Cabin Tour: Contemporary Elegance In The Woods

Wayne and Martina Hanlon had no intention of building a cabin on their piece of land near Whitbourne. It was just a place where they could escape the city, get into the woods and play with their toys – snow machines and the like – without having to haul everything back and forth. They had a trailer parked on the property and it seemed to be working for them. It was small, says Martina, since they figured it would just be her and her husband Wayne. But then the kids – and their kids – started visiting, and the trailer quickly became too small.

Wayne and Martina upgraded to a larger trailer and used the shed as a rec room of sorts. This arrangement soon became too small as well, the realized. So they decided to build.

The result is a cabin suited to their tastes, without compromise. It was a welcomed switch for the couple who have built several houses to sell, and have always been forced to keep things neutral in an effort to appeal to a broad cross-section of potential buyers.

“We picked out a plan,” says Wayne, “and we figured it would never be sold; it would be passed down through the kids and hopefully they’ll keep it.”

The result is a beautifully appointed cabin. Their art collection is hung in the open concept living/dining room. They collect the work of artist Steve Driscoll, and also have others’ works throughout the house.

The artful touch also extends to the bathrooms, which display Kohler sinks with a unique painterly pattern.

Martina made the majority of the design decisions throughout the cabin, including the choice to accent the contemporary kitchen with orange walls and cupboards.

The bright colour doesn’t overwhelm the kitchen, since it’s used sparingly. The rest of the kitchen is done in white, with glossy slab doors and a waterfall pattern glass backsplash along the back wall, which has no upper cabinets.

“I didn’t want it to feel like a kitchen when you walked into the house,” says Martina, explaining her decision to keep the back wall relatively bare.

Walking through the sliding glass door bordered with raw silk curtains takes you to the sunroom, which Wayne says was made to feel like an outdoor area.

“I call it the porch but I wanted a modernized porch,” he says of the space. It was originally the back patio – it still has the deck flooring – but one day the couple put up some temporary plastic to act as a wind shield and realized they liked having an enclosed patio, so they had a permanent version built.

All the windows open completely, providing plenty of fresh air and a feeling of being outside while still somewhat inside. The porch feeling is enhanced by the use of outdoor furniture in the space, and a pellet stove takes the place of a fire pit.

But enclosing the patio meant they lost their outdoor space, so they have plans to build another patio for warm summer nights outdoors.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is a spacious yet cozy room ideal for easing into the day. The ensuite has a remote-controlled shower with programmable temperature settings, plus a soaker tub facing a small fireplace.

What started as a plot of land to park a trailer on has become so much more.

“This is what we always wanted, really,” says Wayne.