A-frame 'Dream Come True'

Charming, rustic '60s flashback—vacation home with true mid-century modern spirit
Fridays on the Homefront
This quaint, cozy cabin, now on the market in the mountains outside Palm Springs for $475,000, is a quintessential A-frame, a style that gained popularity during the mid-century. Its deceptively simple chalet design recalls the days of mail-order plans, pattern books, and building kits that were offered by lumber companies for families who were eager to build their own vacation homes. All photos courtesy Chris Menrad

Every so often we're so smitten by the uniqueness or charm of a particular California mid-century modern home for sale, we're compelled to give it a roaring shout-out.

Such was the case when we were recently introduced to a cozy, little A-frame cabin tucked away in the mountains above Palm Springs.

There, it's all about getting close to the lush pine forests and serenity of nature.

"The massive beams show off the structure that is the 'A,'" says owner Chris Menrad of his rustic A-frame, "while the bright interior colors were meant to be a juxtaposition of the browns and greens that are the forest beyond."

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Located at 25110 Rim Rock Road in the picturesque Fern Canyon area of Idyllwild, the 2-bed, 1-bath beauty is now for sale for $475,000.

Menrad's Rim Rock cabin is an enjoyable day drive from Palm Springs, winding through scenic Garner Valley and high up into the San Jacinto Mountains. The Idyllwild-Pine Cove area is well known to hikers and rock climbers who come to take advantage of its many trails and natural features.

Built in 1962, Menrad's cabin is a quintessential A-frame, a style that gained popularity during the 1960s and '70s. Its deceptively simple chalet design made it an appealing option for families looking to invest in their own vacation home, or rent at a favorite weekend destination.

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It brings to mind another flashback for those who were kids in the '70s, who may recall the prized Fisher-Price A-frame ski chalet, a deluxe folding dollhouse that was produced from 1974 to 1976. The stylish children's toy came complete with furniture, decorations, and its own portable plastic 'play family,' who were ready to spend some quality leisure time in their miniature A-frame.

Also in that era, mail-order plans, pattern books, and building kits were offered by lumber companies for families who were eager to build their own vacation homes. In fact, when Menrad purchased the Rim Rock A-frame in 2014, he stumbled upon a 1960 catalog filed away that was issued by the Potlatch Lumber Company.

"One of the kits looked just like mine," he recalls. "Even the floor plan rendering and the photograph of the little model in the catalog. It's possible my house was a kit house."

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