The Tiny Mountain Home Sourcebook

project
OVERVIEW

the
INSPIRATION

the
EXTERIOR

the
KITCHEN

living +
DINING

shop
THE LOOK

Project Overview

The Homeowners

The Roth Family (That’s us!)

Size

640 Sq Ft, 2 Bed, 2 Bath

Timeline

5 Weeks

The DL

Brett and I had been casually looking for a place in Park City for years. We’re huge snowboarding addicts, and found ourselves spending most winter weekends in this charming old mining town. We had a tight budget, and real estate in a ski resort town is never cheap. We knew the exact area of town we wanted to be in, limited to a several-block radius that was both walking distance to the base of Park City Ski Mountain and Main Street.

When this mountin home property came up, the price was right, and it had just the extra dose of charm and potential that all the other condos we’d seen had been lacking. We roped my brother-in-law and his wife into the plan, signed on the dotted lines, and then I got to work!

The Plan

This tiny 640 sq foot space felt generic and dated, but with its sweet, standalone facade and original wood floors, Brett and I could see it had major potential. The plan was to turn this into the perfect tiny mountain home getaway. To us, this included maximizing the square footage to include as much storage and sleeping space as possible, and designing the space to feel current, cozy, and cared for.

The Inspiration

TMH Inspiration

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Tiny Mountain Home Exterior

As part of an HOA, there really wasn’t anything we could do to update the exterior of this property. What we like is that it looks like a little standalone cottage, even though we actually share a wall with neighbors behind us, and a floor with neighbors below. Fortunately, the HOA keeps the exterior clean, cleared of snow, and well maintained, which is a major plus for us, living several states away.

The Kitchen

I had never before worked on a project with such extreme space constraints. Every inch mattered. If I was off in my measurements by a fraction, the whole design would fall apart. We had to get special appliances that worked within our tiny home parameters. I added a dishwasher and an eat-in kitchen to the design, where the eat-in-kitchen also had to function as the home’s entryway. And somehow, I also managed to add shiplap, exposed brick, and corrugated metal accent walls into the mix. But first: demo.

Tiny Mountain Home Demo

And not just any demo, but demo in a full-on blizzard.

Now that is what I’d call an extreme home makeover!! There wasn’t a garage, or a dumpster, or even a single bit of outside area that was covered.  And just to make it more fun, we received 60 inches of snow in 3 days.

Eventually though, it was time to start putting everything back together. Here are the final kitchen specs we landed on.

Flooring

I knew I wanted to keep the original wood floors in place, and when we bought the mountain home, our fingers were crossed that the original floors extended under the tile in the kitchen. Once we signed the paperwork, the first thing I did was rip up that tile and GUESS WHAT? The floors were there – SCORE! Once everything was sanded down, I selected a custom stain that consisted of two parts brown and one part gray. (See Special Project | Original Wood Floors in Living Room for more details.)

Cabinets & Hardware

Glossy, flat paneled cabinets from IKEA felt clean, simple, and sparse. I didn’t use any hardware, instead opting for push-open doors, because hardware would have felt too busy in this space. (See Special Project: IKEA Cabinets below for more details.)

Plumbing & Appliances

Stainless steel appliances, sink, and plumbing fixtures had to feel cohesive in such a small area. 

Countertops & Backsplash

Charcoal quartzite counters provided a durable finish in a color that felt both soft and warm, even in this hard material, giving off the effect of a classic soap stone.

Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories

A single pendant light feels simple and rustic. An IKEA bench serves as space-saving kitchen seating and a place to remove shoes when walking in the front door. Molded lucite chairs are super durable, while still feeling light and airy.

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Special Project | Kitchen Table: There were really no great table options that fit this tiny mountain home space, so I had to build one. This consisted of a prefab butcher-block top, stained gray, and two vintage-style iron bistro table bases.
Special Project | Snowboard Rack: I wanted to make sure that there was a place to hang skis and snowboards as soon as you walked in the door, so I designed a corrugated metal wall with hooks and a boot tray to act as our tiny, designated “ski locker” area.
Special Project | IKEA Cabinets: While the electricians ran all new wires, the plumbers ran all new pipes, and the finish carpenters started snapping their lines — I unloaded all the IKEA cabinets from our car and started building!

For those considering IKEA cabinets, we would highly recommend them with a few caveats:

  • Unless you’re VERY handy, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can install them yourself and have them look the same as they do in the store. We consider ourselves pretty capable and we NEVER could have installed these properly without the help of our carpenters.
  • Measure, measure, MEASURE! 1/2 of an inch off and you’re in trouble!
  • Though they are relatively inexpensive, there are added costs such as toe kicks, hinges, side panels, etc. that can start to add up. Do your $$$ homework before you purchase!

Shop Kitchen Accessories and Decor

The Living Room

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This mountain home living room was essentially a blank canvas when I got my hands on it. I wanted to give it tons of character without taking up any space. This meant utilizing the walls as a means of adding texture and interest to the room. Shiplap and an exposed brick accent wall were the perfect backdrops for the cozy gas fireplace and layered fabrics of the final design.

