Launched in October 2020,The Cabin is a beautiful and luxurious Airbnb retreat for those who need to get away from it all and recharge the batteries. Clad with beautifully knotted timber and looking out onto Slemish Mountain, it’s an idyllic little haven with a bit of a colourful (literally!) history…
The Cabin began life over thirty years ago as the home of Niel & Catherine McMillan’s Interior Design Studio & Workroom. It was a place to meet clients, showcase homewares, and make up bespoke soft furnishings for homes around the UK and Ireland. However, the business quickly expanded and The Cabin was vacated in favour of a more spacious premises in Ballymena Town Centre.
Meanwhile The Cabin became a Recreation room for family & friends until in 2018, it began another metamorphosis. By this stage, McMillan Interiors had been established and plans were made to turn The Cabin into a compact and cosy Studio for the business. In the Autumn of 2018, after having undergone extensive internal and external surgery, The Cabin officially opened as the new home of McMillan Interiors.
The story could have ended there….but it didn’t! Just over a year later and The Cabin was itching for another metamorphosis. McMillan Interiors Design Studio was packed up and relocated to a spacious converted barn and The Cabin began its transformation into an Airbnb retreat. It was a transformation we were thrilled to get stuck into!
The vision for The Cabin was to create a cosy, moody and super comfortable place for those who needed respite and to recharge the batteries. A place to turn off the phone and hideaway, but equally a springboard for exploring the wilds of Northern Ireland. We prioritised plentiful seating, a decadently comfortable bed, and colour & texture to create a real sense of home comforts. Let us show you around!
We made sure to squeeze in a John Sankey sofa for a supremely comfortable seating experience and upholstered armchairs in fabrics from William Yeoward and Designers Guild for a pop of quirky colour and pattern. A paisley patterned Ted Baker rug creates a lovely moody blue pool on the floor.
Superfast Wifi and a full sized dining table allow our guests a space to work – as was the case for our first guest who used The Cabin as a hideaway for a writing retreat! Alternatively, light some candles, turn the lights down low and enjoy an intimate and quiet dinner with a loved one!
We clad the partition wall with Pierre Frey wallpaper to add character and interest. A quirky bulls head sculpture and faux foliage add whimsy and colour.We also ensured there is plenty of low-level lighting with floor lamps and table lamps to create a lovely cosy atmosphere.
Walls of soft grey wrap around our guests in the bedroom while the headboard partition wall features a soft pink textured-effect wallpaper from Matthew Williamson. Curtains from Chelsea Textiles add whimsical pattern and ensure the bedroom is dark, cosy and the perfect spot for a good night’s sleep.
KITCHEN & WC
Nina Campbell wallpaper paired with a green and grey fitted kitchen creates a soft and bright corner for grabbing a coffee and a light bite. We’re in Northern Ireland so an abundance of tea on hand was a must! For coffee-lovers, a French Press and Nespresso machine will give you the caffeine kick you need!
Bathrooms can be real hidden gems of the home – a space where you can indulge in a bit of bold colour and pattern and it’ll look amazing! In The Cabin, a bright and warmly lit shower room gives way to a deliciously dark WC. We laid patterned grey tiles from local tile supplier J&R Keys Tiles and wrapped the walls in a beautiful navy blue wallpaper from Matthew Williamson featuring hundreds of softly glinting stars.
A final flurry of finishing touches and we were done! We ensured our guests had privacy by fitting ivory sheers and soft grey curtains on the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the cabin. Sitting areas were softened with cushions, the bookcase was stacked with books, the cupboards filled with boardgames and puzzles, and the basket topped up with firewood for a weekend of lounging, reading, and relaxing by the fire!
It would be remiss of us not to mention the private lake and secluded woodland on the doorstep of The Cabin….not the work of our hands but a real draw of this place! Between coffees and chapters, our guests can pull on their wellie boots and stomp around the trout filled lake and lush woodland featuring native Irish trees and wild critters!
Transforming The Cabin for guests to call home for a few days has been such a joy and privilege! At McMillan Interiors, it’s long been our heart & vision to create HOME…meaning a safe and welcoming place that is comfortable, functional, and full of personality. A place to make cherished memories. Our wish is that The Cabin will be this type of HOME for many guests and visitors over the next months and years.
