Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.
Welcome fall chalkboard wall decor, Pier 1 Imports.
Take a look at these 10 festive decorations to get your family, guests and home ready for Thanksgiving.
Each year, Thanksgiving kicks off the ever-busy fall and winter entertaining season and if you love making seasonal changes to your decor, it’s the perfect time to switch out your spring and summer items in favour of everything autumn.
We’ve rounded up 10 simple but pretty ways to dress up your home for Thanksgiving, many sharing messages of gratitude and all adding that feeling of fall.
Hung in the hallway, the kitchen or in the front foyer of your home, this burlap Thanksgiving banner shares the sentiments of the season and reminds all who visit your home to bring an attitude of gratitude with them. Thanksgiving sentiment banner, Pottery Barn, $39.50.
Add a touch of fall to your front door. This oak leaf wreath may be faux but its crisp golden leaves echo the changing colours all around this season and makes a cheerful welcome for guests all autumn long. Oak leaf artificial wreath, Crate & Barrel, $49.95.
Dress up your mantel with this simple handmade Thanksgiving banner. Or, use this as the inspiration for a fun holiday craft with the kids. With cardstock, twine, paint and some imagination, children can create their own messages of thanks. Give thanks banner, A Banner Affair on Etsy, $24.
Scattered across the mantel or coffee table, these faux oak and maple leaves will add a fall feeling to your home. Dusted with a dash of sparkle, they’re perfect for elevating an ordinary day to a special day. Glittered autumn leaf scatters, World Market, $9.98.
Add clusters of these paper decorations around your home, especially above your Thanksgiving table for a perfectly festive look. Available in a perfect autumn palette of gold, wine and pumpkin colours, they come with a white string attached for easy hanging. Fall fluffy fecorations, Party City, $8.99.
Swap out a piece of artwork that you have up all year long for something with a seasonal message. This rustic chalkboard wall hanging is perfect for welcoming guests into your home in a foyer or entryway. Welcome fall chalkboard wall decor, Pier 1 Imports, $59.95.
Decorating your home for Thanksgiving doesn’t mean pasting paper turkey cutouts everywhere. These block candles in an autumn hue are a subtle nod to the season. Plus, their fragrant orange, cinnamon and clove scent are a delight to the senses. Nykar scented block candles, Ikea, $6.99 for a set of 3.
Add a happy hue to your kitchen with seasonal dishtowels. This cotton towel is part of a collection in fall-inspired colours that are designed to celebrate the harvest season. Acorn jacquard kitchen towel, Sur La Table, $8.
If you’ve left things until the last minute, you still have time to add a few Thanksgiving-inspired touches to your home. The Copper Anchor on Etsy offers beautiful printables like this one that can be instantly downloaded and printed at home. There is Always Something to Be Thankful For wall art, The Copper Anchor on Etsy, $6.80.
Combine your decorating efforts with a bit of DIY for some fun for the whole family. Pick up mini pumpkins at the grocery store and check out these great ideas for decorating pumpkins that you can place around the house. DIY pumpkin decorations.
These products will help you stay warm and cozy all season long.
These products will help you stay warm and cozy all season long.
Seasonally perfect products for staying warm and cozy indoors all season long.
As the mercury drops this fall, don’t despair about the cold, dark evenings that have you heading indoors to seek refuge. With the right at-home accessories, you can enjoy your coziest fall at home ever! You’ll be so comfy cozy indoors that you’ll be perfectly happy to settle in and enjoy the season from the comfort of your couch!
1 Cable Knit Throws
There are blankets and then there are blankets (like the one that everyone in the family fights over when it’s time to curl up with a movie on a crisp fall evening). These gorgeous throws from Boll & Branch are truly luxe. They're certified organic and made with eco-friendly, non-toxic dyes. Best of all, a portion of every sale is donated to Not For Sale, an organization dedicated to helping end forced labour and human trafficking. Cable Knit Throws, Boll & Branch, $125 each.
2 Philosophy Living Grace Shampoo, Bath & Shower Gel
When the wind is whirling outside and the leaves on the ground are swirling, seek solace in your own personal at-home sanctuary. Run a hot bath and top it off with Philosophy’s Living Grace Bath Gel. The luxurious formula will cleanse, condition and soften dry, tired skin, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Philosophy Living Grace Shampoo, Bath & Shower Gel, Sephora, $31.
