Bring great camp-inspired decor into your cabin.
By Janice Brewster
Moneyed East Coast families snapped up thousands of acres of undeveloped land in the Adirondack area of New York in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Filled with streams, alpine lakes and high peaks, the region offered beauty and outdoor activities for these turn-of-the-last-century barons and their friends. The families built Great Camps: compounds of luxury lodges, guest houses, staff quarters and entertainment amenities from boat houses to stables to bowling alleys. The architecture and decoration they used came to define Adirondack style. If you would like to echo Great Camp style in your cabin, look for inspiration here – and all around you in the great outdoors.
1. Adirondack Style
This log cabin sits on a 20-acre parcel south of Big Sky, Mont., at a 7,500-foot elevation. The cabin’s square logs are complemented by twiggy railings and ornamentation – from branches on the property, barnwood and the rusty patina of the steel roof (intentional), all combining to give the cabin a timeworn look.
2. Rustic Artistry
A powder room in Adirondack style combines bark, burnished metal, stone and the amber glow of a shaded pendant light. Finds from the forest fit right into the style, which also echoed the ornate Victorian and stout Arts & Crafts décor that was popular during the Great Camps’ heyday. Supplier: The Bark House, barkhouse.com
3. Hang a Shingle
The exterior of classic Adirondack camps featured a mix of organic materials. From logs to wood shakes to stone, Mother Nature supplied the style. Poplar bark shingles follow the tradition – especially when accented with the red window trim so beloved by yesteryear’s Adirondack elite. Supplier: The Bark House, barkhouse.com
4. Pack It Up
Beautiful and functional, the iconic Adirondack pack basket makes a wonderful addition to Adirondack décor and lifestyle. The reed baskets, with their leather or cotton straps, were designed for toting camping or fishing gear. Wood runners on the bottom of the baskets allow them to stand upright and protect them against wear and tear. Maker: Adirondack Pack Baskets, adirondackpackbaskets.com
5. Twigs Are Big
One of the mainstays of traditional Adirondack style is twigwork. Owners of the original Great Camps hired local artisans to build furniture for their vast estates that combined Victorian forms with rustic flair. Twigs were often used as inlaid decoration on doors, frames, cabinetry and all types of furniture. Maker: Adirondack Craftsman, adirondackcraftsman.com
6. Lodge Luxe
Large spaces with an intimate feel convey Adirondack style. In the Great Camps, massive stone fireplaces handcrafted by local masons anchored seating areas and provided much-desired warmth. Here, windows with dividing grilles provide a vintage feel and rich wood tones add a layer of coziness.
7. A Long Summer's Night
Great Camp screened porches were plentiful and offered connection to the outdoors without the bother of bugs and rain. This sleeping porch adds charm to a cabin, creating a dreamy space to listen to the birds or the splash of a nearby lake. The tongue-and-groove-lined ceiling and painted window trim are staples of Adirondack style. Designer/Builder. Lands End Development, landsenddev.com
8. Branch Out
Naturally bent branches or curving willow were often used as railings or trim for porches in the Adirondacks. Swiss chalet style surfaces on larger Great Camps, with the addition of overhanging balconies and gingerbread trim. Log posts and beams with bark intact fit perfectly with the style. Lodge: Dartbrook Lodge, dartbrooklodge.com