when dave allen saw this little 900 square foot house in the woods above napa, it had been abandoned and left open and was basically uninhabitable, but there was something magical about it and david decided to take the plunge. the house had been built in the 1940s as a summer cabin. since the home’s paper-thin walls and questionable foundation make a remodel impractical, david intends to eventually build a new structure on the site. in the meantime, he looked for inexpensive ways to make this summer cabin comfortable and liveable – and when he does build his new space, you can bet he’ll salvage everything possible from this one! {thanks dave! and thanks to adrian gregorutti for the photos!}

[I’m completely happy in my unheated hideout, drawing water from an above ground spring and sharing with the space with bats and raccoons. Bonus features that bring me daily pleasure include a creek and a mountain (which, as it seems to be unclaimed, I’ve informally annexed). My nearest neighbors are the vineyards of the famous Hess Winery. Down the hill in my Sonoma showroom, Artefact Design & Salvage. I tend toward overscale and unusual objects displayed rather dramatically. At home I simply want to surround myself with meaningful objects. So in my wee cabin my only ongoing conscious design consideration is trying to keep the ambience calm and uncluttered despite layers of favorite objects competing for attention everywhere in the tiny space.]

The kitchen had been stripped of everything and was just an empty alcove. I brought in Ikea cabinets and had a friend pour the raw concrete countertop. Ceiling is corrugated aluminum, flooring is simply painted subfloor.The painting is by Roger Groth. I have a little frog living in the staghorn fern (Platycerium Superbum) just under the gold corncob trophy. Last summer when I discovered him I put him outside, thinking he’d been trapped by accident. But a few days later he was back. We’re now old friends and on warm evenings he croaks happily.

Painting by Mark Hobley. Corrugated aluminum siding from Home Depot. Buddha collection, gilt angel wings are Italian antiques.

Skylight is original, though I did have to re-sheetrock the ceiling to get rid of the mold. The oversize armoire is salvaged from a textile mill in India, and the bookshelves I out of scaffolding frames I found in Belgium.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Dave’s peek after the jump!

Carved column from Rajastan. Painted surface has a particular ancient crustiness unique to India. Overhead beam is salvaged California Redwood. I had these lying around and installed them here simply to add a bit of intrigue.

Original pine paneling above stairs which lead to a narrow utility room and basement below. Fragment of a gilt pier mirror from a burnt Baltimore mansion hangs above the (1967 Gretsch Country Gentleman) guitar. Zinc balustrade is from Paris Flea Market


Limestone putti heads, architectural terra cotta fragments, Italian marble panel and antique Italian gilt fruit swags

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Design*Sponge: dave allen of artefact design & salvage