3 Mahabis Classic Slippers
Chilly fall nights mean chilly floors. Keep your tootsies comfy and cozy with these stylish slippers that look as good as they feel. With their distinct focus on design (they have a Scandinavian aesthetic and boast European craftsmanship), these aren’t any slippers you’re used to. With Mahabis, the simple slipper gets a luxe makeover: Lightweight and breathable with a wool lining, they also come with detachable wool soles so you can wear them outside, too. Mahabis Classic Slippers in Larvik Dark Grey, Mahabis, $138.
4 No. 35 The Earl Grey Tea
Nothing warms up a cold night like a hot cuppa tea. But this fall, take your tea to the next level with something a little more special than the tea you normally buy at your local grocery store. This classic blend Earl Grey tea is made from organic full-leaf Ceylon black tea and is scented with Sicilian bergamot. The rich taste combined with the intoxicating aroma will make you forget how cold it is outside and relish every moment indoors this season. No. 35 The Earl Grey Tea, Bellocq Tea Atelier, $15.
5 Blanket Wrap
You’ll never feel fall’s chill when you’re swathed in this handsome wrap that’s part blanket, part sweater. It’s interchangeable, offering two colour options and can be converted to two different lengths. Plus, it’s 70% wool and 30% cashmere, making it totally luxurious. You’ll look chic wearing it but feel like you’re still in bed. Win, win! Blanket Wrap in Teak/Ebony, Kit & Ace, $428.
6 The Couple Next Door
There’s nothing like a gripping thriller to get you through those long dark evenings. Once you’re completely sucked into this novel's suspenseful storyline, you’ll forget all about the wicked weather outside. A New York Times Bestseller, The Couple Next Door is quickly gaining acclaim from readers and thriller authors alike and is poised to be the book of the season! The Couple Next Door, Amazon.ca, $15.36.
7 Staghorn Cable Reading Socks
Speaking of books … when you’re curled up on the couch with your latest can’t-put-down read, you’ll adore the coziness of these cable knit reading socks. Super soft, warm and soothing to cold, tired feet, they’re just what you’ll long for at the end of a long day. Staghorn Cable Reading Socks in Grey, Indigo, $20.
8 Byredo Bibliotheque Candle
There’s something about the rich fragrance of a luxe candle that fills a home with a sense of place. An aroma you love can quickly become strongly associated with positive memories and the gentle glow of candlelight is no doubt relaxing and romantic. Which means that adding candles to your home is always a good idea (just don’t forget to keep an eye on them and don’t leave them lit and unattended!). We love this candle from Byredo Parfums. Handmade in France, it has notes of peach and plum, violet, leather and vanilla. Byredo Bibliotheque Candle, Holt Renfrew, $108.
Pretty powder room.
We designed a Deco-inspired powder room on both a Gatsby and a Carraway budget. Can you tell the difference?
1 Laundry Studio Diamante wallpaper in Turquoise, Hygge & West, $140 US per double roll. 2 UberHaus metal Naples sconces with fabric shade and faux crystals (removed), RONA, $32 each. 3 Aluminum-bordered Ronglan mirror, 32", IKEA, $119. 4 Town Square widespread cast-brass faucet in Polished Chrome, American Standard, $460. 5 Fitzgerald 3-hole fireclay pedestal sink in Canvas White, 24", DXV, $520. 6 Ceramic Hexagon floor tiles in White and Black, 1", Saltillo Imports, $5 per sq. ft. each. 7 Cotton terry cloth Linen-edged bath towel in White,Anthropologie, $48 US. 8 Vintage monogrammed linen hand towel, Putti Fine Furnishings, $25. 9 Moen Iso steel towel bar, 18", RONA, $43. 10 Illume poured candle in glass vessel, Indigo, $18.
1 Paper & Ink Coastal Chic Lace Doily wallpaper in CO10412, through designers, Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics, $159 per double roll. 2 Hudson Valley Lighting 1-light brass Sanford sconces in Polished Nickel with silk shade, Sescolite, $551 each. 3 Mother of Pearl mirror, 30", Cocoon Furnishings, $1,046. 4 Keefe widespread cast-brass faucet in Polished Chrome, DXV, $680. 5 Town Square 3-hole fireclay pedetsal sink, 24", American Standard, $705. 6 Enamelled-glass mosaic Hexagon floor tiles in White, Cobalt Blue and Light Blue, 2", Saltillo Imports, $19 per sq. ft. each. 7 Cotton terry cloth bath towel in Off-white with linen border in Natural, per pair, Zara Home, $50. 8 Embroidered-linen Honeycomb hand towel in White & Silver, Au Lit Fine Linens, $48. 9 Valsan brass Porto towel bar in Chrome, 20", Upper Canada Specialty Hardware, $129. 10 Tom Dixon poured Eclectic candle in brass vessel with marble lid, Medulla & Co., $95.
