Nearly 30 years ago, this cabin in the woods of Utah served as a peaceful escape for music and meditation. Today, it's a home away from home for hundreds of Airbnb visitors. The A-Frame Haus, nestled in the quaint town of Heber City, just 25 minutes from Park City, is a true A-frame design. Originally built by Kara Van Dyke's grandfather, this home has been transformed from a rustic cabin to a chic modern refuge.
This week I had the chance to connect with Kara Van Dyke, owner and designer of A-Frame Haus. Kara and her family were originally supposed to call this A-frame hand-me-down home, but when life had a change of plans, a moment at 2am turned this cabin restoration into a unique investment opportunity.
Read my interview with Kara to see how renting her home on Airbnb came to be, and how that decision spiraled into 21.3K followers on Instagram.
When did you first lay eyes on this house?
My grandpa built the cabin 30 years ago. We used to take summer trips there as kids, so I was about 2/3 years old when I started spending time there. I inherited a portion of the land and took out a loan to renovate and purchase the cabin in 2016.
Who did the work on the project?
I did all of the re-design and contracting out myself. It was my first project with this kind of work and it’s been so fulfilling! We were also so lucky to have amazing family and friends who helped with certain projects when they could.
When did demo start?
We started renovations in the spring of 2016 and we STILL have projects to work on... like landscaping ;) but the majority of the big projects were done within a year and half.
Renovations can cause many stressful moments and at times, make you rethink why you started. What was your "OMG, why did we do this again moment??!”
Yes. Absolutely!! I was pregnant with my second boy during all the renovations and we LIVED in the cabin too. It was very stressful, yet such an amazing learning experience at the same time! And so worth it!! But I’d never do it again haha.
Did you go into the renovation knowing you were going to make it a vacation home rental on Airbnb?
Actually we didn’t, it was intended to be our home. Life happened and we had to move. I put it up on Airbnb at 2am when I was feeding my baby... just using some photos from my phone and we had 3 bookings within 12 hours! It’s been incredible for us to be able to afford to hang onto the place and share it with others!
How long have you been sharing it on the platform and how has the Airbnb rental experience been?
It’s been on Airbnb since the spring of 2017. It's been combination of both! Lots of highs and lows. Overall though it’s been an amazing experience and I’m so glad we trusted ourselves and just went for it!
Describe the town of Heber City, UT and near-by attractions that bring people out your way.
Heber Valley is a sweet quaint town. It’s a 25 minute drive to Park City where you can find some of the best skiing in the world!
What do guests say is their favorite part about the house?
People love the feeling when they stay. The quiet, the thoughtful design, just the overall experience of escaping busy life.
What's your favorite time of year to spend a weekend at the house?
I love it year round! Each season offers something really special in our little valley.
What advice do you have for fellow DIY couples who want to take on a project of their own?
Be patient. With your project, but mostly with each other.
If you could put one common Instagram DM question to rest, what would it be?
Hmmm haha I have so many ;) the white paint is “china white” by Benjamin Moore. I’ll go with that one ha!
Describe how you got started hosting client style shoots and how that fits in with your business model?
It started from small businesses contacting me asking to do shoots! Now it’s become a pretty steady part of the business.
What new projects are in the works that you'd like to share?
Well, for everyone who’s been eyeing home decor from the A-Frame Haus I have something really exciting in the works that you’ll love!! That’s all I can say for now ;)
How did you come up with the name "A-Frame Haus"?
The name came from a mix of our heritage and ties to Holland, Germany, and Sweden. Haus means “home” and I love the simplicity of A-Frames so I wanted to keep that actual label in it’s name too. It was the first name that came to me and it just stuck and felt right!
If you could only describe the house in three words, what would they be?
Solitude. Heritage. Inviting.