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.
Designer Montana Labelle's loft
Designer Montana Labelle decorates her loft with a fashion-forward eclectic aesthetic that fits her personal style to a T.
It’s often said that interior design follows fashion, and this certainly holds true in the Toronto loft of designer Montana Labelle. In fact, she takes this idea one step further by using her enviable collection of fashion accessories as part of the decor.
In the 700-square-foot condo, Montana spun her storage issues into something positive. “Since there’s a lack of closet space, I made the loft feel like a retail environment by displaying my clothing,” she says. “I bought an antique chinoiserie style armoire from Craigslist and filled it with my favourite vintage T-shirts, designer handbags and heels.” The result is like waking up and getting dressed in a high-end boutique every morning.
Homeowner and designer Montana Labelle used stylish vignettes to delineate the different areas in her narrow open-concept condo.
Montana hangs out in the living area of her Toronto loft.
Retro finds like the coffee table and media console lend a collected and personal look to the living area. Pops of bright colour come from Montana’s collection of orange Hermes boxes. A hide rug layered over a vintage rabbit fur rug gives the space a luxe comfort.
Now that her loft is furnished and decorated, she finds that it’s truly a reflection of her personal style. “My uniform consists of ripped jeans and basic T-shirts, layered with a leather motorcycle jacket and some great accessories,” Montana explains. “I totally relate this to my home’s mostly neutral palette with exotic accents and unexpected textures, which impart a sense of casual cool.”
An eclectic grouping of artwork – including a skull print by Jenna Snyder-Phillips, papier mache zebra bust and prized Hermes scarf – hangs above the sofa in the living area.
The vintage storage unit and artwork made by homeowner and designer Montana Labelle greet guests in the loft’s entryway. Antique books and other eclectic objects hint at the quirky style in the rest of the space.
An antique cabinet placed across from the kitchen offers plenty of storage (and display space) for Montana’s favourite designer fashion accessories.
The long, narrow loft includes an entryway, galley kitchen and living area.
The brightly lit sunroom acts as Montana’s home office, where she does a lot of work for her design business. The super-slim desk takes up minimal square footage in the small room. A bold red vintage “M” was a lucky find at one of her favourite Toronto shops. She made the edgy artwork by blacking out half of an antique portrait.
The vintage Art Deco bar cart in the office gets pressed into service during cocktail parties and offers extra storage the rest of the time. The antique leather hide on the floor was purchased from the Christie Antique Show.
We've got the scoop on what's popular in bathroom designs for 2017.
When it comes to resale value, kitchens and bathrooms typically give homeowners the greatest return on their investment, which makes them the optimal rooms to update and renovate. As we head into a new year, we asked designers what some of the hottest trends in bathroom design are for 2017. Looks like this is the year to get creative with those bathroom tiles! Check out what seven designers had to say.
Photography: Donna Griffith
1 "Accent walls have been around for a while but traditional accents walls have been achieved with paint or wallpaper. In 2017, we'll see mosaic glass tiled accent walls. From over-sized florals, confetti bursts and subtle damask prints, the small squares of the mosaic glass tile offer a cool pixelated look, tipping its hat to today's digital world. Whether behind a free-standing tub, shower or bathroom floor, the mosaic tile accent wall can add a whimsical wow factor into any bathroom." - Designer, Andrea Haraldsen.
Photography: Stacey Brandford & Donna Griffith
2 "Since bathroom are typically one of the smaller rooms of the house, they are the perfect place to create interest on the floor by splurging on mosaic tiles. Create a border in the room with a larger format of the mosaic inlay. You won’t want to cover these beautiful tiles with an area rug, so consider heated floors." - Interior Designer, Tara Fingold.
Photography: Stacey Brandford
3 "A streamlined, contemporary bathroom with wall-mounted toilet and a ledge to house bathroom essentials or display artwork is on top of my dream bathroom list. If you are going to install a wall-mounted toilet, you will need to build out the wall to facilitate the flushing mechanism. So why not make it a design statement and practical feature? Best of all, a tailored, refined bathroom is always in style and will definitely bring in top dollar at resell." - Blogger and Decorator, Tim Lam.
