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Shobac Cottages is managed by Brian, Architect.
$214 - $356/night
Suitable for 4-5 people

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Shobac cottages - Shobac Cottages, in Nova Scotia, Canada
— Brian: “It feels like the end of the end of the Earth because it’s the end of a peninsula surrounded by sea on all sides and rolling hills that wrap around it. It’s both a prospect and a refuge.”
Interview By:

— Please tell us a bit about the history of the farm.

Brian: “My wife and I found this place 30 years ago on one of those Sunday drives. It was at the end of the end of the Earth, which turns out to be where Champlain made his first landfall in 1604. We found these ruins of French fishermen's houses probably from the 1500s and Swiss-German from the 1750s. They were all abandoned when we arrived. It was a farming and fishing village that had completely died, a ghost of a lost village at the end of the Earth, with just the bones left.

I began clearing the land with my own hands, which took me 20 years to do. It had a sense of inhabitation and was a wonderful revealing of what used to be a cultural landscape in the New World.

It’s a magical place. You can kind of taste that in the landscape through the stone walls, wells, and the ruins.”
Shobac cottages - Shobac Cottages, in Nova Scotia, Canada
— Shobac cottages

— What was your inspiration to build those cottages there?

Brian: “For an architect, building is a way of studying the land, by palpating, by proposing things. You study and understand it more that way. It started as a kind of international architecture laboratory. We built temporary buildings, recycling them, a little bit like Burning Man, and we’d have a huge community party with bagpipes, and as many as 1,000 people would come.

Then we thought about sustainability, so we thought to build some permanent buildings. We built the cottages, a tower, a studio and reconstructed a historic brown barn and other barns where we keep sheep and horses.

Like the historic extended family farm that was here, we now have barnyards and courtyards and microclimates made within the landscape.”
 - Shobac Cottages, in Nova Scotia, Canada

— Please tell us a bit about the buildings and the architecture in particular.

Brian: “With our new buildings, we’ve tried to sidestep those ruins and not build on them, but build near them, so one can still get a sense of the magic.

When we built the cottages, we were trying to make a prototype for a modest dwelling in the landscape, touching the land lightly. Learning from the vernacular building traditions here, making microclimates and using the wood material culture that existed here from the ship building traditions, we came up with the idea of buildings like boats. If you’re in one of the cottages, you might get a sense that you’re on a fishing boat.”
 - Shobac Cottages, in Nova Scotia, Canada

— What was your inspiration to rent it out to vacation guests?

Brian: “It was a financial necessity. We rent to individuals, groups and the entire location for retreats. It’s absolutely protected. It feels like the end of the end of the Earth because it’s the end of a peninsula surrounded by sea on all sides and rolling hills that wrap around it. It’s both a prospect and a refuge.”
Shobac cottages aerial view - Shobac Cottages, in Nova Scotia, Canada
— Shobac cottages aerial view

— Please tell us a bit about the facilities of the vacation homes.

Brian: “We have the courtyard made by the buildings, together with the ruins, and then a bigger circle takes you to where you can kayak or go to town.

The cottages are pretty rustic and basic. I would call it frugal chic — rustic exposed framing that’s relaxing. You don’t feel you need shirt and tie; you can relax and be yourself. The cottages are like a bunch of fishing shacks. For someone who has everything, it’s kind of refreshing. It reminds me of yurts and basic architecture like that, but without roughing it. It’s monumentally modest.

In the studio, there’s a 40-foot long solid maple table. From it you can see the hills, the islands, the ruins, everything. You can have 50 people for dinner, offering both intimacy and generosity.”
Studio exterior - Shobac Cottages, in Nova Scotia, Canada
— Studio exterior

— Sustainability also played an important role in the design of the vacation rentals?

Brian: “Yes, we’re very eco-conscious. We have the sheep running freely and they eat the salt grass here and that’s all they eat. We have our own organic vegetable garden and trout ponds that make it a working farm. Kids love the farm aspect of the property. They love to feed the sheep and horses.

Everything here is run on passive solar. That’s like breathing, something everybody should do.”
 - Shobac Cottages, in Nova Scotia, Canada
 
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