Airbnb Hosting / Interviews

Airbnb Design: Little Cove A-Frame Cabin Renovation

A lakeside A-frame cabin renovation that has been beautifully designed by hosts with heart! It’s not just a place to stay; it’s a design-inspired escape waiting to be explored.

Nestled on the shores of Lake Granbury, Texas, stands a captivating 1978 A-frame cabin that has undergone a stunning transformation. In this design interview, you can meet Mary-Kevin, and Patrick, the creative minds behind the lakeside haven called Little Cove

Their passion for design and meticulous attention to detail have brought new life to this charming A-frame, making it a dreamy escape for Airbnb guests. The space boasts an enchanting spiral staircase, an impeccably designed kitchen, and the pièce de résistance – a set of breathtaking built-in bunk beds at the pinnacle of the A-frame. 

Little Cove A-Frame Cabin Renovation Interview

I had the pleasure of sitting down with them to discuss their A-frame cabin renovation and design journey and gain insight into their picturesque getaway. My conversation with Mary-Kevin and Patrick Stuart has unveiled the heart and soul poured into this lakeside gem. Their dedication to impeccable design, from the enchanting spiral staircase to the exceptional nook beds, has transformed a 1978 A-frame into an unforgettable getaway!

 A-frame cabin renovation

1. Can you share the inspiration behind choosing an A-frame cabin for your Airbnb rental, and what led to the decision to renovate it?

A few years ago, we began casually looking at lake houses with the hope of creating a little getaway for our family. We had admired a-frame houses for quite some time and dreamed of someday having one to call our own, so it was truly love at first sight when we came across Little Cove! This home was built in 1978 and owned by one family for the entire time up until we purchased it in September 2022. Aside from being captivated by the idyllic nature of the home and property, we were also enamored by all of the family photos hanging on the walls that chronicled years of memories across multiple generations. We love the idea of continuing the legacy of this property being a special place to create cherished memories with those you hold dear.

 A-frame cabin renovation

While the structure of the home was in great shape, the interior hadn’t been updated in quite some time and we knew that we would need to renovate it if we were going to meet the standards that guests expect from a vacation rental. Also, the previous owners had added square footage to the home about 15 years ago, however, the addition didn’t possess the same cabin feel that you experienced in the original a-frame. As such, we felt there was an opportunity to make the original space and the addition feel a bit more connected and cohesive.

2. The spiral staircase in your cabin is a real eye-catcher. Can you tell us about the design process and challenges in incorporating this unique feature?

When we purchased this home, we knew we wanted to keep all of the iconic elements that make it so special and authentic to the period in which it was built. The spiral staircase is one of those features…this home wouldn’t be the same without it! Both the staircase and the fireplace make a bold statement in black and, as much as we loved them, we didn’t want these items to overpower the overall design of the space. As such, we tried to pull more pops of black into the decor and finishes we selected to ensure that both items felt like integrated and intentional features within the design. The black dining chairs, side table, and even the black screws used on the wooden loft railing were all chosen as a little nod to the staircase and fireplace!

 A-frame cabin renovation

3. The kitchen is a standout space in your A-frame cabin renovation. What design elements did you prioritize to create a functional yet visually appealing kitchen?

Thank you so much. One of our favorite things about the kitchen is that you can take in the incredible views of the lake while cooking! With that said, it was very important to us that the design of the kitchen didn’t distract from those lake views. We kept the color palette neutral to allow the eye to be drawn into the views. Additionally, we were very thoughtful about the light fixtures we selected to ensure they provided the light that was functionally needed but didn’t interfere with the view in any way.

 A-frame cabin renovation

Given that the primary wall in the kitchen is angled and can’t accommodate upper cabinets or shelving, we also needed to make sure that we really maximized the use of space in a way that didn’t compromise the aesthetics. An example of this is adding the utility rail above the range to hold pots and pans, which serves a functional purpose and adds an additional element of interest to the design.

 A-frame cabin renovation

4. The built-in bunk beds in the A-frame’s loft are simply remarkable. Can you describe the thought process and craftsmanship that went into creating these cozy sleeping nooks?

