Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.
Glamorous master bedroom
We've put together a list of 10 nightstands perfect for any room.
A colourful bedside table is a great way to brighten up your bedroom and add a bit of extra storage for your nightly must-haves.
Harbour blue 2-drawer nightstand, Crate and Barrel, $699.
If you're looking for the perfect way to add a touch of glamour to your bedroom a mirrored nightstand is a simple solution.
Park mirrored 2-drawer bedside table, Pottery Barn, $499.
Go bold with your bedroom furniture. Make a statement in your bedroom with a unique nightstand that will hold all your essentials and give your room some character.
Pen Shell Hexagon side table, Williams-Sonoma, $450.
Gold details help add a glamorous touch without taking away from the simplicity of a room. It's an easy way to make your soothing master suite look sophisticated and chic.
Terrace nightstand in Antique Brass, West Elm, $299.
Simple and loaded with storage, these nightstands easily blend into the background allowing your headboard to be the main focus.
Pierce bedside chest, Pier 1, $349.95.
Give some shape to your room with a round-top nightstand. Not only does the nightstand look sleek, it adds an element of elegance.
STRIND side table, IKEA, $69.99.
Add a beachy-glam look to your bedroom with a white wicker nightstand. From your condo bedroom to your cottage master suite it's great for any space.
Classica nightstand, Pier 1, $249.95.
If you're looking for small space storage solutions in your bedroom, try a layered bedside table. It's an easy solution for keeping everything within arm's reach while staying organized.
Chloe Etagere beside table in Antique White, Pottery Barn, $699.
Nightstands can help make a change to a basic room. Choose something with a unique shape, colour or material to give a new look to a modern or traditional space.
Tall storage nightstand, West Elm, $229.
Give your bedroom that rustic revival by adding distressed wood furniture.
Atwood nightstand, Crate and Barrel, $899.
Tour this stylish open-concept condo.
Starring a diverse cast, tension and drama, this pared-back open-concept condo is anything but prosaic.
A great designer is a matchmaker, a trendsetter and, above all else, a storyteller. With the decor of this new-build condo’s main living area, Yanic Simard, founder and lead designer of Toronto Interior Design Group, proves he is among the greats. The scene in this 540-square-foot open-concept space was already set. Floor-to-ceiling windows spanning two entire sides of the condo flood it with sunshine and overlook the tree-lined streets of Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighbourhood and the city’s downtown skyline beyond. With such a lively setting, a restrained decorating approach was best, so neutral finishes were chosen in the form of sophisticated greyish-white wall paint, warm-toned wide-plank hardwood floors and cream-coloured kitchen cabinetry.
With a relatively blank slate established, the cooking/dining/living space was ready for some personality, so Yanic set about casting his characters, starting with the hero: “That custom blue sectional is the piece,” he says, adding that he had fabric samples sent from as far away as Europe and South America to find that “delicious” velvet. To fill the supporting roles, he animated the room with a small yet eclectic group, including a retro brass and glass coffee table, an Art Deco-inspired mirror, Mid-Century Modern-style dining furniture and traditional-meets-modern clear plastic kitchen stools. The vastly varied furnishings lend the space quiet tension, but it’s their shared low-slung silhouettes that create drama. “We wanted to make the ceiling – already impressive at 10 feet – appear even higher,” says Yanic, citing European apartments as inspiration. Dramatic, too, are the light fixtures. In the kitchen, a futuristic long-armed Serge Mouille-influenced piece is the antithesis of the classic Shaker-style cabinetry, but the fixture’s white finish humbles it. Meanwhile, the matching pendants over the living and dining areas hark back to the opulence of the Hollywood Regency period, but their size is modest and their shape simple. After all, much like the best narratives, the chicest rooms show off a skillful interplay of striking and soothing moments, so it’s no wonder this fanciful yet pared-back space earned a five-star review from the homeowners.
The living area plays host to all walks of (decor) life, amounting to a timeless look. though disparate, all the pieces abide by one rule: Nothing distracts from the million-dollar view of downtown Toronto.
“Don’t fight what the space is offering you,” says designer Yanic Simard, who selected floating furniture arrangements for the living and dining areas in order to respect the walls of windows behind them.
