For most of us, the word “cabin” conjures a dark woodsy image complete with cobwebs and comic books, but this 448 square-foot cottage on Vancouver Island redefines the word with a bright, modern lakeside retreat. Sixteen-foot windows and sliding glass doors blur the line between indoor/outdoor living and expand the livable space of this modest footprint. Nestled amongst the trees, the expansive deck with sweeping views feels like you’ve just stepped out of a mod treehouse. With clever planning and carefully curated design, this compact cottage embraces the landscape and delivers on both aesthetics and functionality.
When building the third cottage on the expansive lakefront property, it wasn’t the size of the build that mattered, but the cottage’s design to enhance time spent lakeside with family and friends. The owners turned to the creative collaboration of Interior Designer, Jasmine Larmour and Blue Bennefield of Bennefield Construction to bring their lakefront dream to fruition.
The couple had been on the property for over thirty years, and after renovating their own cabin, required two new cottage builds and a garage-to-studio conversion for visiting family and friends. Having worked with the family before, Larmour was given carte blanche on this entire lakefront design project.
“With recreation and entertaining in mind, connectivity is the theme of this design. It was important that each cabin have an element of privacy but ultimately, connecting the cottages with the surroundings, bringing family together and enjoying the lake is what this project is all about,” states Larmour.
Given the pint-sized proportions of the cottage, every detail of the 448-square-feet was thoughtfully planned. “Typically a custom home is significantly bigger and allows for a larger scale design with more options. But the challenge of a concentrated design like this is to tie each design feature together for a cohesive look,” saysBennefield.
His aim was to keep the continuous flow of the roof joists uninterrupted. “The clean lines and flowing pattern towards the view creates a positive energy. The 3×12 roof joists were a feature Jasmine and I wanted in the early stages of design,” states Bennefield.
Embracing a west coast aesthetic, Larmour’s design scheme keeps the space airy and bright and not too woodsy. “I wanted it to be modern but was cognizant of the fact that it will be used in the summer months; it had to be easy to hang out in. Think wet bathing suits,” quips Larmour. Adirondack chairs in bold red complement the blue hues of the interior and deliver a Canadiana vibe to the modern space.
Heeding the client’s main request for a wall of windows facing the lake, Bennefield brings nature indoors with 16-foot ceilings and large glass sliding doors. Bennefield states that “we wanted the cabin to blend with its lakeside environment so we used natural materials that would fuse with the surrounding landscape.”
To maintain the airy open-plan feeling, Larmour avoided taking the bedroom walls right up to the ceiling. “There was a lot of discussion over this particular drop wall feature, but I think it works well and adds to the airiness,” states Larmour.
With no closet in the bedroom, Larmour hung IKEA units and installed hooks to store clothes.
With the bathroom visible from all vantage points, Larmour’s aim was to ensure the view would be beautiful. “We aligned the bathroom door, the sink and a window looking out towards the forest.
The mirror was hung on sliding hardware so that you could bring it over when necessary, but push it out of the way (to cover inset shelving) when you weren’t using it.”
In a midcentury modern meets west coast fusion, Larmour juxtaposed chunky fir beams and a live edge hearth with finer details like a quartz-top bar table and glass globe lights. “I wanted the design to speak to the location, so I added rustic wood details and wavy tile behind the fireplace to mimic the water’s movement.”
The mod chairs in cerulean blue set the tone for the design, giving Larmour direction for the rest of the furniture selections. “The versatile chairs can host a late afternoon chill after a day on the water or an evening glass of wine in front of the fireplace on a rainy evening.”