For designer Heather Lucas—1/2 of the founding team of L.A. design firm Lucas Browning Design—the Northwest has always felt like home. “My family moved from Los Angeles to Spokane, WA, when I was in high school,” she recalls. “It was a big adjustment, but I fell in love with the Inland Northwest which has over 60 lakes. I spent my high school years with friends at their lake cabins enjoying ‘lake life,’ which included boating, waterskiing, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying the long days—it doesn’t get dark until almost 10pm in the summer!”

Heather moved back to L.A. for law school, where she and her husband settled with their two kids. “We always knew we wanted to someday buy a lake cabin in Washington or Northern Idaho where we could be close to family and expose our kids to the lake life we grew up with,” she says. The family rented a few times on Lake Pend Oreille and fell in love, largely thanks to the town of Sandpoint’s awesome restaurants and great music scene. 

They found a diamond in the rough to call their own—an A-frame built in the 1970s that was begging for an update. “There are floor-to-ceiling windows facing the lake with the most beautiful views,” Heather recalls. “But, it had not been updated since the ‘70s, so it was pretty out-of-date, and the bedrooms felt tired and dark. We wanted to make some practical updates—electrical, heating, air conditioning, appliances—but also wanted to update surfaces to brighten everything up. We scraped the ceilings, updated the flooring, painted the entire interior and exterior, and replaced all the lighting. We also reconfigured the old storage room and office to be a bunkroom and cubby room for the kids. The house isn’t big, but it sleeps 19!”

The designer looked to the past when it came to furniture and accessories. “The original owners were so nice to offer to give us any of the existing furniture in the home. They had some beautiful Danish-inspired pieces from the 1970s, including the gorgeous dining table and chairs, that we kept and were the jumping-off point for the design. While I wanted to infuse a lot of color and whimsy, many of the pieces I chose have a nod to the ‘70s, including many of the pieces in the downstairs guest room, the primary dresser, and the lamps in the great room.” 

Since many Lucas Browning Design projects are in Southern California, they weren’t used to the limitations due to weather. “In Idaho, there are certain trades that can only be done in the warmer months,” Heather explains. “For example, we couldn’t start painting the exterior until the temperature outside was over 50 degrees, which meant we couldn’t start painting until May! We wanted the house to be ready in June for summer, so this was a tight squeeze. There also isn’t the same labor pool in Idaho so it was a lot harder to find people who wanted to work in the winter.”

That said, despite the seasonal limitations, the home is a year-round respite. “The lake is also at the base of Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, so we can use our cabin in both the summer and the winter,” Heather explains. “We have so far spent last summer and 2 weeks at Christmas up at the lake and have made so many memories with our family and friends.”

Take a tour in the slideshow.