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Jane on balcony boho bin

Yes, it’s an inn. Yes, it’s a bin, as in grain bin. And yes, it’s incredible. Making for everything its “BIN-credible’ name promised: an unforgettable stay at one of the most unique accommodations you could imagine: a former grain bin converted into a luxury designer apartment at Alive Sky Lodge in Saskatchewan.

Alive Sky Lodge: Hosts Who Think Outside the Box

It takes a certain amount of creativity to believe that an old grain bin could be transformed into a luxurious apartment-in-the-round. So kudos must go to April Anderson and her husband Darryl, of Alive Sky Lodge, who knew they wanted to do something “uniquely prairie” at their property that would appeal to visitors looking for something very different than the typical motel or hotel room.

Sunset with grain bins Alive Sky Lodge
Sunset with grain bins at Alive Sky Lodge

Ironically, although the Andersons cultivate about 6,000 acres near Rosetown, about an hour south of Saskatoon, they didn’t actually have the right kind of grain bin for the project they envisioned. Many modern grain bins are cone-shaped at the bottom, not flat, and as imaginative as April may be, there was no way to convert that shape of bin into anything livable.

So instead, she bought a used flat-bottomed grain bin for $2000 and began the process of converting it into a one-of-a-kind standalone suite, with the help of Darryl (when he wasn’t busy ploughing, planting or harvesting) and her father. The project meant thinking outside of the box because there were so many factors to take into consideraton: how to insulate the bin so that it would be a true four-season suite; how to wire and plumb it; what kind of materials and techniques would work well when cladding curved walls; and finally, what kind of amenities would visitors enjoy that would make their experience as memorable as the lodging itself.

original BINcredible grain bin conversion
The original BINcredible result

‘BIN-credible’ is Born at Alive Sky Lodge

And so the original ‘BIN-credible’ unit was born, a romantic studio-for-two that welcomes guests with fuzzy robes, luxurious linens and chandeliers hanging from a domed, shiplapped ceiling.

original BINcredible interior
The Queen bed inside the BINcredible studio suite

There’s even a claw-footed tub and fireplace in the bathroom, if this doesn’t sound cozy enough. It’s clear from all the signature touches and attention to detail that this first BIN holds a special place in April’s heart not just for the fact that she saw her re-imagined grain bin successfully come to life, but because it was the last project she completed with her father before he passed away.

original BINcredible bathroom
The fireplace inside the BINcredible bathroom

Double the Fun with the BOHO Bin

As a creative person who in her own words “never has enough time to get to all the projects and ideas”, April didn’t stop with the first bin. The Andersons decided to up their game with an even bigger project: the 2-story BOHO Bin, a lofted unit that could sleep four people, not just two, and include a second-story balcony to take in those endless prairie views.

Alive Sky Lodge BOHO bin
The 2-story BOHO bin sleeps 4 and has a balcony.

Of course double the floors meant double the challenges, but also double the fun when it came to the interior design. April ran with her bohemian theme and created an eclectic interior rich with colour and dozens of personal touches. The hexagonal floor tiles in the bathroom with their black and white ombre effect were repeated elsewhere in cute little decorative mirrors and shelves, and upstairs old 45’s were used as decor over the bunk beds to add a whimsical, retro touch.

Alive Sky Lodge BOHO bin stairs
The second story loft is accessed by a ladder
Alive Sky Lodge BOHO bin kitchen
The kitchen is completely stocked with absolutely everything.
Alive Sky Lodge BOHO bin loft
Upstairs in the BOHO sleeping loft
Alive Sky Lodge BOHO bin living room
The cozy living area with its beautiful graphic wallpaper

Drawing always from her prairie roots, April incorporated a grain elevator into a backsplash art project in the bathroom that is made with actual pennies, and there’s another shadow-boxed piece of art in the kitchen with the same grain elevator theme.

PENNY grain elevator backsplash
A grain elevator design in the backsplash is made from coins!

Boutique Hotel Meets Tiny Home

When it comes to amenities, April has literally thought of everything her guests might need here, from a fully-equipped kitchen (right down to the corkscrew, of course) to flip-flops that visitors can use when going to and from the hot tub. And did I mention not one, but two modern gel fireplaces, one on each level, and the heated floor in the bathroom? If a luxury boutique hotel and a tiny home had a baby, that baby would be the BOHO bin at Alive Sky Lodge.

To take a mini-tour of the BOHO Bin, check out our video below:

Soaking Under the Stars

Outside, the BOHO bin has some fun features, too, like the hanging hammock chairs where I literally swung away most of an afternoon while sipping on a glass of wine. More wine followed when we decided to indulge ourselves after dinner with an evening of prairie sky stargazing while soaking in a private hot tub beside our unit. With a location as dark and rural as Alive Sky Lodge offers, it’s no wonder the stars seemed to shine a little brighter (or maybe that was the wine?)

Sunset with hot tub Alive Sky Lodge
Saskatchewan sunsets are best enjoyed in a hot tub
BinCredible StarrySky
Saskatchewan’s dark skies are great for stargazing

Breakfast-in-Bin, Delivered!

The only thing that could top off an evening spent bubbling in a hot tub under the stars was the morning after that followed: in this case, a very good morning after because it came with a delicious hot breakfast delivered right to our front door.

breakfast at Boho Bin Alive Sky Lodge
How’s this for ‘breakfast-in-Bin’!

Creativity and Design are Everywhere at Alive Sky Lodge

Alive Sky Lodge Barn and wood crib

Everywhere we looked we saw creativity at work at Alive Sky Lodge. April’s hand is obvious in the ‘shed decor’, the wood crib (an old tractor wheel), and even the old truck that greets guests just off the driveway.

Alive Sky Lodge shed decor
April’s design hand even extends to shed decor
Alive Sky Lodge rusty truck

There’s a third bin being reimagined as a cozy lounge where guests can hang out in the colder months, and of course a communal firepit where guests can make s’mores or enjoy those endless Saskatchewan night skies. April and Darryl are just as focused on creating a relaxing escape for their guests as they are on designing creative accommodations, which is just how it should be for a memorable getaway.

Licence plates on shed Sky Lodge
Relax, park the car and enjoy the downtime at Alive Sky Lodge

No Strangers to Strange Accommodations

Henk and I are big fans of discovering places to stay that are unique or boutique whenever we travel. Sometimes that means a spherical tree house, sometimes that means a Portuguese palace, and sometimes it’s a one-of-a-kind bed and breakfast in an historic mansion. But our stay at the BOHO grain bin in Saskatchewan ticked absolutely all of our boxes: unique, boutique AND chic, with the added bonus of having a welcoming super-creative hostess whose vision had brought everything together so beautifully we simply didn’t want to leave.

(Oh, and when Henk put on his contractor hat, he was just as impressed with the quality of the construction as with the design – high praise, indeed, and yet another reason why you should consider booking a bin for yourself.)

Henk at patio table Boho bin
Two thumbs up from Henk the contractor

Special thanks goes to Tourism Saskatchewan who hosted Henk and I on our visit to Alive Sky Lodge after I had discovered it online and ‘just HAD to go’!

Jane with Hat Tanzania

Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.

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