Cabin complex in Silex is perfect weekend retreat for family | Home & Garden

Cabin complex in Silex is perfect weekend retreat for family | Home & Garden

Searching for a weekend retreat nine years ago Jim and Allie Wright read an ad for the property where they now spend most summer days. “The real-estate agent told us how to get inside, and when we arrived it just had a feeling this was the right place,” Allie recalls. “Then our grand-dog immediately jumped into the pond. That clinched the deal.”

The 20-acre parcel in Silex, in Lincoln County, Missouri, was actually a mini-village with a main lodge, two freestanding workshops, two cabins and several small barns and sheds. After a tremendous amount of do-it-yourself work and a big dose of creative vision, today there are four guest cabins for friends and family, in addition to the main lodge.

The lodge, which dates to the early 1960s when Interstate 270 was being built, was in the path of the highway and relocated to the property. One log cabin was picturesque but in horrible condition. One of the cabins had been a welding shed and horse barn, and another a woodworking shop. A fifth building nestled on the banks of a picturesque pond was finished inside but in poor condition.

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Restoring the building they call the Log Cabin was a monthlong project. All the chinking had to be removed and replaced, as well as the roof. The logs had several decayed areas to be filled, sanded and sealed. Then Allie painted them, afterward applying a faux finish to conceal the repairs.

Décor in each of the cabins is eclectic country. Anything that has a country or vintage theme easily finds its own niche, and each cabin exudes a sense of whimsy and happiness. They also appear as if they were showrooms on HGTV.

Surprisingly, few items have been purchased new. Allie is a second-hand shopper par excellence with a penchant for finding good bargains. She knows the location of every metropolitan area Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity store and loves to peruse the Marketplace pages on Facebook, where she often discovers free treasures.

Damaged portions of a free rug disappear under a bed. Scratched doors from Lowe’s were cut in half and used as headboards for six twin beds. When a friend asked if she wanted a fence that was being replaced, it was cut up and repurposed as a new fence and excess wood was used as cabin walls.

At Home with Allie and Jim Wright in Silex

Inside the log cabin is a bedroom used for guests. The lodge is just out the door to the left. The wood ceiling is made from recycled wood.

“I love to paint,” Allie says pointing out a cedar trunk, a large picture frame and kitchen cabinets she has painted and decorated in a country folk art motif using off-tint paint purchased for $2 a gallon from a paint store.

“It is not what you have that is important, but what you do with it,” she says.

Luckily Allie’s sister Earline Givan lives nearby in Hannibal, and she welds, is an outstanding carpenter and is exceptionally handy. Givan made the many barn doors seen throughout the cabins, wooden countertops, tabletops and even added bathrooms onto two of the cabins.

“She grew up closer to dad who was handy, and I grew up spending more time with mom who had amazing homemaking skills, was an artist and had a good sense of design. We make a great team. I can visualize something, and she can make it.”

“Whenever (the women) ask me to come and look at something, I know it is time to strap on my toolbelt,” Jim says.

Family heirlooms are numerous and kindle pleasant memories, like the wedding bed of Allie’s grandmother. Paintings by Jim’s mother decorate the walls. Her father’s folk-art people welded from horseshoes (which he sold at Silver Dollar City) are here and there. So are tables and chairs he crafted from barrels.

A common theme of the interiors of all five buildings are strings of lights in all shapes, colors and sizes, which highlight fireplace mantels, ceiling perimeters and tabletops adding a warm glow to every corner of every room.

Another theme are collections displayed in unusual places. A bathroom wall holds a variety of narrow porch-style mailboxes. Another wall is decorated with vintage porcelain lids of different sizes. A porch is home to a collection of birdhouses. The outside wall of the cabin next to the pond (stocked with catfish, blue gill and bass) displays 50 fish lures. A stairway wall features a grouping of women’s vintage hats. In the family room five world globes of different sizes hang in a line.

Numerous signs proclaim the tiny town is Cabin Creek Lodge. “People ask if we rent out rooms, and on one occasion someone wanted to know if they sold bait,” Allie says, “but it’s just for family and friends.”

Coming from Ballwin to the retreat in Lincoln County, the Wrights have been pleased by how they have been accepted. “People stop by unexpectedly, ‘just because,’” Allie says. “One day we had four different neighbors on the front porch visiting at the same time.”

“What this world needs is for every home to have a front porch,” Jim adds.

In addition to several outbuildings used to store equipment there are two rather unusual structures. One is a large outdoor shower and the second is a modern outhouse with a flush toilet. A sign proclaims it is the “Tinkletorium.”

At Home with Allie and Jim Wright in Silex

Jim and Allie Wright pose on the propery of their complex of cabins in the country in Silex, with their granddog, Lanie, Friday, March 25, 2022. Photo by Hillary Levin, [email protected]

Occupations • Jim was with Southwestern Bell for 30 years and was the past chief executive officer for the Kirkwood-Des Peres Chamber of Commerce, where he worked for 20 years. Allie has a Ph.D. “It is in painting, hosting and decorating,” she says. She often helps friends economically decorate their own homes.

Homes • Ballwin and Silex, Missouri.

Family • A son is married and lives in Troy and has three boys. A married daughter lives in St. Louis and has two boys.