Cozy & Casual Cabin

Easy-does-it decorating makes this cabin an inviting place to gather and relax.
Stephanie Gibson Mims / Photography Laurey W. Glenn

It's a new year with the same old decorating dilemmas: How do you invigorate rooms with style and still max out comfort? How can you surround yourself with creative design and still have a family-friendly home? Jan and Bob Barstad make it look easy. They love the woodsy setting of their cabin in Mount Vernon, Texas, but when it came time to transform the inside, they wanted more cozy and casual, less dark and rustic.

Pretty Place To Dine
The soft green wall color plays up the cabin's waterside location. Two outdoor light fixtures, glazed a frosted gray, keep the style informal and add balance above the long table. Designer Jennifer Spak painted the table base blue and then brushed on a glaze to mute the color. Store-bought slipcovers soften the hard lines of the chairs and form a border along the dining room. A custom monogram on each slipcover dresses up chairs without a shocking price tag.

Fireside Family Room
Jennifer focused on softening existing pieces and staging separate conversation areas in the large space that contains the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Jan needed help fighting the urge to use an all-white palette, so Jennifer brought in subtle, toned-down color with milky and pickled glazes. "It's a bit tricky to divide a large space," Jennifer says. "The key to a cohesive look is making your color choices work together." Here, pale green; watery blues; and a rich, warm terra-cotta in the kitchen make up the magic color scheme.

Next on the to-do list: a fireplace makeover. To lighten the dark red brick, Jennifer gave it a sandblasted look with paint and whitewash. The painting above the wood beam mantel complements the bits of red that still dot the brick.

Along with the fireplace, the distressed custom bookcases anchor this end of the room. A glazed coffee table and a sofa set the room apart from the dining area. Sage-colored wildlife-print fabrics and a bowl of pinecones bring subtle outdoor touches.

"Cozy & Casual" is from the January 2007 issue of Southern Living.