Homes - Interiors

Interior: Modern family cottage

Laura Muir
Janet Kimber

Homeowner and designer Laura Fisher transforms her family cottage from bold and busy to simple and refined.

It took about three minutes for me to decide to buy this place,” says homeowner and designer Laura Fisher. Living in Calgary at the time, Laura had become well acquainted with Nova Scotia while visiting her son at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and she thought it would be an ideal spot to own a family cottage. When she was in the province in October of 2007, she rented a car and drove around the area south of Lunenburg, armed with a list of 20 properties. “I think this was one of the last on the list, and as soon as I looked around I said, ‘This is it!’”

The distinctively modern structure – designed by architects from the United States and built by local builders four years earlier – stood high up on a forested, five-acre site and was immersed in nature on all sides. While it was the sense of privacy and the panoramic views – from a small pond to the vast expanse of ocean to meadows and rolling hills – that drew Laura to this property, she also saw potential in the cottage itself. “It had a good feeling,” she says.

Family cottage
Even though the interior design had a makeshift quality with a few big box furnishings placed here and there, its open-concept spaces and arched ceilings – 15 feet at the highest point and 12 at the lowest – gave the house a sense of airy grandness. Its layout also appealed to Laura, with features like the master bedroom suite tucked away on one end.

But still, the cottage’s architecturally bold look needed to be “hushed,” so Laura enlisted architect Diana Carl to help her create the refined aesthetic she desired. “We really wanted to soften the form,” says Diana. “It has very distinct lines and was quite busy, so inside what we aimed to do was respect the large open space but really quiet it down and turn it toward the water.”

“The loft is clad in aluminum siding to go along with the windows,” says Diana. And it’s also the one beacon on the building: From the water, it looks like a silver box connected to two white wings.

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