I just returned from my annual Memorial Day trip with my family to Lake Cherokee in Longview, Texas. Every year we gather there and spend our days cooking, relaxing on the pier and playing in the boat out on the lake. I look so forward to this trip for many reasons including some major R&R as well as quality time with my awesome family. We grew up going to this lake in the summertime and we all have so many great memories of good times spent together there.
What makes our trip so unique compared to other people’s lake house journey is the family log cabin that we stay in that my great grandfather built back in 1946. This isn’t any regular log cabin, The Antlers(the name given to the cabin) is the real deal.
To this day, almost all of the furnishings and decorations are original to when the house was built. The aesthetic of the cabin is rooted in family history and has shared the Lightfoot (my mom’s family name) heritage with all that walk through its doors.
Above is the room that we spend most of our family time telling old stories and playing games. There is a huge fireplace that has a pit so big that four people could fit in it. The buffalo head above the mantel was a trophy of my great grandfather who was famous for his collection of taxidermy. A wagon wheel chandelier hangs above us in the center always reminding me of that wagon wheel coffee table scene in When Harry Met Sally.
The banister and staircase to an upstairs bedroom is made entirely of one branch from a tree on the property as it was being built. It amazes me that this staircase is still in tact and that it hasn’t broken after all these years. A true testament to the art of handmade things. The entire house is made of logs and wood that were all from trees on the property before it was built, there isn’t one piece of the house that isn’t natural.
This chair is one of the coolest things in the house. Apparently, it was originally made of zebra skin but had to be re-done with cowskin because it was damaged. The design of this chair is really unbelievable and I’m pretty sure in all of the world, there isn’t another chair like this one.
The house is filled with reminders of the past with old saddles, navajo blankets, old family photos, skins and mounted taxidermy creating the environment.
For the past couple of years I have seen this type of Old Wild West aesthetic grow in popularity in the retail environment which always makes me giggle inside thinking about the authentic nature of our cabin. I always think about how much people try and copy this look for retail stores, showrooms and photo sets and noone could ever get close to how this place was put together and remains.
My great grandfather centered the cabin around his trophy elk above which the cabin had to be built around. Because the antlers were so big, they had to place the elk on the wall and they continued to build the architecture of the cabin around that in order to make it the centerpiece of the cabin, thus calling the house The Antlers.
The kitchen bar is one of our favorite morning gathering spots despite how tiny it is for a crew of 12. The saddle chair being one of my favorite things in the house, there is nothing cuter than seeing the little ones sit and eat breakfast there. The kitchen is filled with old family remnants and a huge amount of cast iron pans and old china dinnerware.
The shelf above was made by my great grandfather to store the family’s blue willow china. The brands you see represent every member of his family when he built the cabin in 1946. Another handmade item that has stood the test of time in this cabin!
The porch outside has always been the family picture spot and a great place for morning coffee reading. Below is a picture of the Lightfoot crew back in 1949 on this same porch.
On the last day, I managed to clean myself up and get a few pictures. :) Every year I go to the cabin, I get so inspired to do a photo shoot there and always wish that I could go there with a crew and models and create a fantastic editorial. It is such a perfect set and I know many art directors out there would die at the chance to shoot there. My hope is that it will happen one day. Any takers?