12 Tips for Remodeling an A-Frame

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The A-Frame is a classic style of architecture that was wildly popular in the 1950s to 1970s and is now trending again.  This architectural style has captured our imagination with its playful steep and sloping roofline, large triangular windows and open modern floor plan.  It is often connected with the outdoors and natural settings bringing a sense of adventure to these homes that appeal to outdoor lovers.

Key Elements of A-Frame Design

An A-Frame is built using several rafters and roof trusses that connect at the top of the roof with its gables extending all the way to the ground.  It features no vertical walls with the sloping side of the roof essentially becoming the walls.

A-Frames will appeal if you love large windows, vaulted ceilings, providing an open floor plan on the main floor, and lofty spaces for sleeping on the upper floor.  The cozy nook of the attic can also serve as a play area for the kids, a man cave, an office, or reading nook.

A-Frame structures use a simple design and use fewer building materials than a traditionally built home.  These homes are often found in nature whether it be in a forest, on a lake, or river, and bring the outdoors inside with large windows and decks.  They often appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers for this reason.

While A-Frames are hugely popular, particularly for vacation homes, they do come with pros and cons you’ll want to consider before buying or building one.  But to know them is to love them. It’s hard not to fall for their cool, modern style – even if yours is still in the fixer-upper stage.  If you find yourself with an older A-frame in need of some love, there are plenty of easy updates to make your old A-frame your perfect modern retreat.


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 12 Ideas For Remodeling Your A-frame:

  1. Paint the exterior – today’s modern A-frames are favoring dark bold exterior colors –  charcoal grey or black are trending right now and can take your home from meh to wow. Colors found in nature are also popular – sage or mossy green and earthy browns.  A cabin at the lake might look at watery blues and greens for inspiration.
  2. Paint the front door.  An easier (and less expensive) upgrade to painting the whole cabin is to give your front door some punch by giving it a fun pop of color.  It could be a bold color to contrast with your woodsy or dark cabin and will make a welcoming first impression.
  3. Convert attic space.  If you’re using your attic space for storage or as an undefined space, convert it into usable space.  It could be an additional sleeping space, a reading nook filled with books, a home office, or a game room.
  4. Swap out ceiling fans and light fixtures.  Lighting is a relatively easy way to update your A-frame home. If the lighting looks like it still belongs to your granny, swap out for modern versions. Lighting trends include geometric pendant lights, sconces over beds and in bathrooms (or in reading nooks), and mixed materials for lighting including metal and iron as well as softer materials like bamboo, fabric, or wicker.



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5. Lighten up the interior – If your home is feeling a little dull, a coat of white paint can do wonders to perk up a room making it feel lighter and brighter (and even a bit more spacious).  Since traditional A-frames use wooden beams, you might look to paint them lighter or darker (go bold with black) to make them pop against the white walls and provide some contrast.

6. Maximize Natural light – A-frames generally feature large windows that let in plenty of natural light.  If you have window coverings, keep them sheer or do away with them if possible.  The A-frame design allows for a whole wall of windows so if budget allows, look at adding windows or replacing them with larger ones.  If the windows are not letting in enough light, consider skylights or solar tubes to add more sunlight.  Replacing solid exterior doors for those with window panels is another relatively easy update for natural light. Or for a bold modern look, replace your front door with a large glass sliding door.

7. Use space wisely– Despite the open floor plan of A-frames, there are usually some nooks and crannies as you ascend up to the smaller attic space.  Get clever with utilizing small spaces.  For example, if you have stairs going up to the second level, the space under the stairs might be used for a wall of books and a small reading nook or create a bar area rather than sitting empty.  A-frames might present some storage challenges due to the openness of the layout, but there are plenty of clever solutions.

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8. Accessorize – small changes go a long way in updating your cabin from a vintage cabin vibe to a modern cabin.  Soft furnishings like throw pillows, blankets and throws warm the space for a cozy feel. Mix some bold patterns in like buffalo plaid or geometric designs.  Use natural materials like wool, leather, sheepskin rugs, macrame wall hangings to bring a modern, organic feel into the space.

9. Fireplace – a wood-burning fireplace or stove is the heart of the home. There is nothing quite so cozy as gathering around a wood-burning fire.  If your fireplace is looking tired, you might update the mantel or surround it with some modern rustic elements to give it new life.  Or replace it with a wood-burning stove.

10. Accent wall – an easy way to update and modernize a room is to make one wall into a statement – it could be some bold wallpaper or a shiplap backdrop behind a bed (or in the kitchen or bath) to provide personality.

11. Simplify– A-frames tend to be open plan and limited on storage so it’s definitely a case of less is more style.  Take inspiration from Scandinavian design and keep things light and bright (and minimal).  Furniture with clean lines and simple shapes will help the simple architecture of the A-frame shine.  Open shelves might replace heavier cabinets and keep an airy feel throughout.

12. Bring the Outdoors In – A-frames were made as outdoor retreats and are often used as vacation homes.  So let the outdoors come inside with green plants, organic furnishings like rock, stone, ceramic, bamboo, or wicker.

It’s no surprise that A-frames have resurged in popularity again. Their cool style lends itself to taking an old house and making it modern and fresh.  There are many easy and affordable ways to update your home and remember to have fun along the way.  Let your creativity and imagination soar –  A-frames were made for adventures.