No-one can escape the contemporary allure of the cabin. The timelessly fashionable fusion of idyllic co-existence with nature and high design has ensured that cabin living in all its forms, from tiny to titanic, slickly minimal to artfully rustic, will stay forever fascinating. This grouping of black-painted structures sits on Prince Edward Island will certainly add to the mythos.

The eastern Canadian province has a reputation for slow living, fast-changing weather conditions and rolling countryside and farmland. Designed by local firm Nine Yards Studio, the River Cabins are a private summer retreat for the client, family and friends. The site is a relatively remote spot on the centre of the island, with zero wireless connectivity and access only via a dirt track.

The plot itself is set back from the Wheatley River by the proscribed 75 ft to preserve the local eco-system. Local wood was also used extensively to complete the three structures, united by a raised deck. The construction period was limited to the Spring, Summer and Fall due to the cold winters. 

The River Cabin against a sunset
A wood burner inside one of the River Cabins

Nine Yards Studio drew design inspiration from local farm barns and buildings, with steep asymmetrical roofs that allude to the lean-to aesthetic of ad-hoc additions and on a practical level provide space for sleeping lofts. The main structure is 600 sq ft and houses the living area, kitchen and bathroom with a loft above, while a smaller living/sleeping bunkhouse sits alongside, using the same materials and steep profile but slightly offset from the grid. The third structure is a wood store and all three have spiky black peaks that merge comfortably with the evergreen treetops of the landscape.

The grouping was driven by the shape of the site, and creates a variety of views and angles, from inside and out. All roofs and walls are black metal siding, with the gable ends of the main buildings finished in stained vertical pine boards.

Despite its compact size, the main residence has a generous feeling of space with its tall ceilings, glazed waterside facade and a large rooflight next to the master bed for additional river views. Spruce cladding gives a warm, earthy feel and a wood-burning stove adds to a feeling of self-sufficient seclusion. For the lucky occupants, privacy is all but guaranteed, while distant views of the architectural grouping offer up a mysterious but intriguing take on the traditional rural cabin. §

A view of snow covered fields and trees from the River Cabin
Exterior of River Cabins