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.
We've scoured the Instagram of Meghan Markle, actress and girlfriend to Prince Harry, and rounded up the 'grams that give us a glimpse into her abode.
When she's not playing Rachel Zane in Suits or roaming around London with a prince in tow, Meghan Markle can be found in a soothing Scandi-inspired sanctuary that she calls home. From white textiles to fluffy throws, vintage-inspired accents to vases of colourful blooms, Meghan's created a cozy retreat perfect for playing with her pups, working on her site The Tig, and, presumably, enjoying some paparazzi-free time with everyone's favourite ginger prince.
White sofas, a tan throw, black and white pictures and white orchids keep her living space cool and calm.
One of photographer Gray Malin's cult-favourite photos of a beach hangs on her wall, and the umbrellas in the photo are complemented by the colourful blooms on her marble table.
Marble subway tiles line the walls in Meghan's bathroom.
Neutral walls, neutral curtains and neutral seating is the theme throughout Meghan's home.
Aside from the gorgeous blooms that are placed on many of the tabletops in Meghan's home, beautiful books are also scattered about.
By Meghan's bedside, Grace Coddington's book "Grace: A Memoir," a scented candle and bright pink peonies.
Meghan's love for pretty books and blooms continues—she teams black and white books, photos and accents with cheery pink blooms on a rustic wooden table.
A vintage-looking windowpane mirror lends a whimsy element to Meghan's all-white bedroom.
White furry throws can be found swung across many chairs in her home.
White linens, a simple wooden bedframe, a tan throw and black and white artwork complete Meghan's bedroom.
A gold vintage-inspired mirror, tall potted plants and standard Scandi must-haves lend an eclectic hand to her living space.
Colour-coded piles of books are topped with succulents in her bedroom.
An animal-skin rug and antlers on the wall give this room a Scandinavian feel.
The best part of Meghan's home? Her two roommates: Guy and Bogart.
This delicious dip is a party must-have.
It's not a party without a delicious dip, especially when it's our garlic feta dip!
1 Place the feta, lemon zest, lemon juice and minced garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a long stream and process until thoroughly blended.
2 Transfer the dip to a serving dish. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and a generous grinding of fresh black pepper if desired.
3 Serve with cucumber, radishes, olives, sliced summer squash and coloured carrot sticks for dipping.
Prep & cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2 cups
Enjoy this sweet treat perfect for an afternoon tea party.
Learn to make these light and airy swirled strawberry meringues.
Take advantage of the season’s fresh berry bounty with these delicate confections that put a new spin on the everyday fruit bowl topped with a dollop of cream. Light, airy and easier than pie, they’re sure to become a family-favourite summertime staple.
1 To make the sauce, puree the strawberries, sugar, 1 tablespoon water and lemon juice in a blender.
2 Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir over medium heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
3 Whisk the cornstarch in a small bowl with the remaining tablespoon water until smooth; stir into the strawberry mixture.
4 Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl; let cool completely.
5 To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the sugar onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet; bake just until the sugar begins to turn golden, but not hard or melted, about 8 minutes. Reduce the oven to 200°F.
6 Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer on high speed, gradually beat in the hot sugar; continue beating on high until the mixture has cooled and is stiff, glossy and very thick, about 10 minutes.
7 Beat in the vanilla. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce in a steady stream. Stop beating and gently fold the mixture two or three times to create a swirled effect.
8 Drop the meringue mixture by generous 1/2 cup measures onto a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, to form 8 meringues. Top each meringue with 1/2 teaspoon of the strawberry sauce and, with a toothpick, swirl the tops to distribute the sauce.
9 Sprinkle with the freeze-dried strawberries (if using). Bake until the meringues are crisp and no longer shiny, about 3 hours.
10 Without removing the baking sheet, turn off the heat and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Serve with the remaining strawberry sauce. Store the leftover meringues in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Makes: 8 meringues