Images: Donna Griffith
A clever overhaul and lots of paint turned this dreary cottage into a charming getaway.
When Torontonians Pam and Greg Warren purchased this cottage near Lakefield, Ont., in 2010, its aesthetic was quintessential cabin – mallard decoys, wood-clad walls and ceilings, plus a number of shadowy nooks and crannies. Charming as it was, the couple yearned for a more open and airy place to spend summer weekends and vacations with their three young children. Drawn to simple Scandinavian style, the couple, not suprisingly, loved the look of Lakefield’s Stony Lake Furniture Co. and turned to its owner, Lisa Besseling, for help. Lisa recalls their first conversation: “The idea was to keep some of the wood-framed pieces of furniture that had been left in the cottage by the previous owners and freshen them up with new fabrics. We also discussed revamping the cottage’s layout by opening up the rooms, and transforming the screened-in sunroom into an all-season space by adding a weather wall.”
Demolition began that winter, and Lisa remembers the reno experience as being a bit of an adventure. “The cottage is on an island, so to meet our goal of having the kitchen up and running by the time the ice on the lake melted, we had to work right through the cold weather. I spent a lot of time with the contractor roaring across the frozen lake on a snowmobile.” But while the process wasn’t exactly convenient, the kitchen, with its grey-painted cabinetry, quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances, is now the highlight of the cottage.
The cottage may be old, but the kitchen design is brand new. Shiny white bar stools, soft grey-painted cabinetry, cool quartz countertops and soaring white ceilings with skylights make it one of the freshest and most inviting areas in the home.
Pale blue and grey toss cushions are a pretty complement to the rough-hewn wooden bench nestled in the cottage’s entryway.
Nothing says cottage life like a canoe paddle. This one doubles as art with its painted stars and stripes. Punches of red in the kerosene lantern and runner add panache to the mostly neutral space.
The dining room’s mix is unexpected yet perfectly pulled together. Notice how all the disparate elements, including the rough-hewn dining table, mid-century-style sidechairs, striped rug and farmhouse-style pendant light, work together to create a look that designer Lisa Besseling refers to as modern rustic.
The sunroom is a study in livable texture. The first piece chosen for the room was the light fixture. “It has big impact,” says homeowner Pam Warren. The slipcovered furniture, as well as the wicker, wood and linen used throughout, offers a laidback vibe perfect for lounging.
Fresh colour palette
This wood-framed furniture was in the family cottage when Pam and her husband, Greg, purchased it. Lisa found a way to make it look fresh with beachy tans, creams and blues.