A PNW Escape – The Red A Frame

I have been following Red A Frame for a while now… I get SO MUCH inspiration from this account. I absolutely love the interior of this renovated A Frame cabin, so many beautiful details.

I can’t even tell you how inspired I am by their home and how much I relate to their story. #1. We also live in San Diego and have been talking about moving or finding a slower pace. #2. We have been talking about building or renovating an A Frame home for years! #3. We are also big dreamers and currently have an airbnb… but are looking to expand. #4. They also have two children, which can seem like a barrier sometimes. It is great seeing other people with kids following their dreams and doing big things. ☺ï¸

This is a story of a new beginning, of persistence, renovation… the home turned out beautifully (see for yourself below) and they are living their dream just outside of Portland, Oregon on 2.5 acres in their A Frame. (WHICH by the way, is on airbnb.)

Their story is part of our Guest Post series! Thanks so much Liz for being a part and sharing your story!

 Passing it over to Liz:

Before we lived in Oregon we were a young couple in San Diego with a toddler, a baby and a big dream to own our own piece of paradise.

At the time I was a full time stay at home mom in the thick of it with a newborn and toddler helping one of my girlfriends manage two adorable Airbnb cottages that she owned in the heart of downtown. I remember thinking gosh how wonderful it would be to do something like this for ourselves one day. My husband was a burnt out school teacher who had been teaching in the inner city schools for 7 years and was desperately needing a change of environment. He was teaching at the high school located in the busy downtown and was eagerly wanting and seeking a slower pace of life.
The dream became to set roots down in a small town away from all the hustle and bustle so after coming to the realization that we couldn’t afford our dream home in the highly expensive and competitive San Diego market it was a motivator in our decision to pack up, find new jobs and move to a different state for a fresh new start and opportunity.
You hear people talk about doing this all the time but to physically do it is a whole another thing, especially with little ones in tote. It’s scary with so many unknowns but we had done it before as a newly engaged couple 7 years prior when we moved to San Diego from the PNW so we knew it could be done. It took facing our fear of the unknown and having faith that if you work hard towards that dream and take the necessary steps then it’s a recipe for success – odds are things will work out and everything will eventually be fine. But don’t get me wrong it’s not easy and it sure wasn’t for us but it was worth fighting for.
I want to share our story to help inspire anyone that is in a rut like we were and try my best to not sound like an annoying self help book but to tell others that you don’t have to be stuck, things can change for the better. Like my mom always says, if there is a will, there is a way. Our life is not perfect but if you can recognize that no ones ever is and know the difference between happy and stuck in a rut then you are on the right path. Overall, we are in such a good place so just know this… yes, dreams can come true and you can live a life by design as we believe we are striving for everyday.
We didn’t want to leave the paradise that is SoCal necessarily especially having my entire family down there like my parents and siblings who where our support system but we knew it was right for us. Being raised in the PNW where the rivers and lakes run wild and green open spaces roam free we came to the realization that we wanted that to be the background to our kids childhood just as it had been ours. The PNW was calling our name so the decision to move our family north was made after a year of pondering it.
So here we are today and I can happily say we went from being renters in an expensive, small outdated two bedroom bungalow in South Park (a hip and popular neighborhood of downtown San Diego area which I miss dearly, especially all the yummy restaurants) jam-packed and crowded with neighbors left and right and airplanes flying above our head every 3 minutes to becoming home owners of a funky A-Frame cabin on 2.5 beautiful acres of peaceful and quiet farm land with gorgeous mountain views and quail, chickens, roosters and goats as neighbors.
Can someone pinch me?!
So here is where the reality is, it wasn’t easy but we did it. The real estate market and inventory in the small Oregon town that we chose of Hood River which is situated about 60 miles east of Portland was also very expensive and competitive. After a year of renting in Hood River and getting the feel for the area, casually looking for a home, studying the real estate market the feeling of discouragement that this might not work out for us was definitely starting to sink in. As soon as we decided it was now or never we got qualified for a home loan and within a couple weeks after not having the greatest experience with realtors we took matters into our own hands.
One morning I was driving around on my way to take my two young toddlers at the time to the playground when I saw a Windermere sign on the side of the road. As I always did at the time, I pulled in to check it out. I drove down a gravel road and behind overgrown pushes peeked out the most peculiar structure.
An A-frame cabin.
The property itself was a dump yard, old, overgrown and abandoned BUT it was on acreage, quiet, beautiful views of Mt. Hood and only 1.5 miles from town. Beggars can’t be choosers right? There seriously wasn’t anything available in town and whenever anything popped up it was gone in an instant. This was different and I could immediately tell it was a diamond in the rough and I was eager to know more about it.

I could hear the neighbors roosters and goats in the background and the bright pink blooms of the Dogwood tree in the front yard along with the most beautiful view of Mt. Hood, the warm May sunshine hitting my back all took my breath away. I had never seen an A-Frame in real life and was so curious and over taken by the potential beauty.

I work in marketing (prosales in the outdoor retail industry) and my husband is a middle school science teacher so summers we take off and road trip, travel, visit national parks, go camping, visit family and friends you name it. So this year we decided to Airbnb our home the entire 10 weeks during the summer season and it booked. Every single night! We were blown away.
The experienced of being an Airbnb host was incredible with all it’s up and downs and deserves it’s own blog post but I will say this, if you don’t mind sharing your home, want to earn extra money and travel weeks, months at a time then we couldn’t recommend it more – do it!

Living in an A frame has been so fun for the entire family. The kids think it’s the wildest idea that they live inside a triangle and we find that hilarious! We have plans to one day add a third bedroom and a second bathroom as our children grown older and budget allows. As much as the interior has gotten a good facelift and much more comfortable overall, the plans for a real kitchen remodel is still in the horizon . And don’t get me started on the outside with patios, decks and all the landscaping.
We are on farmland with farming irrigation so plans to use it are also brewing. Nothing crazy but the dream of a You Pick is definitely in the picture with flowers and pumpkins as the main crop. This first fall we are testing out a pumpkin patch so we’ll see how many end up growing and if we end up selling them or handing them out for free to friends this first year.
Again, we are creeping up on our one year anniversary of closing on this property and even though so much has happened in these past short months there is still a lifetime of projects to go. We are complely ok with that too because we love projects and we’ll jump to any opportunity and excuse to be creative and live by design. Hard work doesn’t scare us instead it motivates us and fuels ambition. So, we’ll see what the next 5 years, 10 years looks for us here at the Red A Frame but I sure hope it continues to bring our family the happiness and freedom we once dreamed about.
** Many of the photos in this post are taken by Malloryanne Leasure –> @hellomalloryanne
Others are taken from their instagram page @RedAFrame
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