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Reader Spotlight: The Restoration of a Century-Old Cabin

British Columbia is the picturesque backdrop behind a cozy cabin’s restoration.

Photos courtesy of Chris Delaney
Compiled by Griffin Suber
 
In Barrière, British Columbia, so named for the obstacles set by First Nations peoples to funnel fish in the Barrière river, the Delaneys have refurbished a tiny cabin from the sunset of the trapper era. After a century of neglect, the logs still stood.
 
Chris Delaney: The original cabin was built in 1903 at the tail end of the fur trade. It was a trapper’s cabin. There’s a little creek that runs 30 feet from the cabin, and when we were renovating three years ago, my wife was digging around in the area near the creek, and she dug up a little trap, so that was our confirmation of its former life!
 
The cabin is 650 square feet inside and then the deck is another 450 feet, so it’s about 1,100 square feet total. Everything on that cabin is 120 years old, and it never had any maintenance. Because I come down to the States in the wintertime, we spent three months a year for the past three years working on it, cleaning and sanding the logs to get them back to the original cedar. The chinking in there was mud and sawdust.
 
We actually intended for it to be a guest home, but it took on a life of its own. Now it’s underbuilt as a full-time family home but overbuilt as a guesthouse. It’s got a kitchen, full bathroom and a loft.
My favorite part about it is the history, and we tried to stay true to it. Everything in there is decorated in that motif, including furs and taxidermy, traps on the walls and paddles. We tried to decorate so that it felt like you were walking into an old turn-of-the-century cabin, but a bit more modern, of course.
 
On three sides of the cabin is national land — what they call “Crown Land” in Canada —  so it’s wilderness country. We’re on about 160 acres so there’s plenty of land around. We’ve seen cougars and lots of coyotes, which we hear howling at night. I’ve seen wolf tracks on the property but have yet to see one – there’s an old saying, “If you see a wolf it means they didn’t see you.” It’s a great place to run away to when the whole world collapses.
 

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