Former interior of cabin with no running water or heat source

How long ago did you purchase the cabin?

(Theresa) We had a cabin on Fox Creek Road and sold it in September 2016 to help pay for college tuition for our kids. I had seller’s regret immediately and we bought this place the next month!

I remember seeing the cabin before renovation -- can you talk me through what the state of the cabin was upon purchase?

(Chris) From the outside, the cabin looked pretty cool, but once we walked inside it was like, ‘what have we gotten ourselves into??’ Each decision is fairly expensive and potentially irreversible.

(Theresa) It was all one room, no bathroom. Out back was a 10-year-old port-a-potty that had never been emptied. It took 1-1/2 years to get rid of the mice and mice poop. Our dog even refused to come in!

(Chris) There was no running water. The family living here before used a pulley system to get water up to the cabin in a bucket from the stream! The ‘kitchen’ consisted of a hot plate, microwave, and skinny plywood partition to designate a different room.

(Theresa) The cabin was built in the late ‘30s/early ‘40s. It had belonged to the previous owners since the ‘70s. The lower level had not been repaired after the flood in 2013 and had a bear taking up residence in the crawl space!

How did you approach the renovation/decide on a contractor?

(Theresa) After the mouse clean-up, we hired an initial contractor to do the renovations. They put us on a year-long waiting list, and after that wait informed us that they were too busy to help us after all. That was discouraging. We found Grant (Everitt Construction, LLC) through friends who built a home in Pingree Park. He had done a beautiful job building  their place, and anyone willing to drive up there from Fort Collins (1hour 40minutes!) would surely be willing to make the trip up to Glen Haven!

What was Grant and his team like to work with?

(Chris) This was a difficult project requiring scaffolding and complex problem solving (low ceiling, the house was leaning, needed a vault and cisterns). Grant approached our cabin with a can-do attitude and no drama. He put in 28 concrete piers below the cabin to secure it into the bedrock at the base of the house. Incredible! He also raised the ceiling height (see picture), installed a new fireplace with mason work using local rock. And! He and his team repaired the deck outside that had fallen into a bad state.

(Theresa) Joe Golding with Everitt Construction practically lived at the cabin for 11 months and put his blood, sweat and tears into this place. We are incredibly grateful to him.

Was anyone else involved in the redesign of the cabin?

(Theresa) I realized early on that we had to step back from the design process and think hard about how we wanted to use such a small space for living. It’s small (just over 600sq.ft), so it’s important to consider how you’ll actually ‘live’ in the house.

One of the most important decisions we made was to hire Kim Bradshaw, owner of ‘Color Is Good’ out of Fort Collins. Kim helped us with much more than color; she helped us think about how we would live in the space, location of windows, storage and so much more!

We also relied on our friends Lynn and Chuck Martens (parents of the Martens own the ‘Maus’ cabin at the entry to Glen Haven) who have designed and built four homes in Durango, CO. Their input was vital as they helped us determine the flow of the space, conserve the entry to the deck, and eliminate a large island in the kitchen area.

(Chris) The cabin had a lot of windows but no storage space. We had to remove some of the windows to put in cabinets.

How long did the renovation ultimately take?

(Theresa) Eleven months.

(Chris) So glad it’s over!

What drew you both so strongly to Glen Haven?

(Chris) We love the sense of community in Glen Haven! Everyone looks out for each other here. There’s a realness here that is rare elsewhere.

(Theresa) Glen Haven is a magical and spiritual place for me. I love the mountains and trees as well as the history and the people of this community. I don’t want it to change.

(Chris) Our neighbors along North Fork have been very supportive during this period of renovation, too!

The Martellas pictured in their renovated 'cabin'
Grant Everitt of Everitt Construction, LLC, in Fort Collins, CO

Tell me about the project of restoring this cabin.

We took it from being a ‘cabin’, which the county defines as a dwelling with no running water and no permanent heat, to a ‘single-family residence’. Cabins are typically defined as a place to go with a woodburning fireplace but lacking in comforts. We did some cool stuff with this cabin internally. It had low ceilings, so we raised those and included exposed beams. Not to downplay what was accomplished on the exterior. This was a complete overhaul.

What were some of the challenges you faced working within Glen Haven?

The big issue with this cabin is that it’s 100 feet from the stream. We wanted to tear the cabin down to the floor and rebuild. It was in a pretty sad state. The county, however, requires that the exterior walls stay as-is. This can be a huge challenge for people in this area. You can’t just tear down and start over.

Have you worked in this area before this project?

No, this was our first project in this area. We’d love to continue taking on projects in this area. We send our outdoorsy guys who can stay overnight and work to get the job done. They got to see a lot of wildlife during their time here.

How long did the project take?

We spent 11 months working on this cabin renovation. The location slowed us down a little. Winter weather up in the mountains creates a work slowdown. Our guys were driving up from Fort Collins and Loveland, so they needed clear roads. Painting and exterior work can’t be done in freezing weather. Interior work slows down with extreme cold, too. The tools all had to be hauled uphill.

Was there anything special about working in Glen Haven that you noticed?

We really enjoyed getting lunch at the General Store -- that was great! The food was good! We also enjoyed the people of Glen Haven. They are very nice. People came by quite often to check-in and express interest in the work. Glen Haven has great community involvement!

Did you or your team see any bears during your time working here?

Joe Golding was one of the primary employees on the project up here. He’s an outdoorsman who enjoys solitary work. He reported seeing a lot of wildlife, but no bears. We did set a bear mat in front of the doors.