A fresh seaside-chic lake house
This cozy lake house in Port Carling, Ont., boasts a fresh seaside-chic vibe while paying homage to old-school Muskoka.
Nestled on the south shore of Lake Rosseau in Port Carlin, Ont., this 6,800-square-foot six-bedroom house is decorated the way one would dress when visiting: in a crisp Polo Ralph Lauren Oxford shirt and comfortable, well-worn chinos paired with Sperry Top-Siders. It's a timeless look that's coastal, casual and effortlessly chic with a neutral palette at its core.
"The homeowners wanted to capture that warm, windswept lake house aesthetic but with a relaxed, cozy Muskoka feel for their young family of four," says Cory DeFrancisco of Mukoka Living Interiors, who designed and built the home from scratch, finishing in 2013.
Like a friendly smile and a firm handshake, the entryway makes a confident and inviting introduction to the home.
"A lot of old cottages have those tunnelling hallways in their guest cottage or service quarters, and this beadboard wall treatment references that," says builder and designer Cory DeFrancisco.
This small boathouse sunroom is literally right on Ontario's Lake Rosseau: On windy days, you can feel waves crashing up through the floorboards.
"We took up 90 percent of the wall with windows," says Cory of the gorgeous great room, where the ceiling's oak beams guide your eye directly to the view. "The overstuffed sofas are insanely comfortable," he adds. "They're slipcovered in high-quality Belgian linen that gets softer with each wash.
Though the spacious kitchen is crisp, white and polished, simple details, such as the grain of the reclaimed-oak floors and the texture of the brush strokes on the hand-painted cabinetry, keep it humble and homey. "It's a new take on a traditional cottage kitchen, with all the modern amenities," says Cory.
A big weathered farmhouse table paired with slipcovered seating and sophisticated lighting that doesn't block the view equals a dining room with easy elegance. But the best feature of this space is that, with the doors open, you really feel like you're eating alfresco.
Even though this home is grand, the family who lives here wanted an overall feeling of togetherness, so Cory kept it largely open concept.
The west-facing Muskoka room, with wall-to-wall windows, is so bright that it can pull off the charcoal walls. "The darkness acts as an anchor, while the light that shines in highlights the furnishings," explains Cory. The modular sectional is meant for the outdoors (so go ahead, get it wet) and can be reconfigured when company comes to create multiple sitting areas.
The whole master bedroom is very generous, but its sleeping area is quite small. In it, you'll find only an upholstered bed, two small side tables and a 180-degree view of the water.
The large window behidn the free-standing bathtub overlooks a garden and granite. "It's hard to make boulders sound nice," says Cory with a laugh, "but it's a beautiful view."
"All of those elements are, I think, what makes it feel authentic to Muskoka. There's nothing ornate in the whole place," says Cory. And just 35 feet away, in the boathouse, the look is much the same. The palette is almost all white and the dress code is bathing suits - after all, the lake's right there. Take one step out the door, and jump right in. The water's perfect.
Image by: Tracey Ayton
A romantic retreat isn’t as far away as you may think. A few easy additions to your home can turn your space into the perfect escape made just for two.
No matter what your living situation is, it’s important to have a space in your home where you and your special someone can retreat to and reconnect. Whether it’s a nook, a favourite spot on the sofa, or the bed itself, create an area that’s comfortable, cozy and made for both of you.
From lighting to memorabilia, there are a number of easy and thoughtful ways to instantly turn your bedroom into a romantic escape. So put away the passports and get comfy because you two are staying in tonight.
Image by: Stacey Brandford
There’s something comforting and intimate about the tactility of textures. The indescribable softness of a knit throw blanket, the luxuriousness of a faux fur rug, or the delicateness of a lace appliqué. By incorporating these textural elements into your space, you can instantly incite that sense of touch and instill a feeling of romance.
Image by: Janis Nicolay
Creating a place in your home that you actually want to spend time in means it has to be comfortable and cozy. So, it’s time to layer up your space. Throw blankets and toss cushions are an effortless way to inject colour and texture into any room, and there’s no beating the satisfaction of nestling into a soft little nook with your love.
Image by: Ashley Capp
There’s nothing romantic about harsh, bright white lights, so unless you have a thing for sterile hospital waiting rooms, be considerate of your bedroom lighting. The essential here is keeping your lighting options low and warm. A beautiful chandelier on a dimmer switch, for instance, can add instant drama and ambiance, while vintage sconces can create a pleasant soothing glow. Not able to install either? You can never go wrong with candlelight.
Image by: Janis Nicolay
Do you ever notice you’re more drawn to rooms decorated with plants? Fresh florals have always made fabulous decor accents, but they’re also known for improving your home’s air quality, as well as being mood boosters. By adding plant life to your bedroom, you’ll find it becomes a more livable place that you’ll both want to spend more time in, too.
Image by: Tracey Ayton
While it may not be ideal to eat three meals a day in bed, having a breakfast-in-bed for two every now and then is one of life’s simple luxuries. In fact, breaking the usual morning routine and enjoying a cozy meal first thing is a great way to spend a little extra time together and reconnect.
Image by: Michael Graydon
Even a simple nook can be turned into an enchanting retreat. Find a corner to fit a love seat or dress up a small alcove by the window — when there’s just enough room for two, it’s the perfect excuse for an extra cuddle.
Image by: Christy Wright
Create a space that’s for both of you, where you can both feel at-home and relaxed. Take each other’s styles and comforts into consideration, or add some photos or keepsakes to conjure cherished memories, and you’ll have a cozy spot where you both feel welcome.
