The Shack: Our Little Poconos Getaway, and Making Big Plans (Post #3)

Hello again, dear readers.  Today I’m continuing my posts about the vacation home fixer upper my family recently purchased.  If you’ve been following along, you’re already familiar with the exterior and interior of this little weekend retreat.  Obviously, I already have a huge list of plans and changes I wish to make to the interior of The Shack.


Before: The main living area of The Shack, as seen here with it’s original sponge painted yellow walls, multiple unattractive flooring materials and various other dated elements. There are many changes planned for the future!

So I started making a list of the changes I want to make, starting with this main, public living space.

  1. Repaint the walls and ceilings, using bright neutrals, many with grey undertones.
  2. Replace all the flooring with a beautiful rustic hardwood floor to unify and expand the rooms, and use area rugs to define furniture groupings and traffic patterns.
  3. Replace all baseboards, casings and trims (except the wood beams and stair railing) with more simple, rustic, and light-colored wood trim.
    1. Build up casings around important doors & entryways (mostly the french doors and kitchen opening).  This will make such a difference in the feeling of ‘quality’ in the home.  It seems like a small detail, but makes a huge impact!
  4. Replace or rebuild fireplace mantel to create a true focal point in the open floor plan, so that it scales well with the vaulted ceiling.
    1. This will focus the main seating area and make sense of the new floor plan.
    2. Perhaps use and re-purpose an antique mantel or architectural salvage.
  5. Replace the lighting, including chandelier in dining area, stairwell fixtures, kitchen fixtures, and the ceiling fan above main seating area with more attractive options.
    1. I thought about completely removing fan and replacing it with beautiful lantern, but my dear husband insists the air movement is needed with a vaulted ceiling, and after spending some time there in the summer, I must agree.
  6. Remove or cover up popcorn/cottage cheese ceiling in dining area.
  7. Replace privacy blinds and add appropriate window treatments.
  8. Repaint guest bedroom and add new baseboards and trim to match main living area.
    1. Also replace window treatments in guest bedroom.
  9. Furnish the entire home from scratch!
    1. Try to re-purpose items we already own as we’re able.  Also use vintage finds and interesting rustic items as available for a personal touch.

There’s more.  I could keep going for days and days, with all the things I’d like to add or change, but this is a good stopping point for now.  And I haven’t even started with the outside stuff…like that crazy swimming pool green color!!  We could also use a new roof…and that’s expensive.

So first, I need to come up with a workable floor plan.  Then I can start purchasing furniture for the space and plan the renovations around the proposed living areas.

Hawthorne Entire Main Floor Empty

Here’s the floor plan of the first floor in The Shack. I tried to show the change in flooring between the dining area and living area…currently, it’s in such an awkward spot. I think the previous owners tried to keep the intersection from bisecting the opening to the kitchen, but in the process, it had to encroach upon the slate fireplace hearth. Having two different materials in this main area really doesn’t work at all…I’m sure it was a cost-saving measure at the time, and they didn’t want to spend the money to replace the entire floor in these areas all at once. But still–what were they thinking?!

The original real estate photos of the main living area, show that previous owners struggled with furniture placement.

85 Hawthorne Drive Jim Thorpe Inside

Before:  The real estate listing shows furniture placed upon the back wall of the main living area. None of the furniture is positioned relevant to the fireplace. In fact, visitors had to walk between the chair and the fireplace to move through the space!  That’s awkward. The chair at left (a remnant leftover from the porch?) is right up against the wall by the bedroom door. The TV is on the stair wall.  That means that anyone wanting to enter the main floor bedroom, has to walk between the sitting area and the television.  So strange.

Main Living Current

After playing with several different layouts, I ended up with this floor plan, grouping the seating area around the fireplace. After all, you DO want the fire to be a major focal point in a mountain house, don’t you? It’s such a bonus feature, and so thoroughly enjoyable to cuddle up with a fire on a snowy evening, after a day out on the slopes!

You can tell from my floor plan, that I intend to replace all the flooring with hardwood, and use an area rug to define the main seating area in front of the fireplace.  In the end, I decided to keep the television on the stair wall, even though I toyed with placing it on either the wall by the bedroom door, or above the fireplace. I already own a sofa-sleeper, upholstered in red, which I intend to use, and I have found a beautiful red and gold wool area rug, which will inspire the color scheme for the entire space (I promise to share some of these things with you soon).  I also have a rustic table for the dining area, and a very cool old wooden trunk handed down through my family, which I’m planning to use as the TV stand.

So now, I just have to decide where to begin…obviously the hardwood floors are a big element (they will have such an important impact on the space–opening up the room and making everything feel bigger and more open), but it just makes sense to paint first.  Also, I want to get that ugly splotchy ceiling in the dining area figured out, before we start putting in a pretty new floor.  So much to do!

Thanks for tuning in with me today…I’m excited to share more about The Shack with you and the process I go through with my interior design work.  There’s so much to be done.  I can’t wait to get started!  Until next time, make sure to like Robinson Interiors on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, and DO stay tuned for future updates on The Shack!

Click on this image to be taken directly to my website for more information on Robinson Interiors.

Click on this image to be taken directly to my website for more information on Robinson Interiors.


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