This beautiful Ontario cabin demonstrates how a lighter touch can refresh a quirky space. With careful updates and edits, the home’s charming personality shines through even brighter.


Nestled in the lush greenery of Ontario, Canada, this charming cabin manages to be quirky and cozy at the same time. Its owners wanted to retain the home’s playful spirit while giving it a fresh new look. The designers expertly walked that line by keeping beloved details and adding lighter elements to brighten up the interiors. The resulting style is eclectic yet peaceful, proving that a strategic refresh can enhance a space’s joyful vibe.

Original Features Dictated the Design

Since the owners loved the cabin’s quirky features, the designers tailored their approach around accentuating these elements. Instead of imposing their own style, they let the existing architecture and finishes guide their vision. As a result, the new decor perfectly complements unique touches like the curved stair rail, pops of color, and mix of materials throughout. The designers struck the ideal balance between enhancing and preserving.

Some of the most charming original elements that inspired the designs include:

  • The vivid red floor of the entryway and stairwell
  • A delicate branch-like stair railing
  • Octagonal skylights dotting the ceilings
  • Vaulted ceilings with exposed wood beams
  • A massive river rock fireplace as the living room’s focal point
  • Knotty pine walls and paneling
  • A bright blue kitchen with checkerboard flooring

Rather than mask these playful features, the design thoughtfully incorporates and celebrates them.

Soft Touches Lighten the Mood

While retaining the cabin’s bold colors and textures, the designers integrated lighter touches to brighten up the interiors. Crisp white trims, furnishings, and accessories keep the rooms feeling airy and fresh rather than dark and cluttered.

Some of the key techniques used to lighten up the space include:

  • Painting trims and ceilings clean white
  • Selecting a neutral off-white upholstered sofa
  • Adding pillows in soft tonal colors like ivory and blush
  • Incorporating natural light wood accents and furnishings
  • Installing new lighting fixtures with an open, airy quality
  • Bringing in marble and quartz to balance wood and rock elements
  • Updating windows with breezy, lightweight curtains and valances

The result is a lighter, brighter take that still celebrates the original spirit of the home. The palette refresh accentuates the playful pops of color without allowing them to overwhelm the space.

Clever Editing Removed Visual Clutter

In addition to adding lighter elements, some selective subtractions also helped streamline the interiors. With so many bold original details, clutter could easily accumulate and make the home feel busy. By removing pieces that did not enhance the overall design, the refreshed cabin feels curated rather than crowded.

Some of the editing strategies included:

  • Reducing the number of knick-knacks and collectibles on display
  • Limiting busy patterns like plaids and florals
  • Removing heavy window treatments like swags and jabots
  • Tidying up eclectic groupings of art and objects
  • Eliminating unnecessary furnishings to open up floor space
  • Keeping surfaces like mantels and shelves artfully minimal
  • Removing dated fixtures like can lights and ceiling fans

The thoughtful editing allows the home’s playful vibe to shine. Only the elements that add to the cabin’s charm and personality remain.

Updated Layout Improves Functionality

Along with cosmetic changes, tweaks to the cabin’s layout help modernize functionality. The new floor plan enhances livability and flow without detracting from the home’s quirky spirit.

Key layout changes include:

  • Reconfiguring the kitchen for a more open, efficient work triangle
  • Opening up the entryway by removing an unused guest bath
  • Repurposing a back hall as a bright new breakfast nook
  • Converting a small pantry to a power room and laundry space
  • Adding a mudroom entry at the back door
  • Removing a wall to create a more spacious master suite
  • Adding a walk-in closet to the existing bedroom

By reshuffling existing spaces, the designs create refreshed interiors better suited to a modern lifestyle. The new layout allows the home to function as well as it delights.


This charming Ontario cabin makes a strong case for taking a lighter approach to refreshing quirky homes. By working with the home’s unique architectural details and bringing in just the right amount of airy updates, the designers created a space that dazzles. The house maintains its playful spirit, proving that strategic tweaks can allow a home’s inherent charm shine through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about refreshing quirky home designs:

How can you update a quirky home without losing its character?

Focus on accentuating the home’s existing playful features through your design choices. Work with the original architecture and finishes rather than masking them. Include bold pops of color and whimsical details that tie into the home’s personality.

What are some examples of lighter design elements to brighten up a space?

Some good options include white trims, breezy linens, glass lighting fixtures, metallic accents, marble surfaces, lighter wood tones, and plenty of windows to draw in natural light.

Should you paint over wood paneling when updating a cabin?

Not necessarily. Leaning into wood paneling can add to a cabin’s charm. Just brighten it up with white paint on the trims and ceilings. Reduce visual clutter on the walls themselves.

What should you avoid when refreshing a cabin’s interiors?

Steer clear of design choices that mask the home’s inherent character like removing architectural details, painting over natural wood, or covering up stonework. Don’t introduce jarring modern elements that clash with the original style.

How do you balance updating a layout with preserving charm?

Aim for enhancements like opening up doorways or reconfiguring storage rather than major additions or structural changes. Preserve any unique features like rounded walls, cozy nooks, or a carved railing.

What clutter should you remove when refreshing a quirky space?

Edit out objects that don’t tie into the home’s personality. For example, generic decor, dated furnishings, ugly fixtures, bulky window treatments, and items that are broken or worn out.