Bayard Dominick’s boyhood was defined by water. Whether fishing near Washington’s Puget Sound with his dad, canoeing with his sisters Tracey and Wendy or sailing with the entire family, a kinship with the liquid blue was constant throughout his childhood. So when he and his wife, Hunter, sought a cabin retreat that would entice far-flung family members to visit them in Whitefish, Montana, the choice of setting was obvious.

“Being around water is part of our whole family history,” Bayard says. “We figured if we could find a great place on Whitefish Lake, they’d have the perfect excuse to visit every summer.”

The couple’s excuse turned out to be a picturesque, two-story lodgepole pine cabin with traditional coped corners nestled into the shoreline of the mountain lake. The couple teamed up with sister Tracey and husband Scott Gerber to buy the house. The foursome spent six months remodeling the 25-year-old cabin, turning it into the perfect spot for the next generation of siblings.

The focus was simplicity, keeping things kid friendly and maintaining a rustic, cabin feel. Here’s how they did it:

  • Opened up the 2,200-square-foot design by removing the hung ceiling on the ground floor and lightened the stain on the interior to create a brighter space.
  • Installed wire-brushed, heart-pine wood floors so skids and scraps were no big deal.
  • Replaced the spiral stair with an exterior wood staircase (easier for little legs to climb).
  • Removed hanging cabinets in the kitchen on the main level to expose views of the lake, and reworked a closet to expand a bathroom.
  • Outfitted the loft with two sets of custom pine and cedar bunk beds (equipped with trundles below) to sleep as many kids as possible.
  • Created plenty of outdoor living space, including a small deck on the upper level of the house for quiet time and a larger deck on the home’s main level for family lounging.

To read the full story on the Dominick’s remodeling project, check out the August 2005 issue of Log Home Living.