Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

A Multigenerational Family’s Cabin Retreat, Unchanged by Time

Search

A Multigenerational Family’s Cabin Retreat, Unchanged by Time

October 14, 2019

This is, hands down, the most romantic story I’ve ever heard involving a house.

In the 1960s, Chessa Osburn’s maternal grandparents bought property on an island in Howe Sound, near Vancouver. They hired a young architect, fresh out of graduate school and himself a summer resident on the island (his parents owned a vacation home there, too), to design a small cabin for them. As they expected, he created a perfect waterfront retreat. Less expected, but welcome nonetheless: He and their daughter fell in love.

Chessa, co-founder of Twenty One Tonnes, one of our favorite boutiques in Vancouver (see her house tour here), is the product of their love. She grew up summering on the island, surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles from both sides of her family, in this simple but breathtaking coastal cabin designed by her father and owned by her mother’s parents.

Today, the off-the-grid charmer continues to be her family’s happy place. “My entire extended family uses this home. My grandparents have passed away, and it’s now shared between my mother’s and her siblings’ families,” says Chessa, now married with two young children. “In the summer, we rope-swing off the lower deck into the ocean and swim off the stone quay, set the crab traps and hope for Dungeness for dinner, follow the small deer trails that crisscross the island through the forest. In the fall, we chop wood and restock the woodpiles, hunt for chanterelle mushrooms, and spend lots of time cooking and eating.”

Magical, right? Just like the story of how this home came to be.

Let’s take a peek around.

Photography by Gillian Stevens.

A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time The entrance to the cedar clad home. It&#8\2\17;s situated on a cliff, with the water just below. At high tide, the house feels as if it&#8\2\17;s hovering over the water, says Chessa. Her father designed the structure to blend into the landscape.
Above: The entrance to the cedar-clad home. It’s situated on a cliff, with the water just below. At high tide, the house feels as if it’s hovering over the water, says Chessa. Her father designed the structure to blend into the landscape.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time The entire cabin is just under 900 square feet but feels airy thanks to plentiful and large windows that face the water.
Above: The entire cabin is just under 900-square-feet but feels airy thanks to plentiful and large windows that face the water.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time The wicker set in the living area is &#8\2\20;actually all from when my grandparents decorated the place in the \1970s!&#8\2\2\1; says Chessa. Everything was kept simple and neutral to allow the views to take center stage.
Above: The wicker set in the living area is “actually all from when my grandparents decorated the place in the 1970s!” says Chessa. Everything was kept simple and neutral to allow the views to take center stage.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time The lower floor is open plan. Here&#8\2\17;s the view from the kitchen into the dining area; the living room is just beyond, down a few steps. The pitched ceiling is made up of tongue in groove cedar planks.
Above: The lower floor is open-plan. Here’s the view from the kitchen into the dining area; the living room is just beyond, down a few steps. The pitched ceiling is made up of tongue-in-groove cedar planks.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time Chessa&#8\2\17;s father&#8\2\17;s design still feels fresh today. Steps here lead to an outdoor sitting area to the left, while the back door in the kitchen leads to another, larger deck. Above the cabinets are mementos from her grandmother, who was born and raised in El Salvador, and grandfather&#8\2\17;s travels together.
Above: Chessa’s father’s design still feels fresh today. Steps here lead to an outdoor sitting area to the left, while the back door in the kitchen leads to another, larger deck. Above the cabinets are mementos from her grandmother, who was born and raised in El Salvador, and grandfather’s travels together.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time Formica has never looked so appealing. The cabin originally had no electricity, but now thanks to solar paneling, it gets just enough for a bit of light at night.
Above: Formica has never looked so appealing. The cabin originally had no electricity, but now thanks to solar paneling, it gets just enough for a bit of light at night.
chessa osburn vancouver cabin gillian stevens steps
Above: Chessa’s kids play on the bleacher-style steps across from the dining table, just as she and her brother used to as children. The baskets are from Twenty One Tonnes.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time Upstairs is a bathroom, sleep loft, and bedroom, outfitted with more &#8\2\17;70s era wicker beauties.
Above: Upstairs is a bathroom, sleep loft, and bedroom, outfitted with more ’70s-era wicker beauties.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time The simple sleep loft.
Above: The simple sleep loft.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time A tranquil covered outdoor space. Note the large windows that offer views into the kitchen.
Above: A tranquil covered outdoor space. Note the large windows that offer views into the kitchen.
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time The house enjoys four outdoor spaces: in front of the entrance, behind the house (as pictured in the photo prior), this large deck (pictured here), and another, smaller one down by the water in front of the house (see below).
Above: The house enjoys four outdoor spaces: in front of the entrance, behind the house (as pictured in the photo prior), this large deck (pictured here), and another, smaller one down by the water in front of the house (see below).
A Multigenerational Familys Cabin Retreat Unchanged by Time Chessa&#8\2\17;s husband, Steve Sims, an environmental consultant, and their daughter at the lowest deck.
Above: Chessa’s husband, Steve Sims, an environmental consultant, and their daughter at the lowest deck.

For more coastal homes we love, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0