Simple sconces against patterned wallpaper will brighten up any powder room, especially when framing the mirror over the sink. Low (left): UberHaus metal Naples sconces with fabric shade and faux crystals (removed), RONA, $32 each. High (right): Hudson Valley Lighting 1-light brass Sanford sconces in Polished Nickel with silk shade, Sescolite, $551 each.
The stars of our high and low powder rooms are the statuesque art deco-inspired pedestal sinks (these gals have got some gams!). Though their silhouettes are quite different, each embodies the celebrated glamour of old Hollywood and makes for one lavish lavatory. Low (left): Fitzgerald 3-hole fireclay pedestal sink in Canvas White, 24", DXV, $520. High (right): Town Square 3-hole fireclay pedestal sink, 24", American Standard, $705.
Racks and hooks are great hanging options, but consider a towel bar, whatever your price point. It allows plenty of ventilation for speedy drying, so your towels stay fresh. Low (left): Moen Iso steel towel bar, 18", RONA, $43. High (right): Valsan brass Porto towel bar in Chrome, 20", Upper Canada Specialty Hardware, $129.
When the first residential bathrooms began appearing around the turn of the last century, the floor covering of choice was mosaic tile. The diminutive size of the tiles – an inch or so wide – suited the scale of the generally cramped spaces and allowed for a wide variety of patterns, which ranged from simple to intricate. To lend our powder rooms that signature old-world charm, we recreated the look by installing hexagonal tiles in a scattered flower motif. The Low features basic one-inch black and white tiles, while the High comprises bolder two-inch white, navy and powder blue ones. We combined segments from single-colour mesh sheets, but you can buy a sheet with a preset pattern for easy installation. The options are as pleasantly plentiful as ever. Low (left): Ceramic Hexagon floor tiles in White and Black, 1", Saltillo Imports, $5 per sq. ft. each. High (right): Enamelled-glass mosaic Hexagon floor tiles in White, Cobalt Blue and Light Blue, 2", Saltillo Imports, $19 per sq. ft. each.
If you're going to add a softly-scented candle into your powder room, you might as well make sure it stays with the glam look of the room by placing it in a gold candle holder. Low (left): Illume poured candle in glass vessel, Indigo, $18. High (right): Tom Dixon poured Eclectic candle in brass vessel with marble lid, Medulla & Co., $95.
Faucets are never a bathroom item to overlook. They are the element of the powder room that will pull the sink, mirror, sconces and added accessories together so choose wisely. Low (left): Town Square widespread cast-brass faucet in Polished Chrome, American Standard, $460. High (right): Keefe widespread cast-brass faucet in Polished Chrome, DXV, $680.
Anticipate your guests’ needs with a toiletry essentials kit. Stock basic hair, nail and dental care products, as well as common medicines. Toss large items, such as dry shampoo, right in, but corral small bits like bobby pins in mini envelopes. Brass and glass Callie box, Pottery Barn, $104. Large cotton Fouta bath towel, Au Lit Fine Linens, $98.
For a special touch, layer hand towels in various materials and textures with unique details, such as pleats, fringes or embroidery. Stick to a single palette for uniformity. 1 Cotton terry cloth Heather Fringed in Oatmeal, Pottery Barn, $24. 2 Cotton terry cloth in Off-white with linen border in Natural, Zara Home, $20 per pair. 3 Cotton terry cloth Linen- edged in White, Anthropologie, $28 US. 4 Fringed-cotton honeycomb-woven Fouta in Powder Blue, Putti Fine Furnishings, $22. 5 Vintage linen with crocheted edge, Putti Fine Furnishings, $295. 6 Antique-French-linen with vintage-linen pleated edge, Putti Fine Furnishings, $80. 7 Vintage monogrammed linen, Putti Fine Furnishings, $30. 8 Embroidered-linen Tangier in Oat & White, Au Lit Fine Linens, $48. 9 Cotton terry cloth jacquard Isaac Floral Sculpted in White, Pottery Barn, $30. 10 Cotton terry cloth jacquard, Zara Home, $14 per pair.