What do you get when an artist and carpenter buy a beautiful but dated A-frame on Canada’s east coast? After six months of renovation to reveal it’s light and bright potential, a swoon-worthy space emerges that’s the perfect retreat in the woods for the creative couple. Inspired by her love of nature, Katelyn Morse designed the home to be airy, peaceful and whimsical. An artist by trade, the home serves as the perfect backdrop for her to paint from when not spending time with her husband Jerry and their two cats.
Through her creative DIYs and ingenious upcycling, Katelyn can see the potential in everything, from the A-Frame itself to the thrifted furniture that she’s completely transformed to fit her idyllic fairyland fantasy. If you’ve fallen in love with the home yourself, you’re in luck because the A-Frame and greenhouse are available for booking for events. Be sure to watch the video tour of this unforgettable A-Frame.
A Light and Airy A-Frame
Katelyn and her husband Jerry fell in love with the unique character of their A-Frame home as soon on first viewing. They lightened up the space by painting the beams white, which was no easy feat even for an artist and carpenter duo. Katelyn painted the beams using a long pole with a brush at the end (how’s that for innovation?), a job she says she won’t be doing again any time soon. She wanted to design their home to feel positive, peaceful and easy on the eyes.
Cozy and Custom
Katelyn continues the soothing vibe throughout the home. She added string lights which add a cozy twinkle, especially in the evening. To furnish the space, Katelyn used her knack for sourcing second-hand goods and elevating them to become the perfect piece. The couch is from IKEA, but she replaced the original metal legs with wooden ones for a more earthy touch. The coffee table, too, is a DIY project. Katelyn sourced thrifted two coffee tables and painted the bottom of one white and refinished the second. Together they made this chic DIY Franken-table!
Perfect in Pine
One of the first projects when they purchased the home was for Katelyn and Jerry to tear out the original swampy blue-green carpets and put in new hardwood flooring. Katelyn loves the look of pine to add to the charming cabin aesthetic. Pine is a softer wood that can scratch and wear over time, but Katelyn appreciates the worn-in look that “has a story to tell.”
The Whitest Walls
Katelyn wanted the whitest paint possible for the walls. As an artist, she spends a lot of time painting with colour so a calm white look for her abode is a soothing change after a day in her art studio. To complement the clean look and add a pop of colour, she brought plenty of plants into the space.
Always resourceful and repurposing, Katelyn snagged this stump from her father’s woodpile at her parent’s nearby farm and repurposed it as a side table to add a forest fairy feel to the living space. The peacock chair was an amazing Kijiji score
Of all the plants she loves (and there are many!), Katelyn appreciates the quick-growing climbing pothos, which she calls a “communicative” plant that will tell you just what it needs. “They just grow so fast and they’re so easy and they tell you when they’re thirsty. They’re just like the perfect plant! They’re my favorite,” she tells us.
See More: Expert Tips for Styling Your Houseplants
The kitchen was the room that saw the biggest change when they moved in. The kitchen cabinets were laid out differently, making the room more narrow and blocking the view of the lake. Relocating the cabinets opened up the room and allowed for clear views. The sink stayed where it was originally, but was replaced with a shiny white IKEA sink. Katelyn calls the stylish champagne bronze faucet from Delta their splurge in the kitchen.
Related: IKEA Gift Ideas for Under $10.
Another thrift find that the couple upcycled was the dining room table. She gives us her expert advice for finding and flipping secondhand furniture. “It was a weird laminate material with this dark brown wood, which I think is kind of cool now, but I didn’t like it at the time. And so we just painted it white and that table was like $35, which is a great score. It’s fine if you just look for good shape. You can just do so much with weird little thrifted pieces.”
Gilded and Gorgeous
You would think that this mirror is an absolutely stellar antique find, but it’s another genius DIY project from Katelyn! Based on a tutorial by The Sorry Girls on YouTube, Katelyn found a plain brown mirror and and used a hot glue gun to adhere the swirled decals on. Then she used the glue gun to create the dot design that ties it all together. Once the design was done, she painted the mirror gold and styled it with vases of dried flowers and other woody decor items.
Katelyn has a knack for making commonly-used everyday items cuter, like this cute little coffee station. Tea bags are tucked away in adorable containers and even the salt mill is aesthetically pleasing! With her keen artistic eye, Katelyn misses no details.
Katelyn brought a bit of her childhood home to her kitchen with these wooden shelves. “They were from my parents horse pasture. And they were really old fence boards. They have like a nice little wavy character about them and they felt like the perfect little shelf so we stole those from the horse pasture. It’s an amazing way to like connect yourself back to your home.”
A Lovely Loft View
Climbing the stairs, you’ll reach this beautiful loft area that’s currently decorated with dreamy butterflies (you can see stunning footage of the space on the Instagram page for the A-Frame). Katelyn keeps the decor seasonal and likes to change it up often. Looking down reveals just how airy the home is, with unobstructed views out to the lake.
A Room With a View
Upstairs you’ll find Katelyn’s art studio, where she spends her days working from home and looking out into the beautiful east coast forest. The large work table was another great find on Kijiji for only $25!. Jerry, a carpenter by trade, made the wooden pegboard shelves (a perk of being married to a carpenter!).
Inspiring Art Studio
A gorgeous is a huge bonus for an artist and the perfect backdrop to create her nature-inspired pieces, like this evergreen landscape painting which you can purchase as a print or holiday card on Katelyn’s Etsy store, BirchBliss.
Rest for Guests
Katelyn kept the cozy cottage vibes going in the guest bedroom which she decorated with dried flower bouquets that she grew herself in the greenhouse or was gifted. The patchwork quilt on the bed is a special family item that was made by her great grandmother. We adore this homey, live-in space!
One of our favourite details in the primary bedroom is the large mirror on which Katelyn added hand-painted floral details. The simple and nature-inspired design makes for a truly restful bedroom.
Bringing Nature Indoors
An earthy (not to mention wallet-friendly) touch was this curtain rod created out of a birch tree branch that Katelyn repurposed from her wedding decor. Adding to the woodsy design are the custom-built closet doors that Jerry whipped up when the couple purchased the home around four years ago.
A Dream Greenhouse
Another project that Jerry completed himself was the property’s greenhouse which Katelyn calls her “pride and joy”. The arched front windows were sourced from a local boutique and were originally from a local church in the Cape Breton area. Another challenge was sourcing the sheer amount of windows needed (around 20), which Katelyn was able to do on Facebook marketplace when she found someone selling their original windows from the 1800s and purchased the entire lot for their greenhouse.
Katelyn decorated the greenhouse for the fall with dried flowers including allium, hydrangea and thistle and displayed the arrangements in repurposed fragrance oil bottles from Contrail Candles. “I definitely discovered a passion for gardening once we got this house that I had never had before. After the renos were done I went crazy in the gardens and I started trying to learn how to grow everything. It’s so fun!” Katelyn tells us.
For the seating area inside the greenhouse, Katelyn paired a large wooden table that she found on Facebook marketplace with a scattering of wooden chairs sourced from all over. “The chairs were like an awesome group effort. We just had some friends and family that donated their chairs to us. We just wanted that mismatched kind of eclectic look,” she tells us. It’s the perfect space for events like bridal showers or rustic photoshoots (and it’s available to rent!).
See More: Tour Our Favourite Canadian Homes
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