Attached to an old barn, the Black Cabin is a luxurious rental along the Welsh-English border. It has been eclectically curated and offers direct access to stunning hiking trails and gourmet pubs.
What is the story behind the cabin, what was your inspiration to create it?
I’d lived in the area for around 10 years when I met Rachel and we were on a bike ride up to a lovely, local pub. As we were sitting there taking in the view, we thought, wouldn’t it be amazing to have this as our local pub. We didn’t give it much more thought until we happened to look on a real estate site and saw this barn for sale.
I had just sold a house and had some money in the bank, so we bought the barn with the intention of converting it into our home. To fund the conversion, we built The Cabin in 2019 and it was completed just as lockdown started in March 2020. At the time, we were living on-site in a caravan, so we moved into the cabin during lockdown and opened it up to guests when restrictions were lifted.
Next, we created the Black Cabin, which is attached to the barn that we are converting. We have had that open to visitors for around a year now and it has been going well. We’ve had a lot of exposure from journalists and magazines — we even had Channel 4 here filming recently for a travel program.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of the cabin?
When I was designing The Cabin, I wanted something that fitted within the landscape. It’s at the top of a sloping site that has now been terraced and I didn’t want anything that was too angular or jarring.
I was interested in curved shapes and I liked the idea of having fewer corners. It makes you feel cocooned, enveloped - the sound feels different. People are often nervous about curves as they can take longer to build. But as we were doing it for ourselves, I didn’t have to worry about the client accepting a curvy design.
Even though the space is quite modern, it feels natural because the timber is tactile. It doesn’t frighten people like steel, glass and concrete can. It’s a modern design with natural materials.
While I like white, minimalist buildings, I think they work better on a larger scale. When you have a smaller, more intimate space, white can make it feel cold and as though you are trying to make it larger than it is. I think darker colours and textures create more interest in a small space. We were inspired by the colour palette of an Edwardian drawing room - darker blues and greys. But even with the dark colours, it still feels light.
I tried to create a feeling of height because it is quite a small space. Even though it has an area with a low ceiling, it doesn’t feel oppressive because, just a few steps away, you can see the double height.
We also wanted to make the space feel like a “home”. Each and every thing that is in The Cabin has a story and means something to us. People can tell if things have been created organically and I think there’s something of the English eccentricity in what we have created. There are Persian silk tapestries, 1960s furnishings and disheveled taxidermies. It’s a collection, a curation. There is a theme in our minds and we know what works, even if we can’t pinpoint what the exact “style” is.
To you personally, what is so special about the cabin?
The Cabin is really cocooning and you feel as though you are a part of the landscape but protected. When staying here, there’s a sense of not having to worry about anything.