At the edge of Terra Nova National Park, hidden by the forest, a contemporary cabin stands as a challenge to conventional ideals of what a cabin should be. In these parts, a cabin is understood to have a lot of exposed wood – usually pine – often stained in hues of browns and reds. The fireplace, if it isn’t a woodstove, is usually embedded in a wall in the main living space, and the bathroom is a purely functional space. This cabin is none of those things.
Nor is it a second home, a place where the only difference between home and cabin is the distance it takes to get to work. No, this is a cabin. It just happens to be a contemporary interpretation of what cabin living is.
It’s inspired by New York loft spaces and contemporary design, says designer/decorator Wanda Young, who did the floor plan and decorating for the cabin. She likes bright, airy spaces, and this place is both.
The windows are huge, taking up the majority of one wall. Out these windows is a panoramic view of the pond beyond the patio.
“When you walk in, the first thing you see is the water,” says Wanda.
Inside, the walls are white and the floor a light grey-brown, to create a calm environment where the outdoors provides the colour.
Wanda, who admits to being no fan of the classic cabin look, designed the cabin to align with her contemporary aesthetic.
Standing in the kitchen, Wanda explains her approach to the cabin design. She wanted something with a clean look and a light feel that was functional, low maintenance and attractive. In the kitchen, that translates to flat panel doors – they’re easier to keep clean – and a layout that makes sense when preparing meals. The L shape, along with the island, puts everything close at hand. To get the required flow in the kitchen, the main floor bedroom was shortened by a foot, says Wanda.
When it came time to choose colours, she went with a muted palette of whites and neutrals, with a minimal amount of wood used as accent pieces.
The doors are all pine, each one in the same style, giving the cabin a sense of continuity. The central beam, at the highest point of the ceiling, is also wood, as is the beam supporting the loft. These accents are just enough to allude to the traditional cabin look, without being overbearing.
“I wanted something completely different,” says Wanda.