Remodeling A Dreamy Catskills Getaway

Homeowner Liv grew up in Norway, where more than half a million cabins are dotted across the mountains and coastal regions. “It’s pretty common for families to vacation at their winter or summer cabin,” she says, “After moving to the States, I had really missed having that kind of simple escape.” Searching for that sense of home and comfort, she and her husband, David, found it in a Catskills cabin.

But “as we started to dream,” David said, “The dream just kept getting bigger.”

The house was in fairly decent shape when they bought it, the previous owners having been in construction, and at first, the soon-to-be parents thought they wouldn't have to do much. But “as we started to dream,” David said, “The dream just kept getting bigger.”

As they started to dream about their remodel, the dream just kept getting bigger.

Finding the Best GC for the Job

Because they were in a remote area, they struggled to find a great general contractor. “There’s not a whole lot of information online,” says Liv, “and we were driving around jotting down numbers off lawn signs, giving them a call, and trying to suss out what their portfolio was like.” They called every contractor they could find, and had eight separate teams come by the house to give an estimate.

They found that part of the challenge with collecting multiple bids was that they were asking contractors to put hours into their project to properly scope the work. "It's the responsible thing to do when hiring someone for a project of this size," says Liv. "But it doesn't really seem fair or efficient for either party."

Planning with Beam takes a different approach to the bidding process. Before starting the process of finding the right team, homeowners are given the tools and guidance to design and build out their initial scope of work. That detailed plan is then shared with vetted and licensed local pros, who can bid on the project and assign a price. The homeowner can choose between bids with transparent pricing and clear next steps.

Catskills cabin with enclosed staircase before remodel
Catskills cabin with floating staircase after remodel

Managing A Home Remodel

As fun as it was to lay on an air mattress in an empty house, looking at sconces and sinks and countertops while dreaming of all the things they could do, Liv says at times managing and keeping track of all the aspects of the project grew wearying.

“I was heavily pregnant and had a full-time job, but also had to micromanage the process if I wanted to get my project across the finish line. You're constantly calling the contractor and keeping up with vendors, making sure things are coming in on time.” At one point their hardwood floors were stuck on a freighter in China, and they didn't know for weeks.

The whole process of a renovation felt like it needed an overhaul to keep up with the times. “I can buy pretty much anything I want on the internet and I know where it is in the shipping process,” she explains, “but I’m spending my nest egg on buying a home and refinishing it and I had no real insight into what was happening?” It could be done better.

David listened to her challenges and set to work creating a solution.

Beam allows homeowners to choose all the materials, fixtures, and finishes they are considering for their space, and see how they fit together. With custom renderings and matched with a detailed scope of work for each project, this process becomes infinitely easier to communicate and manage. Beam gives homeowners the tools to see what they’re going to get ahead of time and keep track of the process all in one place.

Catskills cabin kitchen before remodel
Catskills cabin kitchen with floating shelves after remodel

A Cozy Retreat

While it was hard work to get there, the finished cabin is a restful and happy place to get away from the city. It’s everything that they set out to create when they began their renovation. David’s favorite part of the newly remodeled cabin is the wood-burning stove. “On a snowy day, or cold fall day, the whole family is in there, the stove is going, and everyone’s happy.” Large windows look out onto the forest, lending the feeling that they are surrounded by nature.

Liv loves that, “from my kitchen, I can see my kids playing, the stove is going, there’s plenty of comfortable places to sit and snuggle up and have a hot toddy.” When they wake up in the morning under the large skylights, they feel like they’re part of the cabin’s peaceful surroundings. When they’re spending weekends at the cabin, everyone feels like they’re home.