We appreciate your kind words about the loft bedroom! It’s definitely one of our favorite spaces in this home. We originally considered building standard bunk beds into this space, however we decided that it would feel far too cramped with more than four beds. We also were trying to keep everything on budget and buying four mattresses sounded a lot better than buying up to eight mattresses! From there, we turned to Pinterest and started collecting lots of images of different bunk rooms that inspired us. Each image had a certain element that we loved, so we just pulled all of those individual features together to create our design. Given the angles of the a-frame roofline and some of the quirks that come along with an older home, determining the actual plan and dimensions turned out to be quite the geometry project! We also tried to consider how our guests would be using the space when making certain decisions. For example, we made sure that we could slide an average-sized suitcase beneath each bed frame when determining the height of the beds from the floor. The design of this room probably required the most thought and effort and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

 A-frame cabin renovation

5. What design principles guided your choice of color palettes and materials to create a cohesive and inviting interior?

The property itself really inspired the majority of the decisions we made regarding color and materials, whether it was the lake and surrounding nature or the original wood paneling lining the ceiling in the a-frame. With this in mind, we leaned into blues, greys, olive green, and a variety of wood tones. In terms of materials, we focused on fabrics and finishes that complemented the original materials used and added a layer of coziness and warmth. Furthermore, we tried to look for materials that would infuse the design with very subtle nautical vibes. For instance, we loved the cotton canvas we selected for our Sixpenny sofa because it reminded us of the canvas fabric that might be used to construct a sail. Rope was also very inspiring to us and we found two places to incorporate it: the globe light hanging in the a-frame and an art installation in one of the bedrooms.

 A-frame cabin renovation

6. Lake Granbury offers breathtaking views. How did you integrate the natural surroundings into your design concept?

Fortunately, the architecture of the home and the positioning of the a-frame windows facing the water helped us maximize the lake views and bring the outside in! From there, we just tried to honor and complement the outdoor surroundings with each of our design decisions.

 A-frame cabin renovation

7. Can you share any interesting or unexpected design discoveries or challenges you encountered during the A-frame cabin renovation?

We’re not sure we’d classify this as a design discovery or challenge, but it’s definitely the most unexpected thing we encountered! When we pulled off the paneling on one of the walls in the loft bedroom, we found hundreds and hundreds of gecko eggshells sitting inside on the frame of the wall!

 A-frame cabin renovation

8. The cabin exudes a cozy, modern charm. What design elements make it so welcoming and comfortable for your guests?

We were certainly hoping that our home would feel that way, so we’re beyond happy to hear that! We honestly feel that it’s the items that remain from the original home that make you feel welcome when you walk in the door…especially the fireplace and wood paneling! These features bring so much coziness to the space and add an irreplaceable element of nostalgia that inherently feels so welcoming. It is for this reason that we preserved these original details and prioritized them within the design, while thoughtfully renovating the rest of the home with modern features and amenities that make it even more comfortable.

 A-frame cabin renovation

9. Guests often appreciate personal touches. What are some unique design details or decor choices you’ve added to make the space feel extra special?

It sounds so simple, but ultimately we just tried to see the space through the guests’ eyes and think about everything they’d want during their stay. In our opinion, nothing feels more special than someone fully anticipating your needs! That might look like blankets that are made to bring outside on chilly nights, lots of hooks to hang your things, or a device charging block sitting on your nightstand.

Beyond that, we love a branding moment and have incorporated several touches that include our logo in the hopes of fostering a more bespoke and boutique experience. From a branded hotel-style notepad to logo coffee mugs to pre-stamped custom postcards for guests to send, we’ve tried to weave our brand into as many touch points during the guest’s stay as possible.

10. Describe your ideal weekend spent on the serene shores of Lake Granbury at your A-frame cabin.

Our ideal weekend in Granbury involves lots of time on the lake, too many s’mores, all the board games, and the company of family or good friends. When we do leave our little haven, it’s usually to pick up the most delicious pastries at Baked Bread & Pastry Co. or head out to dinner at Stumpy’s or Ketzler’s Schnitzel Haus!

11. As design enthusiasts, what advice would you give to fellow hosts looking to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of their Airbnb spaces? Or those taking on an A-frame cabin renovation?

Given that this was our first experience designing a space that we’d be both using ourselves and offering to guests as a vacation rental, we approached a lot of the design decisions very differently than we would have if the space was just going to be used by our family. One thing that we did and found very informative was to take some time to study boutique hotels that we love and are inspired by. Since these spaces are built with hospitality and the guest experience in mind, there is a lot that can be learned by looking closely at how they’ve been designed! For example, we noticed that the majority of the boutique hotels we looked at have wall-mounted or pedestal sinks. Perhaps this is because these types of sinks can stand up better to frequent cleaning than vanity and aren’t as prone to guest damage.

Additionally, the lack of drawers gives guests fewer places to leave things behind! We also found that these sinks are generally less expensive than vanities, so this observation helped us achieve the boutique hotel aesthetic we were looking for while making the most efficient use of our limited budget!

 A-frame cabin renovation

Thank you Mary-Kevin and Patrick for sharing their insights and inviting us into their design sanctuary!

Dreaming of hosting on Airbnb? I can help! I’m an Airbnb Ambassador and if you are getting ready to go live, I can help you onboard for free to Airbnb. From decor advice to your listing description, photos, and host bio, I’ll make sure everything is perfect and a guest magnet the moment you go live! Click my link here to sign up and I’ll see you in the Airbnb chat! 


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