Photography: Angus Fergusson
4 "Graphic floors continue to be a strong trend in 2017. Printed encaustic tiles in beautiful graphic patterns will continue to prevail, but I am also loving patterns created with solid coloured tiles laid in interesting patterns. For example, three colours of the same hexagonal tile laid in a random pattern, or in a pattern that gives the floor the look of an ombré gradient, can create beautiful impact in bathrooms large or small." - Designer, Lisa Canning.
5 "Bold geometric and mosaic tiles in the bathroom have been popular in recent years but a shift to simple and creative tile patterns will gain traction in 2017. While a classic white ceramic tile will never go out of style, it feels fresh when laid in a herringbone pattern instead of traditional subway running bond. Or create chic appeal with solid square tiles in a trio of colours laid out in a trendy yet timeless buffalo check pattern." - Blogger and Designer, Jennifer Flores.
Photography: Phil Crozier
6 "All white bathrooms will continue to be popular as they are timeless and tend to evoke a spa feel that people crave in a bathroom. Introducing lighter wood tones befitting of Scandinavian spaces will continue to be on trend and warm up an all-white space. Mixing metals will gain popularity as homeowners realize they can mix a chrome faucet with a gold or brass mirror and wall sconces to great effect. Busy patterned floor tile will lose its appeal as consumers realize that they will tire of them and they will date very quickly." - Interior Designer, Vanessa Francis.
Photography: Stacey Brandford
7 "Move over subway tile and make room for shapes and geometrics. Whether the shape or pattern is part of the tile or simply created by installing in a geometric pattern, we’re seeing diamonds, hexagons, fish scale, chevron, herringbone, ovals, penny rounds and more. Regardless of the tile, basic white, bold colour or natural stone, creating pattern through shape is sure to elevate your bathroom in a classic, yet current way." - Interior Designer, Nyla Free.
Spacious kitchen design pairs barnboard accents with sleek Calacatta marble
Designer Lidia van Zyl may stick to a simple black and white palette, but thanks to a quirky collection of oddities, her home is far from boring.
The kitchen island is faced with reclaimed barnboard, topped with Calacatta marble and features corbels that echo the footed cabinetry. Two lantern-style pendant lights highlight the 20-foot-high cathedral ceiling, as does a tall vintage ladder.
Fumed-oak flooring laid in a herringbone pattern introduces a European feel to the entryway, as does the wall panelling. “There’s no colour here, so the moulding adds architectural interest to the space,” says Lidia. A plaid runner, large woven basket and iron chandelier inject a few rustic notes to pare back the formality.
Lidia ordered the “eau de toilette” decal on the powder room door as an inside joke about her husband’s attempts to say “bathroom” in French.
A reclaimed-wood floating countertop contrasts beautifully with the hammered-nickel basin and marble wall tiles.
“I bought these before we even broke ground,” says Lidia of the kitchen backsplash’s matte-finish subway tiles, which pair well with the focal-point inlay of honed-marble Moroccan-style tiles.
Antique wooden spools are a shapely accent.
Lidia introduced a touch of blue to the tablescape.
A mix of rustic and refined elements lends the spacious kitchen its unique look.
This vintage camera picks up on the home’s primary accent colour.
“I find it difficult to live with colour,” says Lidia of the layered neutrals anchored by hits of black she used throughout the great room, from the living area to the dining space to the kitchen.
In the living area, the black chandelier draws the eye up to the cathedral ceiling. The armchair beside the fireplace has special meaning – it came with the property. “There was a small house on the land and we found this lovely armchair inside, so it seemed only right to refinish it and give it new life,” says Lidia.
Homeowner and designer Lidia van Zyl and her dachshund, Sheeba.