If you have any enquiries about your own home renovations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. At McMillan Interiors our services include product sourcing – including furniture, hardware, lighting, wallcoverings, soft furnishings and accessories – and fitting. We partner with you to make the design and decorating process as simple as possible. Whether you have a room that needs updating or a whole house renovation, we want to help. Contact us by:
Homes evolve over the years; perhaps once the soil in which a young couple begins their life, they grow and evolve to accommodate an expanding family. They hear the cries of newborn babies, the walls bear the scrawls of mischievous crayon-wielding toddlers, the stairs become a makeshift hill for children to sled, climb or crawl down and the bathroom may one day be the echoing innards of a submarine, and the next be a proud pirate ship sailing the high seas. So many stories, so many uses, so much evolving and shifting. And as all parents attest, the children grow up so fast. The house evolves again. Moody teenagers now haunt its hallways and retreat into bedrooms. The teenagers become young adults and wade into higher education or venture into the working world. They begin to loosen the home-bound ties and eventually depart the nest and the home evolves again, coming full circle back to two.
This home has recently seen its brood ruffle their feathers and take flight, leaving mum and dad and a host of empty rooms still alive with memories. For the past few years the homeowners have followed the lead of the house into its newest state of evolution – as a home and working space for two, but as a retreat for the visiting children and their own families. We met with the owners to discuss the evolution of a dining room into a dual purpose dining space for the much loved family gatherings at Christmas, Easter and special occasions, whilst also serving as an informal lounge space for work and leisure.
There were special pieces of furniture that the owners were keen to hold onto and use but otherwise, the room was stripped back to its bare walls and flooring. We created a few schemes for the space and worked with the homeowners to select and finalise a look they were happy with. A draft of the moodboard looked like this:
Tones of blues, greys and neutrals created a calm, cocooning space while carefully curated moments of ochre, raspberry, and pink orchid added colour, variety and interest. That showstopping Matthew Williamson embroidery was set to become a pair of statement curtains wrapping around the curved bay window but an evolution of the design saw the embroidery become a roman blind and a beautifully textured linen become the curtain.
We trimmed the linen curtain in an Osborne & Little wide braid featuring the repeated blues and pinks throughout the room, and we ensured privacy for the homeowners through the use of a textured narrow stripe sheer curtain. As well as ensuring privacy, sheer curtains diffuse the glare of sunlight whilst adding softness and cosiness to a space.
We commissioned bespoke mid-century inspired armchairs and a sofa to update the room and provide luxurious and comfortable seating for visiting guests and to serve as an informal lounging area for a spot of quiet reading in the evening. The sofa was wrapped in a softly textured Linen/Cotton mix from Jane Churchill and the armchairs in a contrasting sunny yellow herringbone from Linwood. Beautiful buttoned upholstery, sharp lines, polished legs, and soft fabrics make for a really interesting, comfortable and durable seating area!
Let’s not forget the wallpaper wrapping the walls in sumptuously soft tones and textures. We set the fireplace against a ground of warm teal inlaid with a semi-abstract floral inspired design. On the rest of the walls we used a plain textured vinyl wall covering evoking the texture and warmth of linen. Some of our favourite collections and wallpapers! There’s just something about the warmth, look, and both visual and tactile texture of luxury wall-coverings – they add beautiful layers of colour, pattern, depth and cocooning cosiness to a space that paint alone can’t quite achieve.
And let’s not forget the bespoke scatter cushions adding more layers of softness to the upholstery as well as splashes of colour, pattern and texture. We carried the Matthew Williamson embroidery from the Roman Blind to the scatter cushions and paired it with a small scale chevron weave in a hot pink and fresh white colourway from Sanderson.
Tucked in behind the lounge area was the dining space; reserved for special meals with visiting family. The existing dining table and chairs were in great condition and remained special pieces to the homeowners. We opted to update the upholstery on the dining chairs by commissioning a beautiful Osborne and Little zig-zag cut velvet echoing the colours throughout the room.
And let’s not forget the foundation (literally!) of every room – the floor! We used a beautiful tawny grey and linen coloured loop pile carpet from Wool Classics London to provide a smart and contemporary base for the rest of the room. The two tone colour adds interest and the loop pile cut is comfortable, practical, and long-wearing. A true luxury!
As a final note, a few weeks after we’d finished and photographed the room, we supplied an area rug to help zone the lounge area and break up the expanse of carpet. We chose a lovely persian inspired cotton chenille rug in various tones of warm blue and it has just lifted the room from amazing to AMAZING!
It was such a joy and privilege to work in this room; to honour the homeowners and their story & memories encased in the walls of this home. It was a joy to breathe new life into this room and repurpose it for a new chapter and for many more wonderful stories to be written and memories to be made in the years to come.
Finally, if you’d like help with redesigning and decorating your home – whether it’s one or two rooms, or a whole house overhaul – don’t hesitate to get in touch! We offer a service that includes design, supply and manufacture, and fit-out. We’d love to advise, listen to your ideas and make your home fit your needs and aesthetic. Call us on 02825 880012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Houzz, Instagram and Facebook!