Escapology – Modern Cabins, Cottages and Retreat

Escapology, Colin Mcallister & Justin Ryan

Escapology, Colin and Justin’s brand-new book (their fourth to date), was recently published. Here, they discuss it, along with the merits of cottages, cabins, and retreats.

Escapology, to us, is the social science of “getting away.” In essence, it’s all about retreating to a special place — maybe a cottage, a vacation home, or a cabin — primarily to decompress.

Escapology, Colin Mcallister & Justin Ryan

Now, perhaps more than ever before, escape is a journey about which people dream, and upon which they focus. Few, after all, would disagree that life (over the last months) has changed for us all. This in mind, we hope our new style tome will appeal to everyone who’s focused on getting back on track and settling back into an easier existence. In short — it’s time to reset. Time to relax. And time to love

So from where, precisely, does our interest in the rural space originate? Well, we adore the forests and lakes in Canada, and we’ve grown to love the various respites in which we film whilst creating our TV shows, remodelling vacation homes for clients, or reporting upon cottage “innovation” for newspapers and magazines, both nationally and internationally.

Having landed the publishing deal for Escapology, we were excited to share as many beautiful escapes as possible. And so, using our own trusted network of architects, designers, and homeowners, we whittled our hit list to a “Hot 24.” Each property showcases around six zones, so in total there are approximately 150 spaces, lavishly spread across 236 beautiful pages.

This observed, our new book is as much about finding, buying, and restoring your dream vacation home, as it is a study of style. From choosing the perfect realtor, to deciding on a large or small lake, and from understanding septic systems to engaging the best tradespeople, Escapology is a cottage information bible, as much as it is a style bible.

One abode we’re certain you’ll love is Vipp Shelter. Boasting an amazing jet metal and glass exterior, it’s located in a forest, by a crystal clear Swedish lake. Modular, and built entirely off site, the commanding structure traveled across land before being perilously craned onto its final resting place where it now serves as a one-bedroom rental suite.

Internally, the petite escape is a sea of grey scale and minimalist furniture. An exercise in architectural geometry, the interior fit out is crisp and exciting, yet at once (for all its precise, tailored lines) cozy and inviting. It’s hard not to be impressed as the eye darts from corner to corner. Vipp Shelter, whilst admittedly small in terms of scale, is a veritable monolith in terms of style, presence, and atmosphere.

We also adore Park Corner Barn: it’s such a beautiful proposition. Located in Oxfordshire, UK, the 18th century brick and flint barn conversion is, to us, the very essence of a modern, rustic vacation home. The wooden beam work, internally, is breathtaking, as it intersects majestically above a sea of white painted walls and wide planked floorboards. The barn’s owner, along with a team of architects, contractors, and artisans, suffused the project with an exciting feel, one that allows it to seamlessly transition from an agricultural past, into its current residential iteration.

For those who might like to suffuse a little Park Corner Barn into their homes, the internet is currently awash with companies who merchant “brick slips”: essentially real brick veneers, whose depth is perhaps a fifth of a standard brick. Applied like tile, they’re beset with “solid” texture that belies their fractional form. An accent wall of product like this would be a super way to bring a little Park Corner Barn magic to your space.

Alternatively, a “photographic” representation (by a mural company) would be a fun way to achieve a trompe l’oeil brick effect. Companies such as Pink and Brown ( merchant Mid Mod “egg chairs” (like the one in Park Corner Barn’s reading nook) whilst “The Porter Sectional” by Rove Concepts ( would be a super way in which to achieve the large scale upholstery vibe, as witnessed in the living area.

We’ve also featured a few of our own cottages across the pages of Escapology. There’s a quintessentially North American log cabin in Muskoka, for example: all honey-toned logs, “mountain escape” luxe lodge furniture detail, with a hand-painted kitchen in a moody grey palette. Also profiled is “Plan B,” a cabin built to augment our own rental pool. Distinctly “ranch” style, it’s set under a dramatic raised seam steel roof. The graphite sided edifice is long and lean, with visual levity courtesy of Western Red Cedar detailing, a host of pergolas and an out scaled wrap round deck.

For those who’d like to suffuse their city homes with a whisper of “cottage,” now is a strong time to do precisely that. The retail sector, you see, is awash with rustic inventory that amply references the great outdoors. Via the Colin+Justin Home line (available in stores such as Homesense, Marshalls, and Winners) you’ll find heavy weave textiles that would look every bit as relevant on a condo chesterfield as they would a cottage sofa, faux horn handled bar wares (to add “country chic” to an urban bar cart), and a host of touchy feely rugs to suffuse a little “cottage” in your “greige” toned suburban abode. Hey, you might be in a townhouse, a suburban back split, or a high-rise condo, but with a little planning, you could be anywhere

We hope you take as much pleasure reading Escapology as we did writing our new book. It’s positively packed with beautiful abodes, inventoried from all corners of the globe. Many are in Canada, some are in America, and there are others in South Africa, Mexico, England, Norway, and even our beloved Scotland. Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, take a moment to get lost in our carefully assembled pages. Don’t you owe it to yourself, right about now, to escape?

Escapology: Modern Cabins Cottages and Retreats” published by Figure 1, is available now via  Chapters Indigo, and bookstores Canada wide. Find it across the USA in Barnes and Noble and via