An Angled Cabin in British Columbia Makes an Ideal Island Retreat

Vancouver-based Hinterland Design assembles a small team of craftsmen to build and finish this modern Valdes Island hideaway in just five weeks.

Sitting on a bluff overlooking the Salish Sea, the Valdes Island Shack was designed by Battersby Howat and built in 2014 by a team of Hinterland workers who camped and worked among the coastline’s wind-swept Douglas fir trees. The nine-square-mile island, located between Vancouver Island and British Columbia, includes a First Nations Reserve and boasts ancient sandstone formations.

The project fits seamlessly with the Hinterland ethos—a bunch of artists and craftspeople who design and build natural products by hand.

The cabin was 20 percent prebuilt with framing that prefab company AJIA assembled on-site. The Hinterland team crafted the exterior and interior finishes, along with the millwork and cabinetry. Black-stained cedar siding clads the exterior while saw-cut, white stained plywood lines the serene interior. 

The "tilted box" form of the shack, as described by architect David Battersby, mirrors the natural incline of the cliff edge and the wind-swept trees, making the cabin look like it was made for this spot.

A metal-runged ladder bolted to interior wall panels offers a way up to the sleeping loft that looks out over the Salish Sea towards Vancouver.

Solar power and a rainwater filtration system supply the getaway. Whether facing the thick forest or the sea, the 386-square-foot Valdes Island Shack, and its muted interior panels with minimalist accommodations, makes for a welcome retreat from the hectic pace of city life.


Project Credits:

Architect: Battersby Howat

Design: Nelson Design

Supplier: AJIA Building Systems

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