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  • virdenhome

It started with a lake house...

Welcome to Tabor Lake, a small community of well loved bungalows surrounding a quaint body of water in Parsippany, NJ. Properties located on this prized piece of land are one of a kind and many well over 60 years old. New cabins are not allowed to be built, however existing cabins may be updated following specific and strict guidelines. Owning one of these properties is no small feet either, they seldom go for sale and current community members get first notice.

Cabin 29 was one of Virden Home's first projects. At about 900 sq ft this 3 bedroom craftsmen style cottage was a true diamond in the rough. Vacant and neglected for many years the interior was dark, damp, and musty. Built into the slope of a hill, the south side of this woodsy beauty was rotting through. Not to mention, there was a tree growing into it which could not be removed in accordance to community guidelines.

Upon further inspection of the interior and due to its many structural issues, a decision was made to take this old girl down to the ground and start anew. Although saddening, this course of action was the safest and allowed for a structure that could truly withstand the tests of time. The only portion of the cabin that would remain was a small part of its foundation.

The south edge of foundation became a retaining wall for left bank while the entire footprint was moved in three feet. A spacious notch was designed in the layout to leave room for the massive tulip tree to continue to grow. The original bathroom was an extension off the back portion of the cabin that had to be removed entirely. To accommodate the loss of square footage, the north side of the cabin was expanded roughly 5 feet outwards towards the lake.

Having lost the majority of the original structure, it was important to keep the story and character of cabin 29 alive. We salvaged as many components as we could to incorporate into the new design. Two of the major saves were the front porch w/ it's unique sunray-design balustrade and our favorite, the front door; a beautiful hardwood and glass pane door which affectional became titled "the wifi door."

With the exterior close to finish the cabin was painted a beautiful warm yellow (Benjamin Moore - Pineapple Grove) that reflected the porch and door's sun ray vibe. The only yellow cabin in the community, she was an extraordinary pop of color amidst all the earth tones that surrounded her. A large tin sun adorns her gable bringing life back to this now charismatic cabin.


With the outside complete there was still a long road ahead of us on the interior; quite literally a blank canvas, we had to decide layout, plumbing, electric, and design. In order to maximize the space we chose an open concept floor plan.

Collar ties were installed across the rafters to support the weight of the roof and allow for the large open space. The new bathroom remained at the back of the structure but closer to the new septic tank. Two bedrooms were framed out on the north side so they could have windows facing the lake.

While many community members opt for an exposed ceiling we chose sheet rock to help insulate from weather and pests.

Surrounded by a thick canopy of trees natural light is scarce. Continuing with the theme of salvaging existing components, we created a unique element by repurposing two large 6 pane pebble glass windows that were once in the old cabin's kitchen. These were placed into the interior walls of the adjoining bedrooms to assist w/ light pass-through to the common space and vise versa. All the original interior doors were also refinished and used for the bedrooms and bath.

The flooring was the next undertaking. Hand crafted by Sam himself, this wide plank tung and groove plywood floor turned out to be quite a show stopper. Its natural color and high gloss finish, along w/ the ivory painted walls (Benjamin Moore - Simply White), quickly brought the interior of the cabin to life with light.

To match the shaker doors and soon to be kitchen cabinets we went with the same simple style moulding design for all of the casings. We really wanted the floor to be the eye catching element when you first walked in which meant some of the other interior finishes needed to remain muted.

The kitchen's most remarkable feature was a red oak live edge slab that Sam planed down to standard countertop thickness. We set it as a peninsula and the remaining countertops were covered in red oak butcher block. Open shelving instead of upper cabinets were installed to keep an airy feel. Oil rubbed bronze finishes on the pulls and fixtures compliment the various wood tones and soft natural color pallet of the cabin's interior. An art deco inspired ceramic tile backsplash above the range provides a spark of energy to an otherwise wholesome design. Little material went to waste as the offcuts from the countertops were used as the upper shelves and a hand crafted dual design cutting board/range cover.

Last to remain on the interior was the bathroom. Rendering a small square footage we utilized the width of the space with a narrow but long walk in shower. Contrary to the rest of the interior's serene design a 12" encaustic patterned porcelain tile marks the floor and entrance to the shower. Large 12"x24" faux cement tiles adorn the remaining shower space w/ blue glazed bullnose edging. While bold, the natural blue and grey dark earth tone pallet collaborate and affirm the cabin's total interior as tranquil and native to suit the exterior wooded surround.


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