Before and After: A Couple’s DIY Cabin Upstate, Redone During Quarantine
Information about Before and After: A Couple’s DIY Cabin Upstate, Redone During Quarantine
With all this time spent inside, there’s been a return to tinkering away at little projects: baking a loaf of bread, say, or stitching a quilt. Or, if you’re like Yi-Mei Truxes and her husband Gray Reinhard, renovating an entire upstate cabin by hand.
“I first stumbled upon a listing for the cabin about six years ago on Airbnb and was immediately struck by the incredible views,” says Yi-Mei. “I had never seen anything like it. We ended up staying there for an autumn weekend with a group of friends and fell in love with the place.” Two years ago, when the couple (she’s the founder of Bembien, a line of artisan-made woven goods; he’s the CTO/partner of a crowd-funding platform) started looking upstate for a cabin to retreat to from their home base in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, they remembered the cabin. “We found ourselves comparing every listing to it…No place was creating that ‘there’s nowhere else I’d rather be’ feeling. Well, as it turns out, the cabin ended up going on the market later that year.” Fate indeed.
Fast-forward to March 2020, when the couple left Brooklyn and headed northward to wait out the pandemic holed away in their cabin. “We left the city on March 12th thinking we’d just be there for a few days but ended up staying over 100 days,” says Yi-Mei. “I can’t say we exactly planned to take on some of these larger renovation projects, but that’s what ended up happening.”
Over those 100-odd days inside, the couple transformed the place from its 1980s, dark, dated hunting-lodge interior to bright, white-washed, and quiet—all DIYed between the two of them. “Like most homeowners, we had an endless list of projects…some purely functional (i.e. leaks and broken water heaters) to larger aesthetic changes,” Yi-Mei says. “One of the few silver linings of the pandemic was that we suddenly found ourselves with the time and the necessity to chip away at our list.
“We quickly snapped into a new daily rhythm of waking up early, handling our day jobs, and working on renovations into the night. Weekends were reserved for the larger, more destructive projects, like shaving down the logs in the main living space or pouring concrete countertops. Looking back, we’re both extremely grateful that we had something like home renovation to keep us busy and motivated during that time.”
Join us for a look at the transformation (and scroll down to see what it was like before).
Photography courtesy of Yi-Mei Truxes.