Yay Frame – Boyne Falls, MI

Yay! Frame: a 1969 A-Frame tucked into the woods of Northern Michigan.

A neglected A-Frame with a dark and rundown hunting cabin feel gets a gut renovation with an uplifting and modern twist. Accentuating the structures grandeur by lightning surfaces and bringing light up into the peak created a cheer worthy home (Yay!). Special attention was paid to capitalizing on the angles and utilizing every square inch of the homes 1800 SF.

Tour the Project

HIDDEN TREASURE 

Tessa – The A-frame itself is a hidden treasure, and being able to get our hands on it was a stroke of luck. The morning started out normally, which means slowly, with coffee, the couch, and Zillow. We had been on the hunt for a pandemic project to stave off the boredom. The listing had just made it to Zillow earlier that morning, and with both of us having a soft spot for A-frames, I gave the listing agent a ring and found out that it had actually already been on the market for a week, there were multiple offers, and the offer deadline was in four hours. We were three and a half hours away at the time, so we hopped in the car (with our coffees) and headed north! The A-frame had been neglected for years, having only been used as a cabin, so mice had moved in, everything was brown, and there were an extraordinary number of lazy-boys filling the living room. Through the disaster, though, we could see the good 1969 bones and we wrote an offer in the driveway before starting our drive back, the seller accepted our offer before we even got out of the car!

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS

Zeb – A-frames are full of lemons; you can find them in every little corner and angled space where the A meets the floor! While the angles are completely endearing, they do create a pinch point along the floor line that has the potential to become a ton of unusable space. We really challenged ourselves to utilize all of those spaces, making them functional but without hiding the form of the A. We used these little spaces in a variety of ways, adding things like library and game shelving, a desk, fire wood storage and even tucking in a shower bench.


HEART THROB

Tessa – When we got the A-frame, every surface was some shade of brown, with pine covering all of the wall and ceiling surfaces. The pine was overwhelming: some of it had been left to age naturally, but in other places it had been stained a dark brown, and the effect was dark and depressing. We wouldn’t normally consider painting over wood, but we decided that in this case, we had to make an exception. We painted every single pine surface white with the exception of the pine cladding on the angles of the A-frame. The pine is tongue and groove with an overlap, and once it was all painted white, the overlap became the dominant feature and now it reads like a vertical texture, accentuating the height of A-frame. The pine that we left natural now feels warm and special. The outcome was completely transformative!

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

Zeb – We absolutely hated how dark the A-frame was when we got our hands on it. The ridgeline in the double height space is 25′ high, so it’s really difficult to throw light up that far, leaving the peak in constant shadow and completely losing the grand scale of the space. We wanted to run indirect LED lighting up the full lengths of the rafters. The rafters had an existing cap on them that we could replace with one that was slightly wider, creating an overhang and space to route a groove in the backside where we could hide the LEDs, allowing them to shine against the pine wall cladding. We both got really excited about this solution… and then we priced it out. We needed single lengths of LEDs long enough to run all the way up one rafter, turn at the peak and run all the way back down the rafter on the other side, in a product with the ability to control over 500′ of LEDs with one switch (dimmable of course). The pricing was staggering, as was the prospect of the installation, which would require balancing on a ladder on top of two tiers of scaffolding, since the peak of the A-frame pinches down too much to fit a third tier. I was ready to give up on the lighting – it would save time, money, and years from my life but Tessa wasn’t. She cut costs in some other areas, and then cheered on and documented the installation from the safety of the ground. Although it was harrowing at times, we are very happy that we persevered, as the lighting has transformed the main space entirely. It’s special and impactful from both inside and outside the A-frame.
 

ZOOMING IN

Zeb – There was a moment during the renovation when refrigerators were hard to get our hands on. To get a coordinated set of kitchen appliances, we ended up with a freestanding range, instead of one that was built in. We don’t like to have a break in the counter top material at the range, so we chose to pull the range away from the wall so we could run a section of counter behind it, helping it feel a bit more built in. When we did this, we ended up with a very shallow bookcase in the cabinetry next to the range, far too shallow for any books. We found 9 little black Le Creuset canisters that would fit on the three shelves, to be used to hold salt and pepper and common cooking spices. When the canisters were perfectly arranged and spaced out, they looked fantastic, but as soon as they weren’t, our OCD issues started screaming! We installed two tiny little wood pegs on the shelves behind each canister, so that they slide back onto the shelves and stop against the pegs in the perfect position. It’s a simple little invisible detail like this that can make the difference between “almost” and “delightful”.