Wendel Clark's lakefront Muskoka cottage
Take a tour of former NHL player and Toronto Maple Leafs captain Wendel Clark's massive Muskoka, Ont., cottage available for rent on Airbnb!
If you've ever dreamed of living in the footsteps of a hockey legend, this is your chance. Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain, Wendel Clark, has listed his sprawling Muskoka property on Airbnb for those looking for a truly Canadian summer.
With a minimum two night stay, at $4,999 per night, you and 14 other guests can enjoy lakeside living at its best this summer! We're talking one main cottage, four guest cottages, boats, waterfront activities, BBQs, Muskoka chairs, and a pool table. But the best part? All the proceeds from this summer will go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada!
Take a tour and check out the Airbnb listing here to nab an open spot for the coming season! Hurry though, they're going fast!
Wendel Clark has listed his Muskoka, Ont., cottage for rent on Airbnb. While the price tag is up to $4,999 per night, the property can easily fit 15 people (with no added charge for extra guests!). Your rental includes the main cottage and four guest cottages so there's plenty of room.
This is cottaging done right. Wood beams, stone fireplaces and comfy sofas make for a cozy summer retreat.
This is definitely a departure from the marble-laden white kitchens we often see. Between all the wood, stone and industrial accents, it has more of a cottage-meets-barn aesthetic - from the oversized stone-faced hood surround to the barnboard panelled kitchen island that complements the doors in the previous living room. Wendel has given free reign to anything in the refrigerator or cupboards, but warns guests, "Just don't touch the Captain Crunch."
The dining area, open to the kitchen, beckons for guests to gather at the large harvest table for mealtime. Just one rule: "Jerseys on at the table - house rule."
While the furnishings could use a serious update, the space is ideal for relaxing once the sun sets and the fire is lit. Wendel enjoys this space to "dine al fresco without the pesky mosquitos". Here's hoping it has a view of the waterfront!
For the times that cannot be spent basking in the sun, the games room can come in handy for a game or two of pool. And in case you forget you're in Canada, the artwork speaks for itself.
Were you worried all the wood was used up throughout the living spaces? Have no fear, this bedroom is fully clad in it, from the floors to the walls to the bed frame! (It's actually strikingly similar to this cozy rustic cottage).
One of the eight bathrooms on the property, Wendel says, "It's nicer than most penalty boxes - trust me, I know!" It's certainly larger than a penalty box!
We imagine this is one of Wendel's daughters' bedrooms from when they were younger, and possibly one of the only spaces that has had a makeover in some time. The painted panelled walls, distressed side tables, updated light fixture and porthole window add instant country charm to the room.
"Great spot for a pre- or post-game nap!" - Wendel Clark They may not be cottage bedrooms, but these master suites definitely promise sweet dreams!
We're hoping the Wendel Clark Signature Merlot 2006 comes with the rental! Just in case: How to remove red wine stains.
Discover the gorgeous city of Edmonton, Alberta.
Our editor-in-chief visits Edmonton for the first time.
Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin visits Alberta's capital for the first time - and resolves it won't be her last.
Day 1: One of Edmonton’s best calling cards is its stunning North Saskatchewan River valley, so stay at the ideally located Fairmont Hotel Macdonald and request a room with a river-valley view. Arrive in time to watch the sunset from the hotel’s patio, which over-looks the largest urban parkway in North America. Those four iconic glass pyramids tucked amid the trees belong to the Muttart Conservatory, a botanical garden definitely worth visiting. Take a three-minute walk along downtown’s rapidly gentrifying Jasper Avenue to get to the über-casual Tres Carnales Taqueria. It’s widely regarded as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Canada, and for good reason. The owners keep the main menu simple (just tacos, tortas and quesadillas) and impress with fresh ingredients. You can’t go wrong with ordering any item, but the chunky guacamole and homemade tortilla chips are not to be overlooked. End your evening with a drink at Woodwork – this hip place serves wood-fired fare and finely made cocktails.
Day 2: Start your morning with a satisfying latte at Coffee Bureau before spending an hour or two at the hopping outdoor farmers’ market, City Market Downtown. Option No.1: Head over to the trendy Strathcona neighbourhood and stroll along its famed Whyte Avenue. Make sure to stop by Poppy Barley (above), a shop featuring gorgeous handcrafted bespoke footwear, as well as Concrete Cat’s atelier for interesting cast-concrete objets d’art (book an appointment in advance). Dine at Noorish, a vegetarian hot spot with cool Arabian-style decor, for organic plant-based eats (squeeze in a yoga session at its studio if you want the full nourishing experience).
Option No.2: Hit up Edmonton’s vibrant shopping district on 124 Street and explore decor shops, such as Dwell Modern, and pretty boutiques like Pura Botanicals, where you can customize your own eco-friendly perfume. Sustain all your shopping efforts with coffee and cake at the world-class Duchess Bake Shop. The limited edition croissant is a new favourite (it’s filled with raspberry rose gelée and finished with a lychee glaze and dried raspberries). Then, head right next door to Duchess Provisions, where you’ll find gourmet ingredients, cookbooks and kitchen tools, including cookie cutters in nearly every shape you can imagine. If you happen to visit during the Edmonton Folk Music Festival – August 4 to 7 – spend the afternoon at beautiful Gallagher Park and take in a couple of shows. Or soak up the carnival-like atmosphere and theatrical performances at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival (August 11 to 26). Back at the hotel, have a power nap before strolling to the intimate Italian restaurant Corso 32 for dinner (make reservations at least a month in advance). The freshly made goat ricotta comes highly recommended – it’s so creamy it borders on divine.
What to pack: Take only the essentials - you'll be loading your luggage with these Edmonton finds.