The Cabins on ITV2: inside the cosy Welsh holiday homes providing the backdrop to your winter Love Island fix

·4-min read
 (ITV)
(ITV)

Let’s face it, 2020’s ‘winter’ Love Island was a bit of a let-down. It wasn’t set in the fairytale, Frozen-esque wonderland we were hoping for, but in the non-island nation of South Africa, which disappointed in the snuggly stakes and made us disgustingly jealous.

Happily, tonight, ITV2 is serving up second helpings of The Cabins, a reality dating show that gives us what we wanted all along – cranked-up cosiness complete with crackling log fires, bubbling hot tubs and a lorra lorra love.

Said cabins are hidden in the depths of rural Wales and have been thoughtfully designed to send the intimacy factor soaring.

Before we get stuck into their quirky interiors, here’s a quick summary of the premise: six singletons jaded by dating app despair commit to spending 24 hours in a cabin with their ‘match’ before deciding whether to check out or extend their stay.

 (ITV)
(ITV)

More sweet than saucy, last year’s launch saw Charlotte and Sarah leave as an official ‘Cabins couple’ after the maximum four days (and yes, they’re still together, hurrah!).

In a 2022 twist, the three cabins – Beaver’s Burrow, Otter’s Pocket and Stag’s Mount (read into those names what you will) – are nestled closely together, allowing the couples to gossip with their neighbours and give viewers more insight into how they’re feeling, a la Married at First Sight.

Each cabin is packed with juicy jewel tones, jazzy printed headboards, unfussy mid-century style furniture, industrial exposed bulbs and atmospheric fairy lights galore.

To make it easy for viewers to distinguish between the three cabins, they all have different colour palettes.

 (ITV)
(ITV)

Beaver’s Burrow boasts a mustard velvet sofa and classic navy soft furnishings, Otter’s Pocket features uplifting pops of teal and terracotta, softened by lashings of creamy faur fux, and Stag’s Mount nods to the Scottish Highlands with its truffle throws and hints of regal purple and green.

Paul Houston, production designer for The Cabins, was tasked with giving each cabin a “distinct character”, while linking them with an overall theme.

“Essentially, it was about making the contestants feel comfortable, which would in turn encourage romance,” he says. “We used rich, sumptuous tones throughout to create an authentic ambience that had personality without being garish.

“The patterns are contemporary, but traditionally Scandi stylistically. The idea was to let the cabins do the talking, so all we did was enhance them with subtle modern touches and plenty of twinkling lights.”

 (ITV)
(ITV)

His favourite cabin? Stag’s Mount. “I love its abundant textures and fresh, wintery feel. We mixed in some trendy tartan, too.”

To evoke a genuine sense of warmth on set, Paul followed “so many cabins” on Instagram. A lifelong Londoner, he is now a convert to the rural way of life.

“There’s something special about being lost in nature, away from planes, concrete and traffic lights,” he says.

“Spending time in these cabins, surrounded only by fields of sheep, made me feel more connected to the great outdoors.”

 (ITV)
(ITV)

The lakeside cabins, which are rented out as holiday lets (they wouldn’t tell me what they’re called/where exactly they are), are as gorgeous outside as they are in.

The production team built the decking from scratch to replicate that of the Cumbrian cabins they used last year.

They surrounded fire pits with blanketed chairs and built a roof and entrance over an existing pontoon.

“The reflections in the water at night were superb,” says Paul. “The lights created that sparkling effect which gave the contestants the wow factor and made them want to explore their new digs together.”

 (ITV)
(ITV)

If you’re feeling inspired to create the cabin look at home, follow Paul’s top tips:

  • If in doubt, buy another faux fur throw, because you can never have too many.

  • Don’t forget the floor! Lay down plenty of tactile rugs because once you get your shoes off and the fire lit, you’ll want to feel a warm, comforting texture beneath your feet.

  • Fit light bulbs that glow golden amber, rather than sterile white. Try Tungsten lighting.

  • Mix the traditional and modern. Your instinct might be to fit out a cabin with rustic, woody interiors, but our designs for The Cabins prove you can bring in contemporary elements and still make it feel homely.

  • Embrace the eclectic. We sourced the furnishings from a wide range of online retailers and everything is available to buy in the UK. (To get you started, we’ve found that adorable highland cow footstool for £89 on Red Candy.)

The Cabins airs on ITV2 on January 3, 2022.

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