A family bands together to overhaul Alpenglow Cabin, a cozy hideaway in the peaks of Colorado.

The expansive windows offer unparalleled views of La Plata peak while also providing lots of natural light to the living room and kitchen.

In the summer, the mountain peaks of Colorado flare pink as the sun sets. This breathtaking phenomenon, called alpenglow, is also the namesake of a 1,226-square-foot cabin in Twin Lakes that sits at the base of Independence Pass, nestled against a national forest. Overhauled by two brothers, Daniel and Jon-Marc Kortsch, and their spouses, Christine Bayles Kortsch and Laura Engelman, Alpenglow Cabin offers spectacular views of La Plata Peak and Mt. Elbert—as well as the rosy light it’s named after.

$100
Demolition (Dump Fees)
$10,718
Hardwood Floors
$4,445
Wood Stove & Chimney
$140
Hearth Pad
$1,000
Painting
$324
Vent Hood
$4,431
Windows
$410
Powder Room Wallpaper & Wainscoting
$5,600
Furniture
$4,883
Countertops
$6,076
Bathrooms
$648
Dishwasher
Grand Total: $38,775
The DIY team replaced a noisy, burgundy pellet stove with a Vermont-made Hearthstone wood-burning stove, they created a cozy corner to guests to defrost from the Colorado cold.

The DIY team replaced a noisy, burgundy pellet stove with a Vermont-made Hearthstone wood-burning stove, they created a cozy corner to guests to defrost from the Colorado cold.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Kortsch and Christine Bayles Kortsch

The family had been searching for a cabin in the mountains for years when, in 2019, they came across this run-down property that had been built in 2001. “The interior was dated and dreary, but the bones were good, the structure was sound, and the location couldn’t be topped,” says Christine.

The two couples, along with Christine and Daniel’s two sons, renovated the entire cabin on their own, saving thousands in labor costs. Every weekend for four months, they drove from Denver to the cabin to work from sunup to sundown, welcoming their first Airbnb guests in fall 2019.

“We are not afraid of hard, physical labor,” says Christine, “and we feel a sense of pride in connecting to our family roots and working with our hands.”

A Poly & Bark pendant light hangs from the slanted, 30-foot ceiling, providing an airy complement to a white oak table made by Daniel Kortsch.

A Poly & Bark pendant light hangs from the slanted, 30-foot ceiling, providing an airy complement to a white oak table made by Daniel Kortsch.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Kortsch and Christine Bayles Kortsch

Though the view and location may have been perfect, almost everything in the cabin needed a makeover. “Universal pine paneling, an awkward kitchen layout, dated bathrooms with clunky Home Depot pine vanities and sad claustrophobic shower stalls, maroon cork floors and dated carpet, a hot tub dominating a bright red deck with green trim: It was time for a change,” explains Christine.

Within 24 hours of closing on the house, the couples started to paint the interior pine paneling China White, leaving the window trim and ceiling unfinished to achieve a rustic vibe.

Open black walnut shelving replaced the upper kitchen cabinets, which now displays a vintage copper collection. The countertops are a crisp PentalQuartz in Carrara.

Open black walnut shelving replaced the upper kitchen cabinets, which now displays a vintage copper collection. The countertops are a crisp PentalQuartz in Carrara.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Kortsch and Christine Bayles Kortsch

See the full story on Dwell.com: Budget Breakdown: Two Couples Turn a Dated Cabin Into a Dreamy Mountain Retreat for $39K
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