Yanic punctuated the space with a small selection of thoughtful accessories, such as the blue glassware, which reinforces the colour theme introduced by the sectional.
Like a pair of old hollywood starlets, the brass-framed crystal chandeliers in the dining and living areas are all sparkle, glitz and glam, yet these dames’ diminutive proportions and simple geometric shape keep them from stealing the show.
Visible behind the vintage wood-panelled herringbone-upholstered armchair, sheer drapery, used throughout the space, almost blends into the walls. the white fabric’s grey wavy pattern is interesting up close but unassuming from afar.
The Art Deco-style mirror takes advantage of the 10-foot-high ceiling. Beneath it, the super-long glossy black sideboard connects the dining area to the living zone and houses everything from napkins to DVDs.
The bold veined grey marble countertops and backsplash energize the traditional cream-toned kitchen cabinetry. The classic finishes get a dose of modernity from the contemporary light fixture and clear plastic stools.
Bring one of these fun outdoor games to your next summer party.
Add some fun to your next summer party with one of these outdoor games.
One of the best things about summer is bringing friends and family together for outdoor fun! For so many Canadians, backyard barbecues are the highlight of the summer season and it’s the perfect time to try out all those delicious summer food and drink recipes. But no get-together is complete without some fun games, so this summer make your party the best on the block with these addictive outdoor games that are perfect for kids and adults alike.
1 Bricks Yard Game
You’re going to have to bring your A-game to win this one! Including 54 solid wood bricks, this yard game will delight the whole family. After the initial set up, the game will measure 27 inches tall but will stack to over three feet high and comes with a handy canvas tote to make it easily portable. Bricks Yard Game, Uncommon Goods, $219.82.
2 Croquet Set
The game of croquet is believed to date back as far as the 1850s and has been a backyard favourite ever since. This stylish croquet set comes in a canvas carrying case and has everything you’ll need to take on your neighbours in a friendly match: mallets, balls, pegs, wickets and of course, instructions on just how to play the game if you’re rusty on the rules. Croquet Set, Crate and Barrel, $149.95.
3 Advanced Silver Badminton Set
Bring badminton back! If you haven’t played since you were a kid, revive the game with the help of this backyard badminton set. Designed to be easy to set up and to last, this set comes with four rackets, a sleeve-style net, ground stakes and shuttlecocks. Once everything is in place, you may find yourself playing well after the sun goes down! Advanced Silver Badminton Set, Wayfair.ca, $85.99.
4 Jonathan Adler Lacquer Card Set
Sit out on the patio, pull out this absolutely gorgeous card set and settle in for an evening of fun with friends and family. Delightfully packaged in a high-gloss lacquered box in Jonathan Adler’s signature bold colours, this card set is as much a family-friendly game as it is a delightful decorative accent for your home. You won’t want to pack it away so keep it out on display! Jonathan Adler Lacquer Card Set, Horchow, $98.
5 Backyard Tic Tac Toe
Give an old time favourite game a super-size makeover and you get this version of backyard tic tac toe. Designed by Jeremy Exley in Minnesota, this fun game is made from birch wood and finished with a protective stain. Stored in a handy tote, this game is ready to go wherever you are so take it out to the backyard, over to a friend’s house or to the cottage for hours of fun. Backyard Tic Tac Toe, Uncommon Goods, $109.84.
6 Bocce Ball Set
Created in Italy and popular across much of Europe, Bocce is a ball sport that developed many variations as it gained favour across Europe and in North America, Australia and South America. Whatever your rules are, this gorgeous bocce ball set will help you keep track. The set comes complete with etched solid resin balls and a smart canvas carrying bag. Also includes a score pad, pencils and instructions. Bocce Ball Set, Crate and Barrel, $149.95.
7 Yard Dice
These oversized dice are sure to be a hit at your next backyard gathering, family picnic or weekend at the cottage. Each of the six dice included in this set are made from solid pine wood and the pips are hot iron branded into all six sides. Not sure what to do with giant dice? Don’t sweat it; this set comes with instructions and rules for four different games that’ll keep the good times rolling! Yard Dice, Uncommon Goods, $50.