldn’t want to drive out there every day. We looked and dreamed for some time which was fun too! When we opened up our parameters and widened our search – that’s when it popped up. Good luck with your search!

  14. So exciting! Lots of work, but I’m sure you’ll make it beautiful!

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