With a Sander and Gallons of Wood Stain, a Couple Transformed Their 1980s Brunswick Log Cabin

The 16-foot-tall living-room ceiling required four passes with an orbital sander on turbo mode.

1980s log cabin living room after Hannah Oravec's renovation
Living room after
By Sara Anne Donnelly
Photos by Joyelle West
From our Summer 2023 issue
Living room before

Living Room

Massachusetts designer Hannah Oravec and her husband, Michael, bought their 1986 log cabin for its wooded five acres on Brunswick’s Harpswell Cove. “We were looking at it like, let’s find a cool property and whatever home comes with it, we can fix up,” Hannah says. They started by removing the orangey polyurethane on the pine walls and ceilings that made the cabin feel “cave-like” — a job that required four passes with an orbital sander on turbo mode “that’s pretty much flinging you across the room,” Hannah says. The 16-foot-tall living-room ceiling received a mix of Rubio Monocoat’s Pure and Chocolate stains; walls in Nordic White topped with Super White complement new oak flooring. Eclectic thrifted furnishings — a 1960s-era burled-wood coffee table, a circa 1980s floor lamp, a vintage scissor lamp — nod to the grand hand-me-down tradition of camp décor (top).

Before & After


The 1,150-square-foot cabin, constructed by Brunswick’s Wally J. Staples Builders, “uses space really efficiently, so it feels a lot bigger than it is,” Hannah says. To play up the airiness, the Oravecs replaced an obstructive kitchen peninsula with a 1980s travertine table and vintage wicker chairs from Facebook Marketplace and swapped upper cabinets for slender pine shelving. After removing a pair of drawers to make way for a farmhouse sink, they painted the existing lower cabinets Blackish by zero-VOC paint maker Clare. Quick-ship Fireclay Tile in Basalt supplanted cracked laminate countertops and brass knobs illuminate the inky backdrop. On the wall, Hannah’s photographs set off a vintage botanical painting from Brunswick’s Cabot Mill Antiques.

Before & After


What needed updating in the home’s only bath? “Everything,” Hannah says. A gut reno allowed the couple to add radiant floor heat, an undermount tub, and a showpiece: a 100-pound Calacatta-marble sink found on Etsy. A vanity Michael built from reclaimed oak tempers the glamor of the sink and a vintage Italian-brass-and-milk-glass sconce. As does the Fireclay Tile effecting buffalo plaid on the floor and tub. “I felt like the space needed something warm and cozy, but with a rustic color combination,” Hannah says. “Like it wasn’t a bathroom that could be in any home, but was designed for a cabin.”

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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