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  • Writer's pictureDann Foley

Big Bear Cabins

Apr 30, 2014

At American Dream Builders every designer takes a turn at being “team leader” each week.  I stepped up and took on the redo of the most charming, if not run down, cabins in Big Bear, California.  It was like old home week for me because my family had a beautiful mountain home where I spent my entire childhood water skiing on the lake in summer and snow skiing the slopes in winter.  It was idyllic and I look back on those years with the fondest of memories.

I found the same enthusiasm in this family for their cabin as we had for ours.  This only gave me greater resolve to create something truly memorable.  Plus, the fact that I was the team leader meant that I was automatically on the line for elimination should my team lose the Council vote.  I had no intention of letting that happen!

The one thing I was sure of was I wanted us to create a cabin that was traditional but, for modern living.  I wanted warmth and I wanted to layer both color and pattern, two of my specialties.  This was my chance to really shine and I intended to take full advantage of the opportunity.

My personal focus was on one of the sleeping cabins, which were separated from the main house.  These spaces were small, with low ceilings and had to sleep multiple people.  I was doubly sure that layering was going to be the way to create warmth, comfort, luxury and style…mountain style!

I had to do it quickly so I headed straight for Calico Corner online to find the perfect combinations of plaid, stripes, wovens and animal prints.  I blended these gorgeous fabrics from Ralph Lauren, Calico and Thom Felicia with found patchwork quilts, fur throws and pillows from Homegoods.

When it came to the bedding and draperies, I sewed them all myself, right down to the bed coverings!  The plaid draperies I layered over wood blinds to layer even the window treatments.  The walls were covered in a natural grass cloth on a black background that was so subtle you could barely notice it but, it still gave the walls dimension.

The ceiling I left in its natural wood finish and switched out a bare bulb with a vintage socket and “Edison” bulb from Lowe’s for old world charm.  Horn sconces and silver gilded table lamps on a painted vintage dresser added additional light and storage.

Even the floor was treated to a dose of pattern and color with the tribal rug I added.  The overall feeling was one of pure luxury.  The council and judges both agreed and said it was the kind of bed you just want to throw yourself into. Elle Décor magazine said it was one of the best makeovers on the entire show.

Here’s my tip for you today.  If you want a truly special duvet for your bed, start at and find your perfect fabric.  You cut your first length based on the size of your bed and the second identical length you cut down the middle. This way you can pattern match the fabric on each side of your new duvet.  To save money and make it more comfortable I buy a top sheet in a neutral or coordinated color and sew that to the back of the facing fabric.  It is faster, less expensive and the softer side that your body touches.  It also means less cutting and sewing. There you have it, a perfect and personalized duvet!

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