9 July 2011

Cottage Decor....in my humble opinion

Muskoka is a magical place where it can take 40 minutes or more by land to get somewhere you can be in 5-10 minutes by boat. It is a marvelous landscape of rocks, trees and lakes. The views are pristine and breathtaking. It is equally beautiful in all seasons perhaps with the exception of the brown season when the snow is in the process of melting.

Huckleberry Rock Lookout Milford Bay, Muskoka, Ontario
If you are lucky enough to have a cottage here, you have some of the most valuable real estate in the province. And if you are a designer working on a project up here you'd best understand what it means to cottage; the ebb and the flow of a day on the dock, the relaxed way you go about a day when you are here and you had best understand that above all else a cottage should feel effortless and comfortable.

I am a huge fan of juxtaposing modern with rustic, or infusing contemporary design into a historic home, but the cottage is not a place to take this to extremes. In my experience when someone leaves their city home they want to leave it behind. They do not want to go from their city home in the city, to a city home in Muskoka. They are wanting to go to another world, they are driving through heavy traffic on a Friday night for more than 2 hours to escape.

And so it is that after viewing the first 'after' picture of a cottage design project I am following on Facebook, I was inspired to write this post. The cottage is a fairly common 4.5 million dollar island property on one of our big three lakes. It is large, beautifully set, and is gracious in it's views. It was in dire need of an update; it's kitchen and bath cabinetry was of the 80's variety in cream melamine with the oak wood rails...ugh. Based on what I have seen of it's 'before' pictures (and this is all I am going on as I have not seen it in person) it has by all accounts generous spaces, vaulted ceilings and plenty of windows. So it was with a certain sense of disappointment that I viewed the first 'after' picture which showcased a sofa similar to the one below...this sofa does not say cottage comfort to me. The rest of the room was equally devoid of any sense of comfort (glass coffee tables...in a cottage?).
Now don't get me wrong the room was nice, the sofa wonderful, but not in a Muskoka cottage...in my humble opinion.

This is my idea of a Muskoka decor courtesy of Lisa Roy, one of my fav bloggers. This was her Muskoka living room when she called Muskoka home. The white slipcovers are wonderful, relaxed and comfortable.
 Many might think that white is counterintuitive, but it is actually perfect for the cottage, but only as a slipcover. This way it can be removed, washed and bleached if need be (check your washing instructions first though...some cottons turn yellow when bleached). When you are at the cottage you and your kids are in and out of the water and while much of the time you are outside, it often happens that wet little bottoms are parking themselves on the furniture...and these wet bottoms are not always clean, rather more often sandy from the beach or dirty from running through the yard/woods...you get my point.

The cottage to me should feel like it has been there forever (in a good way) the decor should feel evolved over time, special finds picked up here and there, the driftwood leaning in the corner, the patina of life on each space as it has been shared with family and friends.

Lake Joseph Cottage by Peaks and Rafter

Lake Muskoka Cottage by Peaks and Rafters
 These images above are from one of Muskoka's best designers; Margot Bell owner of Peaks and Rafters in Port Carling. Margot has had her hand in many of the multi million dollar cottages on Millionaires Row in Beaumaris. Her work has been featured in House and Home, Style At Home and Canadian Home and Country. I worked for Margot before I had my children and it was under her that I learned what makes a successful Muskoka cottage.

Maybe there is some truth to the notion that if you want Muskoka design hire a Muskoka designer. Or maybe you just need to have an understanding of what it means to live and/or cottage up here to be able to truly develop a comfortable space. Whatever the case, I will keep following along in hopes that I have jumped the gun here and that the 'after' picture I saw was not truly an 'after' and maybe I'll be blown away by what these city designers do to transform this space when all is said and done.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely interior! Simple, cozy, chic and nice finishes! Check out also 3D Rendering


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