“I’m just happiest when I’m making stuff! Blogging lets me play, which is a gift.”
–Melissa Coleman, The Faux Martha
Melissa Coleman is best known for her online presence as The Faux Martha, where she blogs about food and recipes as well as home design. She is a creator at the core and a graphic designer by trade. Her design media have changed over the years, but her intent to create things for other people to experience has remained the same.
When Melissa finished school in 2008, she began working full time and started a food blog on the side for her own enjoyment. Her design background was revealed with the aesthetic she was creating, and blogging became a larger part of her life than she had ever pictured it would be. She also started working on building and slowly designing her home, which became another new way for her to create. As what once were hobbies continued to grow, Melissa eventually stopped working to blog full time and design blogs for clients.
“Minimalism always looks so simple in finality, but getting there is hard.”
Melissa has been creating for over ten years, and content and the way people create is ever-changing. After sharing her house updates for a while, she also began incorporating helpful tips for designing a space. She decided she wanted the content she was sharing to have more of a personal connection for her, which led to the idea of finding and renovating a cabin. An offline location to combat the fast pace of life was exactly what Melissa and her husband wanted for their own lives, and the thought of sharing that type of content forever made it the perfect endeavor for them.
After a year searching online for the perfect place, a chalet frame cabin in northern Minnesota appeared on Realtor.com and Melissa and her husband went to visit. On the drive home they put in an offer on what would become known as The Minne Stuga. Their vision was for the cabin to become a rental property as well as a place for their family to personally enjoy. Cabin retreats are common in Minnesota, and there is a community aspect involved in renting cabins or visiting cabin resorts on the north shore in the summers. The project as a whole is what Melissa calls a “celebration of Minnesota”, because they are working with several local companies that have compelling stories.
The Minne Stuga project was announced in March of 2020, just before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. This forced them to slow down the project for a while, leaving it seemingly stuck in the collective trauma of the last year. Now that things are looking brighter, work has commenced again on the cabin. Melissa described the resumption of the project as interesting, because they were so passionate about it before everything happened with the pandemic that it felt odd to start working on it again after such a long hiatus.
Melissa learned of Kebony through Taiga Design, a company located near the cabin that has used Kebony products on several projects. Since The Minne Stuga was built in the 1970s, it had a weak roof and siding due to aging. Melissa knew she wanted to preserve the original look and feel of the cabin while updating and strengthening it. The harsh temperatures in northern Minnesota required a building material that would be durable and have longevity in that climate. For these reasons, Kebony Character was selected to replace the cabin’s siding and decking. The product has a natural look and feel that is not too clean or perfect, which aligns with the vision of maintaining the integrity of The Minne Stuga’s original design.
The cabin is still underway, and Melissa continues to look for pieces that age timelessly and honor the original intent of the first owners of The Minne Stuga. When it is finished, it will look new, but will give a nod to the cabin’s original form and function. The project is perfect for the place where Melissa currently finds herself in her design journey, where she is finding wisdom in honing her art and simplifying her life.
Follow @thefauxmartha and @theminnestuga on Instagram for pictures and updates on the cabin’s progress!