House Tours
Sep 30, 2015

Cozy rental cottage with rustic charm and modern convenience

By: Christy Wright
Cozy cottage with rustic charm and modern convenience

A rental retreat with plenty of rustic charm Author: Angus Fergusson

House Tours
Sep 30, 2015

Cozy rental cottage with rustic charm and modern convenience

By: Christy Wright

A Toronto couple transforms an outdated cottage into an in-demand rental retreat with a mix of rustic charm and modern conveniences.


What do you get when a food and prop stylist turns her exacting attention to detail to a 1930s-era cottage in Ontario’s Muskoka region last updated in the ’70s? A deliciously cozy space lovingly reimagined to look much like it did when it was first built.

The stylist in question, Terry Schacht, and her husband, avionics mechanic Mark Spiers, had already revamped their Township of Perry, Ont., cottage to rent out when they’re not there and, wishing to expand their rental portfolio, were on the hunt for a second fixer-upper. It was 2008, and the search was short-lived. “We found this cottage on the first day of looking,” says Terry. “We’d been in the car all day with our real estate agent, who had a stack of listings for us. The only one that appealed to us was one for a log cottage that happened to be furthest away. We ran out of time and didn’t get to see it. When the agent dropped us off, we decided to drive to it ourselves. We fell in love with it the minute we pulled up.”

Set in Muskoka’s Lake of Bays township, the 2,000-square-foot four-bedroom cottage was a study in bucolic charm on the outside, but its authentic log-and-chink exterior belied the interior’s clumsy makeover, which saw many walls and original features covered in concrete, panelling and tile board. The transformation brief was clear: Mark would oversee all the renovations, including building a new kitchen, upgrading the existing bathroom and reclaiming an original bathroom that had been turned into a closet. Terry would concentrate on decorating.

 

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Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Large rustic dining table

“The table is rustic and scratched, and we love it,” says homeowner Terry Schacht. It has seven leaves and can expand to accommodate a large gathering. The lack of overhead lighting in the dining area was intentional. “I didn’t want wires running all over the beautiful ceiling,” she says. “Since the room can get dark, I placed a floor lamp in the corner for a soft glow.”

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

A corner of essentials

An antique buffet in a corner of the Muskoka room is styled with cottaging essentials.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Textured backsplash

In the kitchen, Terry chose a tactile pebbled backsplash: “It’s actually the same material we used on the bathroom floor – I love its contrast in the kitchen.”

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Modern rustic kitchen

A butcher-block countertop maintains the at-the-cottage vibe, while stainless steel appliances add contemporary flair.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Keeping things organic

The open-concept living and dining area exemplifies Terry’s passion for the authentic. “I like to leave things as original as possible,” she says. “I love the old wood and would never dream of painting over this ceiling.”

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Charming bedroom

Antique-look items, such as the iron bed frame and lace drapery, imbue the main-floor bedroom with old-fashioned charm. “The curtains were here when we bought the cottage,” says Terry, “and I like their vintage feel.” The sconce above the bed is a little luxury for late-night bookworms.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Relaxing wicker chairs

Comfy wicker rockers make the Muskoka room the preferred place for morning coffee, rainy-day games and reading.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Vintage dresser

The dresser in the master bedroom has a handsome old-world presence, which suggests it’s always been there, even though it was an online find.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Natural decor

Foraged branches casually deck the dining table.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Historic furniture

“I’m drawn to historic pieces, and this basket is from the Second World War – apparently it was filled with rations then dropped from planes to soldiers,” says Terry.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Chic vintage bath

The bathroom, which originally had lavender fixtures, was updated with a clawfoot tub and pedestal sink.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home

Cottage tour: Cozy rustic rental

Staying warm

Cozy felted-wool slippers are ideal for padding around the cottage.

By: Christy Wright Source: Angus Fergusson; styling by Ann Marie Favot Credits: Style at Home
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Cozy rental cottage with rustic charm and modern convenience