Cabin Trends


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Nothing makes the heart of many a Minnesotan go pit-a-pat like the arrival of cabin season. Memories of time up at the lake are some of the most carefree—mom and dad are relaxed and available, kids play outside all day, meals are easy, throw something on the grill and rip open a bag of chips, and no really cares what their hair looks like. The cabin is a refuge from your daily demands, hassles and schedules. While cabins of the past were a fairly rustic affair involving log styles, smaller windows, linoleum, and fussy toilets, today’s lake homes are more elaborate and varied in style. I asked Renee Johnson of Nor-Son, Inc., a design/builder who does a lot of custom construction and remodeling in the Brainerd lakes area, what trends they’re seeing.


Guest Houses

Cabins often are a place for extended families to spend time together—parents, grandparents, kids, friends, aunt and uncles— and it can be, um, intense, for all of those folks to sleep under the same roof. That may be why more cabin owners are remodeling or rebuilding existing boathouses to provide additional sleeping and/or entertaining space. Guesthouses are also popular, according to Renee, and can often be added on single-family lots as long as they meet square footage, height maximums and setbacks.

Cleaner Lines

Timeless materials like wood and stone continue to be favored in cabin design, but there has been a trend towards cleaner, modern architecture, which includes more glass & metal. Landscapes are also part of this trend with linear plantings and hedges to match the simpler, more geometric architecture.


Personal Style

A lake home is a fun home and cabin owners increasingly like to express themselves with architectural styles from favorite places they’ve lived or visited or a style that differs from their primary home. Renee sees more variety of architectural styles such as eastern cape, mountain lodge, and modern contemporary.


Outdoor Living

Outdoor entertaining spaces are a must for lake homes and are often designed with connection between kitchens, dining and open living area to lake front activities. Phantom Screens that easily drop down are designed to protect the inside of the home from pesky insects, yet provide visual connection to the outdoors.

More Amenities 

Also, just because it’s a lake place doesn’t mean you have to rough it. Owners want the same amenities they have at home be it heated floors, flat screen TVs, and gourmet kitchens albeit with more playful finishes. Even private spaces such as bathrooms are getting more attention whether it’s through bold, playful colors or luxurious, spa-like qualities.

RE/MAX Results Collection Home

565 Montcalm Place

Edwin Lundie brick two-story on prestigious Montcalm Place. This beautiful home features four bedroom, three bathrooms, a wonderful sun-drenched family room, beautiful woodwork throughout, and a beautiful yard with gardens!

by Laurie Junker

Photos courtesy of Scott Amundson Photography via Nor-Son Inc. Yellow prep kitchen by Pete Sieger Photography, Albertsson Hansen Architects.




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