TMH Living

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Special Project | Black Trim Work: I’d been eyeing photos of black trim work for sometime, and I decided this was the project to pull the trigger on. Juxtaposed against all of the white shiplap walls, the black trim work and doors felt bold, yet also classic, somehow.
Special Project | Spiral Staircase: What do you do with a heavy black iron spiral staircase that’s smack dab in the middle of your design? Embrace it! New gray, shag carpeting makes this feature a fun, cheeky addition to the design instead of a clunky, purely utilitarian afterthought.
Special Project | Original Wood Floors: One of the main reasons we were drawn to this mountain home were the old wood floors throughout.  We really hoped we could salvage and refinish them.  However, the entire kitchen and entry area was tiled.  We had to hammer, chisel, jack-hammer, and sledge hammer through THREE layers of old tile and mortar but FINALLY, under all that mess — the wood floors we so desperately were hoping for APPEARED.  We were so excited!  It wasn’t easy but we chipped away and got all that old tile up.

After all the tile was laid and the carpentry was done, it was finally time to sand down the floors.  Now, just a side note – in order to sand the floors, NOTHING could be on the upstairs or downstairs floors.  Like we mentioned before — no garage, no extra space, no NOTHING!  Just noting this because this is why renovations can be so challenging.  We had to move EVERYTHING (think couches, sinks, toilets, tools, tv’s, appliances, etc) to a storage unit.  It’s never as easy as it sounds!

The floors sanded down beautifully:

Time to choose the stain!  Which would you choose?

We went with the color on the right.  Two parts brown, one part gray.  They turned out awesome!

Shop Living Room Accessories and Decor

The Loft

For me, this loft, with its curved pony wall and vaulted ceilings, was love at first sight. As the “master” of the two bedrooms, with its en suite bathroom, I wanted it to offer seating, storage, and sleeping arrangements. No small feat, but by measuring down to the millimeter, and finding creative storage solutions and multi-functional furniture pieces (vintage lockers, storage beds, futon sofa), I was able to make it work. Quirky task lighting, and a fan to prevent stuffy sleeping conditions, top it all off and make for a super tiny, super efficient, super sweet little space that slept two adults and two children quite comfortably for a whole week this past Christmas. (P.S. Kids LOVE this room!)

TMH Loft BA

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Bed Storage
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Special Project | Shiplap for Days: You may or may not have noticed that there is not a spec of drywall to be found in this tiny mountain home. (Except on a few ceilings, if you’re being picky.) And though the space may have been small, the task of covering every single surface of the interior with shiplap was not. Typically, shiplap is a horizontal wood wall panelling.  In our case, since we were installing over existing drywall, we opted to use very thin plywood and rip it into “boards.”  We then nailed these to the walls with a nickel’s worth of space between.  When painted, it gives the look of shiplap without the cost or the weight on the walls.  We followed this very helpful Hooked on Houses Blog Post.  And did I mention my carpenters?  They were awesome!

To give an idea of what the difference is, here a photo of the bare walls when we started:

And after working around the clock, here is a photo just a few days later of the walls with the thin brick and the shiplap:

Special Project | Under Bed Storage: One of our favorite purchases by far were two IKEA MALM Storage Beds.  The storage gained was the equivalent of two closets!

 

TMH Loft

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Shop Loft Accessories and Decor

The Downstairs Bedroom

The bedroom of our tiny mountain home was a real challenge because we added a stacked washing machine and dryer into this already impossibly tight space. A sliding barn door conceals the utilities, while task lighting, recessed lighting, and a fan provide ample opportunity to customize your environment.

TMH Downstairs Bed

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Shop Downstairs Bedroom Accessories and Decor

Tiny Mountain Home Progress Report: Still Blizzarding

Finally, it was time to finish painting, install the countertops, add all the finish electrical, and a million other final touches!  Here is a video close to the end of the project:

And just a reminder – the entire time we were working – the SNOW WAS FALLING!  What a winter wonderland! Great for snowboarding and pretty scenery – not so great for getting work done.

https://youtu.be/9w39xtLMJgk

The Downstairs Bathroom

TMH Downstairs Bath BA

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This little black and white charmer of a bathroom is not as sweet as she looks.

When it came time to add the tub, things started to go down the drain (get it?!). The tub was cast iron and that means it was HEAVY!  Also, the plumbing supplier sent us the WRONG TUB.  So we were on a deadline, the tractor trailer somehow made it up the mountain in a snowstorm, we got the super heavy tub unloaded and unpacked only to realize they sent a tub with the drain on the wrong side.  Ahhhhh!  So instead of returning the tub and waiting for another, we decided to move all the plumbing to the other side.

Fitting the cast iron bathtub into such tight quarters proved to be a huge debacle, which required the cutting of walls and studs, and the near loss of several fingers to complete. But it was all worth it in the end, I think. (Says the girl who did not nearly lose ⅖ of her right hand digits. If you ask the plumber, he might feel differently.)

TMH Downstairs Bath

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Shop Downstairs Bathroom Accessories and Decor

Shop the Look

If you’re interested in what we bought, we kept most of the products organized in a Pinterest Board.  In our opinion, this is the easiest way to manage a project.

 

And here is a compilation of all of the shoppable links found throughout this entire post:

 

Credits

This project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well (many who flew from sunny California to help in a blizzard!)

General Contractor: Built Custom Homes | Finish Carpentry: Ray Elder | Electric: Erick Pala

 

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