A decade ago, Patrick McGuire inherited a one-bedroom cabin that had gone to the birds. (Not to mention bats, field mice, raccoons…) But as the owner of in Chicago, he was up for the challenge. During numerous treks from Illinois to rural Wisconsin, where the cabin is located, he replaced rotted logs, installed insulation, and introduced a proper kitchen. In short, he made the 1,200-square-foot homestead, which has been in his family for four generations, livable once again. Today, after 10 years of TLC, details like the knotty pine paneling and working stone fireplace give the space a brand of rustic that's more refined, less "raccoon." An avid outdoorsman, Patrick primarily uses the house as a hunting lodge, but every December, he happily opens up his little labor of love, which has a spacious sleeping loft, to his extended family for a Christmas celebration rooted in old-fashioned charm. These days, the only creatures stirring are the ones by the bar cart.
Throughout the cabin, which overlooks the Menominee River, you'll find initials of past homeowners carved into the beams.
Pops of red are found in peppy doses throughout the home, from the task clip-on lighting shown here to the vintage lanterns lining the living room mantel. Candy cane-striped runners (there's also one in the entry) offer a sweet nod to the classic Christmas treat without going too theme-y .Metal finds add instant patina to the newly updated kitchen. (Tip: For holiday flair, seek out old signage from candy companies or tree farms.)
Iconic tartan adds instant warmth to Patrick's living room. From throw pillows to gift wrap, the preppy pattern adds a little polish to the otherwise understated space. For the tree, a simple popcorn garland, glass ball ornaments, and a wooden crate in lieu of a tree skirt reinforce the home's-stuck-in-time vibe. The fir garland above the mantel and solo sprigs of pine found in vases throughout the house also add an organic element.
This makeshift bar cart is actually an old typesetter's stand topped with Nero Marinace marble. Accessorized with loose branches of white pine, it can roll in and outdoors as needed.
Dainty white twinklers? Been there, strung that. Opaque old-school bulbs pack a more graphic punch and beam with nostalgic charm. (Wary of plugging in a vintage strand? Find new LED versions of the originals at .)
Patrick serves up his Wisconsin Mule (a kicky blend of mulled wine concentrate, bourbon, and ginger beer garnished with citrus) to promote yuletide cheer.
A century-old coaster calls to mind winters past and showcases a flurry of Christmas greetings.
Featuring four total beds, the sleeping loft gets a winter refresh with the addition of vintage Woolrich blankets and tartan pillow shams. Long-arm plug-in sconces (in a handsome bronze finish that matches the old metal bed) cast a warm glow for a late-night reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
A handful of synthetic flokati rugs ($13; ) are scattered throughout the house for an extra layer of softness. Additional pillows, stashed in an ash basket from Schoolhouse Electric ($85; ), provide more cozy comforts at the ready.
Made of moss- and lichen-covered twigs, the wreath sets an unfussy tone for visitors. Mulled wine, served from a 1960s Danish muller (right) adds to the warm welcome.
Woven chairs, a metal table, and a mounted stag turn the enclosed porch into a game room in more ways than one.
"Every year I hit the woods and chop down an evergreen," Patrick says. "I love how the woodsy aroma fills the house."
Jane, a Portuguese Podengo, stands guard over a circa 1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
What makes Patrick's home country? "It's a rustic cabin in the middle of nowhere," he says. "It doesn't get more country than that."